Cottington Lakes Fishery
Eight lakes offering day and night fishing with camping and caravan pitches. Mirror Carp to 53lb and Common Carp to 44lb.
Key facts about Cottington Lakes
Probably the most south-easterly fishery of its size in the UK, Cottington Lakes has established itself as one of the region’s leading day-ticket and camping/caravanning holiday venues with eight lakes which offer a variety of angling to suit everyone from youngsters to specimen carp enthusiasts. The existing six waters have been supplemented with the addition of the new Windsor match lake, which is about the size of a football pitch, and the new Heron match and pleasure lake which opened in April 2009 and has been developed primarily as a silver fish water to provide year-round sport.
Fishing lakes in a beautiful setting
The fishery is set in 45 acres of delightful wooded Kentish countryside and offers facilities for touring caravans and camping; a well-stocked tackle shop (below); the Kingfisher Cafe which serves hot meals, snacks and a variety of hot and cold drinks; and the Kingfisher bar (above). There are also modern and clean toilet and shower facilities for visitors. The on-site Tackle ShopIts delightful setting – matched only by the quality of the fishing – makes Cottington an ideal venue for individual day-ticket anglers or those looking to spend a few days fishing with their family or friends. Indeed, Cottington must rank amongst one of the most attractive and varied fisheries in the country.
On site there’s the choice of five mixed coarse lakes, two specimen carp lakes and a snake-shaped match lake which is about one-and-a-half miles long and stocked full of fish. Because restrictions are placed on the number of anglers allowed to fish the specimen carp lakes at any one time it is advisable to telephone in advance to book a day-ticket. However, once on site anglers are not limited to which peg they can fish.
In addition, there are also several slow-running drainage dykes which run through the site and which hold good stocks of fish including carp well into double figures and pike to over 20lbs. Although parts of the dykes have become densely weeded they can be fished by anyone holding a permit for one of the Cottington Lakes waters and are particularly popular for a spell after June 16th and with pike anglers in winter.
Caravan pitches with electric hook-ups
For those looking to stay for longer than a day there are 32 caravan pitches spread over five designated areas, one of which is pictured left. Twenty two of the pitches have electric hook-ups. There are also five pitches reserved for Caravan Club members, four of which have electric hook-ups, providing extensive opportunities for camping on site. Cottington Lakes is open from dawn until dusk for day-ticket anglers, with night fishing allowed on Black Lake, Christine, Pepper and Alder.
Offering 52 well-spaced and varied pegs, Black Lake is a general mixed coarse fishery which ranges in depth from approximately three feet by the car park to about nine feet in parts of the bay at the far end and along a channel which runs down the centre of the main section of the lake. Anglers can fish either from the main bank or from the many pegs on the central islands which offer a different perspective of the water.
Lots of features
With three islands, two adjoining bays and an attractive ‘canal’ stretch running down one side of the water, Black Lake offers a wide variety of swim types to suit pole, waggler and leger anglers. Because it is a general mixed fishery, the water is ideal for pleasure anglers and holds a good head of bream, carp, chub, perch, roach, rudd and tench with the carp running to double figures and the bream averaging between 4lbs and 5lbs.
All baits work well on Black Lake
As one would expect on a general coarse fishery, all techniques and baits work well on their day with maggots, paste and sweetcorn being ever popular. However, it is always a good idea to ask in the tackle shop when purchasing your ticket about the current best techniques and baits. As with all the Cottington Lakes waters, there is plenty of car parking next to the lake.
Although more open than the other Cottington Lakes waters, Alder Lake is crammed with fish including Common and Mirror Carp into double figures, some big tench and bream, and good stocks of roach, rudd and chub. Offering 20 well-spaced pegs, Alder Lake varies in depth from five-and-a-half feet to about 12 feet in places and techniques and baits vary depending upon the conditions and time of year, although all methods generally work well.
Because it can be a prolific water, anglers are restricted to using a maximum of two rods and, as with other waters at Cottington, groundbait can only be used if dispensed with a pole cup or feeder. Favourite spots for anglers are at either end of the lake and, as to be expected, fishing into the wind usually provides the best results. Night fishing on Alder Lake is by prior arrangement.
An idyllic and beautifully set-out carp pool, Lake Christine is a typical carp angler’s dream and, despite being about three-and-a-half acres in size, it never becomes overcrowded or overfished because the water is limited to six anglers at any one time – a feature which makes advance booking a good idea. This can be done by telephoning the Anglers Kabin on 01304 380691.
An idyllic carp pool
Depths vary between four feet in the bay at the entrance to the water by the car park (above), which is always worth a try, to just over six feet in other parts of the water. With several bays and two islands there are plenty of features to fish to, although it always pays to spend a little time on the bankside looking for the fish and watching where they are patrolling or feeding.
Christine Lake holds a good head of common and mirror carp to over 30lbs plus grass carp into double figures. The lake record now stands at an impressive 34lb 8oz. As one would expect with a specimen carp water, fishing early in the morning or during the evenings are generally the most productive times, although fish can be taken throughout the day when the conditions are right.
Whilst all traditional and modern carping techniques work well, fishing with a method feeder in the margins or tight to the islands where there are narrow shelves seem to work best. Good baits include pastes, bread, boilies, luncheon meat, sweetcorn and maggots, although fishing maggots or worms can lead to carp anglers catching smaller fish or even some of the eels which have found their way into the water from the nearby drainage dykes.
About seven acres in size, Lake Pepper is a specimen carp water which opened to anglers in 2003 with the size of the fish now rivalling those in Lake Christine. Pepper is known to have at least 250 fish of which there are more than 20 which are known to run to over 30lbs. Indeed, the lake record was broken early in 2009 with a splendid mirror carp which weighed in at 36lb 4oz.
