How To Start A Fishing Lake?

News at Fox Grant | 11/03/2016

Starting a fishing lake can offer an excellent opportunity to diversify and generate much needed income. However, it isn't a venture to go into half-heartedly and needs proper thought and planning. A badly planned fishing lake can end up as a murky hole in the ground and of very little use whereas a well-planned lake can offer a great commercial opportunity.

What does it cost?

It costs approx. £10,000 - £12,000 / acre to set up a successful fishing lake.

How much space would I need?

As a general rule of thumb you would need approximately 3 acres to build a commercial lake, 5 acres would be ideal.

Where can I get advice?

Don't go it alone it will be a false economy. Find a specialist fishing consultant who can advise you on the viability of your fishing lake site and how it should be developed. Your fishing consultant can also offer advice on looking after the fish, for example:

  • Where to buy
  • How to maintain good stock
  • How to manage water
  • Breeding

What's the best location for a fishing lake?

Fishing LakeThe location of the fishing lake is very important.  There are two things to consider, how accessible is the lake to visitors and will the lake be able to hold water?  These are both crucial questions which must be addressed.

Will I Need Planning?

It is more than likely you will need planning.  Contact your local planning authority and make sure you are aware of any planning restrictions or guidelines. If you need to extract water you will need to speak with the Environment agency.

How much competition is there?

There are many lakes out there now, make sure you offer something different to set yourself apart from the competition.  Large Carp is a growing area and well worth considering.

What type of lake should I run?

There are two main types of lake you could run, a syndicate or day ticket lake.


Syndicates can be a good earner £10,000-£20,000 per year or more.  They probably Carp Bivydon't make as much as day ticket lakes but it does mean there is less work to do.

Benefits of a syndicate:

Syndicates tend to attract the more experienced fishermen who are more likely to treat the fish well and not use barbed hooks. 

Less administration than running a day ticket operation.


It's harder to attract syndicates to a new venture as you won't have built up a reputation yet.

Day tickets:

Day tickets are a good earner but you will need someone to be available to administer the tickets which range in price from approx. £5 - £25 depending on the type of fish. Something else to be aware of is, you may attract the less experienced fishermen which could lead to fish being treated incorrectly.

How else can I make money?

Quite often a fishing lake is combined with another income stream, for example, a campsite / tea room or fishing shop.


Insurance will be required. Check out what your liabilities are with your insurance providers. Excellent signage will also be needed in order to warn the public of the dangers of the water.

Things to watch out for:

  • High levels of nitrogen as this will kill the fish. Warm weather can lead to excessive weed growth. Weeds are needed to oxygenate the water but too many weeds can affect the quality of fishing. You must work out the balance carefully and remove any unwanted weeds.
  • Going alone without any professional advice - this is a mistake and could cost you dearly. The cost of the consultant will more than pay for itself.
  • Buying cheap stock - this can be a false economy, especially if they bring disease.
  • If you do get any problems with your lakes act fast, time is of the essence and can stop relatively small problems escalating into larger problems.
  • Get someone in who is experienced in digging lakes rather than just using a digger. An incorrectly dug lake can cause problems in the long run.

For further advice on fishing lakes and fishing lakes for sale, please speak with one of our specialist advisors.