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. You can also view the video at the bottom of this page.
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 char (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.
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 wildflower 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.
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.
4. Esthwaite Water
Esthwaite Water, to the west of 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 on-site as well as equipment hire available.
You will require a permit before you start fishing.
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.
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.
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.
9. Cogra Moss
Try fishing for rainbow trout at Congra 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.
Yes, there are lots of places where you can fish in the Lake District, including lakes, rivers and tarns. You will need an EA Rod License and should check any permits and local bylaws before heading to your chosen location. In some cases, there are restrictions on when you can fish.
Windermere is England’s longest natural lake, so holds plenty of species of fish such as rare Arctic char as well as brown trout, pike, perch, roach, carp and eels. During the autumn months, salmon and sea trout pass through on their way to spawn. Windermere is open to public fishing with an EA Rod License.
Windermere is one of only three Lake District lakes that is open to public fishing. Although you will need an EA Rod License wherever you go fishing in the Lakes, there is no other charge for fishing on Windermere, either from public areas of the shore, or from the water.
Carp is stocked at Whins Park, just outside Penrith, and at Cleabarrow Tarn and Ratherheath Tarn in the South Lakes. Carp aren’t very common in the Lake District outside of stocked tarns, however. Windermere and the River Eden are reported to have carp, though in Windermere especially they are quite rare.
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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing,
please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.