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Best Fishing Spots in London

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by Barry J (subscribe)
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Published November 12th 2017
The One That Didn't Get Away
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An angler waits for a bite (by Lum3n.com / CC0)


The National Rivers Authority reports over 2.9 million anglers enjoy fishing in England and Wales every year, reeling in carp, roach and bream, caught from lakes and pools. In London, these are 5 of the best places to go fishing.

Epping Forest, The Warren
In London's largest open space, you can catch a variety of freshwater fish, including tench, crucian carp, roach, rudd, bream, and gudgeon, from 24 of the ponds dotted throughout the forest.

For less mobile fishers, Hollow Pond, near Snaresbrook Station on the Central Line, and Connaught Water, near Chingford Station, are accessible choices.

The giant escape from the city is often busy with hikers, cyclists, social games of golf at Chingford and football on the 60 pitches.

The natural surrounds also entice the romantic, as it hosts wedding ceremonies. Horse riding and dog walking is a scenic adventure, along trails to explore Iron Age earthworks.

Leave your gear at home during the spring months of March to June, when the forest is closed for fishing, ready for the popular summer season.

Juniors are welcome, with training sessions for 5 to teach children to reel in their first catch. Book at The View, the Forest's visitor centre.

Once you've tried the ponds in the main section, drive east to Waltham Abbey to fish for carp, chub and dace in the River Lea, lined with house boats and cycle paths.

Visit the City of London website for more details.

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Trout for dinner (by monika1607 / CC0)


Clapham Common Ponds, Windmill Drive
Rivalling Epping Forest in size, the secret is out as fishers of all ages, descending on Lambeth. Hop on the Northern Line to Clapham Common, walking southwest, or Clapham South, walking north through the park to cast a line in Eagle Pond, beside the A24, or Eagle Pond on Windmill Drive.

The larger pond, Long Pond, busy with boats, is usually only fished during competition and training events.

Once you're settled, you'll likely catch bream, tench, pike, mirror carp, rudd, eel, and perch.

While you're in the Common, you can also try some of the organised sports, including cricket, Australian rules football, rugby netball, tennis and athletics.

Stroll with your dog or cycle through gardens managed by keen volunteers, planting daffodils, crocuses and bluebells.

Visit the Lambeth Council website to obtain a fishing permit, costing 25.


Walthamstow Reservoirs, Tottenham
Escape the city in Tottenham, home of an angler's paradise on England's longest river, The River Thames, between Blackhorse Road and Tottenham Hale on the Victoria Line.

As birdwatchers scan the skies above the ten reservoirs for egrets, herons and cormorants, anglers can catch freshwater coarse fish in the flowing waters in reservoir 1, 2 and 3, snagging bream, 20lb mirror and common carp, chub, eel, perch and pike.

Whip out the fly fishing rod to catch 5lb brown and rainbow trout in reservoirs 4 and 5 or catch and release from the East Warwick reservoir.

For a day's fishing, tickets are 15 for adults for a 3-rod limit. For a quick evening session, tickets are 8.

A season pass is 400, with discounts for specific reservoir season passes.

View the opening hours and prices at the Thames Water website.

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A well-prepared angler displays his catch (by Adrian Pingstone / CC0)


Shadwells Pool, Barnes
Spanning almost 2 acres in south-west London, there are dozens of wheelchair-accessible cast-off points, surrounded by trees.

The best value is the 90 season pass for adults, 60 for children and concession card holders.

To maintain fish stocks in the popular pool, the fishing season is from April - December.

Once you're settled on the platforms beside the pool, you'll likely catch perch, rudd, bream, roach and carp.

Tickets for adults are 10, 6 for children and concession card holders, and 6 for adults entering after 4pm.

View the details or apply for annual membership at the Barnes and Mortlake Angling and Preservation Society.


Fairlop Waters, Redbridge
As boats sail in this 40-acre lake in East London, you can fish along the lakeside, catching large carp, pike and perch.

For a more serene experience, take to the smaller, specimen lake to claim your dinner of tench, bream, carp or pike.

To reach the fishing spot, beside a golf course, driving range, and the largest boulder park for climbers in the United Kingdom, you can ride the Central line to Fairlop Station.

Once you've caught your fill, retire to the Boathouse Bar to share tall tales and sing sea shanties.

For a day's catch, you'll pay 14, with season passes for 205. Children and seniors can pick up a season pass for 115.

To view the details, visit the Fairlop Waters website.


Generally, these tips will ensure you stay safe and have fun:
obtain a UK Rod Fishing Licence if you're fishing in England's freshwaters. You can choose from a 1-day (6), 8-day (12) or 12-month (30) licence. The fee is doubled for a licence to fish for salmon and sea trout, with free fishing for children up to age 16. You can pay the fee here.
once you've selected a fishing spot, obtain a permit for that site.
wear a lifejacket and shoes with good tread when fishing from rocks beside open water.
keep an eye on conditions as you fish, looking out for slippery seaweed, changing tides and large waves.
obey signposted rules.
throw back undersized fish.
only take what you'll eat, checking the local by-laws for size and catch limits. A general guide is posted on the UK Government website.


Where do you love to go fishing? What was your favourite fishing experience in London? Please leave a comment. We'd love to hear your ideas.
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Why? Fresh fish for dinner!
When: Anytime
Where: Throughout London
Cost: Various day, night and season passes available
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