Barford Lakes

Barford Lakes is a premium lake and perfect match lake

Barford Lakes is one of the few real premium fisheries in Norfolk. I’d probably put this up high on the list next to Reepham Fishery in terms of fishing quality and the level of anglers it attracts. It consists of 8 lakes, all very well stocked with an excellent head of carp. This is a membership lake site though, but It’s most certainly worth the money so check them out. In this post, I’m giving you a bit of information about all the lakes and a little on how I’d approach this fishery at the end.

1) Pleasure Lake at Barford Lake

Located within the primary Barford Lakes complex, the Pleasure Lake spans across an appealing 2.5 acres. The banks of the lake are adorned with fully-grown vegetation that provides excellent seclusion and coverage. This commercial day ticket water has been created with the intention of catering to the pleasure angler instead of the specimen hunter. The Pleasure Lake has been operational for over a decade now. 

Pleasure Lake Stocking

The Pleasure Lake boasts an abundance of Mirror, Common, and Ghost Carp weighing in the high teens, with most fish weighing between 6 to 10 pounds. Additionally, the lake is teeming with Bream up to 10 pounds, Tench up to 6 pounds, as well as Golden Tench and Orfe that weigh over 3 pounds. For those who are passionate about caster fishing, there is a vast number of Roach and Rudd weighing just below 3 pounds. Moreover, the lake is home to Crucian Carp weighing up to 1½ pounds, and Chub which can reach up to 3 pounds. 

Peg Layout

There are 35 fixed posts for fishing, out of which 30 are spacious wooden posts suitable for two anglers (e.g. father and son), and 6 posts are accessible for wheelchairs (i.e. pegs 2-7). Physically challenged anglers can pre-book their posts through email or phone at least 24 hours in advance and will be given priority for these posts. All posts are spaced eight meters apart, and most have a covering on the bank side to provide privacy from the neighbouring angler. The 30 wooden posts have good growth around the edges that attract the fish during late afternoons, with some of the best cover available at pegs 2-6. The depth of the water at posts 1-4 and 32-35 is about six feet, while the average depth of the rest of the lake is 10 feet, with a maximum depth of 15 feet at post 9. 

The Best Spots

Although all the pegs on the lake are good for fishing, some spots have delivered better results, especially for those who fish occasionally. Here are the top spots:

    • The Point (Pegs 31 and 32)
    • The Causeway – between permanent pegs 13 and 22 (especially Peg 15) Pegs 4, 5 and 6. 

2) Top Lake at Barford Lakes

From April to September, Day Ticket anglers can access this water while during the winter months, it can be reserved for match bookings from October to March. It was established back in 1989 and comes with its own designated parking area accessible by making a left turn down the track just before reaching the house located at the end of the entrance drive. A Portaloo has been recently added to the car park of this lake for convenience. 

Top Lake Stocking

The water in this location contains a similar variety of fish as the Match Lake and includes a diverse mix of species. The majority of the Carp weigh between 4lb and 5lb with some larger ones reaching 12 lbs. Additionally, there are abundant populations of Chub, Roach, Rudd, Crucians, and Brown Goldfish along with a few smaller Tench and skimmer Bream. During the summer, it’s feasible to catch Crucians and Brown Goldfish quickly using a 3-metre whip and caster bait –it’s an incredibly enjoyable experience! 

Peg Layout

The lake has 15 pegs and is one of the deepest in the complex, with a depth of around 10-12′. Most swims have healthy marginal growth with 2-3′ deep margins and 4′ deep end of the rod tips. It’s a great place for socialising and making friends with other anglers, as all pegs are visible and within earshot. Pegs 1-9 are wheelchair-friendly and easily accessible. The Best Spots

3) Match Lake at Barford Lakes

The lake has 15 pegs and is among the deepest on the property, reaching a depth of approximately 10-12′. Most of the fishing spots have abundant vegetation in the shallow areas. The edges of the lake are about 2-3′ deep, and the distance to the end of the fishing line is 4′ deep. Socializing with other anglers is easy on this lake as all pegs offer clear visibility and audibility. Pegs 1–9 are specially designed to allow access for wheelchair users. 

Match Lake Stocking

This location features a varied lake environment where Carp are the most prevalent, generally weighing between 5-7lb, although some can reach up to 12lb. Additionally, there are substantial populations of Chub, Roach, Rudd, Crucians, several smaller Tench weighing up to 3lb, and skimmer Bream. 

