Fishing in London parks and commons

Want to fish in the London area? There’s a wide choice of waters in the urban parks and commons. You’ll need a licence, but many places offer harrassed city-dwellers free fishing reached from Osterley or Boston Manor Underground stations.

Several parks, controlled by the Greater London Council, have fishing either free or available on day ticket. There are day-ticket waters in two lakes in Trent Park (2 1/2 acres and 5 acres), Cockfosters, where tickets are limited to 20 per day, Crystal Palace Park Lake (14 acres) in South London; and Southmere Lake (22 acres), Thames-mead. The latter, near Abbey Wood Station, is stocked with carp, chub, and sticklebacks!

To fish London’s parks and commons you will require a London Water Authority rod licence, but very often that is your only outlay. The Royal Parks are an exception. Fishing at these venues is by season ticket issued for each park, and application should be made to each park individually.

Perhaps the most popular Royal Park fishing is in the two large parks at Hampton Court. In Home Park, there is fishing at Long Water, Overflow Pool, Rick Pond, Willow Pond and Wall Pond; and in nearby Bushy Park, at Heron Pond, Leg of Mutton Pond and Diana Fountain Pond. Coarse fish species are found here—roach, rudd, chub, carp and pike, and tench to nearly 6lb. The Diana, a small ornamental pond recognized by the fountain in the middle, is small but well stocked. Fishing is better in the early morning because cars drive round the pond during the day. For Home Park, the nearest station is Hamp-ton Court. Hampton Wick Station is best for Bushy Park.

At Richmond, the two Pen Ponds—shallow, clear and weedy —provide good sport. They hold roach to 2 lb, a few perch, common and crucian carp, tench, and pike. They present more of a challenge, however. The park is served by Richmond Station and by bus.

The Serpentine

At Hyde Park, there is fishing in the Serpentine Lake, nearly a mile long. Fishing is permitted only in certain sections, but yields can be good. It holds roach, bream, carp and perch and some eels. Similar species are found in the lake in Osterley Park, ,_ 5A ru tench, perch, rudd and roach. It has produced a mirror carp of 16lb. Tickets are limited to 30 per day.

Trent Park day tickets are issued, with concessions for juniors, OAPs and the disabled, and are obtainable from The Rookery, Trent Park, Cockfosters. At the other parks, tickets are issued on the bank.

Crystal Palace

In South London, the Intermediate Lake in Crystal Palace is reserved for the Crystal Palace AC, but the boating lake can be fished on a day ticket. Both lakes are noted for carp to 20 lb, and also have pike to 20 lb—with a monster of 32lb taken a few seasons back—bream and roach. Day tickets are available, juniors half-price, OAPs and the disabled free. Season permits also available. Free fishing controlled by the GLC is found at Battersea Park Lake (15 acres), Alexandra Park Lake (4 acres), Finsbury Park Lake (4 acres), Hainault Forest Lake (5 acres), Victoria Park Lake (5 acres), and the Hampstead Ponds. Six of the 14 ponds on Hampstead Heath can be fished—two of the Hampstead Ponds (4 and 2 acres), two ponds in Highgate (6 and 5 acres), the Vale of Health Pond (2 acres), and the Viaduct Pond (1 acre).

Battersea Park, and Alexandra Park in Wood Green, have stations close at hand, while Victoria Park in Bethnal Green, Finsbury Park, Hainault Forest Lake in Hainault and the ponds on Hampstead Heath are all reached by Underground.

Other fishing in parks and commons is controlled by local borough councils. In most cases it is free, but day tickets may be issued on site.

Near Bromley, two small ponds on Keston Common produce occasional carp to 20lb and also offer tench, perch, pike and roach. Of the two lakes on Wandsworth Common, there is fishing on the larger, while Clapham Common has a lake holding a variety of coarse fish, including roach, rudd, tench, carp and pike. At Mitcham Common there is fishing on One Island Pond; Tooting Bee Common is another popular venue, and has a pond that produces tench to 6lb, common carp to 11lb, and golden carp of 6lb. Fishing on Tooting Bee Common Pond is free, but is subject to review.

