Humans have been using fish as a source of food since our cave dwelling days, but for some, catching fish is much more than a means to obtaining food and is a pleasurable way to pass the time. Recreational fishing typically involves using a rod with a reel, line, hook and bait. 

In the Lake District, the rivers and lakes are brimming with trout, salmon, and pike amongst other species, however, these days, fishing in the Lake District is catch and release to improve native fish population by allowing more fish to remain and reproduce in the ecosystem.

What Fishing Involves

Fishing typically involves sitting quietly for long periods of time whilst you wait for fish to take on your bait. For this reason, you will probably need to allow yourself a few hours to ensure you have time to catch something. If you're a first timer and have never been fishing before, we recommend using one of the wonderful guided tours listed below.

What to Wear & Bring

You don’t need any special clothes to go fishing, however, waterproofs are essential in wet weather as you may be sitting outside for a long period of time. During the summer, you will need sun cream and a sun hat to prevent sunburn. Wearing layers will allow you to add and take away as required.

If you are an expert fisher, then chances are you already know what to bring. For the fishing novices out there, the amount of equipment can be daunting, which is why we highly recommend you sign up to a guided fishing tour or attend a fishing course in order to prepare yourself with what exactly is involved. Typically, you will need a rod with a reel, line, hook, and bait, as well as a net to catch the fish and a disgorger, which is a tool that removes the fish from the hook. You will also need something to sit on, such as a foldaway stool, and if you're planning to be out all day, you'll need plenty of food and water.

In the England and Wales, it is a legal requirement to hold a rod licence to fish with a rod and line for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt, and eel. Children under 12 do not need a licence but an accompanying adult who assists the child will need one. You can buy licences at your local post office. Failure to obtain a licence can result in a very large fine.

In the Lake District, fishing is catch & release, which means once you've caught the fish, you need to put it back in the water after the fish has recovered. This improves native fish populations by allowing more fish to remain and reproduce in the ecosystem. Releasing the fish after you catch them also ensures that people will be able to enjoy the sport for many generations to come.

Where to Go Fishing in the Lake District

In the Lake District, you can bring your own tackle and fish in one of the three lakes open to public fishing: Windermere, Ullswater, and Coniston Water. Alternatively, you can get a permit for fishing in a specific area through a local angling club. The Angling Trust has a searchable directory of local angling clubs. You must ensure that you adhere to all Environment Agency byelaws when fishing, and you must not use live bait. If you do not own your own tackle and would simply like to do a fishing taster session, then there are a few organisations that offer this.

Hemingways Fishing: Guided Fishing Trips & Fly Casting Tuition

Hemingways Fishing offers guided fishing trips, as well as fly casting tuition. They provide all the equipment you'll need for a day of fishing, full insurance cover, safety equipment and a shoreline lunch by arrangement. They ask that everyone who attends obtains an Environment Agency licence for the day, suitable footwear, snacks and a waterproof. Most tours are guided by Cumbrian angler and environmentalist, Eric Hope.

  • Tel: 07771763067
  • Website: 
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rookin House

Overlooked by Blencathra, Rookin House is a self-contained activity centre with a fishing pond stocked with rainbow trout. All equipment is provided and you can keep your catch for an additional charge.


Esthwaite Water Trout Fishery

Offering fishing on Esthwaite Water, which is stocked with trout throughout the year. All equipment can be provided, as well as tuition.

  • Address: The Boat House, Ridding Wood, Hawkshead, Ambleside, LA22 0QF
  • Tel: 01539436541
  • Website:

Rigged & Ready (*Fishing Supplies Only*)

Rigged & Ready is a Kendal-based fishing supply shop who specialise in rods and tackle for fishing.

  • Address: 28 Castle Crescent, Kendal, LA97AN
  • Tel: 07824334033
  • Website: