National Park De Alde Feanen is located between Leeuwarden, Drachten and Heerenveen in the province of Friesland. This wetland region, with bogs, ditches, canals, ponds and lakes was created as a result of peat excavation. In addition to the beautiful nature, this bog region is an excellent place to catch predatory fish, carp and coarse fish.
The national park covers 4,000 hectares, around 425 of which are bodies of water with characteristic Frisian -- names like It Wiid, Skromelân and Folkertsloot. The region’s flora (swamp forests) and fauna (like otters) are unique, but also the reason why some of the water is not open to the public. But the rest of the fishing waters are more than large enough, and ideal for fishing from a boat, kayak or bellyboat. Boat rental companies are located in Ernewoude, and there is a public boat ramp at Feantersdyk. There are also plenty of places to fish from the banks, whether on public land or from campgrounds and holiday homes.
Coarse fishThe Frisian waters are famous for their large stocks of coarse fish, and this hotspot is no exception. You can expect to catch a lot of bream measuring between 1 and 1.5 kg, but don’t be surprised to hook some common roach, rudd and tench as well. The broader canals, like the Lange Sleatten (parking: Smidspaed or Hooiweg, Eernewoude) and Headamsleat (parking: Geau or Headammen, Oudega), are good places to fish with a feeder rod. We recommend using lighter plastic feed baskets here, due to the soft beds of the canals. And tip some of the feed from the basket before it reaches the bottom. We also recommend using a slow-sinking hook bait, like casters and floating worms, perhaps in combination with artificial lures, because they won’t be as likely to sink into the sediment. In autumn and winter, the roach move to the more protected water of Eernewoude. A short pole is more effective when fishing from the banks here.
Predatory fishThe main predatory fish here is pike, but you can also catch the occasional perch or pikeperch. One good tactic is to alternate between casting to the shallows (max. 1.5 meters deep) and trolling along the canals, which can be up to twice as deep. We recommend plugs or shads for trolling, while jerkbaits, spinners, spinnerbaits, streamers or light, unweighted shads are a good option for casting. Another good technique is to use a large streamer on a fly rod or a light reel. In June, you can catch the occasional pikeperch with a twitchbait in the shallows, as long as there is some deeper water nearby. They don’t like to congregate together, so expect to cover some distance in search of a strike. Strong winds can turn the normally clear water in the bog cloudy, so brightly coloured lures or streamers covered in glitter do much better here than natural colour patterns.
Carp anglers willing to invest some time in finding a good spot and scattering feed can often be richly rewarded. In springtime, catching one carp per night is rewarding enough, especially because the average weight is around 30 pounds! The largest individuals prefer a solid bottom, so look for a mussel bed that’s around 1.5 meters deep. And look for banks covered in aquatic plants, because they’re worth the effort. You can expect to catch more fish in summer, but then the average carp is ‘only’ around 25 pounds. During this season, you’re most likely to hook a carp in water that is no more than 70 cm deep. Tip: carp almost always prefer to swim and feed near the water’s edge, so there’s no point in casting farther away or in the middle of a channel. Many carp have never been caught before, and are therefore not afraid to strike nearby bait.So keep your rigs and underlines simple, but effective. Around 90% of all large carp here are mirror carp.
Discover the region The interactive map of National Park De Alde Feanen (see www.np-aldefeanen.nl) presents a complete overview of the facilities and noteworthy sights. It also features the contact details and addresses of local boat rental companies.