Peg Layout

At the centre of the lake, the water reaches a depth of around 11 feet. However, as you move towards the far end, specifically pegs 14-18, the depth decreases to the shallowest point of 6 feet. Most areas of the lake have depths between 10-11 feet, except for when fishing at a distance of 6 metres where there is 7 feet of water, and when fishing at 11 metres where the depth increases to 12 feet. The margins of the lake have depths of 2-3 feet, and with the exception of pegs 20-23, all pegs offer great cover. Lastly, pegs 9, 10, 25, and 26 have been specially designed to meet the needs of wheelchair users. 

The Best Spots

Although all of the pegs on the lake are productive throughout the year, there are some subtle differences in their performance. For instance, the pegs located in the bay, such as Pegs 16 and 17, tend to thrive when the environmental conditions are favourable. Meanwhile, during the summer season, the most promising fishing spots are found in Pegs 7, 13, and the mid-twenties. 

4) Training Lake at Barford Lakes

This lake is located at the primary Barford Lakes venue and is known as the Starter Lake. It is relatively small and has 6 pegs on one side and a spacious double swim at one end. While it is available for fishing with a general day ticket, its main purpose is to train amateur anglers in basic fishing techniques. As a result, learners may opt to purchase a cheap £2.50 ticket solely for this lake. It initially served as a stock pond, but was later modified in 1999 to include stagings and pegs to transform it into a training lake. Ever since, it has been the go-to spot for many beginners and young fishermen who enjoy catching small fish, making it an excellent introduction to the sport.   The Training Lake is highly favored amongst anglers due to the abundant fish population in the small, thoughtfully stocked lake. Additionally, the lack of vegetation along the banks makes it easy to keep an eye on groups of children. The lake is equipped with a specially designed peg that offers easy access for those with limited mobility. Moreover, it is frequently visited by groups of special needs children who come for their monthly, out-of-school excursions.

Training Lake Stocking

The lake contains a substantial amount of small carp, brown goldfish, roach, and rudd. It is unlikely that one would find any fish over 3lb in this body of water, but there may be the occasional larger fish that has migrated from the pleasure lake. 

Peg layout

On one side of the lake are six pegs made from wood, and there is also a large double platform located at one end that can comfortably accommodate two fishermen and an instructor. These platforms are the only designated areas where fishing is allowed. The lake’s average depth is around 4 feet. 

The Best Spots

The lake is relatively small and fish are likely to be present near all the pegs. A cluster of weeds can be found on the opposite end of the lake, near the double swim and the initial three pegs, which is a preferred spot for fish to linger. 

5) Colton Lake, Part of the Barford Lakes Complex

Located on the outskirts of Norwich in Colton, Colton Lake is a two-acre fishing venue that was originally a farm irrigation reservoir. It is only a five-minute drive from the main Barford Lakes complex and is solely used as a match venue, managed by Barford Lakes. The site offers basic facilities such as a Portakabin and a unisex toilet, with some improvements made in 2003 to enhance access by upgrading the pegs and stagings. 

Colton Lake Stocking

This particular body of water is home to a significant amount of Carp, with an average weight of 6-8lb and some even reaching a weight of 15lb, making it known as the beastie lake. The current record for the largest catch in a six-hour match at this location is held at 328lb, with 55 fish caught by Mick Mantle from the Marryat Road A/C fishing club. His success was achieved using cat meat as bait on a waggle, fishing two-rod lengths out and adding cat meat and Barford’s carp pellet for feed. To ensure the protection of the fish due to their size, a limit of 10 carp in a keep net is enforced, with a maximum of three keep nets allowed as per the match rules, suggesting the need for additional equipment for competitive anglers. It’s important to note that in the summer months, catching 150lb or more is typically required to win an open match at Colton Lake. 

Peg layout

Colton Lake is a designated venue for angling and does not permit any other recreational activities. It spans around 40 meters in width and 300 meters in length, with pegs positioned at consistent intervals of 15 meters on opposite banks. The lake has a gentle incline that leads to a level bottom, and the margins are relatively shallow, ranging from 18 inches to 3 feet in depth. The lake’s maximum depth is 12-14 feet, with an average depth of 6-8 feet at a distance of 6 meters and 12 feet at 11 meters. 

The Best Spots

The lake is an equitable location for fishing, where 75% of the fishing spots have the potential to yield a winning catch. Anglers tend to prefer pegs 12, 14, 16, 20, 24, 30, and 32 specifically during the summer season. 

6) Railway Lake, Part of the Barford Lakes Complex

The Railway Lake serves as the primary location within the Railway Lakes complex, situated in Thuxton (near Galveston), Norfolk. Initially created by the previous landowner as a lake for water-skiing purposes, it was acquired by Barford Lakes in 1999. The water quality of the lake has since been enhanced, along with the grading of its banks, and the addition of a wheelchair-accessible toilet, as well as a Portakabin for visitors. These amenities are situated on the right side of the complex’s bridge and can accommodate clubs wishing to fish both the Railway and Willow lakes at the same time. 

