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Angling correspondent Chris Boughton looks at local fisheries preparing for winter's end

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As we enter March our local fisheries will start to come out of their winter hibernation.

Water temperatures should start to rise, fish should feed more confidently (especially carp) and consequently anglers will return to the bankside. It therefore seems to be an ideal time to look at some of our local day ticket fisheries.

Hawstead Lakes is primarily a specimen angler’s day ticket water, situated less than two miles from Bury St Edmunds.

Phil Southgate shows off a catch at Hawstead Lakes. Picture: Phil Southgate
Phil Southgate shows off a catch at Hawstead Lakes. Picture: Phil Southgate

The waters are a series of terraced coarse fishing lakes dating back to medieval times and fishing is available on two of the lakes (Spring Head and Willow).

Located well away from the road, both lakes are in a delightful scenic spot surrounded by trees but with up to 20 easily accessible swims to fish from.

The Specimen Lake (Willow) is stocked with carp to 30lb, silver fish and perch to 3lb. The Spring Head Lake includes tench up to 7lb and crucian carp. The combined area of the two lakes is 3.5 acres.

Rachel Andrews helps her grandson Wilfred fish at Kettles Farm. Picture: Ian Andrews
Rachel Andrews helps her grandson Wilfred fish at Kettles Farm. Picture: Ian Andrews

Booking to fish the lakes during daytime is not required but you do need to book for night fishing by contacting the owner, Rupert Brown, on 07919 055515.

Daytime fishing is strictly between the hours of 6.30am and 6.30pm.

There is a large clear notice by the car park gate to the fishery containing payment details and fishery rules. Day cost for two rods is £12.

There are two Facebook pages for Hawstead Lakes with one containing recent catch photos.

For the carp anglers it is by no means a ‘runs’ fishery, like some of our larger local commercial day ticket fisheries, but there are plenty of specimen carp present for those that like a challenge.

Fishery manager Brown said: “The carp have put on considerable weight in the past two years and the fish landed in the last 12 months have been in excellent condition.”

Kettles Farm Fishery, near Rattlesden, is a small but delightful day ticket lake, particularly suited to beginners, pleasure anglers and family groups, although local small match groups fish there too.

The day ticket is just £7, and it is a good idea to call (01449 737873) before you go as there are matches some weekends that book the lake.

The water is stocked with carp up to double figures plus hybrids, roach and rudd and there are comfortable level grassy banks to fish from.

The Nunn family from Tackle Up (three generations plus close friends) have hired the lake for family get-togethers and fishing days on several occasions and Emma from Tackle Up is glowing in her praise. She said: “It is just amazing, our favourite venue. We send all newcomers there and every single person comes back totally in love with the place.

“The lake is full of fish and the owners Carol and Will have a great set-up where you can rent one of their glamping pods for the day or a night. They have built a five-star toilet block too with tea making facilities and brilliant showers if you are glamping.”

Veteran local match angler Ian Andrews and his wife Rachel had a fishing trip and picnic there last summer with their three grandsons (Wilfred aged 4, Heston 9 and Hugo 10).

It sounds like they enjoyed a lovely day and Ian reported: “There were some families staying there in the pods with teenage children, one bloke on the top must have had 20 carp.

“The roach are beautiful fish, loads about 10-12ozs and scale perfect.

“My grandchildren had 20 carp between them, most about 4lb apart from one of 8lb and best of the day a 13lb carp caught by Heston and landed by Hugo.”

He added: “The children used dead maggots at four metres, pole fishing with grey hydro elastic and a size 16 hook, so great kids fishing.”

Kettles has a website for their glamping pods and a Facebook page for the fishery where you can also check closure days for matches.

Jeagor Farm Lakes is a tranquil day ticket fishing venue comprising of three lakes at Beck Row, near Mildenhall. The lakes are stocked with tench, rudd, bream and carp exceeding 20lb. The venue does take bookings for club matches so call before you visit – 07895 711719.

Suffolk Water Park is a large commercial fishery offering day ticket fishing on six lakes, located near the village of Bramford just off the A14 at junction 52.

There is an on-site café and bait and tackle shop and the complex caters for anglers of all abilities.

Open matches are held mid-week and most weekends but the lakes containing specimen carp (40lb+) are usually available for pleasure anglers, weather permitting. For the latest prices and to book a swim call 01473 832327.

Norton Fishing Lakes is a very well-managed, well-tended and well-stocked day ticket fishery but it is essential to book a place.

The lakes are primarily suited to specimen carp anglers. Details about the lakes and how to book can be found on their Facebook page or by visiting their website.