The English Lake District National park is known to be a beautiful place and popular with tourists, yet far away on the western boundaries is a water that can claim to have escaped much of this attention. The Ennerdale valley is home to a glacial lake some 3.9km long, 45m deep and 113m above sea level that provides a wild and protected environment to wild trout and a very few arctic char. The rewards of Ennerdale may have to be hard won, but the size and variety of the place should ensure the convinced angler will return again and again.
Given its length Ennerdale is considered one of the smaller lakes in the area, yet would still present a significant challenge to fish completely in one day, so it's recommended to choose one of the longer shores. The fishing along Ennerdale's northern edge is mostly accessible directly from a broad path and is preferable for the less adventurous angler. Large and wide bays with gravelly beaches create a number of shallow fishing opportunities with options for casting no matter which way the wind is blowing. The southern shore is less accessible however so be prepared for a scramble underneath Angler's Crag or to opt for a route right along the water's edge. Further along the southern shore towards the eastern end fishing is made more difficult by overhanging trees and wading is necessary, but this foliage is known to provide welcome cover for wary trout even on bright days, so the extra effort to reach this spot is worth it.
Despite being one of the more remote lakes of the region Ennerdale is quite easy to reach. From Ennerdale Bridge there are two convenient car parks, Ennerdale Water car park at the western end and Bowness Knott on the northern shore. Due to the ongoing management of the area by United Utilities, the Forestry Commission and the National Trust Ennerdale is well maintained however be prepared to make way for any works that are ongoing here.
Remember that you are probably not the first person to fish this ancient water. Following the Sandy Beck to the cleft above the Latterbarrow leads to the long abandoned remains of stone huts or shielings, possibly of Viking origin. It's not hard to imagine the hardy residents of these dwellings making the trip down the slope to fish for the wild trout that have lived here so very much longer.
Wath Brow & Ennerdale Anglers Association and Egremont Anglers share the fishing of Ennerdale Lake and a day ticket from either club entitles you to fish the river Ehen and Ennerdale Lake.
Permits can be purchased form the Gulf Crossfield Garage ( beside the Co-op) at Crossfield, 3/4 a mile or so west of Cleator Moor square, on the Whitehaven road.
Ennerdale is Fly fishing only, but it can be either using a fly rod and line or using a bubble float with spinning rod and reel.
After trying coarse fishing as a teenager and sea fishing on family holidays to North Wales, Tom discovered fly-fishing for wild brown trout through the persistence of a good friend. He can be found stumbling around the banks of Cumbrian waters or the remote lochs of Scotland. A tall man, he's the designated pack mule and is capable of carrying campfire wood over great distances.
Have you been to a wild water and want to share the knowledge? We'd be more than happy to recieve information from anyone who wants to write up a water guide.
Or if you just fancy coming out on our next trip, you are more than welcome.