How the Beausoleil lakebed and features are changing over the years and how it affects the fishing
It never ceases to amaze me just how good carp are at digging for their food. This winter’s drain down showed us again how determined they are in their never ending pursuit of nutrition.
Here at Beausoleil we perform a partial drain down and netting every two years in order to ensure the optimum balance of species within the lake and carry out some lake maintenance. Each time we do this, it gives us an unprecedented chance to see what the carp have been up to. Carp feed by sorting food from non-food items. They literally dig for food and minerals, filter out the rubbish and eat the food they find. We can see the result of their work when the lake is drained.
After writing a piece for this website in 2014 and then in 2017, it’s the third time I write about what I’ve been able to observe when the lake is drained. And I have to say, once again, it’s a fascinating story.
A walk along the lake bottom
When you take a tuition with me during your holiday, we spend a lot of time exploring the lake in detail so you can understand the environment you’ll be fishing over. To illustrate better how exciting and challenging the lakebed at Beausoleil can be, we’ve done a video to show you the complexity of the lake bottom in the shallows. I cover the area to the left and to the right of the bridge, both sides of the island and the whole area from the Home swim to the aerator bar. I show you where the carp feed, some of the features, and how location affects rig presentation.
So, what’s new in 2021?
It’s been fascinating to see the lakebed evolve over the last 10 years. What is really exciting for us this winter is to see the result of the relentless work we carry out each year to continue to improve water quality and the environment for our carp (read about our lake restoration project). The best example we can show you of how much some areas have changed is to look at the “Point B” rock. Although taken from different angles, you can’t miss the digging and polishing work the carp have done around a large area around this well known feature.
The area between the bridge and Home swim is another one that continues to change dramatically. The whole zone from the bridge to Home swim to Point A is now an area the carp absolutely love to hang out in. There’s a 1m depth throughout and that’s the best depth for carp to thrive in.
However, some things don’t change…
The immense fir tree opposite the Island Point swim is always an attractive feature. What lurks beneath the surface is an incredible cave that the carp have dug over the years and which is a safe haven for them. It’s South facing and it’s an area they spend a lot of time in. Under the fir tree cover, in front of a large boulder, there’s a one meter crater covered in a criss-cross of tree roots. Of course, as this is a major snag, we dutifully cut the roots with a pair of shears.
So, what’s the story here? Well, this is what we do every drain down! Yes, every 2 years, we find roots exposed in that area, cut them off and then 2 years later, a new pattern of roots has been exposed! So, once again, we’ve cut the roots. They love it there! We’ll check it again in 2 years ?
What does this mean when you’re fishing at Beausoleil?
► Hook holds
The lakebed here is made up of a lot of hard areas and the harder the lake bottom, the harder the mouths of the carp become and the harder they are to catch because getting a hook hold is more of a challenge. This is one of the reasons why Beausoleil can be a tricky venue, this is why every capture counts here.
► Get in the waders
As you can see in the video, Beausoleil is littered with boulders of different sizes. Generally speaking if you find a rock, you’ll find a feeding trench around or in front of it. It’s not a hard and fast rule but placing rigs very close to these features is a successful tactic. However, the size of the target zone for such features is generally about the size of a desert plate! If you know where the spot is and stand over it then you can use a bait boat but the best method is to get in the water in waders and have a friend drive the rig over to you in the bait boat. Then, using your feet, you can find the exact centre and literally drop the rig onto your toe. It may seem like a lot of work but a number of our more seasoned regulars use this technique to great effect. It’s something I cover during my tuition.
► Target the areas of sand and gravel
I love the feel of fine, clean, polished gravel jagging through the tip of my leading rod. It does wonders for the confidence and if I can follow it with a nice smack down of the lead then it should only be a matter of time. There are many areas such as this here. Many can be found and clipped up to and then cast to. It’s not all about trying to land a rig on impossibly small spots but basic competency with a marker rod/leading rod and distance sticks is required. My rule of thumb is the finer the gravel the better as it’s more heavily polished by the carp. You’ll also need to be able to routinely hit the clip to be absolutely sure you’ve nailed it.
► Get in the middle of it
The potholes are relatively easy to find with a basic marker rod setup. Often, you’ll find clay there with a prodding stick or through the soles of your waders. Carp love clay and will work hard to expose it, so find clay, catch carp! The large deep craters need to be accurately targeted though because the target zone varies from dinner plate to dustbin lid in size. There’s absolutely no point in dropping a rig on the top of the back of the rim with the tubing going right across the middle of the bowl. The carp will spook off the tubing all day and all night long leaving you red eyed and frustrated.
► The only constant is change
I saw quite a few well known spots that had been abandoned entirely by the carp. Areas that were once well maintained have now returned back to a state of chod and muck. For some of our regular visitors it may well be tempting to plug away for three or more days on some magic spots that they last fished two years ago but every drain down we see the terrain change and develop.