At a third of an acre in size and with 16 pegs and a central island, Poplars is the first pool you come to on entering Hampton Springs Fishery and proved so popular that it was extened about four years ago.
Ideal for pleasure anglers and rarely used for matches, the pool averages between four and six feet deep and has fairly steep sides to the bottom. Because it is shallow it is ideal for pole or waggler fishing although some anglers also use the feeder.
Poplars is stocked with a range of fish including common and mirror carp to 12lbs but averaging about 4lbs, tench to 2lbs, chub to a similar size and roach and rudd to about 1lb.
Although many anglers fish close to the island, which can be reached from most pegs, this water fishes well close in or by the lily pads with fewer fish being taken in open water.
Because of the size of the fish it tends to pay to fish fairly light with maggots, sweetcorn, luncheon meat and caster being the most popular baits.
An advantage of Poplars is that it is sheltered from the wind even in winter by the trees behind the far bank.
Two acres in size and with 25 well-spaced pegs, Alice Springs is widely regarded as one of the best mixed fishery lakes in the North West, offering a wide variety of species from roach and rudd to common, mirror and the occasional ghost carp to over 20lbs.
There are also green and golden tench to 4lbs, bream to a similar size, crucian carp and chub to 2lbs and some cracking perch which are known to run to about 4lbs with a specimen which weighed 3lbs 12oz being caught in a Shropshire Winter League match at the venue.
Slightly deeper than Poplars at between four and eight feet deep, the banks are steeply shelved around the sides but more contoured round the islands where a two-to-three feet deep shelf runs out about seven to eight feet. The deepest water is to be found in a 'circuit' which runs about 15 feet out from the bank around and between the islands.
However, although most people would expect this to be good for catching fish, particularly in winter, this is not generally the case with the better catches being taken either from the shelves around the islands or within a rod or two out from the bank.
Because Alice Springs is quite a large water with the islands often being out of reach for pole anglers, swimfeeders are popular for those fishing the island swims with pellet feeders working well.
As a general rule, though, Alice Springs is popular with pole and waggler anglers alike with sweetcorn, luncheon meat, pellets, worm and maggots usually being the most favoured baits.
Anglers after the bigger carp tend towards corn and meat using a decent sized bait on a Size 10 hook and 6lb to 8lb line strength.
Rock and Oasis Pools
Together with Meadows and Long Island, Rock Pool was developed as one of Hampton Springs' main match waters, whilst the half-acre 15-peg Oasis Pool is stocked with nothing over 6lbs. Being between four and six feet deep, Oasis is classed as an ideal beginners and match practice water.
At two-and-a-half acres in size and with 31 pegs, Rock Pool is a good carp water with plenty of good sized match carp to 15lbs which can bump up weights quite considerably.
However, the main stock in Rock are the chub, barbel, tench, bream, roach and rudd plus a large number of crucian carp between 10oz and 1lb 8oz which give a lively scrap when hooked and are a pleasure to catch. Indeed, a lot of matches are won with bags comprising large numbers of crucians, often taken from close in. The match record is currently an impressive 213lbs.
Rock is propbably most famous for some of the big perch it holds with specimens running to just over 4lbs. The biggest fish to come out so far was taken in December 2011 during a Tuesday Open Match by Linda Cooke, the former England Ladies team member, whose fish tipped the scales at 4lbs 2oz.
Rock Pool is between four and six feet deep with the occasional hole down to about seven feet. Although the islands are out of reach for many of the pegs, it is a popular pole and feeder water in competitions with pleasure anglers also favouring the waggler.
Generally used for matches at weekends or when Meadow and Long Island are booked, Rock Pool is also used for Hampton Springs' Sunday Open Matches in summer. A notice board with all the forthcoming fixtures is posted at the fishery so anglers wanting to fish this water can plan accordingly. Alternatively, all Hampton Springs match fixtures are featured on their website at hamptonsprings.co.uk.
Again, Rock Pool has a fairly even bottom although the banks on the islands are much steeper than on the other pools.
Oasis Pool is stocked with nothing smaller than 4oz and holds a good head of silver fish with plenty of chub, skimmers, barbel to about 6lbs and common and mirror carp to just under double figures. It also offers heads of crucian carp and green and golden tench.
Due to the large numbers of silver fish, maggots are probably the most favoured bait followed by luncheon meat, sweetcorn and pellets.
Long and thin with islands down the centre, Meadows Pool offers 30 pegs and is stocked with a similar range of fish as Rock Pool although the tench and barbel go larger to about 7lbs for the barbel 4lbs for the tench. The chub run to 2lbs.
Meadows is a mainly pole and feeder water with the feeder being used predominantly by those anglers wanting to reach the island swims which are just out of reach of most poles. This makes for interesting matches with the feeder standing as much chance of winning as does the pole.
Generally Meadows is between four and six feet deep although there are holes between the two islands at the far end of the lake where about seven feet of water can be found.
When it comes to baits, maggots, corn, casters, worm and pellets again all produce.
