What are day ticket fisheries?
Basically day ticket fisheries offer ‘Pay as You Go’ angling on a variety of venues which range from commercial coarse fisheries which are run as out-and-out businesses to farmers who offer anglers the opportunity to fish pools or lakes on their land as an additional source of income to their main farming business. There are also many stillwater trout fisheries although their charging tariffs are different from coarse fishing venues. We will deal with trout fisheries later in this article.
Major commercial day-ticket fisheries can offer a variety of fishing at their venues with a mix of pleasure pools, purpose-built competition match waters, specimen carp lakes and sometimes even trout-only lakes. They often provide car parks, behind-the-peg parking, on-site tackle shops and even cafeterias which provide a range of hot and cold food and drinks.
At the other end of the scale are smaller venues run either as one-man bands or by farmers who, as part of their farm diversification projects, offer fishing on pools, lakes or rivers on their land. Whilst some of these can offer facilities, smaller venues often have few or no facilities.
Wherever you live, the chances are that there is a day-ticket fishery near you. However, wherever you fish in freshwater in England and Wales, if you are over the age of 13 you must take out an Environment Agency Rod Licence – and that includes owners who want to fish lakes, pools and rivers on their own land. For full information about who needs a rod licence, what type of licence you need and how you can buy a rod licence, visit our Guide to Rod Licences. You should also take your rod licence with you when you go fishing and be able to produce it when asked by an authorised person such as an Environment Agency bailiff. The penalties for fishing without a rod licence can be severe and can include having your fishing tackle confiscated and be fined up to £2,500 – so make sure you have one!
What sort of day tickets are available?
The term ‘day ticket’ is a catch-all title which covers fishing for a single day between specified times such as 7.30am until dusk. However, many fisheries break this down even further offering lower rates of payment for fishing in the morning, afternoon and even in some cases for fishing in the evening during summer. Bigger day ticket fisheries which offer specimen fishing for species such as carp often also offer the opportunity to fish overnight, providing nigh tickets, 24-hour tickets, 36-hour tickets and tickets for even longer stays such as a week.
How much do day tickets cost?
Costs vary enormously from one fishery to another but range from as little as £5.00 or £6.00 a day to £10.00 or more. Within individual fisheries there can also be different charges for fishing specific pools depending on the fish stocks they contain. For example, a fishery which charges £7.00 a day for an adult to fish its pleasure pools may also charge £20.00 a day for anglers to fish its Specimen Carp water which holds fish to 30lbs or more.
Many fisheries also charge one rate for adults and lower rates for disabled anglers, children under 16 and anglers aged 65 and over. Another feature is that many fisheries also charge one rate for an adult to fish with one rod but an additional £3.00 for them to fish with two rods.
How do I pay for my day ticket?
Again this varies. Whilst many commercial coarse fisheries require anglers to pay with cash either at the fishing lodge, reception or cafe before starting to fish others allow you to start fishing and pay the bailiff or owner at the lakeside when they do their rounds. However, with the development of new technologies, more and more larger fisheries now accept payment by Debit or Credit card, especially.
Whilst there are a few rural fisheries which still offer an Honesty Box, some of the bigger venues have introduced on-line booking systems where anglers can book their sessions in advance over the Internet, although these still tend to be fisheries which offer specimen fishing on dedicated lakes.
For general purpose fishing it probably pays to go armed with cash and a debit or credit card, particularly if visiting a fishery which has an on-site tackle shop where you may want to stock up on bait and may even be tempted to splash out on an impulse buy of a new bit of kit which catches your eye! Another thing to look out for is that some fisheries require you to use their own feeder pellets, so you may also need to buy a bag or two of these in addition to any extra bait you may need.
What sort of fish can I catch at day ticket fisheries?
Generally speaking, day-ticket coarse fisheries offer a wide range of species from specimen carp and big catfish through to smaller carp, crucians, bream, tench, roach, rudd, pike, perch and even eels and gudgeon. If you are a novice angler it probably pays to head to a venue which offers the full range of pleasure fishing on waters which are considered easy. This will ensure you catch plenty of fish and have an enjoyable day out.
Alternatively, if you are looking to catch a new personal best you need to go to a venue which has the size of fish you are looking to catch. There is no point in fishing for a new personal best weight of 20lbs in a water which contains nothing or few fish over 10lbs.
Day ticket still water trout fisheries
In addition to commercial coarse day ticket fisheries there are a good number of stillwater trout fisheries which offer day tickets. These vary in size from well known large reservoir trout fisheries such as Blagdon, Bewl Water, Draycote and Rutland Water which are operated by water companies to smaller privately owned venues like Avington, Lechlade and Bushyleaze.
The charging policy for these generally tends to be similar and can often be split into charges based on whether you want to return anything you catch to the lake – called ‘catch and release’ – or whether you want to take home the fish you catch. Charges for the latter tend to be based on the number of fish you want to take home. Some fisheries also offer a combination of both so, for example, you could buy a ticket which allows you to take home one fish but carry on fishing and return any further fish to the lake or reservoir.
Other stillwater trout fisheries offer you the option to buy a day ticket which enables you to take home one, two, three or more fish or simply to purchase a catch and release ticket where you put any fish you catch back in the water.
Charges for fishing stillwater trout fisheries are generally more expensive than commercial coarse fishery prices and broadly start at about £15.00 for an all-day catch and release ticket or £20.00 for the right to take home one or two fish. With the latter, the more fish you are allowed to take home the more expensive the ticket. This is because the venue will have to pay to replace anything taken away to maintain fish stocks.
Another area where day-ticket trout fisheries vary from commercial coarse fisheries is that anglers are requested to provide the venue with details of the number and weight of any fish they catch so taken fish can be replaced. It also helps other anglers if you stipulate which type of fly or lure you used and make a note of the weather conditions.
Which day ticket fishery should I head to?
Pick a venue which holds the range and size of fish species you want to catch. There’s no point in going to a water which holds predominantly carp if you want to catch roach or bream. Another thing to bear in mind is the type of fishery you want. If you are looking for a bit of solitude where the surroundings are as important as what you catch there is no point in heading to a popular commercial fishery where the pegs are 15 metres apart and where matches are regularly held.
Depending on where you live, start by searching our Region and Counties section on the Home Page of our website. This is broken down into Regions such as the Midlands, South East, East Midlands etc. Each of these Regions is then further broken down into Counties where details of fisheries in individual counties are given. Alternatively, you can search for venues by name, county, postcode or place in the ‘Where do you want to go?’ panel near the top of the Home Page.
Here’s a few day ticket venues to get you started
Although Fisheries.co.uk gives full details and photographs of more than 120 venues throughout the UK, here are a handful which may get you going…