As any angler will know, the Thames and its tributaries offer some of the best trout and coarse fishing in the country. From where the Thames rises, just north of the village of Kemble near Cirencester in the south of the Cotswolds, it begins its meandering journey southwards. Although the stretches of water which run through central London might be better known generally, it is the quieter ones further north that are most beautiful, however, as well as being the ones which are the greatest draw for anglers from all over the country.
The River Coln, Bibury right at the heart of the Cotswolds is one of the best of the rivers which feeds the Thames, and offers superb fly fishing for both brown and rainbow trout, with grayling also being in abundance. The River Churn is also an excellent location for fly fishing, whilst the Rivers Windrush and Cherwell are the places to go for coarse fishing. The Windrush offers perch, roach, dace and chub, as well as trout and grayling, and the Cherwell is superb for pike, barbel, tench, bream and chub.
The rivers are not the only places to enjoy some great sport, however, and the Cotswolds is home to a good number of still water lakes stocked with carp, pike, roach, chub and many more varieties. There are many commercial fisheries in the area, including those which have been developed from former gravel pits, such as those at the Cotswolds Water Park.
Carp anglers will be particularly interested in the four acre Whelford Pools, which are home to a large number of doubles and a good number of twenties, with the largest weighing in at around 29lbs. The day ticket lake is actually made up of three stretches of water linked by two channels, and the two islands, gravel bars and reed beds, rushes and lily pads all add to the challenge of landing one of these beautiful specimens. Whelford Pools is also a superb venue for coarse fishing, with pike up to the low twenties, tench up to 12lbs and bream up to 8lbs.
The syndicate lake, meanwhile, is stocked with around 120 carp weighing up to 34lbs. If you are interested in joining, membership is only available for 25 anglers per year, so it might be worth getting your name on the waiting list.
Wildmoor Waters and Horseshoe Lake are two more great carp fishing venues, as is The Mill Pool, which is situated just outside the village of Painswick. The Big Lake at Ivyhouse Lakes near Wootton Bassett is an ideal choice for match fishing and the Claydon Park Fishery near Lechlade offers pike and carp to over 30lbs, as well as some monster tench, bream roach and perch.
In terms of where to stay on your fishing trip, self-catering accommodation is usually a much more convenient option. Apart from the issue of storing your tackle, staying in a holiday cottage means that you are free to come and go as you please and, of course, fish until late. Hotels and Bed and Breakfast facilities also rarely offer the outdoor space needed for cleaning and preparing tackle. With a variety of cottages and lodges to sleep between two and 12 people right within the Cotswolds Water Park itself, and some right on the shores of the lakes, Manor Cottages can make sure that your fishing holiday goes like a dream.