Five fishing lakes in Lincolnshire consisting of a 12-acre natural valley offering pleasure and match fishing in a peaceful setting.
Key facts about Woodlands Fishery
Drive through the Lincolnshire village of Spilsby and you wouldn’t know for a moment that you are just a short walk from a delightful fishery which offers everything from enchanting tree-lined pleasure lakes to modern competition waters aimed at the club and open match anglers.
Until his retirement, Woodlands Fishery was run by John Middleton who for nearly 30 years helped to establish Diawa as one of the world’s leading tackle manufacturers and suppliers. He took the three original lakes, which had been created by the previous owner by damming a stream which runs down a wooded valley and were overgrown and difficult to access and set about pruning them to manageable sizes adding new granite and chipping pathways lead to spacious and modern tailor-made pegs. To maximise the character of each of the three existing lakes, he then set about sorting the fish and restocking with quality specimens.
Straight from Mr Crabtree
Willow Pool, the original lake on the Woodlands complex, is straight out of a Mr Crabtree story with reed-lined banks, weeping willows arching down to the water and lily pads providing a haven for the fish. To maximise its charm, John has developed this water to appeal to pleasure anglers who want to sit in delightful surroundings and catch true English crucian carp and tench.
By contrast, two new waters were developed for match anglers and stocked predominantly with mirror and common carp between 2lbs and 4lbs, bream to 5lbs, tench to 2lbs, skimmer bream, crucians, roach and rudd. With well-spaced pegs they are both multi-method venues where the weights are already on the increase.
Anglers can use keepnets on the pleasure lakes
Anglers are allowed to use keepnets at Woodlands on the three original pleasure lakes but are requested not to keep anything in them over 3lbs. The only bait bans are that cat and dog meat, nuts, boilies and trout pellets should not be used. Please note that pleasure anglers are not allowed to use keepnets when fishing either Ash or Hawthorn match lakes.
Unusually for a fishery, the main pleasure/match lake is floodlight to enable evening matches to be fished until after dark. The floodlights come into their own early and late in the year for the fishery’s regular Thursday Open Matches. With the draw being taken at 6.00pm and fishing from 6.30pm until 10.00pm, anglers can enjoy the unusual pleasure of fishing at night without having to be bothered with using lamps or glowing float tips. It surely has to be worth taking part just to enjoy the experience!
On-site tackle shop and toilets
Other invaluable features at the fishery are modern and clean ladies and gents toilets and an on-site tackle shop which, in addition to hot and cold drinks, snacks, confectionery and crisps, sells a wide range of terminal tackle, accessories and baits including maggots, pellets, sweetcorn, tinned meats and groundbaits. The shop also stocks a limited number of rods, reels, poles, luggage and accessories, all of which are for sale at competitive prices.
Willow – where it all began at Woodlands
Willow is the original lake on the Woodlands complex with a history going back well over 30 years. Situated at the head of a beautiful natural valley and surrounded by mature woodlands, the lake is fed by a small stream and numerous springs which ensure a constant flow of oxygenated and nutrient rich water. The woods hold an abundance of birds and wildlife and this calm and peaceful spot might well evoke childhood memories of storybook scenes from ‘Mr Crabtree Goes Fishing’.
Major renovation let to improvements
In early Spring 2009 a major renovation of the lake was undertaken. Desilting the lake proved to be a major challenge as the ground conditions precluded the use of a digger. Over a two week period the lake was cleaned and the bed contoured to give an interestingly uneven bottom with depths ranging between three and six feet.
Following the desilting, the lake was left to recover for a year before being restocked with tench, crucian carp, bream, roach, rudd and gudgeon. Carp were specifically excluded in order to allow some of the more traditional native species to thrive enabling anglers who enjoy targeting these species to appreciate a philosophy and practice the ‘gentle art of angling’ using light tackle and small baits.
Access is restricted to season ticket holders and members
Being a small lake with only 10 pegs, access is restricted to season ticket holders and members of the Willow Club purchasing a day ticket only. Membership of the Willow Club costs £10 per year and in addition to the right to fish Willow Lake, entitles the member to a five per cent discount on all shop purchases. Membership is subject to availability and at the discretion of the management.
Elm Lake is the second of the original lakes at Woodlands Fishery and covers approximately three quarters of an acre. Fed all year by natural springs and the outflow from Willow Lake it has water lilies but with underwater snags anglers will need to exercise skill and control in order to land some of the larger specimens it holds.
Carp to over 20lbs
The lake is home to some of Woodlands’ heaviest carp, with the best recorded fish to date tipping the scales at 21lbs 10oz. There are many doubles and numerous fish in the 5lbs to 8lbs range and whilst most anglers choose to target the carp the lake also supports a healthy stock of crucians, tench, perch, roach, rudd and bream. Depths range between three and seven feet with the shallower water near to the outflow from Willow Lake, always a carp hotspot in the warmer summer months.
Elm is for pleasure anglers only
The lake is open to pleasure anglers only and match fishing is strictly prohibited. Unlike many fisheries, keepnets are permitted for all species except the carp on the understanding that nets are emptied after a maximum of six hours or sooner during hot weather. In the interests of fish welfare, anglers should use an unhooking mat when handling large carp.
There is one peg available that is particularly suited to the wheelchair or heavily disabled anglers. This peg can be booked in advance by telephoning the fishery. Best baits are pellet, sweetcorn, luncheon meat, bread and prawn.