Railway Lake Stocking

The lake harbours numerous small Carp weighing up to 2.5 pounds, Tench weighing up to 5 pounds, and a few substantial Bream weighing up to 8 pounds, but they are difficult to catch. Additionally, the lake is abundant with Roach, Rudd, Chub, and tiny Skimmers, and catches of only silverfish weighing up to 30 pounds are feasible. Furthermore, there are a few carp from the original inventory that weigh more than ten pounds. 

Peg Layout

The entire lake is equipped with fixed stands that are designed to accommodate wheelchairs. Anglers are politely asked to park in the two parking lots that have been provided, as it is possible to drive around the entire lake. When arriving at the fishery, visitors will find a sizable parking lot, as well as additional parking near pegs 35-40, and a few spots near pegs 57-58. There is a disabled restroom located at this lake and a Portakabin which is on the right-hand side of the complex when entering. The average depth of the lake is 5 feet. 

The Best Spots

There is an island situated at a distance of about 20-25 meters from the first 38 pegs that provides a fishing spot. During summers, pegs 60-62 are known for their excellent coverage of lily pads and consistently yielding good fish weight. Similarly, weed cover in the 40s makes them a great spot for fishing. Pegs 1, 12, and 30 are also considered to be good locations for fishing. 

7) Willow Lake, Part of the Barford Lakes Complex

Located in Thuxton, Norfolk, Willow Lake is a part of the Railway Lakes complex. This venue was created by excavation in 2001 and is the most recent addition for match fishing. Parallel to pegs 1-16 of Railway Lake, Willow Lake offers a convenient Portakabin for its guests. The space has two rooms and allows multiple clubs to make use of it. Positioned on the right side after crossing the complex’s entry bridge, the Portakabin makes for a perfect base camp for both Railway and Willow fishermen. 

Willow Lake Stocking

The lake is abundantly supplied with a variety of Carp weighing between 2 and 10 lbs, creating a pleasant mix. 

Peg Layout

This lake has the shape of a banana and has fishing platforms on every peg. The average depth of the lake is 10 feet, and at 6 meters, there is a water depth of around 6-8 feet. The lake is surrounded by many Willow trees, which gives it its name. The marginal reeds have grown adequately and add to the beauty of the lake. 

Willow Lake Hotspot

So far, the pegs that have shown the highest productivity are pegs number 1, 10,11,12, 16, 17, 22, and 24. 

8) Abbey Waters, Part of the Barford Lakes Complex

Abbey Waters can be found on the outskirts of Old Buckenham in Norfolk and is approximately a 25-minute drive away from the main Barford Lakes complex. It was incorporated into the Barford Lakes complex in 1997. Originally functioning as a farm irrigation lake, it is now situated on secluded private farmland similar to Colton Lake. Be mindful not to miss any bites at this location, since it is situated close to light aircraft strips in Old Buckenham and Tibenham, where sky-divers will frequently be seen parachuting through the air. Although there is ample car parking available at this venue, there are no restroom facilities. 

Abbey Waters Stocking

The lake abounds with Roach, Rudd, and Tench weighing up to 5lb as well as Carp ranging from 5-6lb, with some even reaching 12lb in size. 

Peg Layout

This lake is shaped like a triangle and contains 30 designated fishing spots, with an average depth of 6 feet. The deepest section is situated in the centre, and the higher-numbered spots are more easily accessible for fishing. On the north side of the lake, Willows have been planted to create a natural barrier from wind, and the shallow yet productive shorelines boast lush reed growth. Visitors can drive around the entire lake with permission, though assistance may be necessary to access pegs 19-30 and 1-4, as there is a ledge roughly 18 inches to 1 foot deep. Regrettably, pegs 8-18 are not wheelchair accessible. 

Abbey Water Hotspots

The pegs numbered 1-3 and 11-15 have shown the highest level of success up to this point, with their productivity being influenced by changes in weather conditions. 

What Tactics Would I Use at Barford Lakes?

I’ll keep this short! I only ever use pellets on every lake. During the winter I fish with 4 mm and feed 2mms and as soon as it warms up, I fish with either 6mm or 8mm and feed the size smaller. 90% of the time use a pole and occasionally use a method feeder, but in all honesty, you can’t go wrong with a pole at virtually any range.

The Lake & Facilities

Lakes Size: up to 4 acres
Fish Size: Carp up to around 30 lbs. Every other mixed course species you can think of.
Stock Level: Highly stocked
Rod: Max two rods and barbless hooks.
On-Site: Toilet
Address: Barford Lakes, Chapel Street, Barford, Norwich, Norfolk NR9 4BJ

Check out all our other indexed Fishing Lakes In Norfolk