Stanwick lakes boasts 6 beautiful lakes, from small lakes full of silverfish, bream and tench, to the specimen carp waters Roman and Elsons that are home to some lovely old, big English carp. 5 of the lakes are available on a day ticket basis and of these lakes, there are three main carp lakes that have a varying level of stock and difficulty. This short insight gives you a guide to each lake on the complex, covering a variety of tactics that will stand you in good stead when approaching the waters at Stanwick.
Swan lake is the ‘runs’ water of the complex, stocked with a good number of carp averaging between 8-18lbs, with a chance of a twenty! Swan is roughly 3 acres in size and contains around 400 fish, so there is generally a good number of fish present around the lake. The depths range from 5-10ft, with no weed, but small pockets of silt in places. These silty areas can often be productive and using a good amount of bait is the best way to keep the shoal fish present and feeding in your swim. Pellets and boilies is the go to method, with small PVA mesh bags of pellet working well over a baited area.
These fish can be greedy during the summer months, so topping up regularly can be a sensible tactic. In the warmer months, these fish can go crazy for floaters, s don’t be caught out without them. Oiling them up in Smoked Salmon Oil and spombing them out can be devastating, as they simply home in on the sound of the spomb hitting the water. Also, don’t ignore the margins, the fish can get right in close if the conditions are right, so look out for any signs of coloured water where they might be feeding
Mallard lake is slightly trickier than swan and slightly larger in size, at around 4 acres, with approximately 300 fish ranging from 15lbs- 25lbs on average, with a couple of these breaking the 30lb barrier. Mallard originally used to be a ‘runs’ type water, but as the years have gone on, the fish have got bigger, matured and with this, wised up considerably. Some days they can be very tricky to catch, whereas others, multiple fish can be caught. During the winter months, zigs and bright hookbaits can be a great tactic, but as the months become warmer, pellets and crumbed boilie is certainly the way to go!
In general, the water can become quite weedy, so taking the time to find a nice ‘firm’ clear spot among the weed can pay off, as these fish love a big of grub hard on the deck. Stalking them can also but a fun, but productive way of catching them on warmer days and staying into the evening can pay off, as the fish tend to drop their guard as the light levels fade. Feeding with mushy pellet in the edge can get them grubbing around, so baiting a couple of spots close in can provide an opportunity during the day.
Don’t be fooled though, these fish can be very cagey at close quarters and making sure everything us pinned down and out the way is important in building their confidence. They do respond to a floater in the summer months, but catapulting them rather than using a spomb can be much more effective, as they can be very wary of the disturbance. Mallard is a brilliant lake for someone who wants a good chance of a 20lb fish, while still being able to get bites and experience a productive session.
Elsons has to be by far my favourite lake on the complex and the venue I have fished exclusively for the past couple few years, during the time, I have managed to catch many of the lakes residents including some of the more elusive fish. At around 5 acres in size and approximately 120 fish present, Elsons is the jewel in the crown of Stanwick, dating back many years and boasting a number of 30lb plus fish.
The water is very intimate, containing a whole host of marginal snags, weed beds, silt pockets and overhanging trees, it really is a sanctuary for big carp! If you are wise about your fishing and walk the lake a number of times, you will no doubt come across some fish at some point, so polaroid sunglasses are a must! Many anglers make the mistake of casting into the middle when actually, the fish can be caught right under your feet.
There are marginal opportunities inmost pegs, so it is always worth investigating and baiting to see if you can stir up any interest. Most of the lake is made up of silkweed and beds of Canadian in places, which makes presenting rigs out in the lake quite tricky. Helicopter rigs with rigs such as the hinge stiff and multi are perfect for presenting over the light weed, but making the effort to cast around to find the freshest silkweed can be a major edge!
The fish generally see this approach most weeks, which is why fishing in the edge on clear areas with bottom baits can be something that they are much less used to dealing with. In the warmer months, pellets and boilie seems to be the best approach to get them grubbing around on an area, but equally, a spread of baits out in open water can produce a good number of fish.
Bright hookbaits do work well, especially in the early parts of the year, but as the angling pressure builds, match the hatch style hookbaits can be more effective. Floater fishing is definitely overlooked, but can be very effective if you can compete with the gulls. During the cold months of the year, November- March, the fish don’t respond to bait, but short zigs can do well out in the main body of the lake.
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