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Matt takes a wander round the carp lake and finds out what’s really going on down there at this time of year!

May is a great time of year to take a closer look at the myriad forms of life that a carp lake supports. Last Saturday, once I’d finished with all my jobs, I took the opportunity to go for a wander round the lake margins to see what I could find. In just 30 minutes, I found an amazing array of creatures and I’ll tell you more about them here and more importantly what it can mean for the carp fishing at this time of year.

You can also check out the Freshwater Habitats Trust which has lots of valuable information on what species you can find in a freshwater habitat.



Right now, billions of daphnia of approximately 1 – 2mm in size can be seen clouding the water. All fish love daphnia from the smallest of roach to the largest of carp. Some believe that daphnia actually form the basis of most of the carp’s diet which may go a long way to explaining why, come May, it can make the carp fishing a little tricky at times. Daphnia populations are in a constant state of flux which is why carp fishing catch reports can rise and fall so dramatically from one week to the next at this time of year. It’s easy to tell when carp are feeding on daphnia as they’ll be very active near the surface and crash regularly. On the right water, zigs can be devastating but due to the presence of catfish, all zigs are banned at Beausoleil. It may be worth trying a very small popup of 6 to 12″ straight of the lead though.

daphnia in carp lake


Also present are millions of roach fry from 8 to 15mm in length. We stocked a very healthy adult population of roach into the lake this winter and it was good to see them doing what they do best and multiply! Roach normally breed a number of weeks earlier than carp and I was privileged to watch this discrete event in the margins a number of weeks ago.


We’ll be harvesting the roach in a couple of years using a 14mm net which will leave a healthy population behind to continue their cycle of life. We have seen carp vomit excess fry on the mat so they will certainly form part of their diet. Catfish also eat roach of course but as they get larger they also get lazier! There’s nothing a big catfish likes more than a big pile of pellets and boilies! The fry will also be on the menu for our small population of zander and if you see a small superfast predatory strike it will almost definitely be zander as we no longer have a population of perch.

Dragon Fly Larvae

The find of the day though had to be this dragon fly larvae that was hiding underneath some marginal roots. I’m sure no self respecting carp would hestiate at slurping one of these down!

Dragon Fly Larvae


All lakes contain a supply of natural carp food and Beausoleil is well blessed with a bountiful supply. We carefully manage stock levels of all species every two years to ensure that there is enough food for everyone and that the ecology is balanced. The results are beautifully conditioned carp and catfish that continue to grow and develop within an environment that is as beautiful as it is healthy. The fishing can change from hard to easy on a weekly basis and will always be exciting whether you’re grafting hard for just one pickup or hauling! If the conditions are tough and you find yourself with some time on your hands then my suggestion would be to get down low to the water’s edge and stare in wonder at the raging battle for survival that is waged every minute of every day.

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