One of the many reasons why so many visitors flock to the Lake District every year is fishing. Anglers from the UK and beyond flock to Cumbria to enjoy the fruits of the area’s rivers and lakes. The rivers are rich in brown trout, as well as seasonal sea trout and salmon. The lakes offer a wealth of pike and other fly-fishing opportunities for both beginner and experienced anglers.
Here is all the information you need to know about the best fishing areas in the Lake District, whatever your budget or the type of fishing you prefer.
You can fish for free at many Lake District locations, such as Windermere, Ullswater and Coniston Water. The most popular of these is Windermere, which has a wide selection of different fish throughout the year, including brown trout, roach, arctic charr and perch. There are also eels all through the year and during the autumn months anglers can enjoy the salmon and sea trout which visit the lake to spawn. In spring, the young fish (mainly trout and salmon) flock to the sea, travelling downstream and through the lake, providing a wealth of fishing opportunities for eager anglers.
If you love eating fish as much as fishing for them, you can enjoy the delicious local charr, which are still caught using old-fashioned fishing boats.
If you want to fish within the Lake District National Park, much of the water is owned by local anglers’ clubs so you will need a permit to fish, which can be obtained on a daily or weekly basis. Anyone wishing to fish must obtain the relevant rod licence from the Environment Agency and research the one you need depending on the type of fishing you want to do. Different licences are required for lead weights and keepnets for example. If you want to fish for pike, you’ll be using barbless hooks which also require a licence.
Fishing at Lake Windermere
Windermere is one of the most popular destinations for fishing, as it holds a vast array of different species, including the desirable arctic charr. There are many different groups of this fish living in the lake, which was historically created when a glacier melted at the end of the last Ice Age. As a result, the arctic charr were stranded in what would later become the Lake District. These fish are known for their fresh and delicate taste and traditionally feature in recipes of potted charr, or as part of a fish-pie mix.
For the angler keen to have a taste of this delicious fish, the most popular method for catching them is by rowing across the lake and trailing metal spinners along the bottom.
Fishing at Ullswater
Ullswater is another place where anglers can fish for free. This beautifully situated lake has a unique zig-zag shape to it and you can hire a boat to row across it, although these are usually not appropriate for fishing, so it’s advisable to bring your own craft or fish from the banks. The main fish that anglers enjoy at Ullswater is the wild brown trout. The best time to fish for these is from early spring through to early summer – March to June ideally.
As well as perch and a smattering of pike, Ullswater is home to the endangered schelly fish, which is protected by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Fishing at Coniston Water
Another impressive lake, you can find perch, pike, trout and charr at Coniston Water and fish for free. While not as densely populated as Windermere or Ullswater, Coniston Water is still a great place for fishing and there are reports of fish from this lake weighing up to 20 lbs every year.
The best time to enjoy undisturbed fishing is over the colder winter months, when the more premium fish can be caught using dead bait and anglers can enjoy the peace and quiet of the Lakes off season.
Considerations That Anglers Must Follow
The most important and also the simplest advice to follow when fishing in the Lake District, as with any popular fishing area, is to follow good practice and adhere to the Environmental Agency rules for fishing, which is primarily aimed at keeping things sustainable. This means avoiding the use of live bait as this risks introducing new species to an ecosystem that can’t support it and that might be a threat to the species that already live there.
Whether you’re angling or just visiting the area, another thing to be careful to avoid is the accidental introduction of alien species if they ride on your clothing or equipment. Make sure you inspect everything for anything alive and give a thorough clean and dry before bringing them to the Lakes.
With so many fishing opportunities to choose from, you’re bound to find yourself returning again and again to the Lake District to see what you can catch.
If you would like to find out more about fishing in the Lake District you can do so on the Governments Lake District website here.