Bambois Lake could be summed up in one word, « exceptional », that’s why Rodtrip went out and checked it out for you.
To begin, the background story…
In 974, the bishop of Liège gets the responsibility of the Bambois Lake. He introduces the right to fish in it, and puts up rules for the farmers. All use of the Lake must be paid for, or at least be compensated by a good, should it be money or food. He also decided that a part of these revenues would go to the city of Fosses-La-Ville.
It’s only in 1945, after the second World War, that the Lake becomes a touristical attraction. Hundreds of tourists come to enjoy the sun at the sand beaches of the Lake, and numerous campings pop up. Unfortunately it quickly loses its attraction, and the Lake becomes abandoned, so there’s no one left to maintain it, and it becomes a sewer.
In 1985, IDEF (Institute of youth and family) decides to take over, and to give the Lake a new destination. They classify the Lake into the « Zone Natura 2000 » project, and acces to its shores is under strict rules.
Many activities are therefore organised and in 1996 the lake opens for flyfishermen. They introduce lots of trouts, but it becomes obvious the trout can’t survive the summer temperatures of the water which reaches 26°C.
The solution is obvious, it becomes the first Belgian reservoir for fly and lure fishermen for pike.
It’s rather rare for us to overrate the qualities of a fishing spot, but this lake is really unique and exceptional. It’s not too big, not too deep, and possesses lots of waterlelies and other plants in which every year a massive pike reproduction occurs.
In its merely 33 hectacres, and and average depth of 1.80 meter, the pike finds an ideal habitat. And for us fishermen, an extraordinary playground.
A draconic management in constant evolution with its environment, and the quantity of fish in the lake, provide an incredible pike population, and to be honest Bambois Lake has nothing to envy the most beautiful lakes of Ireland or Lapland.
The team at Bambois
Our Rodtrip team travelled to the Lake equipped with flyrods, cameras and recorders, for a journey which wasn’t really exceptionnal in terms of landed fishes, because 18 fish for 5 fishermen isn’t really good for Bambois, but it leaves us with good and productive perspectives for the coming opening of the fishing season.
We arrived at 8h at the Lake, and got a warm welcome from the owners. After a short coffee break, we’re out to measure ourselves against the carnivorous fishes of this magnificent lake. You fish from boats, which can be rented, with an electric motor. Which is very helpful given the size of this watershed.
The weather conditions are relatively good : 5°C and cloudy, mostly dry … we start with confidence ! It doesn’t take long before we get our first take and land our first fish of the day. After that it gets quite calm, and we try to switch animations, change depths but nothing.
As lunch time approaches, one of us hits a fish and the second pike of the day is landed. This fish took a fly next to the bottom on a slow retrieve with a medium sized fly… let’s get on with it ! This animation pays off because we continue to have takes all day long, beautiful and perfect fishes.
You have to be mobile to find active fish, but in active spots it is possible to hit several fishes. We end the day with a total of 18 pike with an average length of 60 cm. The biggest pike measures 81 cm… which is extraordinary for our small Wallonie community.
We end the day with a good beer. This lake, with its fishery management and pike-fishing is truly exciting ! Several fishes of over 1 meter are caught each season, by lure as well as by flyfishermen.
Let this Rodtrip with its pictures and videos be your guide !
For more informations, visit the website of the lake of Bambois.
Written by Cédric & Romain
Photography : Mathias Briquemont