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Independent Venue Review: Etang de la Livardičre

Thimon Dokter reviews Etang de la Livardičre, near Le Mans in France...

Thinking of heading across the Channel for an overseas angling adventure? With so many venues - and countries - to pick from, how do you know which is the right one for you and your mates? Each month we'll be reviewing a wide cross-section of lakes from right across Europe, giving you all the facts and figures to help with your decision. This time it's Etang de la Livardiere...

Venue factfile

- The lake is 44 acres and has 7 swims
- A 4.5-hour drive from Calais or a 2.5-hour drive from Saint-Malo
- The record carp of the lake is 64lb
- The swims are accessible by car, and the car can stay at your swim
- It is allowed to bring your dog
- It is allowed to use a rowing boat, but you need a safety jacket
- Supermarket, gas station, hardware store etc. is a 10 minutes drive in the village of La Suze-Sur Sarthe

Swims

With the directions from The Carp Specialist, it was very easy to find the way to the lake. From the moment I arrived, my vacation started.

Almost every week there are anglers on Etang de la Livardiere, so they carp are familiar with our tactics. This is also why I don't recommend this lake for a beginning angler. There are 7 swims at Livardičre, and it can fit up to 12 anglers, and most swims are booked continuously during the season. The lake is closed from November 1 till April 1 for the hunting season on the domain. Also, this has a positive effect on the carp so they can rehabilitate.

With a depth chart like this, you can get a lot of interesting information. On this depth map of Etang de la Livardiere, you see orange, yellow and red parts. These are the shallower parts between 3 and 5 feet. The deeper parts are blue and the deepest known, dark blue. These depths are between 5 and 9 feet. Personally, I find it very helpful to use a bait boat. For the most part, I use him to drop my rigs.

Preparations

After a few years of fishing in France, I can say that I prefer commercial lakes over public lakes. This is because of safety, and the facilities. Because of my busy job I like to spend my days off as careless as possible! :-)

Since I'm fishing in France, I have fished all types of lakes, lakes where it was hard to catch any carp and lakes where it was super easy called.

After fishing al those years in France, I did up some experience, some experience that I could use on Etang de la Livardiere.

Before I start my trip I ask myself the following questions:
- Is it hard to catch carp at this lake?
- How where the catch reports this month last year?
- How was the weather lately?
- What bait is used mostly at the lake?
- What size is the lake?
- Are there any obstacles or snags along the bank or underwater?
- Are there weedy areas?
- Are there any other fish species?
- What are the depths and bottom structure?

Hospitality and service

The generosity of Bernard is very well arranged. Upon arrival, he welcomes every angler and gives a tour of all facilities. Also, he speaks good English. If you like you could rent a boat on site if you don't want to bring one. The rest of the services are quite simple. There is no tackle shop an also no bait available at this location. The local supermarket sells some corn, but that is the only bait you can buy. But I always say, don't underestimate sweet corn ;-)

The facilities

At Etang de la Livardiere, the facilities are top-notch. There is a spacious building at the lodge that is fully equipped. There are two shower cabins, two toilets and washbasins available. In addition, you have access to multiple freezers and refrigerators. For those who want to recharge batteries, telephones etc. there are more than enough outlets available (PS: don't forget your UK plug converters). There is also a sink where hot water comes from the tap. Very handy for doing the dishes. In short: the bathroom is in good order!

The swims

The bottom of Etang de la Livardiere is mostly a mix of sand, clay and hard places of gravel. In summer there are some weedy areas but not too many. There are many places where trees along the water stand with overhanging branches. Especially on site 3 and 4 around the islands. The swims are spacious enough and offer all possibilities. However, the ground can be hard, so bring a hammer for your poles.

My tactics on Etang de la Livardičre

When I arrived at the lake, I was blown away by everything around me.

The beautiful lake and its environment make it a beautiful scenery.

When I arrived, I prepared some coffee and started thinking about my tactics. The owner tells me that the carp are on their guard and they know that there are anglers around. I was thinking, and I came to the conclusion that I need to use pin-point rigs, so the fish will be hooked immediately.

I decided to fish slack lines up here. The swim lends itself well for this, and I do not have to fish at extreme distances. In addition to this approach regarding material, I prefer fishing with small bait. By this I mean bait with a size between 8 and 15 mm. This mainly concerns small boilies, tigernuts and pellets in different shapes and sizes. For example, I used half boilies, black tigernuts, pellet and wafters.

