Bluckland Lake Reserve – Fishery Review

By Tommy Flower

Buckland Lake Reserve

Welcome to Buckland Lake Reserve

Buckland Lake fishery has been created from the flooding of a pervious 60-acre chalk quarry and is really still work in progress but the transformation from what once was to what now is, is a huge achievement and offers such an array of options to spend your time. From carp fishing to trout, specimen hunting to rod-bending back-aching action, there truly is something for everyone.

Buckland many years ago

Buckland many years ago

How Bucklands looks now

How Bucklands looks now

Bucklands is more than just a fishery it is also a very important SSSI venue and is a huge wildfowl project so whether your waiting for that big carp to pick up your perfectly laid trap or a huge trout to smash your fly as you gently tease it through the depths the wildlife that surrounds you will keep you content for hours on end.

There are four lakes at Bucklands consisting of a trout water which I am yet to fish but I am getting an urge to wet a line on, especially seeing how good Mike and Graham make this fluff chucking look. Next up is the coarse lake now this water I have fished once before and got extremely lucky on by landing a stunning koi mirror of 25lb8oz on my very first time at the venue. This lake caters for anglers of all experience and provides great sport. The stock of the lake is very mixed and you never know what might show up next from a huge carp to a streamlined barble or even a massive rudd. Other species which inhabit the lake are tench, bream, pike, perch and F1’s so there certainly is enough to keep you very busy.

If you’re looking for more of a challenge then the specimen lake is the one for you. The lake was created by netting of the mouth of the lake which joins the huge chalk. Once the net was put in the place the lake

First time lucky 25lb 8oz koi mirror

First time lucky 25lb 8oz koi mirror

was stocked with some stunning carp that are growing extremely fast which isn’t a surprise as the water is so very rich in naturals which they are obviously take full advantage of and it won’t be long before these fish reach some huge weights. This lake is not like your average modern carp lake is more a true chalk pit experience all be it in a much smaller user friendly package. The depths vary all over the lake ranging from around 7/8 foot on top of the bars down to 25ft plus in the deep gully’s and I would highly recommend the use of a marker to find the right depths to fish at. Also I would recommend the use of strong tackle the lake bed is littered with rock and boulders and will certainly test your equipment.

Last but not least you have the main big pit this lake is a huge piece of water and just looking out over the shimmering surface creates a very daunting feeling. The stock of this water is unknown although sighting from the dive centre which use the lake have tempted some exceptional anglers to test their wits against the mythical creatures that may stalk this dark depths of the unmolested pit. I am unsure of the fishing regulations on the main pit and strongly urge you to contact the fishery manager before venturing down to fish this lake.

A gorgeous evening at bucklands

A gorgeous evening at bucklands


the water lever were very high as you can see the peg number under water just infront of my margin spot off the branches

the water lever were very high as you can see the peg number under water just infront of my margin spot off the branches

Well once again my good friend Andy Phillips joined me for another session although this time we also has Andy’s nephew accompanying us for the trip. Andy is a part time bailiff at this venue and his knowledge of the water was a great help. As we walked around the specimen lake he pointed out where the bars and plateaus were situated and also at what depths the fish had been getting caught from. As with any venue a bit of local knowledge definitely goes along way and its always worth doing your homework on a water before your session. With a few areas in mind we opted to fish either side of the mouth to the big pit which would allow myself to cover a bar where a lot of fish get caught and Andy and Joseph could cover a big plateau and a slightly shallower clean area which also has produced a fair few fish. On walking around the lake is was clear that it was still slightly flooded from all the wet weather that the country has been battered with and that most swims were still under water, although this didn’t cause much problem and we would just set up further back up the bank.

With the bivvy set up to shelter me from the strong winds that were ripping across the big pit I got to work with the marker rod. After a while I had two spots sorted, one rod was going to be placed at the bottom of the bar at 15ftand the other rod was going to be fished on top of the bar in 8ft of water. I had two spots sorted. I was allowed to fish three rods but couldn’t decide where to place the third. The wind was really hacking into the specimen lake through the mouth of the pit and as I was watching the water it dawned on me. To my left there was a small over hanging willow which normally would be out of the water but because of the water levels being slightly higher it was not sitting right in the water and better still the arm of the point was sheltering the water from the wind and creating a nice comfortable area in front of the tree for the carp to sit up in. After a quick feel around with the marker rod I found the the margin sloped off rather quickly down to 17ft but just in front of the tree was a nice smooth area at 9ft and I got that gut feeling straight away that I had to put a bait there.

With spots sorted it was now time to put the rods out. The rod which was placed onto of the bar I fished with a solid bag to help combat the light coating of silkweed which covered the bar. The bag mix which I used were pellets and crumbed boilie which both had a good soaking of the brilliant Krill liquid that I am using and the hookbait which accompanied this mix was a single piece of white plastic corn. The second rod fished to the bottom of the bar was fished slightly different as the area was nice and clean I opted for a short multi rig with one of my special little corkball pop-ups and third but definitely not least was the margin rods which again was fished with a multi although the hookbait was a washed out pink R1 pop up which had been heavily glugged in the krill liquid. Once the rods were on the money I gave all three spots a good helping of the R1-TT which is a test bait from Bankbug. After a quick tidy up of the bivvy I put the kettle on and sat back to watch the water for signs of fish but the next thing I knew I was awoke bit a hissing sort of noise. It took me a few seconds before I realised what was happening. The early morning start had obviously taken it’s toll and I had fallen asleep in the spring sunshine but the battery on my alarm which was guarding my margin rod had died.  In fact that hissing noise was the sound of my bait runner going into meltdown and I soon connected into an extremely powerful fish that took off at a rate of knots. After what seemed like an age I soon had a lovely look common carp wallowing on the surface and soon had it sulking within the confines of my landing net.

