Gone Fishing! Our guide to fishing in the Lake District

Is fishing the new rock and roll?

Fishing is a wonderful pastime for your physical and mental wellbeing.  You walk to your fishing spot, enjoying the views, whilst carrrying and setting up your kit.  Once settled, you are casting and reeling in your catches which is a great physical workout.  Being near the water, listening to birdsong and observing wildlife is definitely good for relaxation and helping reduce stress and anxiety.

With the highest concentration of Lakes and Tarns in England, it makes sense that fishing is a popular pastime here.  Maybe you’re an experienced angler, or fancy giving it a try, perhaps you’ve been watching Mortimer and Whitehouse ‘Gone Fishing’ and have been inspired.

An EA rod license is needed in all instances, available from all post offices and online here. You should also check local permits and bylaws for your chosen location too.

Here’s the government guidelines on fishing seasons, and when and how you can fish.

Windermere, Coniston & Ullswater are the main 3 lakes open to public free fishing once you have your rod licence.  Others have fishing rights on them, but you may need another specific permit.

Windermere is host to arctic char (a local delicacy), brown trout, pike, perch, roach and eels.  Salmon and sea trout also pass through in autumn to spawn in the tributaries. Find out more about permits, day tickets and membership at the Windermere, Ambleside & District Angling Association.  They also have day, annual and youth memberships available.

Check out our Windermere lodges here.

The beautiful Ullswater has a trout fishing season from 15 March – 30 September, and also holds char, perch and pike and the endangered & protected schelly fish.

Check out our lodges nearest to Ullswater  (Troutbeck Valley) here

Coniston water is pretty deep!  184 feet at deepest point so the fish have plenty of room to play hide and seek.  There are a good number of rainbow trout and brown trout and you may find large pike lurking and avoiding you.  It’s shallow around the shores, so take your pick, but you’ll need a boat to reach the deep waters.

Bassenthwaite Lake is a peaceful option, and mainly known for pike fishing – as it has restrictions on motor boats and is a National Nature Reserve. Check out the requirements needed before you head out for a day of peace and quiet.

Keswick Information Centre sells rod licenses, permits for non-powered boats, and Keswick Anglers Association sells permits.

Check out our Keswick Lodges here

Esthwaite Water, to the west of Windermere  and near Hawkshead, is a managed trout fishery offering roach fishing, pike fishing and coarse fishing.  You can choose from boat and short fishing, and there is a tackle shop and equipment hire options.

Grasmere and Rydal Water offer smaller but a perfectly formed coarse fisheries, with impressive-sized fish caught on a regular basis, including pike, perch and roach.  This is a gorgeous location, promising a tranquil day of fishing and enjoyment.. with dreamy views all around.  Parking in the village or at White Moss Common.  Day tickets for Rydal & Grasmere cost £10 from Windermere, Ambleside & District Angling Association.

If you’re thinking of fly-fishing check out some ideas and how to go about it from Windermere Ambleside & District Angling Association. They have 3 main our three main rainbow trout fisheries, Ghyll Head, High Newton and Bigland

Why not try fishing in a Tarn?

If you’re fancying something smaller and more remote, how about discovering some of the Lake District Tarns?  The word ‘tarn’ comes from the Norse word tjorn meaning a small lake or pond.  It’s a term used quite extensively in Northern England and gives a feeling of wild upland waters, where you can enjoy solitude and a unique experience.

Scott Winstanley, fisherman and artist tells us how to enjoy the tarns of the Lake District:

“These waters of the wild hills are home to  trout, pike, perch, minnows, vendace, schelley, char and eel and who knows what else!  The little brown trout though is the most abundant  and offers the visiting angler the most realistic opportunity of sport.

There are no strict rules but please follow this etiquette for fishing in more wild places:

  • Catch and release is a must and barbless hooks please. Fish stocks are precious.
  • Fly fishing is preferred but if your fly casting is a little rusty or indeed none existent then there are alternatives:
  • Flies can be fished with a standard spinning rod and fixed spool reel and can be cast with the aid of a bubble float.
  • Please, no bait fishing, and no spinning and stick to barbless hooks.”
Check out local artist Scott Winstanley on Facebook for more inspiration and lovely fishy artworks and photos:  Instagram: that_other_place.   Facebook: @ScottWinstanleyArt



 Wild Brown Trout by Scott Winstanley

Remember to tell someone where you’re going, respect the countryside and fishing codes and most of all, enjoy your day amongst nature.

View all our lodges here