Furnace Lakes' 91lbs British record catfishFurnace Lakes Fishery

Guildford Road
West Sussex
RH13 0QZ

Tel: 01403 791163

In response to anglers' requests, Furnace Lakes has opened a small new on-site tackle shop. 'The Cabin' specialises in the sale of angling and camping accessories and baits.

Please note: Anglers cannot pre-book or reserve swims on any of the lakes at this venue

Furnace Lake Estate is a six-lake fishery set in scenic Sussex countryside which is widely regarded as one of the top big carp and catfish venues in the UK. In 2007 it took the title for home of the biggest British catfish when a new rod-caught record was set from the venue at 91lbs.

The Furnace Lakes record carp - 48lbs 7ozProtected round the clock by a high-tech security system which ensures the safety of anglers, their vehicles and their equipment, Furnace Lakes closes its gates at dark and re-opens at 6.00am.

There are five specimen lakes, four of which contain carp to over 40lbs. In addition, several lodges and toilets are strategically located close to the lakes. Each of the toilets has washing facilities with hot and cold water whilst the lodges are equipped with a kettle, microwave and hot and cold water. The new Plantation Lake also has its own lodge and toilet. Although there is no electricity to this lodge it is equipped with a gas cooker and a gas fridge.

The quad bikes and trailersTo make it easier for anglers to transport tackle to their pegs, the fishery operates four quad bikes and trailers. This service, which is offered at no additional charge, starts at 8.00am each morning and is designed for anglers who are fishing for a minimum of 24 hours. It is not available for dawn-to-dusk day ticket anglers.

To ensure anglers can make the most of their sessions at Furnace Lake, three full-time bailiffs are available to offer advice and assistance and to bring visitors up to speed about latest catches as well as current baits and techniques.

A popular venue with anglers from as far afield as Lancashire and Yorkshire, Furnace Lakes Fishery has been developed on an historic site where iron masters of the 15th and 16th Centuries made cannon and cannon balls for the navies of Tudor kings and queens including Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth I.

Furnace Lake - a great mixed fisheryThe fishery and surrounding land originally formed part of the much larger Hyes Estate which was once owned by the W H Smith retail chain and used as a trout fishing and shooting estate.

Indeed, Furnace Pond, the lake immediately on the left as you enter the fishery, dates back more than 350 years and was the original water at Furnace Lakes. Until the site was bought by the present owners some 25 years ago, the lake was run as a private trout fishery.

Specimen Lake at Furnace Lakes FisheryThere is plenty of room for anglers although the lakes can become busy during weekends in summer.

The emphasis is on providing high quality fishing in an attractive and quiet environment, and with carp to a minimum of 20lbs in all of the lakes, plus good heads of mixed fish in the non-carp specimen lakes, Furnace Lakes is a venue which ranks amongst the best in the country for pleasure and specimen fishing.

Some Furnace summer beasties!
A nice 58lb Fat Cat from Peg 2 on Roman LakeGetting stuck in at Furnace Lakes!A nice common from the new Plantation Lake

2014 Ticket costs

Roman, Specimen, Kiln and Plantation Lakes
(No juniors, visitors or spectators under 16 allowed)

Day ticket
24-hour ticket
Each additional 24 hours
All anglers
(three rods max)
(three rods max)
(three rods max)

Furnace Lake and Furnace Pond
(All juniors 12 years and under must be accompanied by an adult)

Day ticket (6.00am - dusk)
24-hour ticket
Each additional
24 hours
All anglers
£10.00 for one rod or
£15.00 for up to three rods
(three rods max)
(three rods max)

Juniors under 12 must be accompanied by an adult
Click here to see the Furnace Lakes rules

Plantation Lake - carp to nearly 50lbsPlantation Lake

The sixth and latest water at Furnace Lakes is a six-acre specimen carp water which has been developed specifically to meet the growing demand for big carp fishing at the venue.

With many outstanding features including a total of nine islands, several plateaux and deep holes and plenty of bankside vegetation, reed beds and lily pads, Plantation Lake offers a total of 20 woodchip pegs.

Lily pads on Plantation LakeThe new lake is equipped with its own fishing lodge which has a gas cooker and fridge plus a sink with hot and cold water. A newly constructed toilet again has its own hot and cold water.

Not surprisingly, Plantation Lake has been stocked with little consideration for expense with 160 genuine English carp. These are split 50:50 between mirrors and commons with nine of the fish weighing over 40lbs; 34 weighing 30lbs or more; 80 weighing between 20lbs and 30lbs and the remainder being in the mid to upper doubles.

They don't come much better than this! - a Plantation carp at 39lbsThe two largest fish banked to date have been a 48lbs 7oz common and a 44lbs 9oz mirror whilst 2011 is expected to see the venue's first 50lb fish come to the net.

Anglers should also go equipped with tackle which is up to the job, including a large landing net and good quality unhooking mat.

Anglers should note that no juniors, visitors or spectators under the age of 16 are allowed on this lake because of the size and quality of fish.

