Carp fishing on the river mosselle in France – a picturesque slow moving river starting its life at the base of the Alps in Mid Eastern France. Flowing through France and into Germany where it joins forces with the old mother Rhine. The area I will concentrate on is the Loraine region in North Eastern France The Loraine region is famous for its rolling hills and meandering waterways. This part of France is a haven for carp fishing, with hundreds of lakes & rivers ranging from large Lakes like Madine in the West of the region to beautiful Etangs like Gondrexange to the East. The valley itself has literally hundreds of gravel pits dotted along its length, a lot of them holding big carp with some allowing night fishing. There are numerous features along its length ranging from connecting canals that bypass sluices to lakes and gravel pits, some connected to the main river. Other features include overhanging trees, “wides”, weed and gravel bars, which are only visible during the summer and autumn, when the river is at its lowest level. During March , April and May the river tends to hold more water due to the melting snow from the Alps running into the Mosselle and on into the Rhine. Read more carp fishing articles at base of this page.
Route & License for the Mosselle
Whilst residing in the UK I tended to travel to this region of France often, not only for the quality of the fishing but also due to the cost. The toll roads in France add a considerable amount to a trip. This region can be accessed without paying a penny in tolls from Calais. The route I’m about to detail takes less time and the roads are better. From Calais take the A16 towards Bruge onto the A10 sign posted Brussels. At Brussels take the Ring Nord, Come of on the A4 towards Luxembourg then South on the A31 towards Metz. Carry on this road towards the Southern part of the City, coming off at junction 30. As you leave the motorway, a Macdonald’s sign can be seen and literally 40 Yards from Macky Ds is a very large tackle shop called Mondial Peche. A Carte de Peche can be bought from here at a cost of approximately 380 Francs for the year. The telephone number can be found on the Mondial peche fishing website.
Night fishing in France
The areas between Thionville and Nancy are best known for a better stamp of carp. Fish of over 40 lbs are fairly common. The average size and stock differs between sections, some producing fewer but bigger carp, others producing a lot of smaller carp with the odd better fish. Most of the zones have one thing in common; they have all produced carp over 25 Kgs! There are a few options open to the angler who wishes to bivvy up. The best legal options are the numerous night fishing zones, both north and south of Metz. I don’t know a lot about the zones North of Metz due to the fact of not having fished them, but I know there are a lot of “commons” in these sections with an average size of between 15 to 30 lbs. The Tackle shop previously mentioned can direct you to these zones.
The first section I will cover in detail is just off the A31 at junction 31 in the village of Montigny. This Zone stretches for approximately 1 KM and is good for large numbers of fish with the occasional bigger fish in excess of 50 lbs. Access is easy due to a small road running alongside the river, allowing you to park and fish. Most carp are caught from the far margins. The sections immediately below Metz are among the best sections throughout the Mosselle with the sluice at Ay Sur Mosselle separating the river into two of the best-known stretches. Immediately South of the sluice the second night zone begins, approximately 200 yards in length with widths of up to 250 yards. In the warmer months bank space is at a premium with legal night fishing allowed on the East bank only. Towards the southern end of the zone a canal joins the river which runs between the two sections bypassing the sluice. A bait placed in the canal often intercepts fish passing between the two sections. This is a good area for the winter and early Season, but a difficult area during the summer months when pressure forces the fish to seek the sanctuary of the no night fishing areas. Another option open to you is the mobile approach, i.e. switching between the zones, using the night zones for bivying and moving to day sections at first light. Your chances of catching are greatly increased fishing in this way. Baiting an area in a day section on the day of arrival, then moving to the night zone for bivying and returning to the day section at first light. It takes a lot of effort fishing in this manner, however the rewards are there for those who are prepared to put in the effort. Cars can be parked immediately behind the bivvy, allowing a quick move at the crack of dawn. A routine worked with three people in the party can be established, leave one person looking after the bivys while the other two travel light to the chosen day stretch. Its hard work, but your chances of catching are greatly increased while adopting this approach. Moving South along the N57 you will come to the small village of Corny Sur Moselle. Here lies the third night zone to be covered, again approximately 1 KM long with varying widths. At the Southern end, the river splits. This is the most productive swim in the zone and some very big fish have come from this swim. Carrying on towards Nancy the river veers off to the East and on its bank lies the village of Liverdun. On the Southern bank lies a night zone that I have not yet fished, but I have had reliable reports of big carp coming from this area. I have also been informed of a night zone near Toul that is producing well but cannot comment due to not having fished it yet. There are a lot of night zones that I have not fished or visited therefore not mentioned, however information on them can be sought from the Tackle shops in Nancy or Toul.
