'Our Lakes'

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In this months blog I am going to give you a brief overview about 'Our Lakes'. 

At Cosgrove Park we are in an enviable position of having 14 lakes and two small pools that cater for all anglers and give them a chance to catch the fish of their dreams!

I could actually write a blog about each lake, about its fish and tactics, techniques and bait but for this month I am going to talk about lakes that are very similar with a similar stocking therefore an angler would use similar tactics and baits.

Fountain View 1 & 2 - Island View - Willow Lake

The very beautiful Fountain View 1 Lake

These four lakes are actually joined with balance pipes and also have a very similar stock and sizes of fish of all species.

Whatever your chosen species or style of fishing these lakes can cater for that with a very mixed stocking of the usual carp, tench and bream up to specimen size as well as smaller silver fish and for those anglers wishing to fish in the winter a good stock of predators both pike and perch.

A stunning 21lb FV1 common taken on boilie and a solid PVA bag aproach

All the usual tactics and baits work for the fish on these lakes. Obviously if your targeting the bigger carp you are better to use what I call a proper 'boilies & buzzers' approach. You will of course pick up the odd bream and tench using carp tactics and baits but to specifically target these species I would choose feeder tactics! For bream I would use either an open ended groundbait feeder or a method feeder fished at distance towards the middle of the lake. For tench during the warmer months try fishing very close in using float tactics either on the pole or using a running line waggler approach.

My current favourite long range bream feeder rig 

Andy Harrison with a truly beautiful Willow View '30'

Top Tip - Several of these lakes have no obvious features so 'create your own' by regular baiting of your particular spot. You don't need to pile in kilos of bait, but are better to bait on a little and often basis even when you are not fishing! You don't need to spend pounds and pounds on expensive boilies, but you could put together your own blend, my favourite 'mix' is particle/pellet based using hempseed, pigeon conditioner, mixed pellets of different sizes and sweetcorn. If I'm fishing for bream or tench I also put in plenty of live and dead maggots. If I'm targeting big carp I will also put in a good quantity of chopped and half boilies. 

Teal Lake

Teal Lake on a dull March afternoon

The carp anglers on Teal Lake are in an enviable position of having not only the largest known carp on Cosgrove Park a mirror carp of over 35lb but also lots of young 'back up' carp in and around the high 20's low 30's! These are regularly caught especially early in the season when they have woken up from there winter blues and at the back end of the season.

A Teal Lake 'warrior' - Probably the biggest carp on the park at over 35lb!

There is also a good stock of other species especially big numbers of bream. Now much to the annoyance of the carp anglers the bream do take boilies and other common carp baits but if you wish to target them and they do provide good sport, again I would suggest feeder tactics whether it be a conventional groundbait feeder or using the 'method'. Of course you can still use feeder gear on your buzzers but often its nice to sit out with a 'tip' rod and enjoy watching the quivertip pull round!

Occasionally we are still surprised as I was a couple of weeks ago with a 5lb 8oz Teal Lake chub!

Top TipDuring high summer a lot of carp anglers on Teal Lake complain that the fishing has 'gone right off'. I believe that this is down to a combination of angling pressure and the usual 'good weather'!

Anglers everywhere suffer from the 'dog days of August' but you can usually do something to buy a bite. Try to do something different and there are three things I usually try.

1. Fish in darkness. You don't need to fish right through the night but defo have to rods out in the evening until you turn in.

2. Fish very close in. This I use in combination with fishing during the night. Big fish don't get big by not eating and you would be amazed how close they will come in to feed when its quiet. Most anglers will be fishing from a platform, literally drop your bait within a couple of feet of your deck or even better if you neighbour does not fish there deck. I would definitely use hard boilies as bait, this is for two reasons - 1 is the bream also coming in close under the cover of darkness and 2 - the big population of crayfish are most numerous and active around the margins.

3. With the water being at its highest temperature the carp will spend a lot of their time in the upper layers. Now they may be catchable at times on floater tactics especially using dog biscuits but there is a lot of bird life on Teal Lake that can take every mixer you put in and at times you can be pulling your hair out with them. I prefer to use 'Zig Rigs'. A buoyant boilie or more usual for me a piece of rig foam is ledgered using a long hooklink so its anchored at the required depth where I believe the carp are cruising. I try to assess what depth they are swimming at and position my 'Zig' right in front of there noses. I've described my rigs quite a few times recently but I use a Fox Zig Aligner with different coloured foam. Its mega important to know the depth of the swim so you must plumb the depth and be accurate where you are not only placing the rig but also what depth you are setting the zig to fish at. 

With the lead on the deck the Zig Aligner and yellow foam 'bait' is set to fish in front of there noses!