Roman Lake - carp to nearly 50lbsRoman Lake

Named after Stane Street, the Dorking to Chichester Roman Road which runs through the Furnace Lakes site, Roman Lake holds 50 double figure carp, 140 carp between 22lbs and 30lbs, 17 between 30lbs and 39lbs and four over 40lbs, the biggest being a 49lb 2oz mirror.

Although four acres in size, there are only 14 purpose-built pegs on Roman Lake, whilst the lack of corner pegs and a central island in the shape of a dog's bone ensures no swim will be invaded by a neighbouring angler. An abundance of lily pads and margin grown gives plenty of cover for anglers as well as plenty of features to fish to.

A beautiful 42lbs Roman Lake mirrorRoman Lake holds at least 11 large catfish which run well over 50lbs including the 91lb specimen which holds the British Origin Record.

Once hooked, these catfish tend to make an initial run after which they lie dormant on the bottom of the lake before making another run. This behaviour leads many anglers thinking that after the initial run they have lost the fish and become snagged on the bottom.

A beautiful Roman Lake carpTrying to move a 90lb deadweight usually has only one result - a snapped line and a quality fish with a hook in its mouth until it can disgorge it itself. As a result, it pays to be patient when playing these fish if you want to get it onto the bank.

Whilst anglers fishing for the carp can usually get away with using 10lbs to 12lbs line, a minimim line strength of 15lbs is recommended when going for the catfish.

Those targeting them should also head for the deeper water in the centre of the lake, and again they should once again go equipped with suitable tackle.

Roman Lake - carp to nearly 50lbsBecause many anglers don't - and because they become impatient once they have hooked a decent specimen - on average only about one in every 10 hooked catfish is landed.

Roman Lake varies in depth from between two and four metres and has a gradually sloping bottom. This makes plumbing the depth essential for those looking for the deeper spots. Once found, accurate casting is required to ensure your bait hits the same spot every time.

Roman Lake - fish to the island or liliesAs one would expect with a fairly large water holding a good head of carp, all traditional and modern techniques work well although popped-up natural or imitation sweetcorn and boilies presented on a hair rig works particularly well.

Anglers going for the catfish tend to use meat-based baits, either large cubes of luncheon meat or meat-based pastes. Whichever baits are used, they seem to work best when fished over a bed of particles.

Unusually for a carp fishery, Roman Lake tends to yield few fish from the surface with anglers fishing to the island or lily pads getting the best results. The margins, which are heavily weeded, are also particularly productive particularly at night when the bankside is quiet.

The fishing lodge which serves Roman and Kiln lakesRoman Lake has its own fishing lodge equipped with hot and cold water where anglers can make drinks and prepare their own food using the microwave. The lake also has its own toilets, again with hot and cold water.

Access around Roman Lake is good with 800 tons of road plainings laid at the beginning of 2003 to create solid well-drained paths around the whole of the lake.

Large landing nets and unhooking mats are essential, with the fishery recommending a minimum of 42-inch net for anglers fishing Roman Lake and Specimen Lake.

Anglers should note that no juniors, visitors or spectators under the age of 16 are allowed on this lake because of the size and quality of fish.

Specimen Lake - Three acres in sizeSpecimen Lake

At three acres in size but with only eight purpose-built pegs, Specimen Lake again has a central island and a similar stamp of fish to Roman Lake although the concentrations are not as high in this water with 90 double figure fish, about 20 between 20lbs and 30lbs and at least seven over 30lbs. Over half the stock in this lake are common carp.

The biggest fish to have been caught so far was a 42lbs 10oz mirror.

More mirrors than commonsOne of the main differences between Specimen Lake and Roman Lake is that there are no catfish in Specimen Lake and the carp can be taken off the top quite readily virtually throughout the day.

Night fishing the margins is particularly popular. Although there are fair numbers of perch to 3lbs in this water, they have really only been retained to keep down the carp fry and few anglers bother to fish for them - although a 3lb perch is a fine fish!

In addition, there are more mirror carp than commons in Specimen and because the water holds fewer anglers, the fishing seems to be more productive.

A nice 29lb 12oz Specimen Lake mirrorHere again the depths vary, this time from a metre in the margins to about three metres in the deepest part of the lake and once more the water has a shelving bottom.

Baits and techniques for fishing this lake are much the same as those for Roman Lake with both modern and traditional methods working well. However, because good quality fish can be taken off the surface, dog biscuits, bread crust and floating pellets are popular baits, particularly at night.

Anglers should once again note that juniors, visitors and spectators under 16 are now allowed on this water for any reason.

Three rods are popular on Furnace Lake's Kiln Lake Kiln Lake

Stocked with more than 150 common and mirror carp, 100 of them over 20lbs, a further 30 over 30lbs of which many are in the high 30s, four over 40lbs and a Mirror which now weighs over 53lbs, the four-and-a-half acre Kiln Lake opened for angling in 2004.

The remainder of the stock are nearly all double figure fish with few fish under 10lbs.

One good reason for fishing the new Kiln Specimen Lake at Furnace Lakes FisheryVarying slightly in depth from six to nine feet all over the lake, it pays to plumb the depth if you want to be precise and find the deeper holes, although so far most anglers have tended to fish to one of the eight islands or the gullies in between where they have seen the fish patrolling.

