Thinking of heading to The Lake District for your next fishing trip? This post outlines some of the most scenic, productive and accessible fisheries in the area.
Rods, reels and rigs are sitting eagerly in the car boot. The faintly decorated starry canvas above you is beginning to give way to the promising glow of a new dawn. You’ve fuelled up with a cooked breakfast and you’re almost ready to spend the day surrounded by some of the planet’s most scenic offerings. A fishing day out in The Lake District is about to commence.
Each year, over 17 million tourists flock to England’s largest National Park to immerse themselves in majestic countryside and unparalleled views. Nestled amidst all the rugged fells are 16 magical lakes, some within a short drive from The Trout Hotel in Cockermouth. In such a superb location, you could be forgiven for thinking that the fisheries are busy and overcrowded. But here in The Western Lake District, our fishing spots come hand in hand with peace and tranquillity. Just how they’re meant to be.
What can you expect?
There is a wide variety of fishing experiences on offer on this side of The Lakes. Many of our rivers hold good stocks of native brown trout, sea trout and wild salmon and several of our larger lakes are particularly good for pike and coarse fishing. There is also the coast, which is home to flounder, plaice and bass – offering the local and visiting angler some tremendous sport.
Plenty of fisheries are small and secluded, often requiring a short hike to reach them. Others are very prominent and large, stretching over hundreds of acres. Whether you want to fish from the bank or boat – this guide to the best fishing spots in the Lake District has something for everyone.
Once you’ve settled in for a day’s fishing, there will be nothing to disrupt the perfect tranquillity but the soft murmur of the water and the occasional brilliant flash of a kingfisher’s wing. You can then retreat to the tranquil riverside location of The Trout Hotel, where our friendly staff will be on hand make sure your day out ends just like any good fishing day does – with a sumptuous meal and a refreshing drink in hand.
Our favourite fishing spots in the Lake District
Loweswater (20 mins drive from The Trout)
This small lake is another member of the River Cocker trio and the only one of the western lakes that drains to the east. It is now coarse fish that dominate the angling focus, with pike being the main population. However, this stunning lake did once have a reputation for large trout and some can still be found there if you’re lucky.
Buttermere (25 mins from The Trout)
Buttermere is just over a mile long and the most southerly of a trio of lakes that form the catchment of the River Cocker. It offers mainly bank fishing for wild brown trout and pike with fly, spinning and worm being the permitted methods. Char can be found here too and very late season sea trout and salmon enter the lake, but not in sufficient numbers.
Derwentwater, Keswick (20 mins from The Trout)
Derwent Water is relatively shallow in comparison to most of the larger lakes meaning the lake has a higher biomass quantity than most of its counterparts. Here you can find trout (some large ones at that), pike, perch and roach. Boat fishing is a preferred option for regular visitors and launching and hire facilities can be found at the Keswick end of the lake.
The River Derwent (15 mins from The Trout)
As one of the best fishing spots in the Lake District, the river Derwent flows beside the Trout Hotel and leads to Derwentwater – offering superb, affordable fly fishing for brown trout, wild salmon and sea trout. There are ten beats in total, both upstream and downstream of Cockermouth – each with different characteristics and features. In the right conditions, the Derwent provides good runs of salmon throughout the summer and autumn and very good sea trout fishing in the summer.
High Newton (80 mins from The Trout)
This fishing location is credited as probably being the best ‘top of the water’ rainbow trout fishery in Cumbria. However, it can be windy and exposed so it’s advised that you wait for calmer weather if you’d like to visit. It has an elevated position with a fantastic outlook over the Coniston Fells, the Cartmel Valley and out to Morecambe Bay and top quality rainbow trout averaging 2lbs – with many fish weighing in at 4lb -6lb.
Maryport Promenade (15 mins from The Trout)
The promenade follows the coastline north from the harbour and is a popular recreational area as well as being a brilliant fishing mark. During the warmer months of the year large numbers of plaice are landed with good fishing possible at both low water and over high tide. Plaice, codling, whiting and coalfish are numerous during the winter months, with frozen peeler crab and black lugworm the top baits.
Grasmere (40 mins from The Trout)
This small lake on the eastern side of the A591 is one of the region’s best natural coarse fisheries. It holds good shoals of roach, quality perch and big pike. The water can fish well throughout the year with summer lure fishing from a boat especially productive. A slight issue might be the lack of parking although this does indeed protect the fishery from overuse.
Ellerbeck Fishery (6 minutes from The Trout)
This is a charming little coarse fishery just outside Brigham village, a six minute drive from The Trout Hotel’s front door. You’ll find carp, bream, roach, rudd, perch and tench here. Ellerbeck also has good pegs making it ideal for youngsters. It’s claim to fame is being featured on Channel 4’s Screaming Reels Good Fishing Guide. Day tickets are available.
Permits & code of conduct
As a little reminder of how we like to do things in The Lake District, we’ve included a summary of the rules and regulations that help keep our waters and stock clean and in great condition. Much of the fishing within the National Park is controlled by local fishing clubs that have daily or weekly permits available. Visitors can also enjoy free fishing on Windermere, Ullswater and Coniston Water.
To assure that the best fishing spots in the Lake District remain the best fishing spots in the Lake District – we’d appreciate if you would:
- Have a current Environment Agency rod licence – available online from the Environment Agency or through Information Centres
- Follow Environmental Agency Byelaws including those about the use of keepnets, lead weights and barbless hooks for pike fishing
- Follow good angling practice so that the next generation can continue to enjoy fishing
- Take note of any local and/or seasonal restrictions to allow a disturbance-free period to vegetation, fish, birds and other wildlife
- Don’t use live bait – this is banned by the Environment Agency as it increases the risk of introduction of disease and pest species
When to visit the best fishing spots in the Lake District?
Starting from the early season through to June is when most of Cumbria’s natural lakes and rivers are at their best. The weather is beginning to warm up and the views around you will be nothing short of magical.
To make the most of your trip The Trout Hotel has plenty of exclusive offer that change seasonally, with the aim of giving you a little longer to discover the best fishing spots in the Lake District for yourself.