Why should you go carp fishing in Belgium? Well, for a start, because there are hundreds or even thousands of lakes with pristine carp fishing. Plus, if you don’t already know, Belgium is one of the most diverse countries in Europe. I found it to be refreshingly liberating.
If you only care for the carp, then you’re in for a treat. Picture quaint towns sitting on the edge of small lakes, with big lazy rivers running in and out. That is what you can expect, and I can tell you that the fish are big and wild in Belgium.
Carp Fishing in Belgium
I will explain what you need to know before you invest in that trip to Belgium. As a side note, did you know that Belgium is just like the Netherlands, only with less Dutch and more French?
Carp Fishing Rules and Regulations in Belgium
Fishing is a favorite pastime in Belgium, so the authorities take particular care of their fish resources. To fish there, you need to have a national license as well as a permit for that particular water body.
Fishing regulations depend mainly on the type of water you want to fish in. While sea fishing from harbors, jetties, and the beach does not need a license, freshwater fishing is another case altogether.
To begin with, there are two types of waters designated. Closed waters are those that have no running water getting in or out, or if they have such inlets or outlets, fish cannot move in or out. These are not regulated by legislation.
Running waters include lakes, and are divided into navigable and unnavigable waters. Navigable waters fall under the domain of the State, and each has different rules.
There are also two types of licenses. The type ‘A’ license allows you to fish from the banks only with up to two rods. The type ‘B’ license lets you fish from the banks, from a boat, or wading but again limits the maximum number of rods to two.
Night fishing for carp is allowed on most waters. However, you will need to have a ‘B’ license.
The fishing license is valid for the year in which it is obtained, up to and including December 31st. It can be renewed at a fee. The license is obtained from Post Offices throughout Belgium, or online from the licensing website.
There are two exceptions to the licensing rule. Children under 14 don’t need a license so long as they’re accompanied by a parent or guardian with one. If not accompanied, they need a mandatory Youth License which is free.
You will also need to note a few other things:
- Environmental authorities can impose temporary or permanent fishing bans on any area. Do not fish anywhere you see a sign with an angler and an ‘X’ on it.
- If you happen to catch any of the 19 fish outlined here, you need to put them back in the water unharmed.
- You may take up to 5 carp fish, so long as they are dead and are bigger. than 15cm. Do not take away protected species.
In general, fishing in Belgium is fun and easy. However, be sure to ask locally for any bylaws. There are numerous variations to the laws on night fishing, catch-and-release, types of bait, among others.
Carp Fishing Seasons in Belgium
Coarse fishing usually takes place between the third Saturday in June and 31 December. However, restrictions usually apply to protected waters and you can usually fish for carp most of the year.
However, the spawning period between 16th April and 31st May is closed for all ecologically valuable waters. This PDF should clear up any issues you may have with carp fishing seasons and regulations.
6 Best Places to Fish for Carp in Belgium
Also known as the home of the legends, Cavagnac lake has been breaking records for a long time. The 52-acre lake averages 15ft/4.5m of depth and is the perfect breeding ground for monster carp and commons.
The carp in lake Cavagnac have an average weight of about 30 pounds. Just think of what the biggest ones weigh! The most recent records indicate 50+ pounders caught just in the past year.
The lake is a favorite with the elite of carp angling. Its stock is carefully controlled to ensure nothing but the best quality carp are found here. If you want to up your personal best, this is definitely the place to go.
There are facilities for accommodation thanks to a large lakeside lodge. Electricity, hot showers, catering, and all other amenities are present. It allows you to concentrate on nothing else except fine fishing.
Land of Lakes, Wallonia
The Land of Lakes is found 31 miles South of Charleroi. It is a wonderland location consisting of 5 artificial lakes spread over 1800Ha/4447 acres and makes up the largest recreational lake district in the country.
Among the five lakes, there is one dedicated to fishing. Lac du Ry Jaune is the small middle arm and is surrounded by the most gorgeous forests and grassland. No other activities are allowed here except quiet, blissful fishing.
The other lakes also have carp in them. Lac de la Plate Taille is the largest of them and hosts almost every activity imaginable. It is the perfect place to bring your family for fun in the water and gorgeous nature.
The Ourthe and Meuse Rivers
The Ourthe is a tributary to the larger River Meuse, and both have a reputation for having the best freshwater fishing in all Belgium.
The Meuse valley is one of the few stretches of the river where it still runs wild and hasn’t had canals dug for transportation. Here, you can carp wild carp in all its glory, either from the banks in the deep valleys or out on boats.
The river has plenty of backwaters and Category 1 streams with beautiful carps for the taking. Due to the population of endangered species in the river system, you must have the relevant permit.
Even along the canalized sections, you can fish from game stands or go out in electric or paddle boats for a serene day under the sun.
The Carp Farm/De Karperhoeve
The Carp Farm is a countryside private establishment one hour away from Antwerp. It offers the finest specialty carping in Belgium and is a great option if you’re looking for some excellent carp fishing without the hassle of wild angling.
There are three ponds on the Farm. The largest of these is 6.5Ha/15acres in size and is exclusively stocked with carp. There are some enormous species in there, with records of up to 57pounds/25.8kg.
If you’re a beginner or just a carp angling enthusiast, there is no better place to test your skills. You get to fish under the guidance of experts (if you need it) in one of the most picturesque countryside locations in Belgium.
Apart from that, there are amenities like washrooms, as well as a quaint tavern to relax in over food and drinks after a long day on the water.
Etang Rue Near Mons
Lake Rue is a public lake bordering the city of Mons, near the French and German borders. In 2003, it hosted the Army Carp competition with such great results that it etched its name on the global map. The biggest fish caught then was over 50 pounds, imagine what you can catch now.
The lake has a gravel pit and an average depth of 6-10ft and reaches a maximum of 25ft/8.5m. It has many bays and islands, making it the perfect spot for carp to hide under.
The Rue is one of the few lakes that are open all year round for carp fishing. You can just visit whenever you get a chance, and so long as you have your license, you can wet your strings at will. The lake has a stock of about 800 stock, with the biggest one said to be over 27kg/60lb.
In 2016, one of the best-known anglers in Belgium named Jelle set out to transform an abandoned nature park into a carp fishing paradise. In 2020, the venue now named Carpinsula is in full operation and lives up to its goal of providing world-class carp fishing while living as little a footprint on nature as possible.
The place has four lakes. The King Pool has a 1-acre water surface, the same as the Dino Pool. Origin Pool has the same size and is the one primarily stocked with carp. So far, its record is at 45lb/20.4kg.
The Belly Pool is also 1 acre in size and is one of the most difficult to fish. All four lakes together make up one of the best commercial fishing spots in Belgium.
Belgium is a favorite carp fishing destination for many anglers, I included. It is easy to get a license there, and there are hundreds of prime fishing spots available to the average Joe. You can just jump onto a plane or train and be landing your biggest catch of the year in hours.
I say, go to Belgium and experience it for yourself. 🙂
Niels Thomas is a wildlife expert and fishing fanatic that works with major fishing brands like Deeper Sonar, Abu Garcia, Berkley, PENN, BassPro and Pure Fishing. Through sharing the best fishing tips, tricks, gear reviews, locations and much more he hopes to inspire fishing fanatics to start their own journey towards becoming the King of the Catch!