Top nine fishing spots in the UK

22 June 2020

Nine UK fishing spots worth catching

According to recent news stories, fishing tackle retailers have been reeling in some whopping sales figures over the past year.

Angling has always been one of the UK’s biggest participation sports, now it’s been given an extra boost in popularity by the pandemic, and it isn’t difficult to work out why:

It’s the perfect excuse to spend a blissful day by a river, lake or pond.
Social distancing comes as standard (even the fish keep their distance from you most of the time).

The UK’s finest holiday parks are blessed with a fantastic variety of nearby fishing spots, so here’s our guide to just a selection of them.

If you’re new to fishing or considering a new spot, you need to know which licences and permits are required. You’ll find everything you need to know on this page of the government website, starting with how to apply for the essential rod licence.

1. Derbyshire: The River Dove and the Peak District

A legendary fishing spot since Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler was published in 1653; the Dove runs for 40 miles through spectacular Peak District hills and dales. It rises on Axe Edge near Buxton and meets the mighty Trent just north of Burton.

The river is popular with fly anglers, offering high-quality trout and grayling. Coarse anglers will also enjoy plentiful chub and barbel as well as roach, bream, and pike.

It’s an accessible river to reach if your holiday home is anywhere around Cheshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, South Yorkshire and the East or West Midlands. Your journey will be amply rewarded by the views as well as the catches, because the river cuts through a set of stunning limestone gorges, Beresford Dale, Wolfscote Dale, Milldale and Dovedale.

Beresford Dale is the site of Charles Cotton’s fishing temple, celebrated by Walton, and has an unbeatable mix of fast sections, long glides, weirs and deep pools. Further south, near Rocester, the middle Dove is where trout and grayling rise to feast on the abundant insect life, including mayfly. The river is gravel bedded here, so be sure to pack your waders.

2. Cumbria: Windermere and the Lake District

If your holiday home is in and around Cumbria and Morecambe Bay, you’re spoilt for choice of fishing spots. The Lake District is a paradise of rivers and streams as well as meres and waters. Windermere, Coniston and Ullswater are open for public fishing once you have a rod licence. Anywhere else, you are likely to need a permit, available through the local angling club.

Windermere, England’s biggest lake, is home to pike, perch, eels and other coarse favourites. The game fishing is just as appealing, with rare arctic charr and brown trout in abundance. Best of all, salmon and sea trout migrate through the lake in the spring. Other nearby lakes are just as tempting, with twenty-pound pike frequently taken from Grasmere and Rydal Water.

3. Herefordshire and the Welsh Border: Redmire Pool, near Ross-on-Wye

If you’re new to angling, you’ve probably never heard of Redmire Pool. If you’re a passionate lover of carp fishing, it’s one of the most famous places in the world. Little more than a farm pond, only 3 acres in size, the pool first made its name when Bob Richards caught a 31.4-pound carp in 1951. The record has since risen to 51.5.

Redmire is close to the Wye Valley near Ross, Hay-on-Wye and Symonds Yat, easy to reach if your holiday home is south of Hereford, on the west side of the Cotswolds Forest of Dean or across the Welsh border around Monmouth and Abergavenny.

The good news is that fishing at Redmire is open to the public nowadays. The bad news is that spots are strictly limited and get snapped up very quickly. Bookings for the first week after the close-season in mid-June go to the highest bidders and can cost £2,000 upwards.

4. Devon: Angler’s Paradise,

Thirty lakes, a variety of fish big and small, an on-site tackle and bait shop... this is an angler’s paradise by nature as well as by name, with carp, catfish and tench among the beauties on offer.

You’ll find it in mid-Devon, northwest of Okehampton and Dartmoor and close to the Cornish border, which makes it a handy fishing spot for anyone with a coastal or inland holiday base in this part of the West Country. Day tickets and longer-term deals are available and, with so much fishing in one spot, swims are usually easy to book.

Angler’s Paradise is a family resort and a fishing location, and 12 of the lakes are reserved for residents. But that still leaves visitors plenty to enjoy.

