Fishing in London

Where to go Fishing in London

If you are moving from a less urban area into the big city and you are concerned that you may struggle to indulge your passion for angling then don’t worry. London has plenty of ponds, rivers and reservoirs teeming with carp, trout, pike and many more fish. Here are seven of the best fishing spots in London; some are free but remember you will still need a rod licence from the Environment Agency to fish any UK waters:

Tooting Common Pond

Tooting Common Pond is a clean and established pond which will reward the patient angler. Lurking in its depths are 50lb plus catfish, carp of 30lb and more and pike and perch exceeding 15lb and 2lb respectively. Although the school holidays can be busy, at other times the pond is relatively peaceful; even better, the fishing is free (at the time of writing, at least). There are ducks on the pond, so be careful when using floating bait. On the subject of bait, using small bait will almost certainly keep the catches coming, while a legering worm is the best bet to catch a perch or two. The nearest tube station is Tooting Bec, about ten minutes hike away.

Walthamstow Reservoirs

There are a total of nine Walthamstow Reservoirs providing a variety of options for anglers into both course fishing and fly fishing. If you are specimen fishing for carp, then Walthamstow Reservoirs could well prove fruitful as there are fish weighing up to 45lb to be caught. You can also fish for pike, bream, tench and carp in the six course fishing reservoirs, with plenty of trout for the fly fishers in the remaining three reservoirs. Walthamstow Reservoirs also offers a rural feel where you can sometimes forget you are in London, and the healthy insect life means that the introduced fish can become semi-wild quite quickly.

At the time of writing, a day licence, with a three-rod maximum, was £12 (£8 concessions), with an evening of fishing available for £7 (payment is made at the on-site hut). Planned night fishing is also available. Season tickets were £375 for course fishing and £330 for fly fishing with a 75 catch limit.

You will need a landing net and unhooking mat.

Clapham Common Ponds

Another free option for anglers, although not as quiet as Tooting Common Ponds are the three Clapham Common Ponds (Mont pond is the big one, the others being Eagle and Long pond). These are well-stocked with 20lb carp, trout, perch, bream and tench and were made more sustainable in 2013 after a joint effort by Lambeth council, the Environment agency and the Clapham Common Angling group.Advice on bait includes using boilies close to the water’s edge and trout pellets. Although fishing is free at the Clapham Common Ponds you will need to send in a photograph and application form to Lambeth council for a permit.

Shadwells Pool

Shadwells Pool is an established fishing spot in south west London with over 50 fishing platforms (pegs) scattered throughout its 1.5 acres, including some that are suitable for anglers with disabilities. Many of the pegs have become naturally covered with the plentiful trees that cover the area which is shared with other sports.

In terms of species, you will find all sorts at Shadwells Pool, including 25lb carp, eel, roach, rudd, tench, bream and perch. Season permits cost £90 or £60 if you are a junior angler, OAP or are registered disabled. The pool closes for anglers from January 1st to March 31st and there is no night fishing. Fishing is only permitted from the pegs, barbs are forbidden as are bloodworm and jokers, and you are allowed a maximum of two rods, 1.5kg ground bait, 0.5kg boilies. You will also need a landing net and unhooking mat.

Colnbrook West

At West Drayton, near the Berkshire border, Colnbrook West lake offers 4.5 acres of fishing with carp, tench, roach, bream, rudd and perch roaming the waters. Colnbrook West only do season tickets, and these have recently jumped up to £250 (£187 for juniors, OAPs and anglers with disabilities), although there was a two for one offer on at the time of writing.

Colnbrook West lake is a popular spot and can get fairly busy in the summer months.

Fairlop Waters

Fairlop Waters offer anglers the choice of specimen fishing in the 3.5 acre specimen lake or a full 38 acres of fishing in the main boating lake. The smaller lake contains carp of over 30lb, pike of up to 20lb and bream and tench of up to 10lb; perch and roach are also present. In the sailing lake, you may bag a carp of up to 30lb and there are also roach, perch and pike to discover. Bait advice is to use long-range boilies.

Day tickets will set you back £10.50, while season permit prices are £175 (£95 concessions), although winter anglers can buy a permit for £90. Facilities for disabled anglers are available.

River Lee Navigation (from Enfield Lock to Ponders End Lock)

The best angling along the River Lee (or Lea) is found in the 2.5 mile section between Enfield Lock and Ponders End Lock, with fishing available all year round. The canal here is 6 feet in depth and is home to carp of up to 28lb; tench of up to 5lb; perch of up to 2.5lb and roach of up to 1.5lb. Pike, chub, rudd, bream, dace and eel are also present in the waters.

In terms of bait, boilies and pellets are suitable for carp fishing, while lures and float-fished spats are recommended for hooking pike. Pole fish pinkies and castor may appeal to roach and bream, with bream also interested in a cage of ground-bait feeder with a maggot on the hook.

Double and treble hooks are only permitted when fishing for pike or spinning for perch and no live bait fish are permitted. As with many specimen lakes, you must have a landing net and unhooking mat.

Prices are £3 for a day or £25 for a season, with angling here currently controlled by the River Lee Anglers Club. They can be contacted on 07842 033356