Estate Lake by Steve Briggs
If you’ve not looked at the Estate Lake before then let me tell that it is a very special venue! I guess it’s best to start with the location, which will appeal to a great many people that are put off by the thought of a long drive across the continent. Situated in Normandy, south of Rouen and west of Paris, the Estate Lake is just a one and a half hour drive from the port of Caen and even from Calais it’s only three and a half hours. There are a couple of tolls involved if you take the motorway route but of course with the short distances involved they are not excessive.
The Estate Lake is in one of the most luxurious settings that you’ll find with any carp angling venue. Located in the grounds of a large stately home it is a very grand entrance indeed as you drive past the statues of wild boar and deer and then past the huge, imposing house as you wind your way down to the lake. The lake itself is 22 acres in size and is a very typical estate/type lake formed by damming the original stream with the narrow section at the top end where the stream enters, which is also the shallowest part of the lake with and average of 3ft. At the dam end the lake is also at its widest at around 240 meters and its deepest dropping down to a maximum of 9ft. There are six large swims, which are all spread out along the north bank with swim 1 being at the dam end going up to swim 6 in the shallows.
There is a good stock of carp with the bulk of those averaging 20lb to 30lb but with many high 30’s and 40’s going right up to a 60lb common, which is the biggest fish in the lake. The fish are very nice-looking, with many of them being dark, chestnut colours and all in very nice condition. There are also a few koi carp in the lake as well as a few sturgeon.
There are beds of lily pads up in the shallows and along much of the far margins, which form obvious spots to fish to. A lot depends on the time of year and the conditions as to where the fish will be. In the early part of the spring I found them up in the shallows mainly in swim 6, but by the following week they were being caught in swim 2 so they tend to move around and in the warmer months are likely to be spread out around the lake. Much of the lake bed is quite soft and silty but this is what the carp are used to feeding on so don’t be put off by that. But I did also find firmer areas when I looked through swims 3, 4, 5 and 6 and they did produce action so it is worth looking for those areas. The boat is certainly helpful for that but it can only be used on lake exclusive bookings and not for single bookings so do be aware of that.
Various methods and tactics will work at the Estate Lake. Early season I found that small baits over tightly grouped mixtures of ground boilies and particles to be effective. Boilies certainly work well as do tiger nuts as hook baits. As always quality baits will be the best option.
Facilities at the lake are very good with a very high standard shower and toilet room with hot water 24 hours a day that doesn’t involve the use of tokens. There is also an anglers room with freezer, fridge, cooker and power points all situated next to the car park close to swim 1. Some items of tackle and bait are available should something be used up or even forgotten. There is also some very nice accommodation for wives and families should they not want to bivvy up on the bank. This accommodation is situated in the old original boat house just the other side of the dam wall and above the toilet and shower room, so it is still close to all the fishing areas. Of course the owners very much make up part of the atmosphere of the lake and Julie and Philippe are very friendly and welcoming people. Julie speaks perfect English and is one of the friendliest lake owners I’ve ever met. All in all it is a lovely venue set in the most beautiful surroundings and I’ve no doubt that this one will appeal to a great many people – a top venue for sure!