As with Lake Christine, the number of anglers allowed to fish the water at any one time is restricted – in this case to a maximum of 16 – and again anglers should be fairly experienced and equipped with tackle suitable for handling heavier fish. As with Lake Christine, because numbers are restricted anglers are advised to check peg availability in advance by telephoning the Anglers Kabin on 01304 380691.
Lake Pepper has a channel running down the length of the lake with the deepest parts being at the far end of the water from Black Lake. Again, both traditional and modern carping techniques and baits are proving to work well, but it is always worth checking in the on-site tackle shop to find out which parts of the water are fishing best and what techniques and baits are proving effective at any given time.
The Match Lake
Crammed full of fish, the 93-peg snake-shaped Match Lake is an ideal venue for club matches, individual anglers and youngsters being predominantly stocked with fairly easy to catch carp between 8ozs to 3lbs as well as plenty of roach and rudd between 8ozs and 1lb. Because of the ease of fishing, anglers are allowed to use only one rod or pole at a time.
You don’t have to be an expert to catch on Match Lake
With a maximum depth of about four-and-a-half feet, the Match Lake has an even bottom, although fishing close in to the near or far bank usually pays dividends. On a recent visit to the Match Lake, Alan Yates, a regular contributor to Sky TV’s ‘Tight Lines’ angling programme, even decided to dispense with a float altogether and using a pole lowered his sweetcorn bait to within three inches of the far bank to get stuck into a decent net of fish.
To prevent overfeeding, there is a four pint limit on the quantity of maggots, meal, sweetcorn, casters or pellets which can be used at one sitting and a one kilo limit on groundbait, which, as with the other Cottington Lakes waters, can only be use in a pole cup or feeder. Having said that, there really isn’t a need for tons of groundbait or feed in this water and 2010 is expected to be the Match Lake’s best year yet with the current match record of over 200lbs, set during an Open Match to a catch taken entirely on maggot, expected to be broken sooner rather than later.
Created in 2005 by removing the last two lanes of Match Lake, the new Elliott Lake is a small 30-peg water with a central island which is now fully stocked with a good variety of species making it a good choice for those with children or anglers wanting to catch a lot of fish. In 2009 several double figure carp to 12lbs 8oz were caught, mostly commons, together with a decent number of tench to just over 5lbs, perch and bream to over 3lbs and roach to 2lbs. The water also holds some lovely crucian carp and crucian crosses which run to a good 3lbs.
Elliott Lake – plenty of fish and easy to catch
Elliott has banks which slope down to a four feet deep flat bottom with a one-foot deep shelf around the cigar shaped central island. Although it is probably best fished on pole or waggler, some anglers prefer to fish the feeder towards the island. Because it is well stocked, all the usual baits work well with maggots, sweetcorn, meat baits and soft hooker pellets proving particularly effective when fished over a bed of feeder pellets or groundbait.
The newest of the Cottington Lakes waters having opened in early Spring 2009, Heron is a triangular shaped water between Black Lake and Match Lake and offers 20 pegs on a one-and-a-half acre water which has three central islands to provide features to which to fish. Stocked predominantly with silver fish to provide year-round sport, Heron is just two-and-a-half feet deep in the margins and around the edges of the islands but drops to 14 feet at its deepest.
Stocked with a good head of roach which run to 3lbs 4oz with a reasonably number around the 2lb mark; tench to over 5lbs but averaging between 2lbs and 3lbs; bream to about 3lbs; a good head of crucians to a similar size and rudd to 2lbs; Heron also holds a smaller number of common and mirror carp, the biggest to have been caught so far coming in at 12lbs. Although match fishing on the lake only started in summer 2009 weights in excess of 50lbs are already coming out with back-up weights of between 20lbs and 30lbs being commonplace.
The deepest water is off the tree bank where up to 14 foot of water can be found just a few feet out whilst the pegs off the road bank give about six feet of water. The shelf around the margins and off the island are about two feet deep and are already proving regular holding areas for the fish. Because it is predominantly a silver fish water, Heron lends itself to fishing the pole although those after the carp in matches generally fish a method feeder packed with method mix close to the islands.
Generally speaking, it is recommended that anglers use about 4lbs main line and 14s or 16 hooks with sweetcorn, maggots, casters, worm, soft hooker pellets and small pieces of luncheon meat being popular baits.
Opened in 2005 primarily as a match water, the 30-peg Windsor Lake is proving increasingly popular with day-ticket pleasure anglers because it is such an easy water to fish. Stocked predominantly with common and mirror carp ranging between 3lbs to 8lbs but with the occasional fish up to 20lbs, Windsor also holds a good head of tench to about 5lbs with the average being between 2lbs and 3lbs; skimmer bream to 2lbs 8oz; roach and rudd to about 2lbs; some chub to a similar size and hard-fighting perch to 3lbs.
Although it may has no obvious features such as islands to fish to it regularly produces good pleasure catches and match winning weights of between 70lbs and 80lbs are regularly taken. The Match Lake end of the fishery can fish particularly well depending on which way the wind is blowing.
Windsor responds well to pole and feeder, although for some reason normal waggler tactics tend not to be as effective until later in the year when the temperatures drop and a pellet waggler fished up in the water proves particularly effective. Again 4lb to 6lb line strengths to a 14s or 16s hook are recommended with best baits being sweetcorn, 6mm cubes of luncheon meat and both hard and soft hooker pellets fished in conjunction with a method or cage feeder.