Fishing in Derbyshire & The Peak District

Fishing in Derbyshire has a great deal to offer the keen fisherman with some superb rivers and lakes on which to cast your rod. Whether you prefer coarse fishing, fly fishing or specialist carp fishing you will find some beautiful locations to enjoy your sport in Derbyshire. 

Many of the Derbyshire fishing & angling waters are reserved by organisations such as Pride of Derby Fishing Club, Derby Railway Angling Club or Derbyshire County Angling Club for their members, however there are also many areas of rivers and lakes that are available to be fished by the general public by purchasing a fishing day ticket permit.

Fisheries in Derbyshire

With such a vast amount of scenic countryside surrounding Derbyshire there is no end of different places to fish in Derbyshire. As a result there are also a vast amount of fisheries in Derbyshire for you to choose from. The most appropriate fishery in Derbyshire for you will depend on the type of bait you intend to use and therefore the type of fish you are angling for.

Fly Fisheries in Derbyshire 

If you are fly fishing in Derbyshire then you will most likely be angling for trout. 
The limestone rivers of Derbyshire have a very special place in the history of fly fishing as the first detailed writing about the sport comes in two chapters of Izaak Walton's Compleat Angler, which were actually written by his friend Charles Cotton, and described the fishing in the Derbyshire.

Cotton (1630-1687) was far more than a fisherman; he was one of the most illustrious academics of the 17th century famous as a poet, writer, best-known for translating the work of Michel de Montaigne from the French, for his contributions to The Compleat Angler, and for the highly influential The Compleat Gamester which has been attributed to him.

Born at Beresford Hall, Cotton learnt to fly fish on the River Dove which flowed through the Beresford Hall Estate. Fishing of all types was his passion and in the gorge of the Dove he made a private garden “with a delicate clear river about it.” where the world is reduced to its simplest and best essentials. It was in this garden in 1674 that he built the Fishing House.

The rivers of the Derbyshire Peak District are the Wye, the Dove, the Lathkill and the Derwent, plus numerous smaller streams and brooks. The rivers are fed by the winter rains that fall onto the hills and peaks of Derbyshire and Staffordshire, percolating down through the limestone rocks flowing out through the river valleys. The temperature and quality of the water is ideal for brown trout and grayling, and the clarity perfect for fly fishing.

The Peak Passport Scheme

This is the scheme that brings you wild trout fishing on a day ticket in the Peak District. There are a number of beats to choose from. This web-site provides you with all you need to know to find your beat, and go fishing  -

The beats are set in the wonderful surroundings of the Derbyshire and Staffordshire Peak District. All the beats are on private land, accessible only with permission of the landowner through the Peak Angling Passport Scheme. Do keep an eye on this website for the latest information including any new beats that are coming into the scheme.

As these beats are on private property please remember that access is by kind permission of the landowner. The success of the scheme relies on trust, both on the part of the angler and the landowner.

The Best Fly Fisheries in Derbyshire.

The River Dove is the principal river of the Peak District 40 miles in length. It rises on Axe Edge Moor near Buxton and flows generally south to its confluence with the River Trent at Newton Solney. From there, its waters reach the North Sea via the Humber Estuary. For most of its way it forms the boundary between the counties of Staffordshire and Derbyshire The river meanders past Longnor and Hartington and cuts through a set of stunning limestone gorges, Beresford Dale, Wolfscote Dale, Milldale and Dovedale. There are several fisheries on this river but most require membership to DRAC. The River Dove can be fished  where Charles Cotton and Izaak Walton fished in the 17th Century Click Here for full details

River Derwent – There are a couple of fisheries on the river Derwent for fly fishing. One is in Matlock Bath and the other in Darley Dale. These areas are used primarily by Derby Railway Angling Club and as such you would need membership to fish them.
River Ecclesbourne – This fly fishery in Derbyshire is also reserved for members of the Derby Railway Angling Club

Alton Manor Farm – This Derbyshire fishery is based near Wirksworth and is available for non members to fish with a day ticket permit.

Carsington Reservoir – Also known as Carsington Water, this Derbyshire fishery is one of the most popular and is open from April to October. Day tickets are available at around £12 for the full day with a maximum of 6 fish and evening tickets are £10 for 4 fish.
Carsington Water, Ashbourne, postcode: DE6 1ST

Non-Fly Fisheries in Derbyshire 

If you are not looking to catch trout then you will most likely be using a non-fly bait such as sweetcorn or broilies and as such will be fishing for carp, tench, pike, perch, roach, bream, chub or grayling. Below is a selection of non-fly fisheries in Derbyshire.

River Trent – There are 6 different fisheries in Derbyshire on the river Trent that are available to fish and here you can catch a variety of different fish including Pike, Perch, Roach, Chub, Barbel, Bream and Dace. All 6 areas are reserved for the Derby Railway Angling Club so membership is required to fish them. The areas of the Trent are Shardlow (the crown bend), Kings Mill, Castle Donnington (West Meadow), Castle Donnington (Washlands), Swarkestone and Weston on Trent.

River Derwent – The river Derwent has three fisheries in Derbyshire on its banks which are reserved for members of the following angling clubs:
Derby Railway Angling Club, Belper and District Angling Club, Warrington Anglers Association.

Butterley Reservoir – This Derbyshire fishery is an ideal location for catching Carp, tench, bream, Roach and Pike and, although it is run by Ripley & District Angling Club, day tickets are available to non members. The reservoir is located at Butterley Hill, Ripley in Derbyshire.

Fishing in Derbyshire - Fish you can eat

It is a common misconception that most river fish in England are inedible which stems from the fact that as a nation we mainly eat sea fish. However, there are many fish within rivers and lakes in Derby that are in fact edible. Below is a rough guide to the edible fish from Derby rivers and lakes:

Please be aware though that some river and lake fish are best avoided due to the toxins they contain in their tissue (particularly as they grow older)

Carp – Eaten widely in China and eastern Europe carp are an omnivorous fish but can taste a little muddy due to their habitat. Avoid this by purging a carp in fresh spring water for a few days which should clean away any residue in the flesh.

Pike – Again, pike tend not to be eaten much in the UK but are widely available in shops and restaurants on the continent. Pike is a fairly meaty fish but has lots of little bones all the way through it which makes it difficult to bone and eat.

Perch – Very much like the Pike with bones but a firm texture and delicate white flesh

Zander – Very few bones and a light, tender but firm flesh makes the Zander a very popular fish to eat in Europe.

Bream – Not to be confused with the sea Bream, the freshwater Bream is an inexpensive fish usually farmed but tends to have a slight muddiness to the taste.

Barbel – Edible but widely regarded as too bony and not that great tasting. Barbel must be completely cooked throughout and it is also advisable to remove the roe otherwise it may make you ill.

Tench – Edible and tasty!