Improvements in water quality result in a successful spawning for our carp as well as the need to control the population of the small ones.
As a result of the massive program of work that we undertook last winter, water quality has improved to such an extent that our carp were able to successfully breed for the first time in a number of years.
This is very positive news for the fishery but it does create an imbalance in the stock levels. Managing stock levels is fundamental to good fishery management. Baby carp have ferocious appetites and left to their own devices would soon overrun the lake. Our program of work has meant that we’ve done full drain downs and netting for two years on the run now. Moving forward, we will be netting every two years. If we were to leave the new babies in with the existing stock the growth rates of the larger carp would begin to suffer so we looked for a solution that would enable us to catch these small carp without the need for doing a full drain down and netting.
Using fyke nets to catch baby carp
Fyke nets are traditionally used for catching small fish and eels. It’s an ancient method but perfect for our needs. Since you don’t need to drop the water level to use them, we were able to install them in September while we still had visiting anglers. Location of the net is key and luckily we had the perfect spot, parallel to the bridge, which did not get in the way of the fishing. We used a D-hooped double ended Fyke trap supplied by Collins Nets.
Both ends of the trap were baited liberally with air dried boilies. The middle mesh directs small carp swimming across the net either left or right where they pick up the scent of the bait. The trap works by allowing the carp to enter but they find it impossible to find the way out. It works best in just a few feet of water and the depth by the bridge was perfect for this. It’s also a natural patrol route for the fish as they round the end of the island.
The trap was checked every two days any fish caught were sorted. Fyke nets are very selective. Over a period of a month we only caught small carp, perch and catfish. The occasional roach found its way in but they generally stayed away. The small carp were moved to a much larger fish holding cage. The perch were returned unharmed as they are good for the balance of the ecosystem. The baby catfish were removed as they breed very successfully and grow very quickly!
Unfortunately carp of this size have little value in France and as we don’t have a dedicated stock pond we chose to donate the carp to the local fishing club. The operation itself lasted six weeks although the majority of the carp caught were over a three week period. These type of nets are not designed to remove every single small carp and I’m sure there will be the odd accidental capture next year. The remainder will probably be removed when we net the lake fully again. It was wonderful to see such stunning creatures in miniature and we hope that they are happy in their new homes.
Thanks to David Midgely of Etang Marolles for his advice and guidance on the use of fyke nets.