And then it snowed ….Springtime at Croix Blanche Lakes

48lb Torute Common carp

48lb 5oz  Tortue Common carp

Just when I thought we’d got through, what has been, one of the worst winters since I’ve run the lakes..It snowed again! The temperature plummeted from a balmy 17°C last week to -4°C last night…
It has to be said, this winter has been particularly strange by the huge variations is weather we have had. Up until Christmas things were mild and the fishing was very good. Dutch anglers who spent Christmas at the venue caught a number of nice fish.
Then as 2018 dawned, so did the rain. Day after day it rained.. not just the odd shower, but prolonged precipitation that saw the rivers swell, burst their banks and cause wide spread flooding. Any of you who might have watched the news, will have seen Paris flooded out.

Croix Blanche Flood

Croix Blanche Flood

And so our venue also got hit by the worst floods since I’ve been here. It became impossible to walk around the venue without waders and the two main lakes melded into one large lake. With the major downstream cities threatened by the high-water levels, the river authorities kept the barrages closed. Thus stifling the run off along our valley and keeping all the fields under several feet of water. As the venue is fed by the water table, which became totally saturated, so the level continued to rise. Tracks disappeared under water, store rooms were inundated and shoals of roach and spawning pike could be seen on the pathways.
After several weeks of this situation the rain stopped the thermometer plunged and the precipitation came in the shape of snow. Several inches of snow. It looks pretty, but it is a real pain. As the temperature continued their decent below zero, so the lakes froze over and the snow settled on the icy surface.

Peg 01 on Croix Blanche in the snow

Peg 01 on Croix Blanche in the snow

One upside of the freeze, was that the rivers dropped and so did the lakes. After a couple of weeks of negative temperatures, the levels were down enough to allow access around the venue and I was once again the owner to 2 separate gravel pits.

Snow at Croix Blanche

Snow at Croix Blanche

The first anglers on then since Christmas were Lindsay and Jason.. Braving what turned into a pretty wet week, punctuated by a couple of bright sunny days. The bright mild, weather certainly brought the carp out, with lots of showing fish. It also saw the guys bank the first to fish of the year. A mint 27lb mirror for Jason, and a fabulous 48lb 5oz common for Lindsay. Two fish is though pretty hard fishing, but under the conditions better than a blank. Spring is so often hit and miss as the temperatures fluctuate and everything struggles to wake from its winter torpor.
And as I said at the outset, three days from the official start to Spring … It snowed !!

Posted in Articles, Diary, News | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Croix Blanche Lakes Video

I recently shot a new video at the lakes. I started out in June when I was able to get a few nice captures on camera, and followed it up with some aerial shots from and autogyro.

The main part of the shooting was with Mark Gray, his son Aaron, and a group a group of German anglers. I interviewed Mark, who was one of the first anglers to ever fish the venue back in 1999.

The lads also had a few nice fish to add to the ones I’d shot a few weeks before. After giving a brief piece to camera with my feelings about the lakes and how they came about, I finished off the video with some drone work.
All the filming was done on a Canon 5d mark lll using the standard mode and Magic Lantern raw video.

I hope you enjoy the clip.
cheers
Gareth

Posted in Videos | Leave a comment

A Few Videos

I though I’d post a few  videos I recently shot around the Croix Blanche Lakes venue and the local River Aisne. It’s a quiet time of the year with chilly weather and little fishing to be had.

The lakes froze over for a few days in January as the weather continued to yoyo between mild and freezing. Here is a second video of the lakes covered in ice and a dusting of snow.


Continue reading

Posted in News | Leave a comment

A Summer’s Carping

A Summer’s Carping

Over the last few seasons I’ve been concentrating on the rivers and fishing mostly for barbel. But at the start of 2015 and a productive session on my own venue where I banked a few fish including a nice 40lb plus mirror, I started to get the carp bug again.

