Enjoying a spot of fishing during your stay is a great chance to relax, unwind, and even get some light exercise! 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 10 fishing locations 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 which permits are required as well as relevant bylaws before heading out! The Government also has guidelines about what you can and can't fish at certain times of year.
Rod licenses are available online or at the Post Office.
You can also view a video version of this blog at the bottom of the page.
Windermere is the longest lake in England and, as a result, there are lots of options for fishing. It's one of only three lakes open to free 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. There's also Hornby Hall, well-known for its quality brown trout, and Whins Pond, a large, scenic lake split into two areas: one for coarse fishing and one for specimen carp angling. Whins Pond includes roach, bream, rudd, tench, and carp
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 limitations 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! As well as pike, you can find roach, perch, brown trout, dace and eels here.
Keswick Information Centre sells rod licenses, permits for non-powered boats, and Keswick Anglers Association permits. You can also buy these online from the Lake District National Park website.
Take a look at cottages around Bassenthwaite.
4. Esthwaite Water
Esthwaite Water, to the west of Lake Windermere, is a 280-acre managed fishery that offers some excellent predator fishing (the local record for pike is a catch weighing over 46lb!).They also have brown trout, and their strict seasons mean that good stocks of both fish are well maintained.
Fly, lure and dead bait fishing are all allowed at Esthwaite Water, and there are a number of guided fishing services and tuition options offered on site. You could even learn from nature's master fishers and observe the ospreys on a boat tour! When you're finished, the onsite Boathouse Cafe is there to provide you with tasty food and hot drinks.
You will require a permit before you start fishing.
View our available cottages near Esthwaite Water.
5. The 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's surrounded by beautifully tranquil scenery to make a really relaxing day of fishing.
The Millom and District Angling Association controls both the Brantrake and the Muncaster Castle estate's 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.
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. Fishing can be done from the lake shore but is best from a boat, and there is guided fishing available from a number of providers nearby.
Ullswater is one of just three lakes in the Lake District where visitors can enjoy fishing for free.
7. Coniston Water
Coniston Water 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, though there are reports of 20lb specimen reported every year! There is a good number of brown trout and, if you’re lucky and play the waiting game, large pike can also be caught. Perch and charr are also found in Coniston Water.
The lake is mostly shallow around the shores, so you may need a boat to reach the really deep waters. Bring your own or hire one from the village.
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 for fly fishing with game including rainbow trout and brown trout. You can access the water from most spots around the shore, with platforms at regular intervals, and there are also a number of natural islands. The use of waders are also popular amongst those fishing here and there is a range of lies including gravel and sand banks.
Cogra Moss is controlled by Cockermouth Angling Association.
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 fairytale 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 surprisingly quiet spot to cast off.
Day tickets and membership can be bought online from the Windermere, Ambleside & District Angling Association.
Find your perfect fishing base from our Grasmere cottages.
Check, Clean, Dry
We all know that the Lake District is a very special place, and there are many delicate environments to protect. Remember, after doing anything in the water, check your equipment for living organisms that have hitched a ride, clean everything thoroughly, and leave to dry completely before using again.
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!