20 of the best fishing spots in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex
- Credit: Archant
East Anglia has some great lakes and rivers where you can set up, sit back and enjoy a spot of fishing, so with the season underway we have put together a selection of top locations to try across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.
A popular spot for anglers, comprising four former gravel pits on Suffolk heathland near the Norfolk border. The largest is B pit, which is 14 acres, with three islands and 25 pegs.
Permitted fishing: Open 24 hours, seven days a week. Stocked with: Carp over 40lbs, large tench and bream, roach, rudd. Special rules: two rods per angler, no keep nets for fish over 5lb, no carp sacks, barbless hooks only, no live bait, bait boats only on D pit. Price: £6 per day or £7 for two rods, £15 for 24 hours (two rods).
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This clutch of three small lakes near Thornham Parva is set in parkland amongst mature trees and grassland, offering a peaceful, relaxed fishing experience. It is a fishery for all abilities, whether you are just starting out and want to wet a line for the first time with family members or a seasoned pro who likes to bag up. There is a local restaurant within walking distance that will also deliver sandwiches and food on request.
Permitted fishing: Daylight only. Stocked with: Carp, pike, tench, perch, bream, roach. Special rules: no keep nets for fish over 4lb, barbless hooks up to size 8 only. Price: Call for prices.
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The lakes here were closed for four years to rebuild and restock and now offer a variety of fishing experiences including a purpose-built match lake, disabled access fishing, and a middle lake with over 2,000lb of carp. There’s a toilet block with hot running water and a shower on site.
Permitted fishing: Call for details. Stocked with: Carp to 30lb+, tench, catfish to 20lb+. Special rules: No under 16s on top lake, max two rods, no fixed rigs, no barbed or hooks, no particle baits, no excess ground bait, no poles on top lake, keep nets only on match lake. Price: Call for details.
These four lakes, close to Woodbridge and Aldeburgh, are open all week with plenty of options. The most popular lake is the Horseshoe, with 26 pegs, a 4ft average depth and lots of carp. Willow lake is designed for pole anglers with a maximum width of 13m to the central island.
Permitted fishing: 7am to 9pm. Stocked with: Carp to 24lb+, roach, rudd, tench. Special rules: no lead core, max hook size 10, barbless hooks only, no carp in keep nets, Price: adults £7, £5 for concessions, £5 children, £5 after 4pm.
The Harleston, Wortwell and District Angling Club owns and manages these six, well-stocked fishing lakes in the Waveney Valley, together with some stretches of the River Waveney itself. The lakes offer some of the best fishing around for both beginners and highly experienced anglers; two are owned by the club and can only be used by those holding an annual membership ticket, but the other four can be fished on day or weekly tickets (only members can fish the river). The pits vary in size, and stock - from the small 32 peg Club Pit to Ocean Pit which covers nearly 100 acres.
Permitted fishing: Dawn to Dusk (Night fishing members only). Stocked with: Carp, tench, perch, bream and roach. Special rules: Partial keepnet ban (see notice boards), barbless hooks only on Club and Middle Pits. Price: Day tickets: adults £6 one rod, £9 for two. Under 18s, OAPs and disabled £3/£4. Club membership, £86 for whole complex (£44 concessions). Other ticket options available
These five lakes have been purpose-built in open countryside at Little Braxted in Essex on the banks of the Blackwater. Facilities include a tackle shop, licensed restaurant and toilets. There are more than 100 pegs to fish from and the brand new Stepfield lake is not to be missed.
Permitted fishing: Day ticket, 7am to 7pm. Stocked with: Carp, tench, roach, rudd, bream, crucian carp, chub, gudgeon, pike. Special rules: No keep nets, barbless hooks only ( max size 10), no braid, no tiger nuts, peanuts, bloodworm, joker, bread or boilies, no floating baits, all canned pet food prohibited, 1kg ground bait limit, no fixed feeders and leads. Price: Adults £9 single rod, £12 two. Concessions £7 single rod and £10 for two.
Bartles Lodge Fishing
A beautiful holiday spot in the heart of the Norfolk countryside. While enjoying bed and breakfast here in the 11 acres of grounds (or touring site), take in the three lakes: Lizzie, Laura and Victoria. Each lake is about one acre in size and spring-fed with depths from 2ft to 4ft. Guests also have access to the Hall Walk Fishery just 3.5 miles down the road, which boasts three lakes set in an 18 acre complex.