Night Fishing with Stealth o n the mosselle
Another option open is the illegal method, taking the risk and night fishing in unspecified areas. Before I tell you how to go about night fishing in these areas, the consequences of being caught must be pointed out. Even though the chance is slim, it is still present. The minimum punishment you are likely to receive is a slap on the wrist from the Bailiff. The maximum is confiscation of tackle until the fine is paid, which could be as much as 1300 francs. I have not had any problems and don’t know anyone who has. What I will say is that I have not blanked fishing these areas. The decision is yours! Night fishing these areas is practiced a lot by the French anglers with no problems, but not so much by visiting anglers. I cannot condone this type of carp fishing, as I am guilty of it myself and maybe one day I will pay the consequences. A few basic self enforced rules need to be followed if any one decides to give it a go.
1. Move to one of the many areas away from population, preferably in the cover of woods. Also using a boat to transport your equipment to unreachable spots will provide peace of mind and keep you out of sight.
2. Keep your noise to a minimum and don’t shout. This prevents unwanted attention from reporting eyes, if you are not making too much noise and keeping the night time noise to a minimum then you should not have any dramas. Bright lamps at night combined with the indicator volume turned to the max, is a sure way to give your position away. A small head torch is more than adequate for any night sessions.
3. Use a brolly or a medium sized green bivvy, the Day-Glo camping tents are another way of attracting unwanted attention to your swim. Also, collapsing the bivvy during the day gives the impression you are not staying the night.
This type of fishing requires some stealth and camouflage. Choice of swim is important as problems may occur when it is made blatantly obvious to all, that you are staying the night. I saw one French carp angler bivied up with a huge Euro dome in plain view 30 metres from the main road! If he can get away with that, then I cannot see a problem when I keep myself to myself hidden in the wooded areas.
The French anglers I know rarely fish the night zones and when asked if night fishing is a problem in no night zones the reply is usually, “use discretion”.
River fishing Bait & Tactics
To attract large numbers of carp you will need to bait heavily with particles. During my October trip I night fished a section at Array near Pont -a- Moselle. Baiting with 12 KGs of mixed particles consisting of maize, hemp and Lupines. Over this I fished 3 kgs of boillies and 1 kg of Frolic. A good bed of bait is needed to pull the fish down. The baited area should be at least 50 yards long, due to the barges moving the bed with the wash. The theory being that the barges will not pull all of the bait away from my end rigs. Due to the size of the baited area any bait suspended in the wash will settle back on top of at least 2 of my end rigs. Maize can be purchased locally, visit one of the many farm houses in the area and ask for a 50 kg sack. If he has none then ask where you can buy some, I have not failed yet! Expect to pay around 90 Francs per sack. Leads need to be heavy preferably the flat 5 oz type, this also prevents the lead moving in the wash. Most of the drag is caused by passing barges, these are of Ocean going size! do not be put off by these, as the carp seem to feed better after a busy day of barge traffic. Most types of anti tangle rig work well, especially mono links. I believe this is due to them being more difficult to tangle by the current and barge wash. Using hard, large boilies prevents problems with nuisance fish, which are in abundance. Poisson chat, Barbel, Chub and Crayfish will all have a go at boilies irrespective of size, however, I have found with a bollie over 25mm the nuisance fish are less likely to cause problems. Hard boilies, big enough to prevent the large Barbel having a nibble further reduce the amount of problems.
lakes in the area with night fishing
Lac Madine – Enough has been written about this lake, so I will not go too deep into it, but I will bring to your attention the night fishing zone on the Carte de Peche. A Carte de Peche is a third of the price of the private night section and produces a lot of good fish, however a boat is needed to reach them.