A Teal Lake common taken on a 'Zig Rig'

Mallard Lake

Mallard Lake is a smaller more intimate fishing experience

Mallard Lake is one of the smallest lakes on the complex, but what it lacks in size it makes up in fish stocks and all round pleasure fishing!

The lake can feel a little cramped at busy times but with a bit of angling curtesy everyone can enjoy there fishing and make some good catches. It is fairly easy to fish as there is a good overall depth of between 6 and 8 feet with a firm silt bottom. Although there is a good stock of carp of all sizes the lake lends itself to all techniques. It can be particularly good for match style tactics such as the pole as well as method feeder as this will attract a broad mix of species. There is a good stock of bream out towards the fountain but don't ignore the margins that has good depth and especially in the warmer weather attracts some good tench.


A nice Mallard Lake bream comes to feeder tactics

Top TipEspecially in the cooler Spring and Autumn months and also right through the winter scale down or use light pole tactics and target the lakes big stock of roach and perch. I've had some lovely winter's day sessions catching some stunning roach on maggot or bread punch and often later in the day I've had a good bream and even a small carp that on light pole gear really do pull!

Swan Lake

Swan Lake is our biggest Lake at over 20 acres and is used for all sorts of water sports such as power boats and sailing as well as some very good angling. I regard Swan Lake as more of a specimen water as it contains some very big fish of many species, so although you can float fish or even use a pole because of the size and sometimes the weather conditions it lends itself to heavier carp fishing or feeder tactics, especially because the water is so clear you may sometimes have to cast a bit and fish at reasonable distance.

All of the recognised tactics work for the lake's stock of beautiful carp that go to over 30lb, my favourites are a solid bag or 'chod rig' approach over a good spread of bait. I use the same mix as I mentioned above. Because of the lake's water clarity the summer weed growth can be problematic so make sure that you use strong carp gear, I would use nothing less than 15lb bs mainline and have gone heavier in really weedy areas!

Peter Davidson (& his lovely wife) with a superb 30+ Swan Lake mirror 

During the Spring months I like to target the lakes tench and bream that both go over double figures. My favourite tactics for these species is to feeder fish over a big bed of bait - but first (and this applies to your carp fishing as well) you must 'Sus' out the features of your swim. Because Swan Lake is a disused gravel pit it contains extensive features such as gravel bars, plateau's and silty areas. Coupled with the heavy weed beds the fish could be anywhere. For the bream I try to find a clear area well out in the lake with deep-ish water and put a good bed of bait down, then fish groundbait feeders or even method feeders over the top. For the tench, distance casting is not so important but I still try to find a clear-ish area but close to weed!

Jacob Harris with a big Swan Lake tench

Top TipDue to the distance that you sometimes need to fish at in Swan Lake I suggest you invest in a 'Spomb' to use for baiting up. Now if you are going to use a large Spomb that can weigh up to 8oz at distance to put down big beds of bait you definitely need a dedicated 'spod rod' and a big pit reel loaded with braid and a 'shock leader'. But you can get away with using a normal carp rod and reel if you are using a small or midi spomb but take it easy and definitely use a shock leader. 

My 'spodding' gear for baiting up well in excess of 100m

Kingfisher Lake

A moody Kingfisher Lake dawn

Kingfisher Lake (or Kingfisher Bay depending which side of the lake you're on) is one of our medium sized lakes that in many ways is similar to its big sister Swan Lake in that the water can be very clear which means it can get very - very weedy in the height of summer!

The Lake has a good stock of carp up to 30lb+ together with some good bream to double figures and lots of lovely silverfish particularly some good perch, but for me its the stock of tench that I'm interested in. In my opinion Kingfisher is the best 'tench' lake on the complex, not necessarily for outright size but for numbers of very good fish! 

Steve Jordan with an immaculate Kingfisher Bay '30'

Again all the recognised tactics and baits work but you must take into account the heavy weed. Especially fishing for carp please use heavy gear with a mainline of at least 15lb bs. The one nice thing about Kingfisher is that lots of different tactics will work from casting out into the lake with proper carp gear to float fishing under your rod top for tench. In recent years I have caught some lovely tench using heavy pole gear and the 'lift method' with my trusty tench float rod and centrepin reel right in the edge!

Fred Jackson with a typical 'pole caught' Kingfisher tench

Top TipAs I said above throughout the Summer Kingfisher Lake is very, very weedy to the point where unless you rake out your swim on a regular basis it will become almost unfishable! There are three weed tools that I use, the first is a cutter on a 10' pole so that I can keep any bankside rushes down so that I can put a couple of rods out. Particularly for the tench - Don't take out to much, its the bankside rushes that provide the tench with the cover to come in close to feed. 

