Game Fishing Venues in the North of England

England’s North West offers some of the finest game fishing in the country. Lancashire and Cumbria are home to numerous rivers and wild stillwaters, as well as a proliferation of stocked ‘put and take’ fisheries.

A surprising amount of this fishing is easy to access and readily available to the visiting angler via day tickets, or cheap local club membership.

For the  rainbow trout angler, there is broad a range of fishery types available, from intimate small water venues, to large reservoirs. Most of these are very well run and with good quality stock present. My personal favourites are Stocks Reservoir, Barnsfold Waters, and Esthwaite. Boat and bank anglers are equally well catered for at these venues with the latter being a particularly nice venue set in the verdant Lake District countryside near Windermere. On both of my last two visits to Esthwaite, I have taken over 30 fish to 5lb+ on floating lines and nymphs.

Bank House near Lancaster is also worth a visit, with some very large fish stocked into a secluded and quiet 5 acre ex-mill pond.

Run by the same family as Bank House, Stocks Reservoir is a large water often used for competitions. It is located high up in the Bowland Forest above Clitheroe and offers first class loch style boat fishing for brown and rainbow trout well into double figures. Huge fish are landed from this well stocked venue every day.

If wild Stillwater trout are your thing, then there is no better part of the country to visit than the north west. The Lake District offers some first rate fishing for small but numerous wild brown trout in many of its famous lakes (Ullswater being one of the best), as well as the more remote hill tarns for the more adventurous. The opportunity exists to fish for the ‘highest trout in England’ at Red Tarn, high in the shadow of Helvellyn and some of the oldest populations of native trout in existence – untouched since the ice age left these remote waters behind.

As an added bonus, many of the Lake District waters are free to fish to holders of an EA rod licence. It’s always best to check first though – I’m always happy to help out in this respect.

Over in West Yorkshire lies Malham Tarn. Available on a day ticket for un-powered boat fishing only, the Tarn holds England’s biggest wild brownies. I know of trout to nearly 7lb coming to the fly from this water recently…..but they’re not easy to catch and we average one fish for every 10 hours effort from this challenging water!

On to rivers……our rain fed upland rivers are among the best around for trout, grayling and migratory fish. What’s more, there is always an opportunity to get access with some great ticket schemes available. Check out ‘Go-Wild in Eden’ which for the price of a few pints gives access to miles of unspoilt river and stream fishing in Cumbria’s Eden Valley. The Eden is a fantastic game fishing river and is accessible for the majority of its length via day tickets from the excellent associations at Kirkby Stephen, Appleby and Penrith.

Windermere and District Anglers can provide fishing on many of Cumbia’s smaller streams and the Keswick AA has access to the Derwent.

I included some links below to some of the venues mentioned. However, feel free to visit me at if you require more detailed information on any of our waters and if I can help, I will.


Stocked Stillwaters.


Local Angling Clubs/Tickets.