So after sourcing baby carp from various sources, I finally had what I desired; lots of scaley carp! Now all I needed to do was rear them and multiply their weight 50-100 times! Easy right...?
The method though, was fraught with danger and difficulties. Predation was a concern. The fish were plenty small enough for cormorants to take, along with mink. Maybe not as much of a concern if I had thousands, but that wasn't the case. I had picked around 200 fish to start with and I needed at least half to make it into the lake.
My other problem was growth rates. Scaley carp by nature are slow growers - typically this is due to much of their energy going into the one thing that makes them scaleys - their scales! They were fed a good quality carp pellet from the off and I kept it going in for most of the year, only holding back when it got really cold in January and February. Within a couple of years the fish had got big enough to fend for themselves and were stocked into the lake. There were a few that were still 1-2lbs but most were above the 3lb mark.
During this time I had also found a lake that rather took my fancy, after spending literally years looking at waters for sale on websites. Only once I had finally sold my flat could I seriously start looking for one to buy. Having looked at so many, I'd convinced myself that I could only afford a lake of a couple of acres, so when I found one that ticked most of the boxes at over five acres I was buzzing! Interest registered and flights booked, I was soon walking its banks and envisaging what I would do if (or once) it was mine!
It was just what I wanted. A blank canvas. A little sparse around the banks - but that was fine, I could soon plant and grow a bit more undergrowth. Good depth (12 feet plus at the dam) and a year round water supply from a little stream. In addition it already had the correct paperwork in place and was completely empty of stock. No need to sort through lots of fish I didn't want, just add my carefully selected hand reared baby scaleys. Perfect!
Next time I will talk a little more about the lake itself and my plans for its future...