For A Break With The Boys…
A royal fishery has existed in Christchurch for more than 1,000 years and this is historically one of the most prestigious fishing destinations in the UK. Alongside the town’s award-winning restaurants and various water sports, its array of fishing options is unrivalled, from sea angling in Christchurch harbour to freshwater fishing in the Hampshire Avon or Dorset Stour. Prefer fly fishing? There are numerous well-stocked fisheries within reach of the main town and accessible with a day ticket.
Wide open rivers, rugged landscape and untamed wilderness help make Dartmoor one of the best places for both novice and experienced anglers. The Duchy of Cornwall’s fishery is here, offering more than 20 miles of fishing along the upper part of the river Dart. All of the rivers and tributaries here teem with wildlife yet are easily reached from towns like Ashburton, Totnes or Dartmouth. Before you cast, you’ll need a Dartmoor fishery permit, which can be bought from numerous local hotels, shops and other locations.
This lively Cornish fishing port is a hub for sea anglers, with its shoreline beach casting and tackle fishing in the Camel estuary. But that’s not all Padstow offers: there’s freshwater coarse fishing in surrounding lakes, so you’re spoilt for choice if you choose to spend a leisurely weekend here. The fisheries here are accessible with a day ticket or with a fishing permit for those who choose to fish directly from the harbour. If you’re after salmon or trout, you’ll find them mainly in smaller rivers or streams that are privately owned, so check the local guidelines prior to your visit. Padstow itself is an appealing place to enjoy fresh seafood and many traditional pubs.
For A Dads-And-Lads Trip…
ULLSWATER, LAKE DISTRICT
Ullswater is renowned for being the most beautiful of the lakes in the Lake District. It’s home to a wide variety of fish, including the schelly, an endangered species from the last Ice Age. Most people come to Ullswater for its plentiful wild brown trout. Shoreline fishing is available from the front 1/4 mile of the lake, but a boat is recommended if you want a proper experience. If you fish regularly and hold a national rod licence, then you can fish freely; if not, day or week licences are available at Glenridding and Pooley Bridge. You’ll find plenty of places to stay here, including Another Place, the Glenridding Hotel and Sharrow Bay all dotted along the lake’s 1/4-mile frontage.
RIVER TWEED, SCOTTISH BORDERS
The 98-mile-long Tweed gains life from a vast 1,500 square miles of border catchment area. Known as one of the world’s great salmon fisheries, it is ideal for fly fishing, with many species available to catch. Fishing is permitted between February and November of each year. From Norham in Northumberland to Kelso in the Scottish Borders, the Tweed courses through a plethora of great towns in which you can stay.
Avington Fishery has three lakes and is connected to the world-famous River Itchen Chalk Stream. It is one of Britain’s best stillwater trout fisheries in Britain. If tamer, small-lake fishing is your thing, this is a neatly manicured, well-maintained alternative to the testing rapids of some of the more rural rivers and lakes in this list. There are numerous lodges to rent for the weekend here, as well as hotels and B&Bs perfect for chilling out. To fish here, all you need is a day ticket.
For Serious Anglers…
RIVER DEE, ABERDEENSHIRE
The internationally acclaimed river Dee has been a destination for anglers since Victorian times. Indeed, it was one of the places where modern rods and reels were developed, so visitors could fish salmon from its depths. Today, the quality of water is higher than most rivers and fish numbers are high. Idyllic and peaceful, the impeccably clear Dee has fast rapids that glide through the cavernous Dee valley. On its banks, historic towns such as Banchory, Ballater and Braemar are perfect places to stay during your jaunt.
RIVER TAY, SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS
A mecca for Atlantic salmon fishing, the Tay runs across Scotland through Perth and Dundee. Home to the biggest and best Scottish salmon, it has many pools and ponds disseminating from it, which are ideal for fly fishing. Daily permits can be purchased from the local council. Guided fly fishing is available and can be organised from hotels in places such as Dunkeld or even Perth, which is a short distance from fishing venues on the lower Tay.
RIVER WYE, POWYS
Wales is home to some of the UK’s most rugged and unruly landscape. The Wye runs through the mountainous region of Powys and is a great place for unfiltered, off-the-beaten-track fishing. The rocky valleys have their challenges, but are an ideal escape for anyone who enjoys the peace and solitude of nature in its purest form. Looking to fish the famous Clettwr Pool? Stay in Brecon. For other locations, Builth Wells and Ross-on-Wye are also accessible. Booking your spot is easily done online, where you can find seasonal dates for when fishing is permitted.
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