Whether you’re an experienced angler, dip in and out now and again, or have never tried it before, fishing is excellent for your health and wellbeing. Carrying and setting up kit and constantly casting and reeling in your catches adds up to a great workout, whilst unplugging and being near the water is shown to reduce anxiety and stress.
So, with that in mind, we’re bringing you our top 11 picks for fishing across the Lake District and Cumbria, which has more fishing waters than any other county in England. An EA rod license is required in all instances and don’t forget to check what permits are required as well as relevant bylaws before heading out!
Windermere is the longest lake in England and, as a result, there are lots of options for fishing. It is one of only three lakes open to public fishing in the Lake District (the others being Coniston Water and Ullswater). Species include arctic charr (a local delicacy), brown trout, pike, perch, roach and eels. Salmon and sea trout also pass through the lake in the autumn in order to spawn in the tributaries.
Be close to your preferred fishing spot with one of our Windermere holiday cottages.
2. The River Eden
The River Eden is made up of the lower, middle and upper reaches. Due to its length, different stretches of the river are controlled by different angling associations so choose where you want to cast off and then find out who you need to contact for licenses. Some notable spots are Eden Lacy, including a fishing hut amongst woodland and a wild flower area opposite Lacy's Caves; Hornby Hall, well-known for its quality brown trout; and Whins Pond Coarse Fishery, a large, scenic lake with tench, carp, bream and roach.
Find a holiday cottage near your perfect spot in the Eden Valley.
3. Bassenthwaite Lake
Primarily known for pike fishing, Bassenthwaite Lake is a peaceful option thanks to its restrictions on motor-powered boats. The lake’s status as a National Nature Reserve means that there are certain restrictions on the water and around the shore, so make sure you familiarise yourself with requirements before heading out. Once you are on the water, the tranquillity will be absolute bliss!
Keswick Information Centre sells rod licenses, permits for non-powered boats, and Keswick Anglers Association permits.
Take a look at cottages around Bassenthwaite.
4. Esthwaite Water
Esthwaite Water, to the west of Lake Windermere, is a managed trout fishery that offers roach fishing, pike fishing (the local record is a catch weighing 46lb 2oz!), and coarse fishing. There are 280 acres of water with facilities for both boat and shore fishing. Staff can provide guidance and tuition and there is also a tackle shop onsite as well as equipment hire available.
You will require a permit before you start fishing.
View available cottages near Esthwaite Water.
5. River Esk
The River Esk in Eskdale (not to be confused with the River Esk in the north of Cumbria) is said to get its name from a Brythonic word meaning ‘abounding in fish’! Flowing from Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in the Lake District, to Ravenglass, the only coastal town in the national park, it is surrounded by beautifully tranquil scenery to make a really relaxing day of fishing.
The Millom and District Angling Association controls the Brantrake and Muncaster Castle estates’ sections of the river and salmon and sea trout can be found during the season. As the Esk is a spate river, the best fishing is after a storm.
Browse our self-catering cottages in Eskdale.
Often touted as the most beautiful of the Lake District lakes, Ullswater is a stunning place to relax with a bit of fishing. Best known for its trout fishing, it also holds char, perch, pike, and the endangered schelly. The trout fishing season runs from the 15th of March to the 30th of September.
Ullswater is just one of three lakes in the Lake District where visitors can enjoy fishing for free.
Coniston is a lake that often requires patient fishing, but the rewards can be great. The water reaches 184 feet at its deepest point, so it can take some time to find the fish. There is a good number of rainbow trout and brown trout and, if you’re lucky and play the waiting game, large pike can also be caught.
The lake is mostly shallow around the shores, so you may need a boat to reach the really deep waters.
Explore the area from a Coniston cottage.
8. The Solway Firth
A short drive outside the Lake District is the beautiful Solway Firth, which boasts some of the best sea fishing in the UK. A mixture of warm waters from the Gulf Stream, complex currents and large tides makes the area rich in biodiversity and most species of fish found in the UK can be caught here. Possible catches include everything from common dogfish and mackerel to rarer bass, sharks and rays.
Due to the range of possible catches, please familiarise yourself with all recommendations and requirements – including catch and release rules – to ensure the continued quality of the area.
Spend days catching a variety of sea creatures from a cottage close to The Solway Coast.
9. Cogra Moss
Tucked away between Loweswater and Ennerdale is Cogra Moss, a 40-acre naturalised reservoir that is well stocked with stillwater game including rainbow trout. You can access the water from most spots around the shore, with platforms at regular intervals. The use of waders are also popular amongst those fishing here.
Cogra Moss is controlled by Cockermouth Angling Association and fly fishing only is permitted.
Despite its small size, Grasmere is one of the region’s best natural coarse fisheries with impressively-sized fish regularly caught. Species include pike, perch and roach. The fairy tale look of Grasmere makes it a wonderful place for a day of tranquil fishing and certain restrictions with parking (free parking is minimal) make it a quiet spot to cast off
Day tickets and membership can be bought from the Windermere, Ambleside & District Angling Association.
Find your perfect fishing base from our Grasmere cottages.
11. Watendlath Trout Fishery
South of Derwentwater and up a narrow road is the gem that is Watendlath Tarn and Trout Fishery. Regularly stocked with Rainbow Trout and Browns Blue, this seven acre, fly only fishery offers fantastic fishing. Often quiet due to its location, there is good bank fishing or rowing boats can be hired.
Day tickets can be bought from Tysons Cafe, Watendlath, or call Stan Edmondson on 017687 77362.
Wherever you choose to fish during your Lake District stay, find a self-catering holiday cottage nearby where you can fry up your catch and enjoy a tasty, fresh fish supper!
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