Pleasure anglers favouring the waggler are advised to fish to the islands if they can reach them comfortably or fish within one or two rod lengths of the bank. Fishing the margins in the late afternoon can also be very productive.
Because of the bridge which leads to a long thin island, the two-and-a-half acre Long Island pool can cater for up to 50 anglers and is a popular match and pleasure water with plenty of tench to 3lbs and the occasional carp to double figures.
Add to this a good head of chub and barbel to 4lbs, plus crucian carp to 1lb 8oz and there is plenty to go at for pole, waggler and feeder anglers.
Like the other Hampton Springs waters, Long Island is generally between four and six feet in depth but has fairly steeply shelving banks to accommodate keepnets during matches although the pegs which overlook the narrow strip of water between the island and the bank drop straight to the bottom.
However, although it is not particularly uniform as are many match waters these days, as with the other Hampton Springs waters there are no particular hot spots and matches can be won from anywhere around the lake.
Again, the usual mix of sweetcorn, luncheon meat, pellets, maggots and worm are generally the most popular baits although bread can be very effective when fished on the bottom, particularly for the larger carp.
Once more this is a water where you don't have to fish at a distance in order to catch and although casting a feeder to the islands usually produces good result many anglers prefer to fish a couple of rod lengths out or less.
In summer, pleasure anglers can do well fishing close in later in the day whilst those fishing the bottom are advised to feed little and regularly to bring the fish on and keep them in their swim.
At three acres is size and the furthest from the entrance to the fishery, Folly Lake is Hampton Springs' big carp water. As well as becoming increasingly popular with carp anglers it also appeals to those seeking a bit of seclusion from other anglers.
Offering some 15 pegs, this is a peat lake where the carp go to nearly 30lbs with a decent number of fish over 20lbs.
Although it was developed as a specimen carp lake, Folly holds a small head of big chub to 6lbs 8oz with many between 2lbs and 4lbs. These fish were introduced to keep a check on the small fry. The water also holds some barbel which run to an impressive 11lbs 8oz and which provide a great fight when hooked.
Because boilies are not allowed, Folly Lake is a popular swim feeder and method feeder water although waggler anglers can also do well. However, as Folly becomes more popular with carp anglers both modern and traditional carping techniques are also proving effective.
Unusually for a carp water, fishing the margins does not tend to do well except when the pool is busy, making it worthwhile getting out into open water or onto the shelves around the two islands if you can reach them.
Whichever technique you use it pays to fish at a distance and to feed regularly with particles and samples of hook bait to keep the fish interested. Only Hampton Springs' own feeder pellets should be used. These come in three sizes - micro, 4mm and 6mm.
As you would expect from a water holding a good head of decent sized fish, the usual mix of baits all work well with pellets, meats of various types and flavours, sweetcorn and bread fished on the bottom all very popular. Anglers should note that floating baits such as breadcrust or floating pellets are not allowed. Also, cat and dog food are not allowed.
Willows Match Lake
The 35-peg Willows Match Lake at Hampton Springs is stocked with mirror and common carp to 5lbs but averaging about 2lbs, chub to 2lbs, barbel to 5lbs, bream 3lbs, tench around the 1lb to 1lb 8oz mark and a few crucian carp to about 1lb. There are a few roach but no rudd in the water.
With a bridge to the far side of the water and several islands along its length, Willows is between four and six feet deep and has a two-foot deep shelf around the islands, which are 14 metres from the banks.
The nearside bank has a three-feet deep shelf which runs about two feet out into the water and all the banks have been planted with reeds and irises to provide cover for anglers.
Matches tend to be won fishing the pole with caster, chopped worm, sweetcorn and luncheon meat proving to be popular baits when fished in conjunction with Hampton Springs' own coarse fish feeder pellets. Most anglers fish up to the island or close in the margins, although some good bags have been taken by fishing mid water in the channel.
How to get there...
If travelling south on the M6, leave the motorway at Junction 20A and take the M56 towards Chester. Leave the M56 at Junction 10 and take the A49 south towards Whitchurch. Five miles before Whitchurch look out for the signs for Cholmondeley Castle, taking a right turn opposite the Cholmondeley Arms pub. Follow this road for about a mile and take the second left turning opposite the back gates to the castle. After a mile to a mile-and-a-half on this country road you will see the fishery entrance on the left.
Travelling north on the M6, leave the motorway at Junction 10A taking the M54 towards Shrewsbury. Leave the M54 at Junction 3 and take the A41 north towards Whitchurch. Follow the A41 until you are about five miles north of Whitchurch, near Hampton Heath. You should now start to look for the brown tourist signs which will direct you to the fishery, about a mile off the A41.
If coming from Liverpool or the Wirral, after Chester take the A41 south towards Whitchurch and after about 14 miles look out for the brown tourist signs after Hampton Heath.
Click on the map for more detail.
|Hampton Springs on the NetAnglers can keep up to date with developments at Hampton Springs by visiting the fishery's own website at hamptonsprings.co.uk for details of match results, forthcoming events, rules and much more.|
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