For those of you who don’t relish the idea of a long drive through France, let us introduce you to Domaine de la Vallée. At only 1hr 45mins from Calais this has to be one of the best venues for the angler who enjoys fishing – but doesn’t like driving! It’s an easy drive down the E17 toll road of only 123 miles (198km) so you’ll arrive refreshed and relaxed, ready to go!
Domaine de la Vallée lies nestled in an area that is a haven for anglers. The whole area is literally full of lakes, all alongside the River L’Oise, which, along with its navigable canal, is situated just yards from the lakeside.
It’s a large lake (around 1 mile long and 100 acres) and was dug out for gravel, as were most of the lakes in the area. It is overlooked by the village of Vendeuil and is surrounded by open fields full of birds and animals which make the most of the waterside environment.
The lake itself is literally full of features, with islands, bays, lily pads and overhanging trees that give the fish plenty of places to congregate and the angler plenty of places to fish.
This is a very versatile water for anglers, with just about every feature imaginable to fish too, a huge stock of carp up to 25kg and swims that make the most of the features the lake has to offer.
Domaine de la Vallée can be booked for weekends, weeks or even just a few days so, coupled with the short travelling distance from Calais, it’s an ideal venue for shorter holiday breaks.
ABOUT THE WATER
This is a large lake but don’t be put off by its size – there are little corners to fish, islands to cast too (and fish from!) and huge beds of lilies. There are also numerous bays to stalk fish in. The lake is fed by fresh natural springs which give the water a very rich biodiversity. The northern end of the lake can be crystal clear, full of water life and alive with natural food whilst the southern end tends to have a green tinge which is caused by phyloplankton which is the basis for a good food chain for the fish.
The main features of the lake are several islands, numerous bays, overhanging trees and lily-fringed margins. The lake itself is surrounded by mature trees, willow and shrubs. The lakebed is littered with gravel bars, silt pockets and deep gullies. The water depth varies from around 18in to 12ft (0.5m to 4m). The lake itself has a few snags with some submerged trees around the edge which are natural fish-holding area and there are numerous large areas of lilies. In short, this lake has just about everything an angler could wish for and choosing a swim is really hard – there’s just so many features to choose from!
With 1,200 carp to fish you can be sure that no matter which swim you choose to fish from you won’t be far from some carp. The carp go up to around 55lb (25kg) but don’t think the larger carp are an easy touch, they’re not! The big carp do get caught frequently but you’ll need your wits about you to outfox them.
The lake record for Domaine de la Vallée is a 62lb (28kg) common carp. The biggest mirror carp is just under 60lb: 59.5lb (27kg)
The fish feed up on crayfish and mussels so they have plenty of natural food to feed on. The owners have re-stocked several times to ensure that the fish stocks can be classed as first rate. This is a water where bigger carp are often seen but can be quite tricky to catch. There are plenty of carp in the 15-20kg range though and blanks are rare.
Other species in the lake are Sturgeon, Bream and Catfish.
We'd rather describe the lake as 'wild'. The owners maintain the domain, but also let nature take its course. The swims and paths do not look like a golf course.
A maximum of 20 anglers fish Domaine de la Vallée each week and there are 22 swims to choose from. Swims 1 to 12 lie in the southern end of the lake (which tends to be more productive) and swims 10 to 16 are closed at various times at the end of August for duck shooting. This can be annoying to anglers but it’s only for a few hours a day. Swims 3, 4 and 5 are located on one of the islands and it’s a very interesting place to fish from, being opposite large lily beds. Swims 4 and 5 are larger than some of the others and are ideal for groups of 3 or 4 anglers who wish to fish together.
Swims 1 and 2 are also spacious and offer fishing to deeper parts of the lake. Another advantage to these swims is that car parking is nearby. Swims 7 and 9 are suitable for up to three anglers whereas swim 8 is an ideal double swim. If you like to fish away from other anglers how about trying swims 10, 11 and 13, each of which are on their own islands? The swims on islands are accessible only by boat. Bait boats are allowed as is baiting up and placing hook baits by use of the rowing boats which are available to rent or you can bring your own if you have one.
The swims are all bigger than normal, have lots of various features to fish too, including some really extensive areas of lilies, gravel bars and plateau and deep, silt-lined gullies. It really is a water where there’s something to please everyone but you are advised to take a marker rod to search out the features.
This is a large lake and there are several swims that command larger areas of water. There are so many different areas to fish, swim choice can be difficult. It’s well worth taking time out to walk around the lake during your stay so you can get a full picture of where the fish are if you fancy a change of scenery during your stay.
Parking is on the designated car park but you can drive to your swim to unload.
During summer time you may expect weed formation.
The showers, washbasins and toilets are old, don't expect much luxury. There are power points for charging equipment and fridges, a freezer and a microwave oven, along with basic kitchen facilities, available to anglers.
The village, which is only a short distance away has shops, bars and a restaurant or two should you fancy a trip out.
- The Lake La Vallee
- Departement: Aisne
- Open: All year round
- Distance to lake: Calais - Domaine de la Vallée: 180 km; Le Havre - Domaine de la Vallée: 259 km
- Surface: 40 ha
- Bottom: Soft bottom with silt; few obstacles. Lots of lilies.
- Depth: Max. 4 meter
- Max. Anglers: 20
- Stocking: Old stock with carp between 20 and 60 pounds, lake record is 62lb
- Weed formation: possible during summer months
- Access: The swims on the islands are only accessible by boat
- Price per Angler: 300 € per week; 200 € per midweek; 180 € per weekend
- Price per non-Angler: 35€ per week 20€ per midweek 15€ per weekend
- WIFI: No