Permitted fishing: Day only. Stocked with: Mirror and common carp up to 20lb, tench, perch, rudd and roach. Special rules: Barbless hooks only, no keep nets, no bait boats. Price: Non residents £10 per day for Laura’s Lake and £8 for the other two. Residential £6 per person per day or £35 per week.
Hall Walk Fishery
These three lakes are in an 18 acre complex found off the main Norwich to Fakenham Road. Use is via membership only with a season ticket. Gold users (£220 or £150 over 65s) including fishing on all lakes and night fishing.
Permitted fishing: For members and their guests. No day tickets. Stocked with: 30lb+ carp, bream, tench, pile, perch, rudd, roach. Special rules: Only two rods per angler, barbless hooks only, no keep nets, no fixed rigs. Price: Silver membership includes use of two of the lakes and is £135 (£105 for over 65s). Both memberships have a small joining fee too.
This sixteenth-century farmhouse offering accommodation is found near Framlingham. Residents of the bed and breakfast or guest cottages can use the two private fishing lakes which cover 1.5 acres. Colston Hall is also good for bird watching and walking.
Permitted fishing: 7am to dusk. Stocked with: Mirror and common carp, bream, roach, rudd and more. Special rules: Guests only, up to two rods per person, barbless hooks only. Price: Residents £10 per day.
Hawstead Fishing Lakes
The lakes here offer 25 sheltered swims on 3.5 acres of water and date back to the medieval times. They are situated in a peaceful, quiet, ancient parkland setting surrounded by sheltered hedges and woodland two miles south of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. Luxury short break accommodation is available.
Permitted fishing: Day tickets from 6.30am to dusk (night fishing by prior arrangement). Stocked with: Common and mirror carp to 33lbs, perch, roach, bream, tench. Special rules: Barbless hooks only, no keep nets. Price: £6 for one rod, £10 for two.
As seen in fishing magazines and on numerous television programmes, Barford offers eight well-stocked lakes and great facilities including a fully-stocked tackle shop. Pleasure catchers regularly clock-up over 100lbs, and there is a training lake which is only £2.50 for beginners. You can even buy your rod licence on site.
Permitted fishing: Day tickets 8am to half an hour before dusk. Stocked with: Carp, tench, bream, chub, crucian carp, orfe, roach, perch. Special rules: Barbless hook only(max size 8), two rods only, no kee pnets, no floating poles, no elasticated feeders, no peanuts, 2kg groundbait limit, Barford Lakes pellets only. Price: £8 adults, £6 juniors with mid-week concessions.
Situated just outside Layer-de-la-Haye, near Colchester, this 17 acre site has a reputation for big fish. The lake holds an impressive number of carp weighing over 20 lbs, but is also a good for the pleasure angler with many other species present. This is a good location for beginners as it will provide a regular catch. It has a restricted membership which requires any new applicant to do four work parties and pay a joining fee.
Permitted fishing: Day only. Stocked with: Carp, roach, bream, pike and more. Special rules: Maximum two rods, lead weights must not exceed 4ozs, baits only as listed on website. Price: Membership £30 plus four work party tokens
This 26 acre site in west Norfolk has five lakes with over 9,000 fish, fed by a chalk stream water from the River Nar. There are touring pitches alongside two of the lakes and new toilets and showers. Swims are generous in size. A small tackle shop on site offers all the essentials, including hot and cold drinks, ice creams and sweets.
Permitted fishing: 7am to dusk. Stocked with: Carp up to 37lb, 3lb+ trout and mixed carp. Special rules: No keep nets, barbless hooks only, no fixed leads. Price: Day tickets from £7 per person up to £30 for all day trout fishing pass, weekdays £1 off full day tickets
Cross Drove Fishery
This fishery at Hockwold cum Wilton in Norfolk contains a variety of coarse fish including carp and catfish. The 70-peg, irregular-shaped venue has fairly uniform depths of 5ft and is great for both match and pleasure anglers. The lake is approximately eight acres and has islands, bays and peninsulas. There are toilet facilities on site as well as food and drinks.
Permitted fishing: 7am to dusk. Stocked with: Bream, tench, perch, roach, rudd. Special rules: Barbless hooks only, no keepnets. Price: Day ticket £6, disabled and under-16s £5, OAPs £4.
Burwell Brick Pit
A quiet and mature former quarry site in 38 acres, close to Wicken Fen nature reserve. Enjoy more than 40 spacious, secluded swims with reed beds, channels, islands and deep margins. Facilities include toilets, showers, a tackle shop and CCTV security. A range of fresh and frozen bait is also available.