Epping Forest

There are also several free-fishing ponds in the Epping Forest area, but they require a high degree of patience, for their clear waters and the bankside interference from other anglers make them difficult to fish.

The Warren Pond, opposite the Royal Forest Hotel in Rangers Road, E4, was famous for its big carp before the war. It still has good carp, and also bream and perch. The Connaught Waters are almost opposite, and are set in a favourite picnic spot. They are good for bream and have access for disabled anglers.

In Leytonstone, the Hollow Ponds are renowned for their tench. You have the chance of tench to 5!2lb, and in winter 20lb plus pike. They are situated alongside the road, with a convenient car park and access for the disabled angler. The nearby Eagle Ponds hold carp to double figures, perch, roach and a few tench. They lie alongside the Snaresbrook Road and fishing is from the roadside only. Both ponds are reached from Snaresbrook Underground Station.

The Ornamental Ponds in Wan-stead, Ell, have recently been restocked with carp, tench and perch, and day tickets are issued.

In North West London, Ruislip Lido (44 acres) offers good coarse fishing for pike, bream, small roach and rudd, with day tickets issued on the bank. Near Edgware there is fishing at Moat Mount Open Space.

West and North London

On the outskirts of West London, at Uxbridge, there are two day-ticket waters. The first, Little Britain Lake (3 acres) in Packet Boat Lane, Cowley, offers crucian carp, tench, rudd, roach, bream and the occasional pike for reasonably priced day and night tickets, while Farloes Lake, alongside, has similar species.

In North London in the Borough of Enfield, Boxers Lake and Grove- I I lands Park Lake hold a variety of coarse fish including bream, tench, roach, perch and pike and are available on day ticket. Boxers Lake has access from Lonsdale Drive, and Grovelands Park, Southgate, is reached from the North Circular Road. Season tickets for both lakes can be obtained from the Civic Centre, Silver St, Enfield.

At Walthamstow, on the Thames Water Authority site in North London, there are six coarse fishing reservoirs: High Maynard (38 acres), Low Maynard (25 acres), West Warwick (34 acres), and numbered reservoirs (1), (2), and (3), of 19 acres, 13 acres and 12 acres respectively. These reservoirs have produced carp to 27’2 lb, bream 9 lb, tench 8VUb, rudd 3lb and roach 2lb. Also on the site is the mile-long Coppermill Stream that runs from the aquaduct to the reservoir filter beds. It holds a variety of species including bream of 3-4 lb, chub to 5 lb, some pike to 18 lb, plus roach and dace. Day tickets are issued by the gatekeeper. The en-trance is opposite the Ferry Boat Inn, Ferry Lane, and the nearest station is Tottenham.

South of the river, fishing is free along the River Cray at Footscray Meadows, off the North Cray Road, Sidcup. The latter is currently being dredged, but, subject to restocking, fishing should resume. Day-ticket fishing is available at the three-acre lake on Cannon Hill Common, South Merton, SW20; also at the 20-acre lake in Danson Park, Bexley. The latter holds carp, tench, roach and perch with day tickets available at the boathouse. More day-ticket fishing is found at South Norwood, where Norwood Park Lake offers excellent sport for roach, bream and carp during park opening hours. Hempseed bait is not allowed.

More fishing is available at the Lake in Mayesbrook Park, Barking, Bedford Park Lake in Romford, Berwick Ponds in Rainham, The Chase, Dagenham, and at Harwood Hall and Parklands in Upminster.

Other than in ponds and lakes, fishing is offered in the Regent’s Canal in Regent’s Park and Victoria Park—and in the Hertford Union Canal in Victoria Park. Only the north bank of these stretches can be fished: there is no fishing in the section by London Zoo. Another popular venue on the Regent’s Canal is a quiet and secluded section lying just off the busy Angel, Islington. The London Anglers’ Association controls the fishing by issuing an associate member’s card which is available on request.