It was the day of the netting, very exciting for us and probably for Oscar too!!!!! It is a must to know what fish are in the lake. How would we be able to plan any stocking without this information. In our opinion it is essential for a healthy lake. We do believe we have found right fish farmer for the job though!

Another gray dark morning, not too cold but it certainly wasn’t t shirt weather. We arrived at the lake at 8.45. Jean Pierre was very busy with a group of guys putting out tables and chairs. An awning now formed a temporary cover over the patio outside the gite. Underneath were two long tables with chairs either side. As I pointed out before it is usual for the owner of the lake to provide lunch for family, friends and for the guys that net the lake. In fact it is a very social event.

The water level is down to a small pool in front of the outlet bank. It is ideal to allow for a very successful netting. Jean Pierre introduced us to everyone!!!! We shook hands with a brief exchange of names. Oscar was very busy introducing himself too by jumping up and putting his muddy footprints on everyone’s trousers!!!!!

It was the first time Tom had netted a lake. We both had a pair of waders but there was no help from me today. My finger was still very sore and the wound wouldn’t benefit from a dip in lake water. So I was taking all the photographs and Tom was helping with the netting.  Jean-Noël  arrived bang on time at 9 and drove his truck down to the outlet, we are very lucky to have vehicle access around the entire lake. Please take into account the net is very heavy so the closer the net can be driven to the nearest bank the better.  A quick introduction to Jean-Noël’s two colleague’s, Remi and the guy we had met previously then it was onto the netting.

The net is put out from the right edge of the pool and stretched across the top and down the opposite edge. Then it is slowly pulled down the pool from the top. Netting is very hard and dirty work. Not only are you up to your eyes in silt, the net then has to be pulled across the bottom. The silt makes it extremely hard work. Obviously the water outlet being at the deepest end the silt is quite deep. Our lake didn’t seem that bad gauging from the level at everyone’s waders. I would estimate no more than half a meter of silt at its deepest. Very good news indeed.

Jean-Noël continually went to the middle of the net to check for snags. If the net became snagged it could cause it to lift off the bottom, which would let the fish swim under the net. It is extended around the edges and gradually drawn down into a small circle at the bottom of the pool. It is then held in place by metal rods that are pushed into the lake bed. The rods have small arms at intervals so the net can be lifted off the water surface and hooked onto the rod. This is to stop any fish jumping over the top of the net. The whole netting process took less than hour.

The small circle of net allows for the most effective sorting of the fish and so it began. We thought there wouldn’t be any surprises and there wasn’t. Roach, a few small pike and then a lot of wildies. Small old carp that would never grow larger than around 5 kg (12 lbs). Jean-Noël, Remi and his crew began sorting the fish. It was obvious straightaway that these guys knew exactly what they were doing!!!! The fish  are put into shallow plastic trays for Jean Pierre to decide exactly what he wanted for himself. family and friends. All the carp were transferred by hand to Jean Pierre’s small lake above Le Coly. Only a five minute walk so no harm to the fish. A few fish for friends to eat. There were now at least twenty family and friends watching from the top of the bank. Coarse fish are  a food here and seen as a very tasty meal. Although carp are seen as a slightly more of an acquired taste. So don’t be surprised by their occasional robust handling of the fish!!!!!!!!!!

Wow a surprise in the net!! This was a grass carp of around 6 kgs (13 lbs), which we put back into the lake. We also included a few small pike, roach and a small old very pretty mirror carp. We agreed with Jean-Noël that is must stay as our mascot!!!!!! I kept out of the way but near so I could still see the fish. I must remember that this was not our lake yet!!!!!  The whole sorting process took forty minutes.

Net and equipment back on Jean-Noël’s truck and all up to the gite for lunch. It takes four strong guys to carry the net up the bank and then more help to lift it onto the truck. Had to wake Oscar from his sunbathing, I prefer to keep him in my sight as I don’t want another coypu burrow incident. The sun had appeared at last and it was a very pleasant spring afternoon. Oscar had been everywhere and was continually lending his support up to his chest in silt and continually barking at the net when it moved. Another of his issues but this one was very annoying!! Poor little man must be knackered after his busy day, that’s not Tom but Oscar.

Tom and I were seated by Jean Pierre with Jean-Noël and his guys at the end of one of the tables. We were thankful that all these guys could speak English. Jean Pierre made us feel so welcome, introducing us again to the people sitting near us. How frustrated and ignorant we both felt at not being able to join in with everyone’s conversation. We chatted to Jean-Noël and his colleagues, subjects from carp fishing to fish farming. Remi was as fanatical about carp fishing as Tom and I. We were very pleased with the netting so we discussed the stocking of Le Coly with Jean-Noël. He invited Tom and I to Freedom lakes to meet Mark Beldom and take a tour around their complex. We always welcome a chance to see another fishery. Not only to help us with our plans and ideas for Le Coly but we believe making good contacts with other seasoned professionals is invaluable.

The food began to arrive, large bowls of home made pâté with huge loaves of bread were passed around the table. This was closely followed by bottles of red wine and cans of soft drink. After that freshly cooked meat and more bread and wine. Oh and some grated carrot!!! How delicious it all was. There must be over twenty people seated at the tables. I love this kind of eating, making new friends and all in beautiful countryside on a warm sunny (yes we have sunshine!!!!) spring afternoon. We were made to feel so welcome. Oscar too, he was sitting on a young lady’s lap at the opposite end of the table being fed. How did he get there, he seems to have a  “beam me up Scotty!!!!” ability. He also has a natural endearing charm. If they only knew that everyone is here for Oscar’s benefit and entertainment, according to Oscar.

And more food, home made fruit tarts followed by cheese and then coffee plus the dangerous stuff I had the day before.  A very good lunch indeed.

We said our good-byes to Jean-Noël and his guys. We arranged to meet at Freedom as soon as we had time. A final walk around the lake and then back to the gite to thank Jean Pierre, his family and friends for their hospitality and excellent food. We arrived home late afternoon where I again fell asleep on the sofa. This is getting to be a bit of a habit!!

What a great day!!!!!!!

The photos below follow the events of the day.

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