Fishing in France at Meadow Lake – Mirror Pool Fisheries

Meadow lake was the second lake visited during my trip too Mirror pool fisheries, it is located close to the central French city of Limoge at approximately 7 hours drive from the port of Calais. However due to it being the second lake fished during the session my journey was from mayflower pool to Meadow Lake. This journey took in the scenery of the beautiful Correze national park in all of its glory, prior to descending down the mountains towards the village of Aubosson. The through road of the village highlighted the tranquillity of this region. The route was easily identifiable via the route directions that mirror pool fisheries had forwarded.

How I long to live in such an area, quite rolling hills, shrouded by the dawning mists cast down the valleys from the nearby hills, almost like descending ghosts across a spiritual body of water, that being down the valley and across meadow lake.
My first impressions were unperturbed and peaceful, no other anglers were in residence and a previous weeks catch report was supplied via the onsite bailiff. Who we eventually found hiding amongst the trees in the secluded onsite cabin, that has been especially designed around the needs of the UK carp angler. On introduction the bailiff stated the fishery rules, although I listened carefully and appeared to take interest, the rules enforced are common sense and those that the modern day carp angler would be expected to understand and behold: No nuts, no sacks fish care to a premium etc. all common sense stuff.
The lake is said to be the same size as mayflower pool, my estimations were of a somewhat larger venue than that of the one we had just vacated. However, my estimations are not always correct, and it maybe a case of false impressions due to its shape. Meadow Lake is triangular with a wide embankment dammed base and a smaller shallower reed lined top pinnacle.

Meadow swims and features – Mirror Pool Fisheries


There are many swims on the lake in which a bivvy can be comfortably placed, with the majority having features of some description to the front. The shallow end of the lake averages 2 – 3 feet and has a silt covering. As you move down the swims towards the dam bank the lakebed becomes gradually harder and deeper. The most visible feature being a prominent structure in the central part of the lake that can be identified via a concrete post breaking the surface. You cannot miss it, as it is viewable on arrival. This feature is a prime catfish spot as they make home amongst some of the sub surface concrete awaiting ambush opportunities. I noticed what were presumably catfish on the finder as I moored to this feature, as I clonked the water their bodies would momentarily appear and then slither back into their secure home.
The shallower top end of the lake averages 2 feet until a gulley is reached whereupon the depth drops to several feet and remains fairly hard, flat but rough until the marginal slope of the damn embankment is reached. There are a number of overhanging trees and other marginal foliage that lend to creeping and crawling tactics – stalking. Although I didn’t take the opportunity during my visit there are some prime looking spots where the odd fish maybe caught unawares.
I did not locate any large bars or plateaus but there are a number of mounds and rough areas that can be found using a fish finder. Within an hours work I had a mental picture of the lakes topography, all of that zigzag style rowing was hard going on the biceps but worthwhile. There is nothing worse than fishing blind i.e. not knowing what’s in front of you.
One particular small rough mound accounted for the majority of the carp. It lies on the up-slope to the shallows and in front of the large double swim at the top end of the lake. On pulling a lead across the area it felt like a bed of swan mussels. This rough gravelled bump also produced a catfish take, unfortunately the wells shed the hook after taking upwards of 50 yards of line from Matt’s reel, he could do nothing but watch the line leave the spool, on applying that little bit of extra pressure to turn the giant tadpole, the hook pulled, our suspicions of a catfish were confirmed by the slime-covered line.
There is a small stream running into the lake at the top shallow corner, it was from this point that a number of carp could be seen moving in less than 2 foot of water, an ideal stalking spot for a gently lowered float and lobworm. The dam corners are also worthy of a bait as I spooked carp on a number of occasions whilst passing by the area.

Baits and methods – Mirror Pool Fisheries

On arrival I took the cursory walk around the lake with a view to locating moving fish, during this scan of the water several carp crashed near to a double swim located at the top end. Not needing any further invitation, the rods were cast to pre-noted spots. My old faithful maple 8 bottom baits were fished on 2 rods and a CC Moore pineapple in a bag of enzyme treated fish on the third.  Within 15 minutes I had a reel churner from the rod fished within 30 yards of the concrete pillar. The net engulfed a 28 lb 12 oz (13 kg) golden common, a nice conditioned early start to the short session; the fish had a fairly long snout that took a liking to the enzyme and pineapple combination. That was the only fish of the short session to fall foul of the bag method; the remainder came from boated baits to small features with scatterings of pellets soaked in red venom and corn steep liquor. The only pellets allowed are those sold onsite, my preference is to use something a little different therefore I took a few bottles of corn steep liquor to give the pellets a more attractive smell and taste.
This mix of pellets with a general dousing of liquid foods accounted for the bigger fish, it was noticeable as Mat Morris my partner in crime for this trip landed several high 30s (14 kg) to just under 40 lbs (17.5 kg.) His successful hook baits were 30 mm obsession donkey choker’s that had been soaked in red venom.

