The Lake District is one of the best fishing locations in the UK, with the bonus of more Free Fishing than anywhere in the country. We're passionate about making fishing as accessible as possible, and we know how hard it can be to find locations to fish, places to park, methods to use and what species to target. Together with Carlsons tackle shop (Kendal), Outdoor vibe (Coniston) and Adventure Fishing UK (YouTube), we have created a guide to help you enjoy the vast amount of free fishing available in the place we're proud to call home... the Lakes.  

There are a variety of species in different locations, great for pike, perch, trout and coarse fish like carp, roach and bream. You can even catch rarer fish like char, sea trout, eels, and salmon. All you need is the Environment Agency License for freshwater fishing and your fishing tackle. Other angling associations waters in the Lake District offer a range of day tickets and paid fishing opportunities.


This guide will provide an excellent insight into free fishing destinations, but knowing how to fish them is also important. For the latest advice on tactics, locations, techniques and tackle visit a local fishing shop: 

Carlson’s Fishing Shop: 64-66 Kirkland, Kendal, LA95AP, 01539 724867

Outdoor Vibe: Ashford house, 5 Yewdale Rd, Coniston, LA21 8DU, 07854 755170


Best Fishing: Pike, perch, bream. Other Species: Eels, trout, roach, salmon, sea trout, arctic char, carp, tench. Techniques: Lure, fly, feeder, dead bait, float, trolling, dropshot. Parking: There are many car parks around the shore of Windermere, some paid, and some free on the South shore across from Belle Isle, and North-South bank in Red Nab National Trust car park. Tips: Lure fishing for pike and perch can be very productive year-round, especially from a boat.

An active mobile approach is most productive focusing on structure and drop off features. Dead baiting for pike (only using saltwater baits) is a winter method. Using large feeders with lots of ground bait and a half-worm hook bait can result in amazing bream fishing during the summer months, and the chance of an extremely rare Windermere carp. Strawberry gardens area is a good place to start!


Best Fishing: Trout. Other Species: Char, eels, salmon. Techniques: Lure, spin, fly. Parking: Range of roadside free parking along the Northern shore. Shore fishing only. Tips: The most effective way to fish this lake is by covering a lot of water by staying mobile with minimal gear. The majority of the Northern shore is accessible and trout are present across the whole lake.


Best Fishing: Perch, trout. Other Species: Pike, char. Techniques: lure, spin, fly. Parking: South end- Steel end car park, road off A591 at the South end of lake. As well as Swirl car park along A591. Tips: This venue favours a mobile approach as Thirlmere is quite sparsely populated with fish, so it’s rarely an easy day fishing. The surroundings are beautiful though, and you never know what might happen!


Best Fishing: Trout, perch. Techniques: Lure, spin, fly. Parking: numerous lay-by's alongside the lake to park in, as well as a good sized car park at the far end of the lake. Tips: The trout fishing can be excellent here, and there’s a chance of a good perch too. Fly fishing and lure fishing are the main methods, make sure you cover plenty of water and keep on casting.


Best Fishing: Pike, perch, trout. Other Species: Char, salmon, roach, sea trout. Techniques: Lure, fly, feeder, trolling, deadbaiting, float, dropshot. Parking: South end - Brown Howe car park off A5084 with limited free roadside parking further along road. North end - Monk Coniston car park off B285. Coniston boating centre offers limited free parking but a large pay & display car park is available. Tips: Fishing for pike and perch from two of the jetties, and shoreline is allowed. The southern end is typically quieter during busy tourist season.

Pike and perch can be easily found in and around weed beds between 10 and 20 feet during spring and summer, especially around jetties and drop-offs. Larger pike, trout and char will be found in deeper water at 30+ feet and are best targeted by boat. For the best advice and tackle, visit Outdoor Vibe 07854 755170


Best Fishing: Wild brown trout, perch. Other Species: Pike, schelly, char Techniques: fly, lure, ledgered worm. Parking: National Trust Glencoyne Bay car park off A592, Pooley Bridge. Tips: Famous for its excellent wild trout fishing, anglers can have great success casting lures and flies from the shore. Ledgered worm is also known to be an effective technique. Deep slow trolling spoons can be effective from a boat too.


Best Fishing: Brown trout. Other Species: Eels, perch. Techniques: Fly, lure. Parking: Parking off A592 near Cow Bridge. Tips: Much of the shore is private, and angling access is restricted to the Western shore. Barbless hooks and shore fishing only, we recommend wading out and casting small spoons and spinners around the weed beds, or fly fishing for the resident trout.



Best Fishing: Trout, perch. Other Species: Schelly, pike. Techniques: fly, lure. Tips: Some of the high mountain tarns are free fishing, some are privately owned, and some are club-run. Make sure you do plenty of research if you wish to fish one to make sure you do so legally. Also, be aware you need a good level of physical fitness and an understanding of hiking safety. Take the best fish care, using barbless hooks and return all fish.


Best Fishing: Brown trout, salmon, sea trout. Techniques: lure, fly, worm. Location: From Victoria Bridge to 100m south of Nether Bridge, excluding the no fishing zone on Gooseholme weir. Tips: Fishing map, advice and tackle, is available at Carlson’s Fishing Shop in Kendal, 01539 724867



1. Have an Environment Agency Rod Licence (buy online/post office/tourist info).
2. Not use keep nets, lead weights.
3. Barbless hooks preferred.
4. Adopt good angling practices, fish care and catch and release.
5. Adhere to seasonal restrictions for fish species (below).
6. Saltwater dead baits only, and strictly no live bait.
7. Do not fish on private property or near No Fishing signs.
8. Avoid fishing in busy tourist locations.
9. No littering.


COARSE FISH. Closed season for rivers and drains 15th Mar - 15th Jun. In lakes there is no closed season.
BROWN TROUT. Closed season Oct 1st - 14th Mar.
SALMON & MIGRATORY TROUT. Salmon closed season 1st Nov - 31st Jan. Migratory trout closed season 1st Oct - 31st March.
CHAR. General closed season 1st Oct - 14th Mar. Coniston 1st Nov - 30th Apr, Windermere 1st Oct - 30th Apr.
*Check online if you are not sure before fishing





  • Neil Riding. Windermere 07973 752204,
  • Nathan Oldham. Coniston 07854 755170,
  • Eric Hope. Keswick 07771 763067,
  • Graham Sutherland. Windermere, 07578851243,


Low Wood Bay Watersports Centre, Windermere,
low-wood-bay/watersports, 015394 39441.

Coniston Boating Centre, Coniston,, 015394 41366.

St. Patrick’s Boat Landing, Ullswater,, 017684 82393.




If you’re looking for something a little bit different, or a bit less ‘wild’, then there are some great day ticket venues in the Lake District.

Esthwaite Water is a managed trout fishery, but also holds some large pike to target, as well as a substantial population of bream and other coarse fish. Tickets are available at, 015394 36541.

Bessy Beck, near Tebay, is a great place for fly anglers wanting a chance at some sizeable stocked trout. Tickets are available at, 015396 23303.




We really hope you've found this article useful, and we'd love to hear about your adventures if you get chance to come fishing in Cumbria. Feel free to tag us in any pictures on Instagram, or send them in via email. When you're fishing in the Lake District there's no better rod to use than one designed, tested and sold here by a small cumbrian family business. Click here to view our range of compact, multi-purpose, guaranteed fishing rods!