Designed specifically for specimen carp anglers, many of whom stay for three or more days on the lake, Kiln has 18 double-sized purpose-built wood chip pegs.

Woodlands back onto Furnace Lake's Kiln LakeFish will take most baits with Activate, Squid and Octopus, and Tiger Nut flavoured boilies proving successful whilst several big fish fell to rubber sweetcorn. It is also work trying old favourites such as luncheon and other flavoured meats, coloured and flavoured sweetcorn and larger pellet baits.

In the warmer weather fish are also being taken off the surface, so anglers fishing in the summer months should go equipped with floating pellets, dog biscuits and even the traditional loaf of unsliced bread.

Anglers should note that no juniors, visitors or spectators under the age of 16 are allowed on this lake because of the size and quality of fish.

Furnace Lake - very heavily stockedFurnace Lake

By far the largest of the Furnace Lakes Fishery waters, Furnace Lake is six acres in size and has enough room for more than 40 anglers on well-spaced and varied pegs which offer a choice of angling from big carp fishing to going for bream and tench to 6lbs, roach and rudd to 2lbs, pike to over 30lbs which few anglers tend to fish for and perch to 3lbs.

Indeed, in the 1930s, Furnace Lake held the British Rod Caught Record for perch with a fish just over 3lbs.

Furnace Lake holds some great fish!The water is very heavily stocked with several hundred carp in the 10lbs to 20lbs range, about 20 between 20lbs and 30lbs and at least a half a dozen known to top 30lbs - the largest recent fish to be caught being a 38lb 9oz mirror.

In addition to using traditional and modern carp fishing methods, the bankside vegetation around Furnace Lake and the beds of lilies make this lake a popular and productive stalking lake.

Furnace Lake - suitable for all anglersVarying in depth from 10 feet at the deep end and five feet at the far end from the entrance, Furnace Lake has bottom which shallows gradually and a gulley which runs down the centre of the lake.

Surrounded by trees and with plenty of lilies and margin growth, this is a very attractive water for anglers of all disciplines and, despite its size, is particularly popular with carp anglers.

Another fine Furnace Lake carpThere are purpose-built bivvie swims down one side of the lake which are large enough for anglers to double up, making Furnace Lake popular with night anglers.

Anglers fishing for the roach and rudd use either the pole or waggler with a single red maggot working well, although expanded pellets, chopped worm, sweetcorn and paste baits are also popular and can be fished over a bed of coarse fish pellets as an alternative to breadcrumb.

These baits also work well for the tench, again especially when fished over a bed of groundbait or feeder pellets.

Single maggot works wellOne of the best methods of fishing is to use an open feeder and single red maggot hook bait fished over crumb. This technique has been responsible for some big catches of crucian carp and bream over the years.

This all makes for Furnace Lake being a popular water with pleasure anglers who want to catch plenty of fish, the most productive times being in the afternoons and evenings and any time from late morning onwards in summer, all of which regularly produce 100lb-plus bags of fish.

Furnace Pond - fish are easy to catch - Furnace Pond

About two-and-a-half acres in size, Furnace Pond incorporates two small islands and is one of those waters where, although it holds some big fish with the Pond record standing at 28lbs 6oz, even the novice angler can expect to catch well.

Stocked with carp to just under 30lbs, the majority in the 5lb to 12lb range with at least a half a dozen which run to more than 20lbs, the water also holds tench to 6lbs, crucian carp, roach and rudd to 2lbs, perch to 3lbs and a large number of skimmer bream to 2lbs with the odd fish running to 4lbs.

A regular haunt for night fishingPopular in summer with younger anglers as it is almost impossible to blank, Furnace Pond is also a regular haunt with many anglers for night fishing.

Although the lake has an even flat bottom and is only about four feet deep, one of the more popular methods of fishing it is either with the feeder, particularly in winter, and on the surface in summer with dog biscuits, chum mixer, bread crust and large floating pellets.

Furnace Pond - Match weights from 50lbs to 100lbsIndeed, when Furnace Pond is used for matches winning weights usually come in between 50lbs and 100lbs - normally taken on the feeder - whilst even in winter more than 25lbs is needed to get a top ranking position.

Pleasure anglers who like to float fish usually use maggots, corn in summer, luncheon meat or casters fished over either groundbait or coarse fish pellets. Again, fishing either close in, to the weed beds or to one of the island usually tend to be most productive.

Visit Furnace Lakes on the Net

Furnace Lakes has a new fishery website where anglers can post photographs of their catches. To be found at, it includes full details of the tackle shop, information on each of the lakes and details of the fishery's rules.

Furnace Lakes is also on facebook - to see their page click on the Facebook logo below


How to get there...

Map of how to get to Furnace Lakes Fishery

From Guildford follow the A281 and signs for Horsham. Continue on the A281 for about 12 miles until you come to Bucks Green. The entrance to Furnace Lakes is about two miles further along the A281 on the left hand side.

Go back to Fisheries homepage