Take a guided tour of the most exciting underwater features of the lake and learn how to fish them.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to see a lake drained down in person then I would highly recommend doing so if you get the chance. Many lake owners are grateful of an extra pair of hands during a netting and volunteering to help is a great way of getting a proper look at what lurks below the surface. Every lake is different of course. Some lakes are simple bowls, others more like great canyons! Beausoleil is somewhere in between the two and the closer you look, the more complicated it becomes. Follow me on an underwater tour of the lake and I’ll show what I mean (this is an updated version of the first lake feature blog published 3 years ago).
Let’s start from the bridge and explore the island margins
This is the view from the bridge towards the Big Double swim in the distance. This area has some good depth to it with up to 4ft (1.2m) in places. The closer to the bridge and the island margin you get, the harder the bottom becomes. This area is kept clean by the fish as they love to hang about here and feed along the island margin.
Underneath the large fir tree that over hangs half way along the island margin, the lake bottom is covered with small rocks and gravel. There is no silt or leaf debris here as the constant activity of the fish keeps it swept clean. I would always seek out super hard areas like this when fishing for carp.
Here’s another view of the island point fir. Just below water level there is a very long area of deep shadow which terminates with a large boulder on the left. This is a massive undercut which in places runs over 4ft (1.2m) deep underneath the island itself. It’s also roughly 2ft (0.6m) high so there is plenty of space for multiple carp to hide in here well away from the rigs that we place.
One of the most consistently effective tactics for this area has been to use carefully laid small traps. This spot is a good example of where you can really benefit from a bait boat to safely fish features that are difficult to reach otherwise. Here’s Alexandre with an early season mirror caught from this exact spot with the help of a bait boat.
To give you an idea of just how powerful feeding carp are look at what they’ve done here! These roots have been steadily excavated over a number of years and this hole is a good 6” (15cm) deep. This feature can be found underneath the fir tree shown in the previous photo. Although it might be popular with the carp, dropping a rig here is not without risk with all those exposed roots! I suspect that the carp have found a good source of minerals here and have gone to a great deal of effort to consume them.
Talking of hazards…
Here’s a nasty surprise lurking in open water in front of the home swim. I’m sure this rock has accounted for a few cut offs over the years which is why we recommend 25lb mainline as an minimum for both carp and cats. This rock, sits an area of soft silt. All round the rock the lake bottom has been dug away by the fish. The rock provides a natural feature for them to hang around.
Here’s a good view of a feature we named “Perm’s corner” near the entrance of the island. The most productive area here is between the rock on the right and about 6ft (1.5m) off the grasses to the left. As you can see, this zone is super clean, hard and right in the goldilocks zone of 3ft (1m) deep.
We named it after my good mate Perm’s efforts one March. Perm studies the fish movements very carefully and he’d decided to develop the spot by steadily introducing bait over a number of days. On the final night he fished it and caught 4 x 30’s… now that’s good angling!
This is what the end of the island actually looks like. If you lose control of any fish that takes you behind the island, disaster is imminent! Your only chance is to ease off all pressure on the line and follow the fish round in the boat. Playing a carp from the boat can be a challenging experience. Playing a catfish from the boat is nigh on impossible! Your best option is to make dry land and continue the battle from another swim.
Here’s a good view along another popular fishing margin, snake bank. The keen eyed among you may be able to make out a fine line of gravel which follows the contour of the water line. Snake bank is a very productive margin that the fish patrol along very regularly. Line lay is critical here though and it’s best to fish it from the Big Double swim opposite.
From the Big Double, it’s easy to hide the line up the far margin. Apart from using a bait boat trap, you can also dot baits along the margin and just use the bait boat to slide a rig into position. Accurate rig placement is absolutely essential here and so I always walk round with the controller and drive the boat into the margin I’m standing on. This mid thirty fell for one such trap early season.
Here’s a close look at this gravel line which runs pretty much all the way along snake bank. I’ve shown it here by setting my pruning pole just behind it.
You can see the big difference between where the carp have been aggressively feeding and the area that remains covered in leaf litter. This strip is barely 1ft (30cm) wide!
The interesting discovery here was the consistent depth of this clear gravel strip at 3ft (1m). I found clear evidence of it along both the south and west facing margins (about 150m in total) and the depth remained constant throughout. This may indicate that carp feed more aggressively at this depth.
For me this goes to show why rigs carefully placed along here using the rowing boat and a prodding stick can be so productive. Find the hard strip, drop the rig on the money, a line of bait either side of the rig, job done!
I’m going to finish this tour with a classic open water feature. This rocky bar sits 30 yards off point A and is at least 20m long and 5m wide. Most of the rocks here range in size between 50mm and 150mm. Again this can be a productive area but these rocks will create problems for the unaware or inexperienced angler.
When casting a rig or dropping one from a boat or a bait boat, I would always advise protecting the hook with at least a folded over PVA nugget or some form of stick or bag. If the hook catches one of these rocks on the drop you will be wasting every hour that you sit behind it. It’s also very important to flick the rig off the bottom and wind fast to get the rig out of harm’s way on the retrieve. Dragging a rig through this will absolutely destroy the hook point and even carefully re-sharpening it may not even be an option!
The rocks here are also very sharp and a fast take can easily result in a cut off if you haven’t adequately protected the last metre with some serious big bore rig tubing.
So there we go. It’s fascinating water to fish, with features galore and a sprinkling of hazards to keep you on your toes!