I already had a good look of the bottom with the fishfinder on my bait boat. I always take my time for this because I would like to be 100% sure. After all, this can make the difference between catching or blanking. I found a few interesting places where I will position my rigs. These spots are harder places with some gravel and stones. The ideal locations for the carp to come feed. I decide to put the 4th rod on a softer spot piece with a nutrition rich soil. Betting on one horse is not something that fits my approach. As I said, I fish with slack lines at Etang de la Livardiere. This so I don't disturb the feeding carp. Also, you can reduce the so-called line pressure considerably. Of course, there is a line in the water, but the more natural this line behaves, the less it will disturb the fish.

A great start!

On Saturday evening, the day of arrival, I started building my bivvy. When I was busy with the bars, my first bite alarm started screaming. I immediately notice that this was a big carp, because of its slow movements. After a long drill of 30 minutes, a large mirror carp showed himself on top of the surface. The scale showed me 39lb, a fantastic start! Just when I was returning the mirror back in is habitat, and I could realise that this was a good start of our week, a second take was there! When I picked up the rod, I realised this was even a stronger carp...The fish went for open water and threw its weight in the battle to take some meters. Finally, after a drill of 1 hour and 10 minutes, I could slide my net underneath a 50lb+ mirror! This big girl got caught on an 8mm wafter pellet... the power of small baits and short rigs.

After catching this beautiful fish, I decided to close my eyes. The journey, the environment and fishing up here are making this lake very special for me. I was tired and forced me to take some rest. During that night I only caught one other fish. A long grass carp.

Waking up in this environment is even better than I expected... whistling birds, the wind blowing through the trees and kingfishers flying back and forth over the water, fantastic! I was told that during the day you could not experience a lot of action. When I took the first sip of my coffee, a carp showed me the opposite... after a nice drill, I could slide the net under a nice common carp of mid-20lb.

Jump in time

Unfortunately, the two following nights ended in a blank. In the time without a bite, I have regularly observed, checked my rigs dropped them so secure as possible. I decided to continue fishing with the same technique that worked in the first time. It was an excellent choice to be patient because that night I caught 3 carp. Those 3 carp where amazing, I had almost no time between one another. Again, 3 mirror carp and beautiful sizes. 33.7, 34, 41lb. These three mirrors make my night more than complete. What a great session! Because the fish were caught just before sunrise, I waited a short time to make some stunning pictures.

The next day I decided to give my swim some rest. In this way, I create as little suspicion as possible so the fish won't feel that much pressure on this side of the lake. Meanwhile, I treated myself to an afternoon of culture sniffing around Le Mans, the big city located near Etang de la Livardiere. I also do my shopping, so I have all my supplies and can return to my swim.

Before I dropped my rigs, I first observed the lake for information. I saw a fish jumping, so I placed one of my rigs on this spot. The second rod goes to the spot where I already had a few bites and the third one, in a new place.

The fact that my first choice was the right one turns out to be the number one in the evening, after a really tuff drill I caught a fantastic mirror carp of 39lb.

That morning there was another fantastic carp. It was a stunning common carp of 42lb. During the day there was not a lot of actions, the only fish we caught where breams. A good reason could be the fact I was using tiny baits and pellets. I didn't bring any bigger baits, but I would highly recommend bringing those when the bream are showing up.

The same evening I caught my last carp. This was a fantastic holiday for me, dIt is enough, my carp fishing holiday was succeeded. I can look back on a beautiful holiday in a stunning environment and beautiful catches,

Score

If I have to rate Etang de la Livardiere in numbers, the lake and its surroundings score a 9 out of 10!
- Service 9
- Catches/stock 10
- Sanitaire 9
- Swims 8

Conclusion

What do you think? And are you coming back?
Personally, I think Etang de la Livardiere is a fantastic, beautiful lake with lovely fish stock. Especially the level of difficulty of the water is what appeals to me. I like to work for a fish, so the reward is even bigger!

I highly recommended Etang de la Livardiere for anglers who prefer beautiful surroundings and a real challenge. The chance is big to break your PB up here. Big carp enough! Personally, I have had a great time, and I have even booked for another holiday up here.
I will definitely come back!

I hope I have given an excellent introduction to the lake with this article. For more information have a look at the page of Etang de la Livardiere

Thimon Dokter