Chester Lakes Fishery
Seven lakes offering day and night fishing in more than 100 acres of Cheshire countryside
Key facts about Chester Lakes Fishery
Opened for angling just over three years ago and the culmination of six years’ work, Chester Lakes Fishery currently comprises six day ticket lakes and a syndicate specimen lake which is open to two non-members at a time. Although only three miles from the centre of Chester, Chester Lakes is set in a delightful 65-acre rural setting with its own on-site cafe, toilets with washing facilities and a large caravan/camping park with hard standings. Each of the hard standings has its own electric and water point and the site has a central a waste disposal area.
Great family venue
New for 2012 were BBQ House Pods which were specially built for Chester Lakes and which are ideal for fishing retreats, family get togethers or a romantic break. The pods have a central BBQ and chimney and seating up to 11 people. Throughout the Chester Lakes site there are hard roadways which make most of the venue suitable for disabled anglers and whilst three of the four existing pleasure lakes are what can only be described as exposed, a great deal of bankside tree and shrub planting is being carried out to soften the landscape including the planting of more than 2,500 birch, laurel, oak and beech trees. In addition, thousands of spring bulbs have been planted.
Great food and tackle shop
The anglers cafe (left) is open from 7.00am seven days a week and serves a wide range of hot and cold food, snacks and drinks including All Day breakfasts, filled jacket potatoes, hot baguettes, sandwiches and even porridge and oak smoked kipper fillets. The cafe can be contacted on 07789 515013.
Next to the cafe is a small but expanding tackle shop which sells a range of tinned and packet baits, hooks, floats, weights, line and other accessories. The shop also has a full range of fishing tackle available for hire whilst bigger items such as chairs, poles, rods, clothing and other accessories can be ordered in the shop for delivery in three working days. The three main pleasure lakes are located next to each other just a short walk from the cafe and are stocked with similar ratios and sizes of silver fish and carp to 16lbs. These waters have between 22 and 26 pegs per pool.
A fourth pool, Wood Pool is the furthest water from the cafe and can be found – as its name suggests – on the edge of the wood at the end of the track which runs past the three main lakes. Although Wood Pool is smaller than three other waters with only 10 pegs it is an interesting little pool with plenty of charm and character and well worth a visit. The fishery has its own dedicated campsite situated away from the lakes and anglers can also camp around the bankside. All the lakes are illuminated at night and there are several electric hook-ups around each water so anglers in tents and bivvies can have access to electricity.
Night fishing is allowed on all Chester Lakes waters for both night anglers and those with tents and caravans and there are picnic benches at various points throughout the site making it ideal for anglers and their families to have a day out together by the bankside. The new four-acre Dodleston day ticket lake is a purpose-built specimen water that has been stocked with double figure carp to 25lbs. With only eight pegs, this opened early in 2012.
Meanwhile, Chester Lakes manager Dave Artell, an accomplished specimen and match angler, has negotiated to make two pegs available for day ticket anglers on the venue’s 30-year-old seven acre main syndicate specimen lake. This water is stocked with carp to over 30lbs, bream to 15lbs, tench to 10lb and some huge eels which have been caught to over 6lbs. Anglers interested in fishing the syndicate lake on a 24-hour ticket are asked to phone Dave on 07892 924369.
At half an acre in size with a central island and 15 pegs, the rectangular shaped Eccleston Lake is the nearest water to the cafe and car park at Chester Lakes Fishery. The lake is deepest off the right hand bank as you approach it from the cafe where 11 feet of water can be found between the bank and the island. It is also deep between the left hand bank and the island where the bottom is 10 feet deep. The remainder of the pool is about seven feet deep
With no particular hot spots, Eccleston has a two feet wide shelf about a foot deep all the way round the edge which has been planted with lilies, irises and other waterside plants. It holds some 12,500 fish with carp being the predominant species. These include common and mirror carp to 16lbs with the average size being between 4lbs and 5lbs. The lake is also stocked with roach and rudd between 8oz and 10oz; perch to about 1lb; skimmer bream to 1lb and thousands of small tench about six inches in length.
Sweetcorn, soft hooker pellets, meat and paste are all good baits for the carp on Eccleston, particularly when fished up in the water no more than two feet deep. Unless you are going after the double figure carp it pays to fish light with nothing stronger than a 3lb line and 16 or 18 hook. Best bait for the roach and rudd tends to be caster whilst sweetcorn, worm, meat and pellet are good for the tench. As is to be expected, worm and maggot are best for the perch with bread, sweetcorn, small pieces of worm, meat, caster and maggot all good for the skimmers.
At about an acre in size, Aldford Lake is the middle of the three main pleasure/match waters at Cheshire Lakes and is the venue’s main competition water. With 26 well-spaced pegs the pool has banks which drop at 45 degrees to its maximum depth of 12 feet in the centre. The water off the bank nearest the cafe runs between five and seven feet deep whilst up to eight feet of water can be found in the bay on the far left of the water.
Charlie’s Pool is predominantly silver fishAlford has been stocked with 14,500 fish which include common and mirror carp to 16lbs but averaging between 2lbs and 3lbs; roach and skimmers to 1lb; rudd and perch to 8oz and thousands of small tench which once again were stocked at about six inches.
