We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

Top places to fish for £20

Our Waterway Wanderers permit gives anglers access to miles of canal fishing in England and Wales for just £20. John Ellis, national fisheries & angling manager, has put together this list of the top places to fish in the Waterway Wanderers Scheme.

Carl Nicholls on the Daw End Branch Carl Nicholls on the Daw End Branch

Of course, often the best place to fish is the spot closest to you, and you can find out exactly where that is by using our fishing search. This includes angling clubs and stretches of water which are available to anglers through our Waterway Wanderers Scheme.

“The Waterway Wanderers permit is great value for the angler who likes to try out different venues; from London to Lancashire and from the Witham to Wales, there’s a fishery to suit everyone.” John Ellis, national fisheries & angling manager

Top places to go fishing

Fish caught on the Llangollen Canal1. The Llangollen Canal at Whixall
Famed for the majestic Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, the Llangollen Canal crosses the border between England and Wales offering both picturesque countryside and breath-taking engineering. Although the canal is usually busy with boats during the summer season, this spot at Whixhall is surprisingly quiet, making it a real hidden gem for anglers happy to go off the beaten track. 

Read Simon Mottram’s account of fishing the Llangollen Canal at Whixall.

John Harding, angling on the Shropshire Union Canal2. The Shropshire Union Canal at Craughton
The Shropshire Union Canal is charmingly rural for much of its length. It’s also a haven for nature, with herons and kingfishers often spotted nearby. The section near Craughton offers great variety for anglers, with plenty of features to fish towards. For visiting anglers, both Chester Zoo and the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port are close by.

Read John Harding’s account of fishing the Shropshire Union Canal at Craughton.

Fish caught on the Daw End Branch Canal3. The Daw End Branch at Winterley Lane Bridge
The Daw End Branch Canal is one of the most rural of the Birmingham Canal Navigations. The canal is classed as a remainder waterway and as such sees very little boat traffic. For this reason, the water is generally clear with good reed growth and some channel vegetation. There are several spots noted for yielding plenty of fish. Anglers usually catch roach and perch, although in areas shoals of rudd and skimmers can be found.

Read Carl Nicholls’ account of fishing the Daw End Branch.

Fishing on the Regent's Canal4. The Regent's Canal between Hackney and Haggerston
The Regent’s Canal is one of London’s best-kept secrets and the perfect urban playground for anglers. You may get the odd funny look on the tube, but the fish make it all worth while. Head for the stretch between Hackney and Haggerstone for peaceful fishing with fewer questions from bemused tourists.

Read Conor Duffy's account of fishing the Regent's Canal

Trent & Mersey Canal at Wolseley Bridge5. The Trent & Mersey Canal at Wolseley Bridge
The Trent & Mersey Canal takes in the best of the North Midlands countryside, with stunning views some great fishing to be enjoyed. A variety of fish can be caught along the section between Stafford and Rugeley, but this stretch is best known for catches of large chub and perch. Best of all, there's a great country pub nearby to celebrate the day's successes.

Read Mark Wilton's account of fishing the Trent & Mersey Canal

Pike, courtesy of Jack Perks6. The River Witham – great for pike
The River Witham flows through quiet, flat Lincolnshire countryside, and is very peaceful and remote. Marshy fenlands stretch out for miles on either side, giving a real sense of space – and the sunsets can be spectacular. The Waterway Wanderers Permit gives anglers access to fishing between bridge 7 and bridge 14. This lightly trafficked stretch is a favourite with pike anglers.

A very popular method of fishing for pike is to use a spinner, plug or lure. It’s very simple and requires minimal tackle and suits the angler that likes to roam rather than sit in one place.

Man walking along towpath by canal with autumnal colours7. The Mon & Brecon at Govilon
Meandering through the Welsh countryside, the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal is one of our most beautiful and peaceful waterways. It is a true hidden gem, and a haven for wildlife. Boat traffic is light – the canal is isolated from the rest of the network and part of it is unnavigable – and nature here is thriving. Visit the Mon & Brec for a memorable day fishing.  

Roach8. The Ashby Canal from Marston Junction to Market Bosworth
The tranquil Ashby Canal meanders through a very level, rural environment. Hedgerows and reeds add to a green landscape, rich in wildlife, including herons, kingfishers and moorhens. Coarse fish species include bream, roach, chub and pike. In 2013 Contractors MEM Fisheries Ltd, carrying out a fish survey on behalf of the Trust, found giant pike here which weighed in at a massive 32lb.

Remember, before you go fishing you will need a rod licence. Details of the Waterway Wanderers Scheme change regularly and it is always worth checking before you cast off.

Last date edited: 9 November 2015