Unfortunately, Mat missed a good fish: Not wanting to bring his rods in after the hour’s hard work of searching for prime spots, he asked if I would baby-sit his rods whilst he visited lake number two (toilet.) Having just rowed them out on his behalf he was reluctant to go through the process again. Within a couple of minutes of him departing the double swim the middle alarm burst into life, the result was a high 30 lb (14 kg) mirror. As he returned I was mid way through the weighing process, I cannot repeat his words in this publication; loosely interpreted he said I was a person without a father! Of course he would be slightly perturbed as I hoisted a fish that was estimated to be around 40 lbs (17.5 kg.) The scales didn’t agree as the needle settled under 39 lbs (17 kg) and a final weight of 38 lb 10 oz (16.8 kg). Although I had placed his bait with the boat on a nice feature and proceeded to land the carp on the same rod, I don’t feel it is altogether ethical to claim the fish as my own? Whose line is it anyway? A few photographs were taken but please bare the circumstances of capture in mind.
Rigs were fairly basic consisting of either a flouro carbon hook lengths or sinking braid of 10 – 12 inches. The pointy end consisted of a size 4 Teflon and was line aligned but with a longer hair to enable rigging of the bigger baits.
Mat’s gluttony for a decent carp soon became reality as a slow run signalled a take from a heavier fish, only a few ounces under 40 lbs (17.5 kg.) I cannot recall the exact weight, but photographs were taken and the fish was returned to the water in accordance with the fishery rules, without delay. One other rule worth mentioning is that rigs will be checked; as mine were during a snap visit from Paul the local English Bailiff. This is not a bad thing as there are anglers that unbeknown to themselves still use unsafe rigs.

Carp stock – Mirror Pool Fisheries

The onsite bailiff informed me that there was a large amount of carp present; over 300 carp had been introduced since the purchase of the venue in 2000. However there was a healthy stock already present therefore a surprise could be on the cards. The stock is the same fast growing variety that is placed in all of their lakes, with the fish said to be putting upwards of 5 lb (2.5 kg) on per year. There are many 30s (14 kg) present, every other fish seems to be a mid to high thirty, judging by catch reports from previous customers and stockings, most weeks carp see fish over 40 lbs (17 kg) grace the banks. The high thirties that we caught would probably be 40s (17 kg) at the right time of year.

I cannot recall the exact amount of fish that we landed in 3 days, but can say that the average size was bigger than the lake we had just left. The amount of fish was somewhat less than that of the previous venue but the average weight was bigger. The anglers the week prior to our visit had a couple of 40s, using remote control boats. As mentioned in my last article I don’t intend to use a remote control boat at any of the lakes I fish for this series, not everyone owns them therefore I will adopt methods that all can use.

Whats onsite – Mirror Pool Fisheries

The onsite lodge is for sole use of the anglers and is situated 150 yards from the dam wall, first impressions were inspiring, with 2 toilets, a modern shower, a quality cooker and all of the cooking equipment needed. The centrepiece of the bathroom has got to be the solid marble surround on the washbasin; it is a bit Laura Ashley!
Two bait freezers conclude this little piece of carp fishing luxury, they are large enough to hold over 50 kg of boilie’s each. Someone had kindly left some fusion in one of them, of which I promptly commandeered a couple of kilo. Only to find out afterwards that Rob, one of the owners had left them after a recent session with the intention of using them during the following weeks. I apologise for nicking your bait mate, and it wont happen again if I return to fish your other lakes, I will reimburse you? Hint, hint, nod, nod, wink, wink! Its those one liners that make an article don’t you think.
Beware of the small wooden bridges that cross the streams, Its better to park before them and carry your gear the few extra yards, I broke one of the planks whilst crossing in a large 4 x 4 vehicle. Although I am sure they have been weight tested I was a little concerned that the weight of the juice guzzler would collapse the bridge, resulting in expensive repairs to both vehicle and bridge.
A boat is available for the anglers use and I recommend it for baiting and feature finding, but do not interfere with other anglers, there is nothing worse than someone thrashing the water to a foam at feeding time. The life jacket is there for your safety; therefore it should be worn whenever you set sail! Do as I say not as I do! You will notice that I forgot to wear it whilst baiting up in one of the shots within this article.
There are several supermarkets in the picturesque local village; due to it being at the base of an area of outstanding natural beauty it sees a lot of tourism during the warmer months, its well worth a day trip.

My conclusion to Meadow Lake – Mirror Pool Fisheries

For those that are looking for big carp in a well ran commercial fishery then Meadow Lake is worth considering. The only downside is the several hour drive from the northern borders and Calais. The limited amount of anglers ensures that there will be plenty of space for the 6 anglers allowed.
The onsite trout pellets soaked in liquids seemed to be a winning method, especially when they are scattered over a larger area rather than a tight grouping, they may have grown wise to bait boat groupings. The fish are said to be fairly naïve and not afraid to show themselves. Where they were crashing was not the best place to catch them, locate those mussel beds and your chances will dramatically improve.

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