Lac Du Der – A very famous water that I have fished in the past. However the current price increase and new restrictions will have an affect on any future night sessions for me. The last time I fished Du Der, it was days only, 4 days in total. In this mid July session I fished from 0500 hrs to 1100 hrs in the evening taking a brace of 39 pounders and 6 carp between 35 lbs and 38 lbs. The long stay anglers in the night zones, blanked. Areas fished were Corny Du Der and Isle Du Der. Day only permits are still freely available, unlike the night permits which are expensive and must be booked well in advance.
Etang La Horre – This Lake lies 8 km SW of Du Der and is a private water with night fishing allowed all year. The water is well stocked with many 20 and 30-lb carp and the odd bigger fish in excess of 50 lb.One weeks fishing will cost approximately 130 Pounds sterling.
Lac Vielles Forges – Lies 10 km North of Charleville Mesziers on page 13 of the Michelin Map of France. It is only 3 hours drive from the port of Calais with no tolls on route. The lake is approximately 400 acres and very snaggy due to tree stumps. There are a good number of carp over 30 lbs with several carp over 60 lbs. The lake record is just under 70 lbs but it is not easy. Saying that I have not blanked on this lake, my shortest session being 3 days long. A Carte de Peche can be purchased from the local villages of Les Mazures or Revin at a cost of 340 Francs, for the 2001 Season. River Meuse -This runs along the valley near Veilles Forges. There are several night fishing zones along its length, fishable on the same Carte de Peche as Vielles Forges. The average size is smaller than the Mosselle, but holds a lot of carp, with fish over 24 kgs present. Fish this River with the same methods as the Mosselle and you will have a very good chance of catching.
Etangs Sarrebourg . This complex of large lakes lies East of Metz towards Sarreguemines. The complex is well known in France for the amount and average size of carp. The lake singled out for night fishing on a Carte de Peche is Etang De Gondrexange. This large water has produced carp over 60 lbs, with an average over 28 lbs. A better lake is Etang De Stock but unfortunately it no longer allows night fishing. It was well known prior to the night fishing ban for its big carp but due to this ban it is receiving very little pressure. I intend to take advantage of this in the summer of 2001, fishing days only and staying in one of the many campsites located on its banks. Other lakes holding good carp in the same area are Etang de Lindre, Petite Etang de Stock and Etang De Mittersheim. A number of smaller waters are fishable on the same Carte de Peche. Most have campsites on their banks, although officially night fishing is not allowed. Personally I would take the risk and night fish in the security of the campsites.
Domaine Du Peigneux (not sure if this carp lake is still open) – a small, private, lily strewn lake of approximately 4 acres. lying in dense forest East of Metz and near the village of Chesny. Peigneux is better known as a catfish water. The owner, Oliver, informs me that catfish over 230 lbs are hiding in the Lilly’s. I witnessed a Wells Catfish of 160 lbs while I was there. On attempting to pull the fish onto the boat, the boat sank due to the weight! Luckily the water was only 5 ft deep and the angler was able to stand up. I went to his rescue with video camera in hand and he held the fish while standing in the water up to his neck. It was eventually boated but only after a long struggle. This event is etched in my memory and on video but it’s a shame the quality of the video is poor because of the incident happening at night. If the quality was better then I am sure I would get my 250 quid from Beadle! The moral of the story is, if you are in trouble while I am about, you can guarantee I will catch it on video prior to rescuing you. Although primarily a catfish water it is well stocked with carp .The average are between 6 and 15 lbs. Oliver stocks these as catfish food. However during my session I caught a few thirty’s including a 35 that had a scar from a catfish bite that covered half of its body. There are a number of carp over the 20 kg mark with grass carp above 25 kg. In 2001 Oliver intends opening a carp lake not too far from Peigneux with the average size of carp over 30 lb. I’ve tried to persuade him to allow me to sample its potential, prior to the official opening, but as yet he is adamant that no one will be allowed to fish until the opening. I’ll keep trying. The price is 750 Franks for 6 nights, but that was carp only – River mosselle carp fishing in france is an experience! More articles on carp fishing in France