Best Match Fishing Lake Venues & How To Join A Competitive Match

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As an angling enthusiast, I’m always on the lookout for the best match fishing lake venues in England. With a diverse range of water bodies spread across the country, there’s no shortage of fantastic locations for both beginners and experienced anglers to join a match. Many of the top fishing lakes in England are known for hosting prestigious match fishing competitions, further cementing their reputations as exceptional angling destinations.

Among the standout lake venues I’ll discuss are the well-known and respected Lindholme Lakes in Doncaster, the prolific Tunnel Barn Farm in Warwickshire, and the beautifully scenic Barston Lakes in the West Midlands. 

In this article, we’ll explore some of the finest lake venues in England that should be on every match angler’s bucket list and some tips on how to join a competitive match!

Overview of Match Fishing in England

England has a rich match fishing history, with numerous excellent venues spread throughout the country. This sport has been popular here for many decades, and England consistently produces high-calibre anglers who compete at national and international levels.

In England, match fishing primarily occurs across three main types of waters: rivers, canals, and lakes. Each type offers its unique challenges and requires specific angling skills. 

River venues are often popular but can be affected by weather conditions or seasonal factors.

Canal venues provide relatively stable fishing conditions; however, narrow stretches make them a little more demanding. 

Finally, lakes are a favourite among anglers for their calm, predictable environments and often possess a range of fish species. Lake venues are often called “commercials” due to their heavy use as fishing for money purposes.

England also continually plays host to numerous match fishing events and tournaments that attract anglers nationwide. One notable event is the famous Fish’O’Mania, an annual national competition that sees the best anglers go head-to-head. Another prominent competition is the Maver Match “This event”, which offers one of the highest prizes in the sport.

Top Rated Match Fishing Lakes

When it comes to selecting a venue, English anglers typically consider factors such as fish stocks, tactics, bait, weather conditions, and the general layout of the venue. Each venue has its unique atmosphere and charm, making match fishing in England enjoyable for beginners and seasoned competitors.

North of England

In the North of England, there are a few fantastic match fishing lakes that I personally recommend. Lindholme Lakes in Doncaster is a well-maintained venue with ten lakes offering versatile angling opportunities for all skill levels. The complex is also known for hosting national matches.

Moving west, Partridge Lakes Fishery in Warrington boasts a staggering 15 lakes catering to diverse angling preferences. The facility is popular for its club and open matches, and anglers typically enjoy significant catches.


The Midlands region is home to several exceptional match-fishing lakes. My top pick is Barston Lakes in Solihull. This venue is perfect for catching carp and F1s. The multiple lakes offer you plenty of options to explore and hone your skills.

Not far away, you’ll find Tunnel Barn Farm in Warwickshire, an impressive complex with 13 uniquely designed lakes. Anglers come for the lively atmosphere and the chance to participate in the many high-stakes matches hosted here.

Float Fish Farm, located near Peterboro, this fishery hosts over 300 match fishing events annually. Their well-organised matches provide an excellent opportunity for anglers of all skill levels to compete. Matches are also set up for veterans (those over 60), as well as regular weekly opens.

South of England

Down in the South of England, I highly recommend two match fishing lakes: Gold Valley Lakes in Hampshire and Coleman’s Cottage Fishery in Essex. Gold Valley Lakes promises a picturesque setting and an impressive stock of fish, making it a favourite among match anglers. The complex also holds high-profile matches where you can test your abilities against seasoned competitors.

Meanwhile, Coleman’s Cottage Fishery features six lakes teeming with carp, tench, and bream. This well-maintained facility is perfect for anglers seeking a challenge, as it regularly hosts competitive open matches. The on-site shop and café make for an enjoyable and convenient visit.

Todber Manor Fishery, Toddler, Dorset is home to the incredible record of over 1,000lb match weight in July 2023. The complex has three lakes – Ash, Homeground, and Hillview.

In conclusion, these top-rated match fishing lakes scattered across the country will surely provide you with unforgettable experiences and help sharpen your skills. Fantastic match fishing opportunities await no matter which region you find yourself in!

