Urban Angling: An Intro to Fishing in London

Studying Time: 7 minutes

London’s well-known for lots of issues: museums, galleries, overpriced beer – however fishing? Sure, stunning because it may appear, you may go fishing in London. The truth is, it’s more and more widespread. Yearly, an increasing number of individuals are turning their sights to their native waters. Secure to say, they have a tendency to love what they discover.

City anglers have a large mixture of species and fishing venues proper on their doorstep. It’s low cost to get into and enjoyable to be taught, so everybody can provide it a go. Fishing can even present you a facet to town that you just by no means knew existed, even when you’re lived right here all of your life. Nonetheless not satisfied? Learn on, and also you’ll be out on the water earlier than you recognize it!

Greater than Simply the Thames

Once you think about fishing in London, you most likely image attempting to solid from the Embankment whereas avoiding crowds and passing boats. There’s much more to it than that. The truth is, there are three several types of fishery in London: rivers, canals, and stillwaters. Right here’s a short run-down of every one.


Rivers are fairly self-explanatory. Take a look at a map of city or begin watching Eastenders and the river’s the very first thing you see. Nevertheless, you might not realise that there’s much more than one river in London. 

There are a dozen completely different rivers that circulate by means of city earlier than feeding into the Thames. They’re all fishable, and certainly one of them, the Wandle in Southwest London, is clear sufficient for correct chalkstream fly fishing in locations! On high of that, the Thames itself is nice for boat and financial institution anglers, so long as you’ll find a quiet spot.


Canals might appear to be rivers, however they’re really extra like lengthy lakes, with little if any present. This makes them excellent for fish that choose calm water. Canals even have towpaths operating proper subsequent to them, providing you with simple financial institution entry and plenty of fishing area – so long as you keep away from all of the houseboats.

The draw back with London’s canals is that there are solely two of them. Grand Union Canal runs in from the west to Little Venice. There, it meets Regent’s Canal, which runs up by means of North London and into the river at Limehouse. You’ll be able to fish the complete size of each of them.


Lastly, “stillwater” is a catch-all for the whole lot from docks to native ponds to stocked fishing lakes. That is the bread and butter of London’s fishing scene. It’s additionally an amazing place to start out when you’re new to the game, as many venues are stocked filled with fish.

You’ll find stillwaters throughout London. Hampstead Heath, Clapham Frequent, and Burgess Park all have nice fishing, as do Surrey Docks and even Canary Wharf. For the extra discerning angler, Syon Park and Walthamstow Reservoirs supply wonderful sport fishing.

We may reel off London’s fishing spots till the cows come house, however that’s not the purpose. The beauty of fishing in London is discovering your native waters. Fact be informed, you’ll find nice catches in just about each London borough – simply ask the man who fished all of them!

A Various Mixture of Fish

London’s fish species break down into two primary classes: sport fish and coarse fish. For individuals who don’t know, “sport fish” refers solely to Salmon and Trout, whereas “coarse fish” covers each different freshwater species. On high of those, it’s also possible to discover some sea fish down in direction of the Thames Estuary. Listed below are just a few of the highest targets in every group.

Coarse Fish

Carp are the king of the coarse in London. These overgrown grass-eaters are a typical catch all through London’s stillwaters. They’re extremely prized, partly for his or her measurement, but additionally as a result of they differ rather a lot in color and sample. This has led to the delivery of “specimen fishing” – going after particular massive or uncommon Carp which can be recognized to reside in an space.

Fancy preventing certainly one of London’s high predators? You’ll find some large Pike swimming about within the Thames. Folks can and do land Pike from the banks, however you want a ship to actually get at them. You can too discover Pike in a number of the bigger lakes and docks in and round London.

Subsequent on the listing, Perch. These guys don’t get large, however they put up an amazing combat on lighter deal with. They dominate London’s canals, and recurrently present up in rivers and docks. Alongside them, you would possibly discover Zander, an invasive species that’s enormous enjoyable to catch. Then there’s Chub, Roach, Tench, Bream, Barbel, Grayling – you’ve obtained loads of choices.