Because Alford is Chester Lakes main match water, most anglers fish it with the pole using quarter inch cubes of luncheon meat or sweetcorn as bait. Once again, unless going for the bigger carp, it pays to fish light with nothing bigger than a Size 16s hook to 3lbs line. Alford is also the venue for Chester Lakes’ Sunday Open Matches, which are bookable through Dave Artell. The cost for fishing these is £5.00 per peg with optional pools available. The draw is taken at 9.00am in the office next to the pool and fishing is from 10.00am until 3.00pm.
Once again there are no particular hot spots on Alford and the secret tends to be to attract the fish into your swim with samples of hook bait and then keep them there by feeding little and often.
The furthest of the three main waters from the cafe, Pulford Lake is again about an acre in size but unlike the other two tends to be an out and out waggler water with a method or cage feeder useful for getting to the deep 12 foot water along the centre of the lake or for fishing the bottom which tends to average between nine and 10 feet wherever you fish.
The fish in Pulford are again the same species and general stamp as in the other two main waters, although the carp are growing faster and bigger than in the other two because of the large amount of oxygenating weed which is present. One of the advantages of Pulford is that the lake is currently heavily overstocked because it is being used as a holding water for the new pools which are being created. These surplus fish will be thinned out late in 2011 to reduce the competition for food.
Most popular baits on Pulford tend to be sweetcorn and corn skins – a piece of sweetcorn with the soft insides squeezed out; paste baits and soft hooker pellets. All baits are best fished fairly shallow with regular feeds of feeder pellets being thrown in over the float to bring the fish up in the water.
The water furthest away from the cafe and main car park, Wood Pool is basically horseshoe shaped running around a central promontory which makes for an interestingly irregular shaped pool with plenty of reeds and marginal grasses, open swims and bags of character. Stocked with more than 5,500 fish it is regarded as an easy water to fish.
With 10 pegs, it is deepest in the bay immediately to the left of the entrance where, surprisingly, there is just over 20 feet of water. However, halfway along this left hand bank the bottom shallows rapidly to six feet and then to five feet as it rounds the corner to the right hand side of the island.
Wood Pool is stocked predominantly with roach to 1lb, bream to 2lbs, skimmers and some common, mirror and ghost carp well into double figures with the average fish being between 3lbs and 4lbs. Being fairly shallow, Wood Pool is predominantly and pole and waggler water with most anglers opting to fish the margins where there is a two foot wide shelf between a foot to 18 inches deep before the banks drop straight to a flat and even bottom. Another favourite is to fish out to the rushes from the far end of the island.
Most commonly used baits for fishing Wood Pool include sweetcorn, soft hooker pellets, meats – especially Celebrity luncheon meat – and maggots, although maggots have the unwelcome habit of attracting the smaller fish. The most popular baits with those after the carp tend to be sweetcorn and luncheon meat. As the fish tend to be up in the water during warm weather and on the bottom when it is cold it pays to vary your depth until you find the fish.
Although about an acre and a half in size, the kidney-shaped Dodleston Lake has only eight pegs and is stocked with 300 fish comprising common carp to 20lbs and averaging between 12lbs and 16lbs; mirror carp to 25lbs and again averaging between 12lbs and 16lbs; and leathers around the 10lb mark. It was dug in 2009 and allowed to settle before being stocked in February 2012.
Cars can be parked behind each of the pegs, which are equipped with an electric connection point and light, and fishing is available on a day ticket basis at £15.00 or at £20.00 for 24 hours. Although demand is such that anglers need to book if they want to fish at weekends, during the week they can normally just turn up and fish.
The biggest fish to have been caught by the end of July 2012 was a 24lb 2oz mirror, taken from Peg 1 near the marquee. Also, during a single night session, one angler had a total of 13 fish. Dodleston Lake has a sand bar about a foot under the surface which runs along the spine of the lake whilst at its deepest up to 12 feet can be found at the cafe end. The bottom then rises gradually to just two feet at the far end of the lake.
Most anglers fishing Dodleston work either the sand bar or the margins and whilst surface baits are not allowed a zig rig enables anglers to fish up in the water with pop-up baits including boilies, five pieces of sweetcorn, maggots or large chunks of meat. Fishing the shallow water at the far end in warmer weather is also productive although ledgering in the deep water has not yet yielded results.
To be found just past Wood Pool, the new Island Pool is unusual in it has only three pegs, one on each of the islands, which can be booked for 24-hour sessions for £30.00 including the price of fishing and camping for a family of four. Each of these grass ‘super pegs’ is accessed by a causeway and has a light, electric point and rubbish bin.
Six feet deep throughout with banks which drop at 45 degrees, Island pool is stocked with a mix of carp and silver fish including common, mirror, leather and ghost carp around 2lbs; bream to 8oz; tench, roach and rudd between 2oz and 6oz, perch to a similar size and four inch chub and barrel. Although most anglers fish Island Pool on the pole it is also an easy waggler water as the fish cruise all over and readily take maggots, casters, soft hooker pellets, worm and bread.