Originally excavated 35 years ago, Lac des Demoiselles was initially used as a private trout fishery. After 15 years the then new owners decided to switch Demoiselles to a carp fishery. A re-stocking program was undertaken and the fishery flourished. However, due to a change in French regulations that required major alterations to the regions lakes, the owners put the lake, surrounding land, main house and gite up for sale.
We decided instantly that this was the place for us and we moved permanently to France in June 2013.
Alterations to the lake
Before we could re-open the lake as a fishery it had to be brought up to current French regulations and plans were drawn up and submitted to the relevant authorities.
The long wait began....During this time the surrounding groundworks were completed and the creation of new swims took place. After a two and a half year wait (with much discussion with the authorities) we finally received official permission to commence the work on the lake.
In May 2016, in what was to prove to be an immense undertaking for one man with occasional help from a small group of amazing friends, the work began in earnest. With the use of a 14 ton digger, Mark created two stock holding ponds near to the shallow end of the lake and a deviation channel around one side. This included the installation of sections of large pipe placed underground. Existing grills were improved and a new one installed.
The lake was drained down completely during the autumn of 2016 and the current Demoiselles stock divided into fish that would be kept and those (mainly silver fish and bass plus one catfish) that would not be returned to the lake. During the winter Mark used an 8 ton digger and dumper to remove over 10,000 tonnes of silt. This was followed by the remodelling of the lake bed whilst retaining the hard clay bottom. The removal of such a large amount of silt has meant that the overall depth of the lake at the dam end has now been increased by 1.2mtrs to 4mtrs deep. Mark then designed and installed a moine system and the dam wall was faced with stone to a depth of 1 metre to prevent erosion.
The lake was left to refill and settle giving time for the natural equilibrium to be restored. The Demoiselles stock fish were returned in the early spring of 2017.
The autumn of 2017 saw Jean-Noel Retailleau of Pisciculture de la Gartempe introduce an additional seventeen fine carp to the water in readiness for the debut season of 2018. His expertise will be further called upon in the future to assist and advise on stocking levels and management.