A view acros the lake

A view acros the lake

Things really kicked off in the late Spring, when I popped in to see a mate who was fishing a local AAPPMA gravel pit not far from my home. He’s had a few very good fish and while we were sharing a beer one of his rods was away and I was soon photographing a lovely mid forty. This made up my mind and I sent off for my night ticket immediately. Continue reading

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pass the Salt Please !! My Salt Water PVA bag Mix

View over the rods down a weedy lake from my swim

View over the rods down a weedy lake from my swim

I have written a few times about my application of the Method feeder for big carp. This has been a very successful approach for me over the last three years, with a number of big carp to upper forties falling to the technique.
As I’ve pointed out the feeder has a number of advantages. It allows you to present a very attractive groundbait, particles and pellet mix in a tight spot, which when combined with spombed out mixed particles and tigers is deadly.
However it also has a number of drawbacks, notably the fact that it is invariably and inline set up. I’m no great fan of inline rigs, and the negative side of these is compounded in weedy waters. In really heavy weed it is virtual suicide to use an inline set up if you want to land a fish. Here a set up that dumps the lead on a take is a must. Continue reading

Posted in Articles, Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ATTs : Bite Alarm System

Advanced Technology Tackle : Bite Alarm System

A few weeks ago I got a set of alarms from the guys at ATT. I’d been in the market for a new set for a while, and talking to several of my mates the word on the street was that these alarms were the best on the market, and they also happen to look the coolest.

Advanced Technology Tackle : Bite Alarm System

Advanced Technology Tackle : Bite Alarm System

So once I’d spoken to Danny about what I required, it was with huge anticipation that I waited for the postman to arrive.

First Impressions

I knew that the units were compact, but I was actually surprised how small they were. With the amount of nifty features it makes you wonder how they get it all into such a small package.

Silent Heads

I’d asked for the ATTs IW heads in blue, and they are great. The blue, to my eyes stands out best both day and night, as it’s not a colour you usually see in nature. Alarms have certainly come a long way since the first Optonics with a separate white sounder box.

The heads despite their compact size hold the rod very well, the “ears”, seem high enough to prevent the rod getting pulled out on the take, which means I can’t see the need for the current trend of using high snag ears. ATT do actually make a replacement extended back which, if this was a problem would negate the need for separate snag ears. Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

March Catch Reports

March Catch Reports

With the coming of March the season kicked off at Croix Blanche lakes. The start to the month was pretty cold and ground frost pretty much a nightly occurrence certainly in the first week or two.

Sunset over Croix Blanche Lakes

Sunset over Croix Blanche Lakes

March 8th

The 8th saw me have a go for the second over-nighter for this year. I set up in peg 13, having blanked the week before on peg 12.

23lb mirror from peg 13

23lb mirror from peg 13

This change of tactics paid off and I had my first carp of 2015

As the weather was cold and the skies clear I decided to opt for zig rigs, having recently acquired a set of Nash zig floats. I had had a good drop back the week before on a zig, but failed to make contact. I therefore figured under conditions it was my best option. Continue reading

Posted in Diary, News | 3 Comments

Holidays in France: More than Fishing !

Holidays in France: More than Fishing !
by Steve Howard

Croix blanche lakes sunsetCroix blanche lakes sunset

Croix blanche lakes sunset

For me, fishing is much more than simply casting a line to catch a fish, it’s much, much more than that. In fact, if that was all that angling had going for it, I’d probably have given it a wide berth aeons ago!
Maybe I’m just ‘old skool’ and I harbour a need for a tad of romanticism in my angling, I don’t really know, but what I do know is that there is a side to me that craves fulfilment from the experience as a whole.
My lifelong passion for angling (since 1957 at the age of 5) has taken me in search of fulfilment in several countries and for several species. Since the early 80’s, that species has been almost exclusively carp, but perhaps that is explained by the very same token! You see, for me carp angling is the epitome of angling because it is the realm of dreamers; it’s a passion for those who, like me, seek more than just the face value of angling! Continue reading

Posted in Articles, Guest Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Happy New Year from Croix Blanche lakes

Happy New Year from Croix Blanche lakes : Croix Blanche Lakes fishery in northern France would like to wish a very happy and prosperous New Year to you all.

SEMC 3MP DSCWe hope to have the pleasure of your company in the coming months.
cheers
Gareth Continue reading

Posted in News | Leave a comment

New stock carp for Croix Blanche Lakes

New stock carp for Croix Blanche Lakes


A pretty brace of fish ready for releasing

A pretty brace of fish ready for releasing

New stock carp for Croix Blanche Lakes: Last night I took delivery of some new young carp at the Croix Blanche Lakes fishery. It’s been a couple of years since I purchased any fish, so I opted this year to get a small batch which I can bring on in my stock lake and transfer to the main fishing lakes at some date in the future. I’ve made it a policy since the outset of the fishery to buy young modest sized fish and let them grow on in the lakes. We are fortunate enough to have an excellent head of big fish, and the carp I have bought over the last 7 or 8 years have come on in leaps and bounds. Continue reading

Posted in News | Leave a comment