Recreation Fish

It’s not all about coarse fishing, thoughts you. Trout lovers and fly anglers may also have a blast with out leaving city. The very best Trout chew is in specially-stocked lakes just like the one at Walthamstow. Brown and Rainbow Trout each attain good sizes in these personal venues. 

What about wild Trout? We’re glad you requested! As we teased earlier than, there are elements of the Wandle that maintain wild Brown Trout in respectable numbers. The truth is, there are rumours of Sea Trout and even Salmon operating up the Thames, though you’d should be fairly fortunate to really catch one.

Sea Fish

Sea fish swim surprisingly far up the Thames’s tidal waters. At the same time as far upriver at Woolwich, you’re more likely to come throughout Flounder, Mullet, and Eels. By the point you get to Dartford Bridge, you’ll be capable of add Seabass, Whiting, and Codling to the listing.

London’s saltwater species are way more restricted than its freshwater fishing. If you need correct sea angling, you’re significantly better off heading all the way down to Gravesend or Southend. However when you’re fishing out east, don’t be shocked when the odd Flatfish takes your bait.

Fishing by the E-book

Able to get out and reel in some fish? Earlier than you do, there are just a few essential items of paper to select up. There are additionally some essential laws and customary courtesies to keep in mind whilst you’re fishing.

Licences and Permits

The very first thing you’ll want is a rod licence. Extra particularly, you’ll want a Trout and Coarse Rod Licence, which can allow you to tackle all of London’s fish species. You should purchase a one-day licence for £6, which is nice when you’re simply attempting issues out. Nevertheless, a £30 yearly licence is significantly better worth for cash in the long term.

After getting your rod licence, you’ll want permission from whoever manages your chosen fishing venue – usually the council or an angling membership. You’ll find information on most spots right here. Should you’re fishing the canals, it’s also possible to get a waterway wanderers allow, which covers you in all waters managed by the Canal and River Belief.

Fishing Seasons

Virtually executed with the admin, we promise! The very last thing to consider is fishing seasons. Fishing is allowed year-round in most canals and stillwaters, though you must nonetheless test the principles for the precise venue you’re visiting. Should you’re fishing in a river, laws are extra strict, and differ with the fish you’re concentrating on.

Coarse and sport fish have completely different seasons. Coarse fishing is closed from 15 March till 15 June annually. Recreation fishing laws differ from place to put. The season often closes all through autumn and winter, however you’ll must ask your native angling membership for actual dates.

To Maintain or Not To Maintain

Speak to any angler in London and conservation will probably be a high precedence. The town’s fisheries have come a great distance over the previous few a long time, and at the moment are the healthiest they’ve been since earlier than the Industrial Revolution. That is due in no small half to the efforts of volunteers and angling golf equipment.

Crucial rule is to launch fish unhurt. Catch and launch is the secret, each for coarse and sport fishing. Even once you’re allowed to take fish house, it’s very frowned upon by the angling neighborhood. The massive exception right here is invasive species like Zander and Catfish. It’s really unlawful to launch these fish again into the water.

City Angling: Escape the Crowds, Benefit from the Sluggish Lane

Life in London could be a blur of busy streets and lengthy commutes. Fishing is the proper option to escape all that. To actually take issues gradual. You can too be taught a brand new ability or hone your approach. Throw in some wholesome train as you combat the fish, and you actually can’t beat it. 

The very best factor about fishing in London, although, is that you are able to do it just about in all places. The truth is, there’s most likely a spot simply across the nook from you, ready to be found. So what are you ready for? Get on the market and begin exploring!

Have you ever ever tried fishing in London? Are you an everyday city angler? Inform us your tales and share your suggestions within the feedback under – we’d love to listen to from you!

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