Gawsworth Fishery is situated on the Staffordshire/Cheshire border near Macclesfield. Set in rolling countryside, walking onto the site is like walking into a Disney film….all it needed was Bambi to complement the hundreds of rabbits, pheasants, kingfishers, dragonflies and numerous other wildlife that inhabit the place! An extremely well established mixed fishery has at least 3 pools of interest to the carp angler. Wood Pool contains some very handsome carp to just over 30lb as well as other specimen fish. At 4 acres, it’s an intimate pool able to accommodate plenty of rods but with lots of space between pegs to ensure no conflict with other anglers. It has an island within easy casting distance and loads of attractive reedy margins with the odd snaggy swim to tempt the accomplished carper. With depths between 4-8ft it has a clean bottom with very little weed cover and some gravel patches to test your skills. The prevailing wind can play a part in the fishing with carp tending to follow it into the shallows, but I’m told it fishes better with the wind onto the dam. Boilies are the recognised carp bait as sweetcorn may be more likely to be picked up by one of the huge tench which run to almost 10lbs or the barbel which are even bigger! There are also some pretty impressive roach which get up to the 1 ½lb mark. Surface fishing with ‘zig rigs’ or floating baits scores when the weather is warm and the wind is light; multiple catches are easily possible with 20lber’s falling regularly to this tactic.
Shallows Snag Swim
The island pegs prove popular, and a depression midway across in front of the island towards the dam holds feeding fish throughout the year which fall to careful baiting and presentation.
View of the island from the dam
Park Pool; at 2 acres and full of features, carp fall to similar tactics to the fish in Wood Pool. The extensive lily beds give cover and shade to big common and mirror carp which inhabit this pool. 6 feet at the deepest, this pool gives great sport, but beware the big tench! Again weighing up to 7lb, they will also bend your rod!
The third pool which I’ve considered is Wall Pool; this is the first pool seen when entering the site near the Hall.
Again, a smaller pool at 2 acres, it was originally constructed over 400 years ago to provide carp for the table of the owners of Gawsworth Hall; thankfully, this is no longer the case, and now mature stock fish reach up to around 20lbs. Wooden staging covers some of what were originally fly casting platforms from years gone by when Gawsworth was a top class trout water, but work has been carried out to make bankside pegs easy to cast from. This small pool contains some amazing ghost koi carp which achieve 15lbs. To see these fish glide through the dark water will have you wondering if you really saw them…..They really are stunning creatures, not confined purely to Lodge Pool, they can be caught in Wood and Park pools, but perhaps not in the same numbers.
Ethereal in the water, these ghost koi are unlike any carp I’ve seen before; beautiful shades and scale patterns make them fantastic to catch, and you are just as likely to catch them on a simple float rig with maggots on the hook as you are with a specialist carp rig.
Spring Bank Pool is one of two pools opened in 2006 after extensive research and hard work by John and his family. With depths varying between 3-10 feet, it offers good fishing all year round. It is the deepest water at Gawsworth and fishes exceptionally well through the winter months. With two islands to fish to, and plenty of reeds and lilies, trying to catch the carp (which run to over 20lbs), hefty bream and tench provides loads of good sport; throw in some smashing crucian carp and the odd barbel and you have a pool well worth spending time on.
Also opened in 2006, Serpentine Match Canal offers almost 50 pegs for club matches. Well spaced flat pegs allow matchmen to compete on equal terms along the length of the canal. With very little variation, and 6 feet of water in front of every swim, it means that matches are won with skill rather than ‘luck of the draw’. Fishing this match water could see the angler catching carp to 10lbs, tench, bream and crucians. At just £6 per peg, it offers great value for smaller clubs and junior teams to hone their match angling tactics.
Finally, the newest pool on the fishery is Coppice. Opened in 2009, John is confident that by stocking with carp of 8lbs, bream to 4lbs and roach,rudd and ide, that Coppice will soon begin to produce huge bags of fish to the pleasure angler. Again, it has an island to fish to and 8 feet of water throughout, so it should also be an exceptional winter retreat.
There are no silly rules at Gawsworth; owner John Birch takes fish welfare seriously and protects the carp to ensure they remain in pristine condition. Fixed Method feeders are banned, as is leadcore, and all hooks must be barbless. Unprepared nuts, peas, beans and trout pellets are banned, but coarse pellets are well used on site. Pet food isn’t allowed as the high fat content proves difficult for the carp to digest. The carp on site all benefit from these few simple steps, and the fish are all hard fighting and in superb condition. Prices start at just £6 for one rod for the whole day, so to finish, why not try a visit to Gawsworth? I’m sure you will have an outstanding days fishing at great prices in beautiful surroundings. Find out more by visiting Gawsworth Fishery or contact John on 01260223442.