Fishing, like many online casino games, requires patience and can be highly rewarding – thanks to both the potential outcome, as well as the experience itself. In the UK, bodies of water are composed mostly of lakes, rivers, and lochs, and there are some truly beautiful places to go fishing, whether you prefer freshwater or saltwater fishing (both of which you’ll need an Environment Agency rod licence for).
While reeling in a big catch is an incredible feeling, the natural beauty and peacefulness of a day spent fishing at a river, lake, or at the seaside is what really makes the zen-like experience so worthwhile. When planning your next fishing trip, it’s important to do your research so you find a suitable location, know what fish populations you can expect, and whether you’ll need a permit. We’re taking a look at some of the most untouched fishing spots in the UK to inspire and help plan your best trip yet.
Lakes, whether natural or man-made, are a great place to fish as many have an abundance of fish, and the conditions are fairly predictable. They also offer a calm and tranquil setting.
1. Windermere Lake – Cumbria
Lake Windermere, at 10.5 miles long, is the largest natural lake in England, home to Arctic charr (a local delicacy), brown trout, pike, perch, and eels. During autumn, salmon and sea trout migrate through the lake as well.
Situated in the south of Lake District National Park, Windermere is one of three lakes open to free public fishing (along with Ullswater and Coniston Water), making it a must-visit destination for enthusiasts. The lake gets an abundance of visitors each year (though we assure you, this does not detract from its pristine beauty), and the surrounding towns and villages are friendly and hospitable, able to provide everything you may need, from cafes and pubs to angling stores and cottages.
2. Yateley Pads Lake – Hampshire
In the heart of the most famous carp fishery complex in the world lies the immaculate Yateley Pads Lake, a 4-acre dream carp-fishing destination in Hampshire that’s home to around 100 carp well over 20lb. The lake has an extensive gravel-bar system and a depth of around 5ft. It fishes well all year round, and allows up to 10 anglers at a time, so you and your friends can have the lake to yourself if you please!
The lake was named after the breathtaking water lilies that embellish the western bank – a favourite haunt of the carp. The nearby Yateley Angling Centre conveniently provides all your bait and tackle requirements, and toilets and facilities are available on-site. Low-season rates are £80 for 24 hours (10am to 10am).
3. Anglers Paradise – Devon
For those looking for more exotic catches, Anglers Paradise in Devon spoils anglers for choice with more than 30 lakes stocked with an impressive variety of fish including carp, trout, koi, catfish, tench, and perch.
This is the ideal fishing holiday destination, perfect for anglers of all experience levels, (there are also guides for those just starting out). Twelve of the lakes are reserved exclusively for those staying at the estate, while six feature “pagoda shelters” (perfect for a little break and some online slots on your mobile), with priority for the disabled. Day tickets can be booked online, and bait-and-tackle stores, as well as toilet facilities, are available on-site.
4. Malham Tarn – Yorkshire Dales
The Yorkshire Dales boast some of the clearest waters in the UK, hosting a number of scenic lakes and reservoirs. Malham Tarn is a glacial lake above the village of Malham within the national park. At 1,237ft above sea level, it’s the highest in England and is home to a world-class brown trout fishery. With a pH of between 8.0 and 8.6, the tarn is one of only eight upland alkaline lakes in Europe, which explains its unique flora and fauna.
Popular among both hikers and fishers, you’ll find alpine plants, white-clawed crayfish, brown trout, and 71 species of caddisfly. The 150-acre surface area permits fishing by boat only, and this location is best for seasoned fishers who know how to read the conditions.
Rivers are a favourite among anglers in the UK, as the flowing waters bring in a large variety of species, including pike, trout, and migratory sea species. Generally, the closed season in England runs from 15 March to 15 June, so be sure to check before planning your trip to avoid being caught out. Let’s continue our look at various spots in the UK, this time from river locations.
5. River Dove – Derbyshire
For more than nine miles of prime river fishing, visit River Dove in South Derbyshire, with depths that vary from 18in rapids to 12ft-deep pools. These waters are great for fly anglers, and hold quality trout and grayling, while coarse fishers can look forward to catches of barbel, chub, pike, bream and more.
While simply spending time with the rod at this magnificent river is often enough for an incredible experience, to make prized catches you’ll need to consider your location and time carefully. For year-round access to the river, you can request membership with the Burton Mutual Angling Association, or purchase a £5 guest ticket that’s valid from dawn until dusk.
6. River Itchen – Hampshire
Chalk streams provide a constant flow of clear, pure water from underground springs, and the River Itchen is considered by many the ultimate chalk stream. This 17-mile stretch is ideal for dry fly fishing for brown trout and salmon. The picturesque water meadows offer a limited number of day tickets (which need to be pre-booked), and you can find refreshments and facilities at the local Fisherman’s Lodge.
7. River Wensum – Norfolk
This small river in Norfolk is protected as a Special Area of Conservation and a Site of Special Scientific Interest, making it entirely unspoilt and one of the most stunning fishing spots on the entire Broads.
True to its name – “wensum” means “winding” in Old English – this ever-meandering river is best for fly fishing in the spring. Large chub, weighing up to 6lb or 7lb, are not uncommon, as well as barbel, which may prove a bit more elusive. Fishers can purchase day or season tickets to enjoy this excellent fishing location.
8. Ladybower Fisheries – Peak District
In the heart of the Peak District, this premier fly-fishing spot is renowned for its variety and quality. Ladybower Fisheries offers 13 miles for both bank and boat fishing. Alternatively, you could hire a float tube and fish from there!
For as little as £22 for a day pass, enjoy the largest of three reservoirs in the Upper Derwent Valley, where you’ll be on the lookout for rainbow trout, wild brown trout, and blue trout (many of which exceed 20lb), as well as grayling. The incredible location also offers a full range of facilities, making it ideal for a day out.
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