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Reel in a Whopper at These Unbeatable Fishing Spots in Leeds

· Joseph Sheerin · Culture

Rods at the ready, it’s time to go fishing!


Grab your rod and prepare your bait, because this is where you can go fishing in Leeds.

Fishing is one of this country’s greatest pastimes and there are loads of great places you can cast your line in Leeds. These are all freshwater fishing spots, which means you’ll need a rod licence – it’s illegal to fish without one, so get that sorted first. Once that’s done, you’re free to descend upon flowing rivers, idyllic lakes and scenic ponds to reel ‘em in.

River Aire

Credit: Tim Green licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

Swillington Park. This is one of the best places to go fishing in Leeds. There are five well-stocked lakes to choose from. Beginners should start with the easy going coarse fishing lake, but if you’re more experienced, the specimen lake is a must for big carp fishing. Prices start from £8.

Sandwath Lake. This 2.5-acre lake in Church Fenton is owned by the Leeds and District Amalgamated Society of Anglers, so you know it’s a belter. Full of hefty bream, tench, carp, perch and pike, you can easily lose a few hours casting your line in the water. It’s only open to members and you can join for £64 a year.

River Aire. There are three main spots to go fishing on the River Aire in Leeds – Stockbridge, Thwaite Mills and South Accommodation Road. These LDASA waters are perfect for coarse and trout fishers, with plenty of surprises to be found too. It’s only open to members and you can join for £64 a year.

Yeadon Tarn

Credit: Tim Green licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

Kippax Park Fishery. Perfect for both coarse and fly fishing in Leeds, Kippax Park Fishery has three heaving ponds to choose from. The waters are teeming with carp, trout and roach, which makes it great for beginners, but you can also catch a few surprises in your nets. It’s £6 for the day, annual passes are available too.

Knotford Lagoon. This LDASA lake is a favourite with carp anglers, but that’s not all you’ll find here. The lake has 50 pegs and it’s full of bream, tench, roach, perch and pike. Beginners are welcome, but it’s also popular with more experienced fishers. It’s only open to members and you can join for £64 a year.

Yeadon Tarn. It’s popular with walkers and water sport enthusiasts, so the early bird catches the carp here. There’s easy access to all pegs and it’s great for beginners as you can hook carp weighing up to 20lbs or perch up to 2lbs. It’s run by the Specialised Pleasure Angling Club and day tickets cost £8.

Thwaite Mills

Credit: Leeds Museums & Galleries

Chippies Quarry. If you’re looking for free fishing in Leeds, this disused brick pit in Scholes is perfect. The largest fish you’ll catch is carp which can weigh up to 22lbs, but it’s also well-stocked with jack pike, tench, roach and perch. It’s free to fish, but you will need an up-to-date licence.

Clayton Wood Ponds. You have two ponds to choose from at this site, but the bigger pond at the top is best for fishing all year round. You can catch decent sized carp up to 20lbs, as well as the classic dark tench which can reach 8lbs in weight. It’s free to fish, but you will need an up-to-date licence.

None Go Bye Farm Fishery. These large, well-stocked ponds are perfect for fishing in Leeds. There’s plenty of bream and skimmers, but it’s especially good for carp fishing with catches weighing between 4lbs and a staggering 13lbs. It’s £6 for a day pass.

River Wharfe

Credit: Neil Cronshaw licensed under Creative Commons for commercial use.

Birkwood Fisheries. If you’re looking for the best carp fishing near Leeds, these Normanton lakes are a must. The Main Lake and Frog Lake have recorded carp catches around 28lbs, but the other four are worth checking out for their rich supply of rudd, bream and chubb. It’s £8.50 for the full day for two rods.

Knotford Lagoon. On the outskirts of Otley, this large lake has over 50 flat and comfortable pegs with car access. It’s stocked full of specimen fish and it’s perfect for carp fishing. They’re massive with some reaching over 30lbs in weight, but you can also catch bream, tench, roach, perch and pike. It’s free to use, but you have to be a member of the Bradford No.1 Angling Association which costs £55 a year.

River Wharfe. When it comes to fishing for free in Leeds, the River Wharfe is the number one choice. Head to Thorp Arch, Linton and Easedike to find the best spot, with stretches of water full of barbel, chub, dace, roach, eels and grayling. It’s free to use, but you will need an up-to-date licence.