When you first begin carp fishing, you’ll naturally want to catch a big fish. And make no mistake, there are some huge ones around – reaching weights of nearly 70lbs – but remember; fish of over 20lbs are likely to be wise old things of 40, 50, even 60 years old. Catching then takes knowledge and experience. So since you’re a beginner to all this and they’re not, you could spend all day at one of the famous “specimen” lakes without so much as a bite. When you’re starting out it’s best to head for a local lake that stocks large numbers of 5-10lb fish – which are still an amazing experience to catch!


Start by asking around with fishing friends or in local tackle shops. You can also join carp fishing Facebook groups (Such as ‘Carping for Beginners’) for tips on where to go. But there are also quite a few useful websites:

The Angling Trust

The mobile-friendly Fishinginfo.co.uk from the Angling Trust lets you search venues and conditions, save your favourites and get all kinds of useful info such as weather forcasts, sunrises and sunsets straight from the Met Office.


The Carpfeed site (https://www.carpfeed.com/where-to-fish) lets you browse by region and county, and gives you lake guides, depth maps, tips and tactics. It also gives you useful info like the rules and prices at each fishery, on-site facilities (including whether you can get takeaways delivered) and opening times.


A hugely detailed news site with a searchable map of 120 places to fish, packed with useful details on each specific fishery, thoughtful reviews, prices, opening times and rules. The “where to fish” map is quite hard to find on the site – buried as it is under the news – but is well worth searching for.


The carp fishing magazines also have sections on venues. Look out for magazines like Anglers Mail, Carp Fisherman, Total Carp, Big Carp Magazine, angling times, fishtec, Carp world, carp talk, crafty carper and carpology

NOTE: Carp fishing on enclosed “commercial” waters is allowed all year round. However, on canals and “open” waterways, from 15th March to 15th June is known as the “Closed Season” where we allow the wild fish a rest so they can breed and recover.  

Fishing Licence

If you’re 12 years old or over, don’t even think about casting a hook out without one of these. This is your permission from the Government to fish in the UK (and is not to be confused with your fishing ticket for the lake). Without a licence, you’re breaking the law, and if you get a tap on the shoulder from someone from the Environment Agency, you can be fined up to £2500 per rod! And since you could be fishing with up to four rods, it could be an expensive trip if you don’t have one.

Where to get a licence

Fortunately, they’re not expensive. A one day licence is just £3.75 and it’s only £27 for a full year. You can buy them over the counter at the Post Office, or online/by telephone at https://www.gov.uk/fishing-licences

BEWARE of commercial sites that sell fishing licences, but aren’t affiliated to the Environment Agency! You could end up paying a lot more for your licence!