Here in this region of France we can fish in all sorts of waters. Wouter Koziolek is an experienced fisherman and tells us how to “get a bite”.
When it comes to fishing, we have a wide variety of options from the vast Lot, Dordogne and Garonne rivers and their tributaries such as Le Dropt, La Dourdene, as well as the small canals such as Canal Lateral or Biase and, of course, the reservoirs. The seasons are longer than in other parts of Europe, such as the UK or the Netherlands for instance. This means that the fish are not only active for a longer period of time but they also multiply faster and grow larger than the average size.
If you ask me, we have access to the very best freshwater fish. The main species you can expect to find are catfish, pike, zander, blackbass and whitefish. For example, you can catch huge catfish in the Garonne, and swimming carps of up to 60 lb in the Lot. Predatory fish are prevalent in the Dordogne and fat walleye are no exception.
These fish don’t swim everywhere and you have to search for them but that’s exactly what makes fishing fun! It’s all about the experience, nature and surroundings. In addition, if you have the chance to fish by boat you will really experience being at one with nature!
Google search in your area and you will automatically encounter waters where you can find a nice stock of fish. For the best chance to catch them you have to adapt your selection, your equipment and your bait to the surroundings. After all, our aim is to catch fish, n’est pas?
These fish are usually found in the vicinity of the deeper parts of the water or on the stretches. When fishing for catfish I use a fairly heavy rod of 4/5 lb with a strong mill and braided 50 lb line. A heavy carp rod can also be used and I include more about that later on. You can also use lures, like a big plastic shad to imitate a fish. Live bait is also allowed in France but must not be used at night. Catfish really are big omnivores and they can grow up to 240 cm long and 100 kg. To increase your chances of a bite, move about a lot rather than stay fishing in one place.
Carps like corn, tigernuts and boilies. If you want to chase carp you can fish immediatly, or you can create a front spot with a few days of pre-baiting. Interesting spots are large expanses of water with shallow plates and varied soil types. If you rented a house on the river or are near beautiful water, then it’s nice to give it a go.
The best type of bait is corn, tiger nuts or boilies. Boilies are cooked dough balls and carp cannot resist them. Carp are also called freshwater buffalo and, just like other fish in the river, they are very strong. A rod with a strength of 3 lb is sufficient, combined with a solid mill. I use a nylon line of 40/00 for this and a reasonably heavy lead of 140-250 gr. The rig assembly consists of a piece of coated material with a size 4 hook, a hair rig and a threaded boilie. Sturdy rod supports are also important as you will be amazed by the power of these fish. With this carp equipment you can also expect to reel in catfish as a side catch.
We are lucky in that we also have a lot of small lakes and basins throughout the area. Some of them are public, others are private, and some belong to campsites. The water is often clear and can be home to each of these types of fish. The lakes are usually average in depth and, depending on the season, present easy fishing. In the spring the lakes are at their highest water levels so it can pay to search for the shallower parts because they heat up faster and is where you are more likely to find the fish.
Fishing in our area of France is a privilege. We have very different waters, most of which are accessible except for a number of riverbank stretches, and each have a good stock of fish. Why not cast a fishing rod and give it a try! If you have questions I am happy to help!
First published in the January/February 2019 issue of The Local Buzz
Images: Shutterstock and Wouter Koziolek at Lot Experience.