Sopley Carp Lake
Tel: 01425 672451
or 07587 633111 (mobile)
About 10 acres in size, Sopley Carp Lake is an attractive former gravel pit from which over a million tons of aggregate were extracted in the 1980s and which filled naturally with water once the workings were complete.
From its formation until mid 2012 it was leased exclusively to the Ringwood and District Angling Association but has now been opened as a day and night ticket water offering fishing for some good sized carp to around 30lbs and silver fish in attractive remote surroundings being fringed on every side by woodland. As a result of the change, day ticket fishing is available from 9.00am until 6.00pm May to October whilst Members can fish all year round.
The lake is part of a 180-acre mixed arable, soft fruit and vegetable farm on the edge of the New Forest just outside the tiny village of Sopley near Ringwood. It is within easy reach of Bournemouth, Christchurch, Salisbury and Swindon and about an hour and a half's drive from London.
Served by a large car park, Sopley Carp Lake and has plenty of room for camping. Sopley also has pitches and water points for up to five caravans as well as a Scandanavian-style cabin and Indian-style teepees which are available for hire by anglers and other visitors to the site.
Sopley has always been a popular venue and when the fishing was leased to Ringwood DAA as many as 15 to 20 anglers would often fish it at any one time without the lake appearing crowded. With the exception of one large formal wooden peg all the other pegs are scooped out of the gravel banks and there is plenty of room behind each one for bivvies and tackle.
There is a track around much of the lake although this can become impassable in wet weather. As a result, anglers planning an overnight or longer stay are advised to use a trolley to take their tackle to their pegs.
Although the lake looks very large as you enter the site, it takes only about 20 minutes to walk around the entire water and access to all pegs is fairly easy because the banks around the lake are flat and even and regularly mown.
And talking of walking - for longer stay anglers there are a couple of good pubs which serve food within easy walking distance of the lake - the appropriately named Fisherman's Haunt and The Lamb Inn.
Anglers should pay their angling ticket fees in the Farm Shop which is on the right after you pass Sopley Farm in Derritt Lane. Continue past the entrance to the farm, past the lane which comes in from the right and you will come to the timber Farm Shop on the right a little further down Derritt Lane.
The lake and car park are a short drive through the fruit fields. Directions will be given in the Farm Shop.
Ticket Prices - all anglers
||Fishing 9.00am until 6.00pm (May to October)
||Fishing all year round
Junior anglers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult
Click here for a full list of rules, prices and opening times
Sopley Carp Lake
With commons and mirrors up to at least 30lbs it is not surprising that most of the anglers who have fished Sopley are out and out carp boys, but with some good shoals of bream including individual fish to 7lbs plus plenty of decent sized roach to 2lbs 8oz and rudd to 1lb 8oz there's a lot more to the lake than just carp.
Add in tench which are regularly caught around the 4lb mark and golden orfe to 2lbs 8oz, Sopley Carp Lake offers plenty of opportunties for both specimen and pleasure anglers.
There is no doubt that Sopley is well stocked with carp. In warmer weather they can be seen massing just under the surface virtually all around the lake. The average size of the mirrors and commons is between 8lbs and 10lbs and one of the features of Sopley is that the young commons have a reputation for being real fighters.
However, it is the bigger fish which most anglers target with the largest to have come out in 2011 tipping the scales at 27lbs exactly.
The lake has banks which slope gradually from the sides to a bottom which has several gravel bars, the tops of which are about four feet under the surface.
The deepest water can be found at the car park end of the lake and off the right hand banks where up to 13 feet of water can be found, the bottom then rises gradually to the far end of the lake where depths fluctuate between about four and six feet. The bottom also rises fairly steeply around the island where depths are generally only about a couple of feet.
Several gravel bars can be found running out from the area near the yurts towards the island and another couple running out from the left hand bank towards the island.
Not surprisingly these areas are favoured by the carp anglers, making the pegs along the right hand bank from the car park amongst the most popular on the lake, particularly the wooden staging peg. Having said that, good sport can be had all around the water including in the shallower water towards the top end of the lake.
Nearly all the carp anglers use modern carping techniques and baits with fishmeal boilies and hard fishmeal pellets fished on a hair rig being very popular. At the same time, baits such as luncheon meat and sweetcorn, again fished on a hair rig, also produce good results.
Most carp anglers fish a minimum line strength of 12lbs, although because there is plenty of open water lighter tackle can be used by those prepared to play the fish for longer.
Pleasure anglers after the and silver fish and smaller carp are advised to fish a waggler or feeder as several anglers who have fished the pole have been broken or had their tackle damaged when they have hooked into bigger fish.
Fishing the deeper water can again be very productive, particularly for the bigger bream which can be lured into the swim by a couple of decent sized balls of groundbait containing mixed offerings and then feeding little and often with samples of hookbait.
When fishing this technique the roach tend to be the first on the bait but give it an hour or so of regularly feeding the swim and the bream should move in and push the roach out.
Good baits for the silver fish include sweetcorn, maggot or worm fished on a Size 16 or 14 hook.
How to get there...
Sopley Carp Lake can be found just off the B3347 outside the tiny village of Sopley near Ringwood
Anglers travelling from the east on the M3 should follow it to the end and join the M27. At the end of the M27 continue onto the A31 for Ringwood and Bournemouth and at Ringwood carry straight on until you pick up the signs for the B3347. Take this road and at the roundabout take the second exit onto Christchurch Road. After about five miles bear left into Salisbury Road and Derritt Lane is the next on the left. You will see Sopley Farm a short drive down here on the right opposite the Owls Barn. Continue past the farm entrance and the lane which comes in from the right and you will come to the Farm Shop where you should purchase your ticket before fishing. Directions to the lake will be given in the Farm Shop.
If travelling from the Midlands, make your way to Ringwood to the south of Salisbury and Andover and in Ringwood follow the signs for the B3347. Follow the directions above to the Farm Shop.
Click on the map for a larger version.
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