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Fishing Holidays

Where to head for a UK fishing break

Time spent with a rod in hand is time well spent indeed. Luckily for anglers, you needn't head far, as fishing holidays in the UK are fun and fruitful, with a plentiful choice of destinations for coastal, river and lake fishing, as well as holidays with fishing on site.

  1. Norfolk Broads
  2. Angler's Paradise, Devon
  3. River Spey & Loch Leven
  4. The Lake District
  5. Padstow Harbour, Cornwall

Enjoy a weekend by a well-stocked lake or kitted out in your waders, knee-deep in the flow. Adventurous souls might like to try night fishing or head offshore on a boat trip. Whether you're seeking a friendly community or a weekend of solitude, there's a fishing holiday destination for you.

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Rough Guides

1. Norfolk Broads

The Norfolk Broads are perhaps best known for peaceful boating holidays, but these man-made waterways are also a fabulous network home to some of the best pike fishing in the UK. Wroxham, the capital of the Broads, is a great place to base yourself, home to carp, roach, rudd, bream, perch and tench. Some parts of the Broads are protected, and these are clearly marked, but there are plenty of free fishing spots and platforms, as well as a few private stretches where you can purchase a day ticket for bank fishing. Why not roll two trips into one and fish from a boat? The River Bure has it all, with fantastic fishing and cosy riverside pubs to relax in afterwards. Horning, on its banks, is highly rated for night fishing for large tench. Salhouse Broad, Martham and Acle Bridge are also popular spots for a peaceful afternoon away from the crowds. For a break from angling, you can pull on your walking boots or head on a river cruise to see some of the sections of the Broads that can't be reached on foot. The Bure Valley Steam Railway is a popular excursion, as is nearby Great Yarmouth.

Season: Coarse fishing, 16 June to 14 March

Licence: Trout, coarse fish and eel licence

2. Angler's Paradise, Devon

Angler's Paradise does exactly what it says on the tin: it's the perfect holiday spot, with fishing on site and beginner-friendly lakes for a family break. It boasts 30 artificial lakes in total, 12 of which are reserved for residents staying in the luxury villas, while the rest are open for day-ticket fishing. The lakes are well stocked with exotic species and a few surprises; one is even called 'Mystery Lake', and they won't let you know in advance what's in store there. In general, though, you can expect to find carp, catfish, trench, orfe and rudd. If any members of your clan aren't keen anglers, they can relax in the pool, sauna and games room, or explore the lush Devon countryside all around the resort. Avid anglers, meanwhile, have access to over four miles of bank fishing and a number of lakes with secluded spots where you get your own bay. In the spirit of friendly competition and building a welcoming community, the site also runs a Fish of the Week competition and an annual Lure Weekend for all abilities.

Where: Beaworthy, Devon. Close to Exeter and Dartmoor National Park

Permits/Licence: Organised on arrival

3. River Spey & Loch Leven

For fishing holidays amid breathtaking scenery, head to Scotland. In most of the country you don't need a licence to fish, and the River Spey is one of the most famous spots for salmon. The river is flanked by stunning Scottish countryside, blessed with some fabulous weather, and each 'beat' or section is steeped in its own history. Visitors will definitely want to take a break from angling for a hike, a trip to a famous distillery, or to soak up the atmosphere at nearby castles. You can fish from February, and March is a particularly favourable month for the rush and excitement of the first catch. Just before the season ends in September, angling here is an exciting prospect, with the salmon more wily and evasive, making them tricky to pull in. Some way south of the Cairngorms in Kinross, Loch Leven is an internationally renowned fly fishing spot known for its stunning brown trout, which can get rather large, while pike are another popular catch. All fishing here is from boats, and you can hire a spot on one for the morning, evening or whole day, enjoying the incredible views over the loch and the impressive wetlands beyond.

Licence: Not needed for rod and line (except Border Esk region)

Season: 11 Feb to 30 Sept

4. The Lake District

This famed walkers' paradise is also a little slice of heaven for anglers. The big-name lakes – Windermere, Coniston and Ullswater – have free public fishing with a rod licence, while licences/permits for other spots can be purchased for the day or the week through local angling clubs. Windermere is England’s biggest lake and is home to one of only 340 Arctic charr populations in the UK. You'll also find pike, perch, eel and brown trout in abundance. Lucky anglers might snag the salmon and sea trout as they migrate through in the spring. Grasmere and Rydal Water are more peaceful and also boast very sizeable pike. The secluded banks of Bassenthwaite Lake are great for pike fishing in tranquil surroundings, since no motorised boats are allowed on the water; you can get permits, licences and non-motorised boat permits at the information centre. Cogra Moss is a lesser-visited spot between Loweswater and Ennerdale, but it's a popular choice with anglers due to its sturdy population of still-water game including rainbow trout. And of course, you're never short of non-fishing activities in the Lakes, from luxury spas to bracing hikes, cosy pubs, lake cruises and watersports.

Licence: Regular rod licence, or contact local club

Season: Various. Ullswater brown trout 15 Mar–30 Sept

5. Padstow Harbour, Cornwall

Padstow is popular for all kinds of holidays, from coast path walking to beach sunbathing and surfing getaways. Fishing holidays here are fabulous too, with angling from the shore, from boats or in the River Camel estuary. Anglers should head to the west side of the harbour for spots like St Saviour’s Point, the rocks by St George’s Cove and along the cliffs to Stepper Point. You could land cod, pouting, poor cod and whiting, as well as flatfish, gurnard, mackerel, bass and even catsharks if you're lucky. While there are hundreds of fantastic spots for coastal fishing in the UK, this is a great base if you're taking some non-fishing family members on your trip: the town is quaint, the harbour is bustling with activity, and you can easily lose an afternoon watching crabbing and fishing boats unload their catch. Of course, the seafood here is mouthwatering too. If you're feeling adventurous, you can book a night fishing tour for conger and huss, or board one of the longer boat trips for reef and wreck fishing experiences. Remember that you'll need to collect a free permit from the Harbour Master before fishing from the walls of the harbour.

Permits: Free from the harbour master

Season: Depends on the species – autumn is fruitful

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