At about an acre in size and with 17 easy access pegs, Oak Lake is the largest of the three original lakes at Woodlands. Constructed in 1989 by damming the stream that runs through the middle of the fishery, it began life as a trout lake before being transformed some years later into a thriving coarse fishery. This was the main match lake until the completion of an expansion programme in 2004 when the two new Ash and Hawthorn match lakes were excavated.
Oak is floodlit to allow evening matches
A unique feature of Oak Lake is the floodlights that allow evening matches to extend beyond dusk and into darkness. As such the lake is popular in the summer months with small clubs and informal groups who wish to fish midweek matches with fishing until 10.00 pm. The record for an evening match stands at 49lbs 15oz for a three and a half hour match. Cubs interested in booking an evening match on this lake (reduced match fees apply) should telephone for further information.
In addition to a healthy stock of crucians, tench, perch, roach, rudd and bream, the lake is home to a substantial head of carp. The majority of the carp are in the 4lbs to 12lbs range, but there are numerous bigger specimens to nearly 20lbs. Depths range between three and eight feet with the deeper water located near the dam, although anglers should note that fishing from the dam is not allowed.
Oak is predominantly pleasure anglers only
With the exception of the midweek evening matches, Oak Lake is open to pleasure anglers only. Once again, keepnets are permitted for all species except carp on the understanding that nets are emptied after a maximum of six hours or sooner during hot weather and an unhooking mat should be used when handling carp.
As with Elm Lake, one peg is available that is particularly suited to the wheelchair or heavily disabled anglers. This peg can be booked in advance by telephoning the fishery. Best baits are pellet, sweetcorn, luncheon meat, paste and maggots. Please adhere to our fishery and match rules at all times and observe the bait bans.
Oak Lake is available for midweek evening matches under floodlights during the summer months (reduced match fees apply). If you are a small club or simply an informal group looking for a new experience then call Eric for more information.
Ash Lake is the smaller of the two match lakes that were constructed as part of the 2004 expansion programme. Extending to a little over three quarters of an acre with lush bankside vegetation and small overhanging alders, it has 17 custom built 4′ x 3′ flagstone pegs at a full 10 yards spacing, thereby ensuring that all anglers have ample space to fish the margins, a good summer method here.
There’s plenty of space behind pegs for poles
There is also generous space behind the pegs, allowing easy shipment of poles. Depths range from two to three feet in the margins to seven feet in the middle, with pole fished pellet, sweetcorn, luncheon meat or paste the favourite method.
The first stocking of mirror and common carp took place in 2004 and some of these fish have shown impressive growth rates in the last few years with fish up to 15lbs now being landed. A further stocking of mirror and common carp up to 2lbs took place in the spring of 2007 and with the help of some natural recruitment the lake now boasts an excellent mix of fish throughout all the weight ranges. Coupled with a good head of crucians, specimen perch, roach, rudd and bream, anglers can confidently look forward to a fine days sport. This is a very fair match lake with the top weights coming from virtually any peg. The 6 hour match record currently stands at just over 110lb with winning weights during the summer typically between 60 – 80lbs. Reports from pleasure anglers of bags well over 100lb are commonplace.
Pleasure anglers can fish Ash when there are no matches
When not reserved for club and open matches, Ash Lake is open to pleasure anglers who should check the fishery notice board on arrival if they want to fish here. In the interests of fish welfare, keepnets are not permitted when pleasure fishing this lake. Bookings for club matches are now being taken for the 2022/2023 season. Please call Eric for more information.
Hawthorn Lake is the larger of the two match lakes that were constructed as part of the 2004 expansion. Extending to almost two acres, it features a large reed fringed island, lush bankside vegetation and numerous small overhanging alders and has 36 custom built 4′ x 3′ flagstone pegs at a full 10 yards spacing. Again there is plenty of space behind the pegs, allowing easy shipment of poles.
Hawthorn is a multi-method fishery
This is a multi-method venue that has excellent feeder and long distance waggler pegs, as well as those suited to the long pole methods so popular on today’s commercial waters. Depths range between three and eight feet with the deepest water to be found on pegs 12 to 22.
The first stocking of mirror and common carp took place in 2004 and some of these fish have shown impressive growth rates in the last few years with fish up to 16lbs now being landed. A further stocking of mirror and common carp up to 2lbs took place in the spring of 2007 and with the help of some natural recruitment the lake now boasts an excellent mix of fish throughout all the weight ranges.
There are plenty of silver fish in Hawthorn Lake
Coupled with a good head of crucians, specimen perch, roach, rudd, tench and bream, anglers can confidently look forward to a fine days sport. The six hour match record stands at 141lbs and the five hour record at 117lbs. Winning weights during the summer months are typically between 50 and 90lbs and can come from virtually any peg. Reports from pleasure anglers of bags well over 100lbs are commonplace.
Most of the usual baits are productive on this lake with pellet, paste, sweetcorn and luncheon meat often the most successful. When not reserved for club and open matches, Hawthorn Lake is open to pleasure anglers although keepnets are not permitted when pleasure fishing this lake.
There is a two rods maximum at the fishery and this applies to all lakes.
|Adults||OAP/Under 16||Day tickets|
|Day tickets||6.00||5.00||After 4.00pm in summer|
|After 4.00pm in summer||4.00||4.00||Second rod|