Whether you’re a keen angler or a complete novice looking to fish for the first time, dig out (or apply for) your rod licence and head down to the New Forest where you’ll find some fabulous locations to land a catch and some wonderful holiday cottages to go fishing from.
You may be looking to relax and unwind, to spend time outdoors individually or as a family or even just experience the challenge of the catch but whatever your motivation, there are plenty of places you’ll find to suit your needs. Although fishing is quite restricted within the New Forest National Park (the Forestry Commission is your best bet) there are plenty of private fisheries, lakes and river settings to test out your skills. Barbel, roach, carp, tubb, dace, tench, pike and of course, trout are all in plentiful supply.
Read on for our selection of best spots to cast your line.
You would be hard-pressed to find a more wonderfully idyllic setting for your next fishing adventure than the house, grounds and river bank of Undercastle Cottage near Fordingbridge. This picture perfect thatched cottage is located at the bottom of a wooded track right in the heart of the beautiful New Forest, and stands on the banks of the famous Hampshire Avon River. There is immediate access into the woods and open heathland and keen fisherman will be delighted with more than half a mile of private fishing, you even have your own rowing boat available here in the summer months. The river is famous for large Barbel and also Chub, Pike, Trout and Roach, reputed as the most famous stretch of river for fishing in England!
Close to Beaulieu and right in the heart of the New Forest, this historic 12-acre lake is managed by the Forestry Commission. It’s a really delightful setting in which to pick a spot and settle down for a day’s fishing. Best for bream, carp and tench. You do need a permit to fish so make sure you get one before you go from one of a number of outlets. Open from 16 June annually.
Buy your day ticket in advance at the Riverside Kiosk or the Tourist Information Office and then settle down on the banks of the picturesque River Avon. Fishing rights are owned by the town council and there’s a splendid array of freshwater fish to be found. Salmon have even been spotted. If you’re in need of refreshments then the Riverside Kiosk sells all manner of tempting treats to keep you going through the day. The owner is more than happy to talk about all things fishing too!
A stunning location awaits you at this 30-acre lake, fed by the crystal clear waters of the River Test. Lots of choice when it comes to selecting a spot to set up and healthy stock increases your chance of a catch. River fishing also available. Welcoming clubhouse including a tackle shop for anything you might have forgotten plus a restaurant where you can eat-in or take away. Helpful staff on hand to assist with any queries.
East of Ringwood, this horseshoe-shaped eight-acre lake, is naturally fed and surrounded by mature trees and with features such islands, lily pads and margins. The beautifully secluded surroundings allow you to concentrate on landing that big catch. More than enough carp, tench, bream and rudd to satisfy even the most seasoned angler. Day tickets available.
Close to Fordingbridge, you’ll find this well-established trout fishery in a stunning, natural setting with three crystal clear, spring-fed lakes. There’s an abundance of healthy, home-reared fish, waiting to be caught by all standards of angler. Classy restaurant on site providing drinks too. Day or season tickets can be bought on the day.
Just to the south of Fordingbridge, you’ll come across the lovely and leisurely setting of this lake, forming part of the New Forest Water Park. It’s a six-acre, former gravel pit with established banks and tree-lined margins where many fish lurk. Carp and tench are the main draw here. Managed by the Christchurch Angling Club, it’s now possible to take out a holiday membership for either 7 or 14 days with full access to all their fisheries. Make sure you pre-book before you go.
A few minutes’ drive outside Ringwood you’ll find this fantastically diverse country park complete with coarse fishing on a nine-acre lake. Roach, rudd, tench, perch and dace are frequently caught here. Buy your permit from the visitor centre on the way in and secure yourself a bay for a day of peaceful angling. Kids can learn how to fish with experienced coaches during the summer holidays. Plenty of alternative activities on hand for family members or friends not willing to join you at the swim.
Right on the southern edge of the New Forest sits this collection of five lakes, providing a range of challenges for all levels of angler. You’ll come across 12 species of fish if you’re lucky, including large carp, tench and bream. Make sure you purchase a day ticket from the shop before you set up. Professional tuition is also at your disposal and staff are always around to give advice. If you need a bite to eat, then you’ll find refreshments on sale too.
Spread across 55 acres of stunning woods and farmland, these six lakes are just a short drive from Fordingbridge. Providing a real ‘away from it all’ feeling, this is a perfect choice for a day’s fly fishing for all varieties of trout. You’ll need to bring all your tactics to bear as each lake offers something very different. You can even fish for brown trout on a short stretch of the pristine Sweatfords Waters, right in the heart of ancient woodland. Warm up with a cup of something nice and hot at the purpose-built lodge restaurant. Day tickets available.
Well-cared for, family-run trout fishery on the banks for the River Blackwater, offering both lake and river fishing, west of Romsey. Three small, but perfectly formed, lakes are well-stocked with blue and rainbow trout and offer a variety of tests. Group and individual tuition available from expert instructors. Simply turn up, purchase a permit and while away a few restful hours in quiet contemplation.
Customers love this first-class tackle shop on the banks of the River Avon in Ringwood. With 35 years of experience to their name, they have a perfect understanding of the needs of the angler whether a complete beginner or a seasoned expert. Friendly, expert advice will ensure you leave with what you need. You can also purchase day tickets here for many of the local fishing lakes and rivers. A real one-stop shop for all your angling needs.
A haven for wildlife, these lakes have been carefully designed and constructed by the owners to deliver the best angling experience possible. As well as the wide range of fish waiting to be caught, you’ll find great facilities on site including a barn-style café serving up anglers with breakfast, light lunches and cakes. Even if you’re not fishing you can take a seat on the patio and simply take in the view over the lakes.
With a vast array of products under one roof, you’ll be spoilt for choice at this impressive tackle shop close to the centre of New Milton. ‘Tackle anything’ is their tag line so expect plenty of rods, tackle and bait (both live and frozen), all continually in stock. Staff have good knowledge of all the local fishing areas too so great advice is on hand if you’re not sure where to start.
Set on the River Dun, and about 15 miles north east of Fordingbridge, are the four impressive lakes which make up this trout fishery. Each lake is very different in character and will suit varying levels of skill so there should be something to meet all needs. River fishing is also an option with a good stock of brown trout alongside a decent quantity of wild fish. You can grab a tea or coffee at the fishing office on arrival and there are further amenities in the purpose-built lodge. Buy your ticket online before you go.
From the outside you see a traditional green oak timber framed house with a thatched roof and climbing roses as you step inside, you will be awestruck by the amazing double height timber framed ceiling in the living room.
With two detached out houses close to the main cottage providing additional sleeping accommodation - The Fishing Lodge and The Hayloft - this is truly a unique and desirable place to spend some time getting away from it all with family and friends.
Undercastle Cottage has been awarded 4 star grading and as well as a gold award for exceptional quality of accommodation by Visit England. The Sunday Times named it as one of the top 10 Best Cottages 2010 and The Times travel article 50 best cottages in Britain 2016, The Telegraph 10 best cottages with moorings 2017. Filming has been completed for the new BBC2 programme Bob and Paul Go Fishing and will be available in the spring. This cottage comes very highly rated by previous guests!
Enquire about staying and fishing at Undercastle Cottage today. The image below is of a barbel caught from Undercastle Cottage – truly a once in a lifetime catch!