a stunning loch


water managed by United Utilities

Moderate alkalinity Very shallow Low shoreline complexity Mid elevation Small


Nestled between The Knott and Gray Crag lies Hayeswater tarn. The tarn is set high up in the eastern fells at 425 m above sea level and about 1.6 km southeast of the hamlet of Hartsop in the Patterdale Valley.

Hayeswater is a 34-acre tarn which was dammed in 1908 to supply water to the Cumbrian town of Penrith. It hasn't been used as a reservoir since 2005 and in the summer of 2014, United Utilities removed the dam wall to return the tarn to its natural state. The water level dropped by about 2 metres after the removal of the wall, and the exposed bank will take a few years to acclimatise. Please take care at the southeast end, where the exposed bank is very muddy.

The tarn is crystal clear, and like all the clear waters in the Lakes, you'll need wind and cloud cover.
Fish wets and keep on the move. I've found that a yellow-tailed Ke-He works well, but anything slim, "buggy" looking, and traditional flies will work.
Terrestrial-style dry flies, like a Deer Hair Daddy or Hoppers, cast and left for ten seconds and recast over the marginal shelf will provoke a reaction.

I've caught fish in the tarn in April, but at this altitude, the water needs time to warm up, and you'd be better off paying it a visit in mid-summer. Try and pick a day with a warm south-westerly and cloud cover but remember the weather can be unpredictable, so be prepared. You can fish the circumference in about three hours, and fish can be found all the way around. However, the shallower southeast end I have found to be more productive, and there is always a fish to be had there.

One evening after fishing, a gentleman who lives in the hamlet told me he used to fish the tarn at night with some success. The larger fish come out at night, and he'd had one very exceptional fish of 2lb. He repeated a number of times that this was an exceptional fish, and the bigger fish are usually between 1lb and 1.5lb.

Park in the carpark at Hartsop. Remember this is a popular spot for walkers and the car park can fill up on weekends and bank holidays. Follow the path signposted and walk up to the tarn. It's steep, and you will need a good hour and strong legs to walk the one and half mile to the lake. Don't attempt these walk-in waders!

  • Lake District, England
  • Lake
  • Brown trout



Permission & Tickets

This water is free to fish you'll just need a rod licence.

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