The second is my main weed rake, yes its big and pretty heavy but it needs to be to clear the heavy Canadian pond weed that inhabits the lake. I can throw this up to about 13m so I can keep my close in swim pretty clear. Don't be afraid to rake, then put in some free bait, then fish a short time later, tench are very inquisitive and I've caught loads soon after raking!

The third is a castable weed rake or in my case a 4oz sea fishing grip lead. I use this 'rake' on my spod rod and because I use heavy braided mainline I can pull out a small clump of weed from any distance I can cast the rake. Yes it does take some time to clear a spot out in the lake but I've found it is worthwhile and after a hour or so you can clear a little hole in the weed big enough to put a bait in.

My selection of weed gear - a cutter - a weed rake and a 4oz castable weed rake (sea fishing grip lead)

Canada Lake & Rainbow Pool

Canada Lake provides some great sport on match gear

Canada Lake is a medium sized Lake that has open access except for the road bank that is now restricted for the holiday home residents only. It is one of our most prolific venues and has a great stock of carp from 'pasties' up to low 20's so can be tackled with either proper carp gear - 'boilies and buzzers', or with more match/pleasure type techniques. Whatever tactics you decide to use - and I've said this before make sure it is up to the task. Pound for pound Canada Lake carp are the hardest fighting carp I've ever come across and I've caught carp in five different countries!

One of Canada Lakes bigger carp - a fine 20+ mirror

There is also a good stock of silverfish including a few tench and one or two skimmers so there is something for everyone to go at. It is the lake where during the Summer holidays I take groups of youngster's on the 'Introduction to Fishing' courses.

Canada Lake is a lovely place to spend some time with the family and catch plenty of fish

Rainbow Lake is a small pool that has a good stock of 'match sized' carp and lots of silver fish. They can be caught on lightweight pole, float and feeder tactics especially maggots, corn and pellets.

Top TipDo not ignore the margins. Canada Lake carp love to patrol the marginal areas as numerous swims have pretty deep water very close in. Prep your close in swim with a nice bed of bait and leave it a while to settle, fishing other areas until later in the session. If I am pole fishing I will cup in plenty of hempseed, pellets and corn and fish a pellet, corn or a good knob of paste over the top.

Bream, Tench, Pike & Perch Lakes

Fred Jackson landing a Perch Lake 'pastie' carp

These four lakes together with the small pool that has no name are open access waters for all residents on the park, you can even night fish them if you want to.

Bream and Perch Lakes are our match lakes and as such have the heaviest stocking of particularly small carp, although there has been some good doubles taken from Perch Lake. Any regular match style tactics work on both these lakes especially the pole and the method feeder. As well as the high numbers of carp in both lakes, Bream Lake has as its namesakes suggests a good number of big bream to nearly 8lb! Perch Lake has a good number of nice tench as well. The bream and the tench come on the match/pleasure tactics as well and make a pleasant change from the carp.

A typical Bream Lake mirror carp taken a couple of weeks ago on 'the method'

Bream Lake lived up to its name for my Grandson Max

Tench and Pike Lakes are for the anglers that like a challenge. There is a good stock of all species to specimen size including a good number of predators! Because the lakes are a little more 'wild' they lend themselves to the angler that for example likes to 'stalk' there quarry in the edge. Take a short rod together with a bag of bait and pre-bait a few spots in the edge and you might be surprised at what turns up.

A lovely Pike Lake tench caught of pole fished maggots

Top Tip - 'Master the Method' this style of feeder fishing is deadly not only on these lakes but every venue in the land. Its basically pretty easy once you have mastered a few simple techniques! Once you have the right gear and have sorted out your feed whether that be groundbait, pellets or both and have gained some experience putting it all together get out fishing. Try to master your casting as this can make or break the technique. There are times when you must cast to within inches of the far bank margin or an island and accuracy is so important. Learn to fish to 'the clip' so you can drop your feeder on the same spot time after time. Don't strike at little touches on the tip - wait until the rod is just about to be pulled in (what angler's call the 3 foot twitch) and just lift into the fish.

A standard method feeder set up that can be deadly for carp, bream and tench


As I write this piece you are all aware the country has gone into lockdown due to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. The park is closed and fishing is banned everywhere. Hopefully we will all come through this trying time and look forward to getting back to Cosgrove Park to fish 'Our Lakes'.

Keep well and keep safe - regards Gary S

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Venetian Marina Whilton Caravan Storage Whilton Marina
Cosgrove Park. Main Street, Cosgrove, Milton Keynes, MK19 7JP.
Phone: 01908 563360 Fax: 01908 263615