5. Eastern Scotland: Perth and Tayside

The River Tay is synonymous with salmon, and it flows through the ancient city of Perth. Broad and fast-flowing, it is officially the largest river in Britain in terms of the amount of water that flows along it. Mountains give way to gently rolling farmland as it passes through Perth and heads for Dundee, the Firth of Tay and the North Sea. The prime salmon fishing stretches of the Tay are known as beats.

Just a few miles to the south of Perth, Loch Leven is one of the world’s premier spots for brown trout. Fishing regulations in Scotland are different from those in England and Wales, and permits are available from Perth and Kinross Council.

An hour’s drive north of Edinburgh, Perth is on the eastern edge of the highlands, close to the nation’s original capital, Scone. If you’re holidaying in this part of Scotland, Perth is worth a visit for more than just fishing reasons. It’s a city of fine stone buildings and castles and one of Scotland’s culinary capitals with a wealth of restaurants.

6. Southern England: The River Itchen, Hampshire

North of Southampton, close to the New Forest, Salisbury and the South Downs, the Itchen is one of southern England’s world-famous chalk streams. This is the perfect location to try your hand at dry fly fishing for salmon and brown trout.

Lower Itchen Fishery is set amid beautiful water meadows, yet easy to access by car, just five miles from M27 Junction 5. It’s convenient for anglers who are older or less mobile, because a private track follows the river, making it possible to park alongside your fishing spot.

7. South Wales: Swansea and the Gower Peninsula

Swansea, Mumbles and the Gower Peninsula are full of fishy surprises. It’s the perfect location if your love of angling takes you out to sea as well as along rivers and lakes.

The Welsh name for the city is Abertawe, and the River Tawe is one of brown trout fishing’s best-kept secrets, not least because of its abundance of fly life as it heads from the Brecon Beacons down to the Bristol Channel.

The area is packed with beautiful lakes, remote streams, fabulous views and great coarse fishing. Alternatively, head for the ocean, and you can be catching cod, whiting and bass — by boat or from one of the beautiful sandy beaches.

Gower is also regarded as one the best places for rock fishing for bass in the UK. Head for Mumbles Head, Tutt Head and the rocks below the coastal path running between Langland and Caswell Bay.

8. Northumberland: The River Tyne

The peat that tinges the colour of the water is said to be the secret that makes the Tyne such a fine place to go after salmon and sea trout. It’s reputed to make the fish more catchable, in daylight as well as after dark.

The Tyne also offers coarse fishing riches, including large chub, but dace is its speciality. Locals advise that dace love ground bait, but bread hook bait is better for chub. One of the area’s favourite angling spots is Tyne Riverside Country Park at Low Prudhoe, 200 acres of meadows, chalk grassland, woodland and riverbank - roughly halfway between Newcastle/Gateshead and Hexham. A variety of permits are available from the Northumbrian Anglers Federation.

9. East Anglia: Wroxham Broad, Norfolk

The Norfolk Broads is a network of man-made waterways and river systems, formed from ancient peat workings that flooded. The Broads National Park is perhaps better known for boating, but it’s also brilliant for angling.

The area around Wroxham, capital of the broads, is the ideal venue for predator and coarse anglers alike, with plenty of pike as well as trout, roach, rudd, bream and eels. Fishing anywhere in the area requires a trout, coarse fish and eel licence. You can apply for the licence online or at any post office.

One of the most highly recommended spots here is along the beautiful River Bure, where you’ll find some lovely waterside pubs and restaurants as well as great fishing.

Non-fishing attractions in the area include Hoveton Hall Gardens and the Bure Valley Railway, which runs from Broxham to Aylsham. The fine city of Norwich and Norfolk’s coastal resorts, including Great Yarmouth, are within easy reach.

Have we got you hooked yet?

This is just a taste of the thousands of fabulous angling spots you’ll find around the UK. And fishing is just one example of the amazing ways you can relax, unwind and get close to nature once you’ve settled into your new holiday home.

Find your perfect location and discover the Willerby difference here.