Match Fishing Events and Competitions

Annual Match Fishing Tournaments

Every year, there are numerous match fishing events held across England that attract anglers of all levels. Some of the most prestigious and well-known competitions include:

  • Fish’O’Mania: It’s the UK’s most popular annual match fishing event and carries a substantial prize purse. It usually takes place in July and is televised live, making the event even more exciting for participants and spectators. 
  • The Maver Match This: A major tournament that offers lucrative cash prizes to the winners. Qualifying rounds are spread across various venues, with a grand final usually taking place in September.
  • The Parkdean Masters: Another prestigious event, which boasts impressive cash prizes for the winners, is held yearly in October. Top anglers from around the country receive invitations to participate in this exclusive competition.
  • Angling Trust National Championships has a massive following nationwide and consists of several stand-alone events throughout the calendar year. The most prestigious being the individual national championships. Other events include both team and individual matches, such as the team events, women’s national championships, and the Anglers with Disabilities National Championship.

Local Club Competitions

In addition to the high-profile annual events, there is also a thriving local club competition scene in England. Many local angling clubs host regular, friendly matches for their members throughout the year. These events often take place on nearby local fishing lakes and waterways. If you are new to match fishing, I highly recommend attending these smaller-scale, more casual matches. Once you feel more comfortable and confident, you can enter the generally more competitive open matches. 

By participating in both annual tournaments and local club competitions, I can challenge myself and further develop my skills in multiple styles of fishing. Each of these events has its own set of rules and guidelines, so it’s essential to familiarise yourself with these before arriving at the chosen competition.

Summer Vs Winter Matches

As summer comes to a close, many anglers pack up their gear for the winter. However, some die-hard anglers continue on, and fish in silverfish only matches. Winter silverfish events (typically no carp allowed to be weighed) are often very popular. Turnouts for these are lower than for summer events, and weights are likely to be 10% of what is netted during the summer when carp are allowed.

One of the most significant silverfish matches in the calendar is “Silverfish 2023-24”. The event has 14 qualifying matches where at least two anglers make the final in each qualifier. The final will be held at Barston Lakes in March 2024.

One of the most significant events on the winter calendar is the winter league organised by the Angling Trust. This team event consists of local qualifier leagues in teams of 6, 8 or 10 anglers, with the winning team going to the grand final.  The final is held over two venues – one natural water and one a commercial fishery- on the same day.

Preparing for a Match Fishing Trip

How To Enter A Fishing Match

When preparing to participate in a match fishing event, you must ensure you’re properly registered and understand the process. Contacting the venue or event organiser well in advance is the best way to get all the necessary information. Most organisers will have a website or a social media page with details about match dates, entry fees, and requirements.

Once I have the information, I complete the registration and turn up for the draw. Payment for the day ticket and the pool money is almost always taken as you draw your peg for the match. If required, before the event, I ensure that I have any appropriate membership, understand the specific match rules, and, of course, my angling license.

How Does The Draw Work?

To better understand the peg draw process, I always familiarise myself with the basic principles of match fishing draws. The draw determines peg allocation, which is crucial as a good peg can significantly impact the match’s outcome.

Before the competition, I make sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before the draw time. Upon arrival, I confirm my peg and check any last-minute updates, such as rule changes or weather conditions. As a contestant, it’s my responsibility to draw a random peg number from a container, which dictates my fishing spot for the day. Remember, it’s essential to respect the pegging system and not move from your designated area during the match.

Understanding The Match Fishing Rules

I always ensure I’m familiar with the match fishing rules before participating in any competition. These rules can vary between venues and events, so it’s essential to review them thoroughly, paying particular attention to:

  1. Bait restrictions: Make sure to check if any bait types are prohibited or limited during the match.
  2. Fish handling: Abide by the rules regarding landing, unhooking, and holding fish before weighing.
  3. Net limit: Some matches have a limit on the number of keep nets allowed or maximum weight per net.
  4. Timekeeping: Being punctual is vital for a smooth-running match, so stick to the start and finish times.
  5. Weighing: Familiarise yourself with the weighing procedure and only handle your own fish and nets.

By understanding and following the rules of a match fishing event, I can ensure an enjoyable and fair competition for everyone involved.

Match Fishing Results

Many years ago, the only way to find the results of matches was through an angling paper such as the Angling Times or Anglers Mail. Today, social media covers all the outcomes of many matches. There is even a hot fishing app that allows anglers to check match results and complete data of registered matches in the UK. A simple free sign-up by any angler assigns you a unique number. When organisers register a match, an interactive points table system can be tracked on the app. 

Anglers can view historical and future match information via Facebook groups.    

Matching Up

The world of match fishing continues to be a popular part of the sport of fishing across many countries. With many international, national, and open local club matches, the match scene has something for everyone.

So why not join a competitive match and discover how exhilarating and enjoyable they can be!  

Steve Fitzjohn