Week Commencing: Sat 24/06/2017
I write to advise you of the recent fish losses and closure of the Road Lake for a four week period in May and June 2017.
My policy has always been to be completely transparent regarding lost fish. Some may recall I immediately put a story up when the main lakes biggest resident at 92lbs known as the The Giant passed away in December 2012. I didn't want a single person to book a holiday to catch a carp when it was no longer there. Too many French waters sweep it under the carpet and effectively cheat their customers out of money, something my values could never let me do.
The fish started to pop up on 29th April and over a 3 week period we lost a total of 23 fish, with one more turning much later on 20th June. They are listed below with estimated weights when alive so there is no grey area or possibility for rumour to exaggerate the numbers or sizes.
29 April - Fish 1, High Double Mirror
01 May - Fish 2, Twenty Common (Fish known as 20#50)
02 May - Fish 3, Low Twenty Mirror
02 May - Fish 4, Mid Twenty Mirror
03 May - Fish 5, Mid Twenty Mirror
03 May - Fish 6, Mid Forty Common (Fish known as The Butcher)
04 May - Fish 7, High Twenty Mirror
06 May - Fish 8, Mid Double Mirror
10 May - Fish 9, Low Double Mirror
10 May - Fish 10, High Double Mirror
10 May - Fish 11, High Double Mirror
10 May - Fish 12, Low Twenty Mirror
10 May - Fish 13, Mid Twenty Mirror
10 May - Fish 14, High Double Common
11 May - Fish 15, High Twenty Mirror
11 May - Fish 16, Low Thirty Mirror
11 May - Fish 17, Twenty Pound Mirror (Fish known as 20#54)
13 May - Fish 18, Mid Twenty Mirror
13 May - Fish 19, Mid Thirty Mirror
13 May - Fish 20, Low Double Common
14 May - Fish 21, Twenty Pound Common
14 May - Fish 22, Mid Double Common
14 May - Fish 23, Low Double Common
20 June - Fish 24, High Double Mirror
The reason for the losses is unknown as none of the fish were fresh enough to take gill samples from. Fortunately, by the time we knew the correct procedure for gill sampling the losses stopped happening but that did mean we can now only speculate the reason. We suspect that SVC (spring viremia of carp) was to blame. We purchased 23 new 30lbers from our normal supplier this winter and we suspect the fish carried the virus, if that's what it is.
We have only ever used two suppliers, both came highly recommended by our friends in France. This particular supplier based in central France delivered approximately one hundred and ten fish from 30-46lbs in February 2014 with zero losses. We are assured the latest fish came from exactly the same lake as the previous batch. This makes it even more frustrating for me as I have paid so much attention to bio security on both lakes over the last nine years. We have always supplied matts, nets, slings and sacks and do not even move the boats between lakes without fully drying them out in the sun first. We know of no one who pays more attention yet we have still lost fish.
SVC is most prevalent when the water is between 10 and 14 degrees, once the water hits 17 just prior to spawning the fishes immune system kicks in fully and they beat the virus naturally and then become immune forever. This does then mean they carry the virus so we must now always stock the lake in summer rather than the traditional winter, so the fish that go in build an immunity when their immune system is fully active, thus preventing any losses the following spring.
We have 500+ home grown fish in the Main Lake stock ponds some of which will be stocked into our Road Lake stock pond over the next year or so. They will spend the winter in stock pond and be caught and moved over the following summer.
The lake continued to fish its head off right up until we closed it on Saturday 20th May. We did so after much deliberation. Simon Scott advised us that each capture causes stress which in turn affects the fishes ability to fight a virus or infection so in essence a capture could lead to the eventual death of the fish. By closing we could still feed the fish to promote good health without the stress of capture. We feel it's a small price to pay to prevent any fishes death.
The anglers booked on have mostly either transferred to the main lake or rebooked for later in the year and all have been very understanding, and I thank them for being so!
If you are concerned about booking in future then I urge you to read out catch reports from June onwards, that will show how little affect it will have on the lake. 23 fish were stocked and we lost 24, which is total coincidence as none of the new fish have died, also suggesting they were the carriers. In a lake with 7-800 carp that's only 3% mortality which is very low and testimony to the near perfect water conditions we enjoy on the Gigantica complex. Had we been massively overstocked and very shallow I think the numbers would have been much higher.
The fish are loving the free bait at the moment and are showing like mad all over the lake so the first anglers back on are set for a bumper hit!! There are spaces on these weeks from 24th June and if you have time I urge you to go as this is like starting the season all over again, well after the fish have spawned, so it will be clubbing season!!
So that's all from me for now. I hope you appreciate our honesty in this matter and continue to enjoy the amazing fishing on the Road Lake. I am bailiffing both lakes from 5-19 August so if you are there then I look forward to doing your photos!!