What a fish 25lb12oz

What a fish 25lb12oz

Andy was soon round to help with weighing and pictures and on the mat she looked massive and we both estimated it at 30lb+ but on the scales she only went 25lb 12oz we even had to weight the fish on a different set but both read the same. I wasn’t disappointed at all just a little shocked as she look huge but none the less she was a stunner and my first fish from another new water.

Sometime a gut feeling is all you need and this time was definitely one of them times. The rod was soon back on the spot and topped up with another good helping of bait and the waiting game began once again and I sat back and took in the atmosphere grinning like a Cheshire cat of course.


16lb Common

16lb Common

The rest of the day was fairly quiet and Andy was soon calling over to tell me dinner was ready. He had cooked up a lovely dinner of reggae reggae shredded chicken which was simply to die for! You cannot beat a good hot meal on the bank and it beats a pot noodle every time. As we sat an ate dinner we watched fish launch themselves out all around the lake and a bite looked like it was on the cards so with that we soon returned to our swims and got the rods back on the money.

21lb Common

21lb Common

Although everything looked extremely good before I closed my eyes the night passed uneventful and I awoke a bit shocked just before first light. As I lay in bed looking out at the lake my peace was shattered by the screech of my margin rod alarm (I had put some new batteries in) and shot out of the warmth of my sleeping back and struck the rod only to hit into thin air and then I noticed a coot shooting off into the big pit. After attracting the attention of the birdlife, the rod was soon back on the spot but just after I was informed I had to leave due to a family problem and I had my session cut short. I was slightly gutted as I packed my gear away while I kept glancing at the rods willing one to rip off but it never happened and soon everything was packed away. Before leaving I went round to see Andy and Joseph.

Although my night was quite the same couldn’t be said with theirs as Joseph had managed to bag a couple of stunning common weighing in at 21lb and 16lb. The fish had obviously moved up infront of

Joseph's stunning Common

Joseph’s stunning Common

them and I knew if the fish stayed put then they would both have some more action. Later in the day I received the texts that I knew I would saying that Joseph was smashing it once again catching another common of 19lb and Andy also got in on the scene with a gorgeous common of 14lb.

Andy's stunning Common

Andy’s stunning Common

I highly enjoyed my session at Bucklands Fishery and I know Andy and Joseph had a brilliant time and I can see us all fishing’s this venue for many years to come. Especially seeing as this lake is fairly young and I can only seeing it going from strength to strength and I think in a few years’ time this water will hold some truly special fish of epic portions.

Venue Info:

Coarse Lake:

This lake has it all there are some gorgeous carp to 25lb+ along with most other species and is definitely somewhere to go to get a good bend in the rod. Trust me you will be very tired at the end of the day. Most tactics will work on the lake from carp fishing to pole fishing just keep the feed going in and the fish will keep coming.

Specimen Lake:

This lake I would recommend to anglers with a bit of experience as it can be a bit challenging and is not like most commercial waters where you can cast out anywhere and catch. You will need to put a bit of work in on this lake but once you get it right the rewards are there to be had. There is no hard and fast rules on how to catch the stunning fish and most tactics will work given you get the location right. Once you have found the spots you want to concentrate on don’t be afraid to give them a bit of bait and just keep it simple,.

Parking and Access:

There is safe parking for your vehicles and secure gates which are locked between the hours of 6am and 8pm giving you a piece of mind. Also there is a road which runs around the lake meaning that you can drop off your tackle to each swim and saving you from having to carry it all. As well as good access there is also an on-site tackle shop which stocks various bits of bait and tackle as well as hot and cold drinks and other refreshments and clean toilets which are open 24 hours a day.


COARSE LAKE DAY TICKET : Per person per day  £10.00 for two rods.

COARSE LAKE DAY TICKET : Concession rates for over 65’s, disabled and under 16’s £8.00 per day ticket.

COARSE LAKE 24 HOUR TICKET: (Day and Night fishing) £25.00 (Overnight fishing by appointment only with non-fishing guests at £5.00 each extra and strictly subject to fishery managers approval)

SPECIMEN LAKE DAY TICKET: Per person per day £15



Per person per day or part there of:
‘Trout Catcher Special’                – 2 fish limit   £22.00
‘Trout Catcher Premimum’        – 4 fish limit   £35.00
*Additional fish @ £3.50 per lb caught. *Under either of these tickets, all fish caught up to the limit of the ticket must be landed and taken

‘Sporting Ticket’  – £12.00  A one day ticket that permits the catch and release of up to five trout. All fish caught must be returned to the water undamaged and be unhooked and released while in the water .  If the fish are damaged, or you would like to take some home, they must be paid for at a rate of £3.50 per lb. Any trout caught over 5Lbs must be returned to the water. If you damage a fish over 5Lbs or wish to keep them they are £5.00 per pound.


Fishery Manager – Mr Charlie Empett
Phone: 01634 220005 or 07827337424