Permitted fishing: 24 hours. Stocked with: Carp to 35lb+, rudd, pike, car fish, roach, eels, perch. Special rules: Up to three rods, bait boats allowed, barbed and barbless hooks. Price: Day tickets £10 adults and £6 juniors and over 65s.
A collection of seven lakes, just outside Norwich, offering more than 80 acres of water and a section of the River Yare. Bawburgh Lake is the oldest of the large pits on the complex, made up of a main bowl of water and the three large back bays which are seperated by a huge island (access is via the foot bridge and several good swims are located around the island). There is a very large ghost carp in the lake that has not been caught for several years but has been seen in the lake every year - perfect for the angler looking for a challenge. The other lakes offer a great variety of fish and the small finger pool is popular with younger anglers. The site is also good for birdwatching.
Permitted fishing: 24 hour with yearly permit. Stocked with: Carp, tench, bream, pike, roach, rudd and more. Special rules: Maximum three rods on larger lakes (two on smaller), keep net restrictions. See website for full details. Price: All lakes season ticket £310. Small lakes only season ticket £110.
West Stow Lakes
Situated on the edge of the country park, beside the River Lark in Suffolk. The lake is approximately 17 acres and features three large, established islands, mature trees and reed beds. Depths vary from 3ft to 17ft and there are 27 swims, all of which are comfortable, well established, very well maintained. The lake was the home of one of the oldest and most sought after carp in the country, The Dragon, which unfortunately died at the end of 2013, aged 50.
Permitted fishing: 24 hours. Stocked with: Carp, tench, bream and the odd pike. Special rules: Up to three rods, no artificial baits or bait boats, hooks are to be barbed or micro barbed. Price: Syndicate members only (vacancies each year).
Edwards Angling (Fairview Farm)
Two mature, spring fed, coarse fishing pits set in peaceful surroundings in Belton near Gt Yarmouth. Both pits contain a mixture of fish including tench and a variety of carp. A dedicated disabled swim is available and there are a further 13 pegs where vehicles can park directly beside. Tuition is available and children aged 10 and under can fish for free when accompanied by a paying adult.
Permitted fishing: 7am to 7pm (no night fishing). Stocked with: Roach, rudd, perch, tench, chub, bream, carp. Special rules: Maximum two rods, barbless hooks only, no keepnets, no boilies, no artificial baits. Price: Day ticket £4 for one rod £6 for two (collect 4 day tickets and 5th ticket is free). Season tickets £70.
Marsh Trail Lakes
Situated just outside of Beccles in Suffolk, close to the River Waveney, this site boasts six acres of water consisting of two match lakes and a specimen lake. Set in idyllic surroundings, this is the perfect location for the pleasure, match and specimen angler to enjoy great days fishing with onsite toilet facilities.
Permitted fishing: Dawn to dusk, night fishing on B Lake only. Stocked with: Carp, tench, bream, perch, roach, rudd. Special rules: Maximum two rods, barbless hooks only, no keep nets (competitions only). Price: Adult day ticket £8 on the bank/ £7 in advance, concessions £7 on the bank/ £6 in advance. Season Tickets: Adult £110, OAP/ Disabled £100, Under 16 £70.
North Cove and Barnby Angling Club offer two miles of prime fishing on the River Waveney, with around 40 swims on natural banks and platforms.
Permitted fishing: 24 hour. Stocked with: Bream, pike, roach. Special rules: All fish must be thrown back. Price: Day ticket £5, season ticket £20 (£15 concessions).
Fishing is one of the UK’s favourite pastimes. Promising relaxation, quiet time and the chance to distance yourself from the hubbub of your busy life - it’s not hard to see the attraction. But before you head out to unwind at one of these great locations, don’t forget to get your licence!
Wherever you decide to pitch-up make sure you have a rod licence or you could face a very hefty fine. Licences run from April 1 to March 31 so if you haven’t renewed – do it quick to make sure you get your money’s worth. The full cost for coarse and trout fishing is £27 for a year or £72 for salmon and sea trout. For over 65s it’s £18 or £48, and all types of licence are just £5 for 12 to 16-year-olds. An eight day licence is £10 or £23 and a day licence is £3.75 or £8. Licences can be bought online, in person or on the phone from the Post Office or by yearly direct debit through the Environment Agency.