In this article we will explore in great detail some of the reasons why carp fishing in France is a so popular.
In past decades, when France underwent large-scale urban development, for the building of infrastructure, roads, railways and homes, the land was excavated for the search of materials. It was after the gravel or sand extraction took place that many of the lakes, which can be seen today, were inadvertently created. By taking a look at any map, you can see thousands of areas holding water - from small pools to large lakes.
As the lakes began to form, France made good use of them - creating ‘stew’ ponds by filling them with fish, which would provide food for the villages. Traditionally, this was done by monks in the natural lakes or in lakes that were created by damming rivers and streams. The most common fish in this situation was the carp and still today, the carp is very often found in many parts of Europe as it is farmed as a food supply.
Such areas of France that have lakes full of carp fish are within the Champagne-Ardenne and Vitry-le-François region, in particular. For this reason, the area is very popular with people looking to go on angling holidays. It has always been an activity that has been well-favoured within the fishing community and people have always been willing to travel for the search of these specimen fish. However, it wasn't until the 1990s that carp fishing in France became very popular among anglers. The owners of these lakes began to foresee good commercial value in the industry and as such, proceeded to accommodate their vision by providing for the growing demand of fish.
The industry has grown (quite literally) from holes in the ground and become a substantial industry within the last 20-25 years and in particular, has seen growth within the last 10-15 years. In the 1990s, visitors to these lakes were very often by themselves with very few facilities available. More often then not, the facilities were very basic with just toilets and washrooms and certainly not anything that would be deemed ‘family-friendly’. Of course, the hardened angler could visit the vast waters of Chantecoq, Saint-Cassien or the lakes in Forêt d’Orient, but for the majority, it would mean taking a trip to a holiday venue with lots of driving and few accommodations. It was here that the term ‘drive and survive’ was coined. Today’s visitors to these areas have it very differently; there are now countless options available and no matter what type of fishing-holiday you require, it will be available to you somewhere!
Due to this influx within the industry, there are now more options then ever before and it can be difficult to choose the right holiday for carp fishing in France. Areas around Cassien and Orient are very popular, but it may not be for everybody. For our annual carp-fishing holiday, we’re looking for good facilities, some comfort with places to rest and take a break and possibly a bar or restaurant.
For those who are looking for similar amenities at their holiday destination, they can find suitable venues in northern France - in particular the Champange-Ardennes region, which is in close proximity to the port of Calais (connected to the UK and European counties, such as Holland and Germany). Other good areas can be found more centrally located, including the Limoges region. There are great areas in this region with lots of other things to do, but are by no means the only options available. Hundreds of other venues that offer secluded, off-the-beaten-track holidays in areas with wild deer and boar drinking at waters edge and hawks circling lazily in the sky, can be yours after just a few hours of traveling.
You can do a lot of traveling, to areas unknown or popular, hoping to find big carp. In the past, finding a carp that weighed 40-50lb could mean taking marathon journeys to secret venues that may have only been rumored. Today, fish of this weight are commonly found across all areas of France - something uncommon in the rest of Europe. So now, everyone can have the chance to catch a fish of this size, whilst enjoying a cold drink and a good meal by just searching online or picking up the phone. Seeking for a destination for carp fishing in France is that easy!