The Lake

The Location and History.

The lake’s true name is Etang de la Poiteviniere but it has passed into carp lore as the Chateau Lake, and anyone who visits it will soon see why! It is a private lake that has been in the same family for hundreds of years. It is situated in the forest of Ancenis and is one of three large lakes in the area. It was created by building a dam at the western end of the lake some 250 years ago and the lake was once used as a source of iron ore which was them extracted, washed the formed into canon balls for Napoleon’s ambitions. In its lifetime the lake has never been completely emptied and the carp that live in it are largely native to the lake having been stocked many years ago, not for angling purposes but simply for the sake of it!

 The Physiology of the Lake.

Chateau Lake lies roughly east to west in the valley of the river. It is approximately 160-acres in size being about a mile and a half long and perhaps 700 yards wide at its widest part. It has two extensive areas of shallows, one at the extreme eastern end of the lake in the bird reserve, and the other to the north of the lake’s only island, which lies roughly a third of the way up the lake from the dam wall. The depths on the shallows vary between 2-4 feet before the lakebed falls away to a more or less featureless bottom some 10-12 feet deep, going down to about 15 feet right at the outfall. The lakebed is mostly hard bottomed with a slight covering of silt. However, in the reserve at the eastern end the lakebed is predominantly silt.

The course of the old riverbed meanders its way down the lake, crisscrossing it in many places to create an obvious feature. The course is hardly discernible with   a marker float and even with an echo sounder it is not easy to find. The silt is slightly deeper and the screen shows this up, but if you were to rely on just a marker float you’d be searching until it was time to come home!

All of the fishing is done from sturdy, well-constructed pontoons that jut out into the lake. There is ample room to bivvy up in the woods adjacent to the pontoons and the lake is generally cool and shaded by a towering forest on both banks.

The fish.

 The lake was stocked over fourthy years ago and has been left to get on with the process of restocking itself ever since. The carp spawn successfully every year and little is done to interfere with nature’s course. However, a further stock of fish was added in 1990 and again in 1995. It lasted until 2011 when the lake has properly been drained. All the bream was taken off and there has been a restock with 20+ and 30+ pound carp. And now the estimated stock levels are put at around a 1500 sizeable carp.  The Lake is probably one of the most prolific thirties water in France and I estimate that at least 30% of the fish in the lake are well over thirty pounds. This is backed up by a huge population of twenties, which comprise I would say another 60% of the population of the lake A further 5% is made up of a few doubles and singles while the remaining 5% is the really interesting part!

The last 5% of the carp stock is what I would call the cream on the cake (as if all those thirties weren’t enough for you!). The lake records for both common and mirror carp stand at 55 lb and 58 lb respectively. In addition there are probably another dozen fish that are pushing fifty and may at times go fifty plus. The rest of the fish are all nice forties. How many forty plus fish are there in the Lake? For sure I cannot tell you with any accuracy.

It could be said that Chateau Lake is not purely a big fish water. However, there are enough of what I would class as really big fish to keep the spark alive. As far as I am concerned it is more of an action water and if you catch it lucky you would expect at least twenty fish in a week. Many first timers catch their personal bests and I know anglers from the UK and France who consider it to be the best all round carp lake they have ever fished. True, it doesn’t hold sixties and seventies but what it does hold is a great head of magnificent carp in a setting that is without doubt the most beautiful of any lake I have ever fished, no exceptions.

Winter Fishing at Chateau Lake

It is without doubt one of the best winter lakes anywhere and as an example look no further than the following: I have just returned from a short six day session in the Boathouse. The trip took place at the beginning of December, which coincided with bitter east winds and night temperatures down to –4 degrees. Day temperatures hardly rose above zero and if anything is less conducive to good carp fishing it is these kinds of weather conditions. Imagine my surprise therefore, when I landed no less than 26 twenties and eight thirties to 37lb!

From a Guide to Chaetau lake : Ken Townley