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‘Where are the best carp lakes near me?’ is one question that our Where To Fish team often hear.

We bring you just six of their top suggestions for best carp lakes where a ’20’ is very much on the cards. They are all day ticket waters.

Be sure to read the team’s latest suggestions and form guide – it’s only in Angler’s Mail magazine each week.

Acorn Carp Fishery, Somerset.

With a fantastic head of fish, this fishery was picked as a great carp lake by Brian Gay, long-time Mail  correspondent in the south and south west.

Acorn Carp Fishery offers anglers a very good chance of catching a 20-pounder, the best topping mid-30s, in all weathers.

There are swims with ample room for a bivvy, and others with a wooden hut on a platform. Parking is within easy reach, so the venue suits disabled anglers. Recently desilted, the main lake has a hard bottom and multiple features to target.

Open water swims, which are typically 5-8 ft deep, are best targeted at night. Carp Lake pegs 2, 3 and 5 face open water, making them ideal for overnighters.

For the best action during the day, cast your rigs tight to the islands, into water 3 ft deep, sometimes less. Particles (maize or 11 mm pellets) are only allowed if purchased from the on-site tackle shop, and are best fished in a PVA bag, loosefeeding boilies over the top.

The fish do respond to the sound of catapulted boilies landing on the surface, but are otherwise quite spooky, so it’s best to keep noise and movement to a minimum. Snowman rigs are the best line of attack.

Matches take place on the Match Lake on Tuesdays and Sundays, which are big weight affairs, with 300 lb bags often needed to win. Pleasure anglers do well by casting a Method feeder with a banded hard pellets to the far bank. Pole in the edge or 6 m out is also very productive.

Tickets: Carp Lake £10 a day; £20 for 24 hours in a bivvy swim; £25 for 24 hours in a hut swim; 48-hour tickets £40 or £50 respectively. Day tickets on other lakes are priced £7. Barbless hooks only. No braided main line. No leadcore. Minimum line strength 15 lb. A carp care kit is essential. No meat, nuts or peas. There’s a tackle shop on site. Contact 01934 834050 or visit

Location: Lampley Road, Clevedon, BS21 6XS.

Cackle Hill Lakes, Kent.

Cackle Hill was amongst the first picks for our south and south eastern correspondent Duncan Charman when considering his best carp lakes – ones that are day ticket and give a good chance of  20 lb fish.

This three-lake complex has two well-stocked specimen lakes, Specimen Lakes 1 and 2.

Specimen Lake 1 contains carp to over 40 lb, including lots of 20s and 30s, grass carp to over 35 lb and catfish to over 90 lb.

Specimen Lake 2 has a similar stock, with carp to 38 lb and catfish to over 80 lb, but also contains some very big perch.

The third lake is home to a mix of smaller species.

Most anglers target the carp with quality boilies, which also tempt the catfish.

The standard approach is a PVA bag cast close to a feature, such as the far bank or islands, but open water and the margins should not be overlooked.

There’s a host of facilities on site, including a café, tackle shop and holiday lodges. It’s recommended that you book in advance, as this complex is very popular.

Day tickets for Specimen Lakes 1 and 2 are £15 (best booked in advance); £25 for 24 hours; £12 on Mixed Lake; concessions available.

Tel: 01580 292292 or 07885 284500.

Location: Headcorn Road, Biddenden, TN27 8JW.

Carp fishing came top in the angling statistics that have recently been published.

Brian Gay (left) and Colin Davidson (right) both appear each week in Angler’s Mail magazine. They know their carp fishing – and lots about other sides, too.

Drayton Reservoir, Northamptonshire.

Steve Lockett, our midlands correspondent, had no hesitation in suggesting Drayton as one of his best carp lakes.

It’s a cracking late-season venue offering lots of carp to mid-doubles and a good chance of a 20-pounder, maybe even a ‘30’, especially during the night.

A Method or standard feeder cast alongside the convenient walkways is the main tactic.

Use mixed sizes of dampened pellets for feed, and present a banded 12 mm pellet on the hook.

A PVA bag with hemp and corn is best when fishing closer to the near bank.

A bright wafter picks up fish when they are being ‘moody’.

It’s also worth trying a zig rig with a pop-up on a long link, spodding a cloudy mix over the top, to pull cruising fish in.

Tickets: £8 one rod; £12 two rods; concessions £5 and £10 respectively; night tickets are £25 for two rods. Tel: 07889 532563.

Location: Daventry, NN11 0SG.

Hayton Fishery, north Nottinghamshire.

The small but prolific Gadwall Lake was one of the best carp lakes selected by Alain Urruty, our man in the north and north east.

Gadwall, at Hayton Fishery, contains a number of 30 lb carp and plenty of 20-pounders. The lake record is 38 lb 12 oz, and a 40-pounder could come out this autumn.

A maximum of eight anglers is the number allowed on this 19-peg lake at any one time, so booking before travelling is essential.

Boilie hook baits with or without a few loosefed offerings have brought the best results over recent weeks, especially when presented in the margins or tight to the island.

Tickets: £10; £20 for 24 hours. Booking a peg before you visit is a must. Tel: Toby on 07508 903078.

Location: Smeath Lane, Retford, DN22 9JL.

Suffolk Water Park, Suffolk.

This multi-lake complex has an on-site tackle shop, café and shower facilities. It was a top lake suggestion from Tom Legge, Mail correspondent in the east of England.

The Big Fish Lake at Suffolk Water Park contains at least 25 20 lb-plus carp and several over 30 lb.

Traditional Lake holds fish to upper-20s, but averaging around 16 lb.

Catching a 20-pounder is also possible from Match Lake 1, but most fish are in the 8-14 lb range.

Top tactics include PVA bags with boilies, pop-ups, wafters, plastics or drilled pellets.

Don’t be afraid to feed heavily, as carp are starting to feed in earnest ahead of winter. Some swims are bookable for overnighters.

Tickets: Traditional and Match Lakes adult day tickets are £10; OAPs £8; 11-15s £5; under-10s free. Big Fish Lake £13; 24 hours £24. Tel: 01473 832327.

Location: Bramford, Ipswich, IP8 4JS.

Wyreside Lakes, Lancashire.

This hugely popular complex was recommended by Mail man in the north and north west, Ian Chapman. He’s visited carp lakes over nearly three decades, for a range of magazine and video features, so you can trust his judgement for picking gems!

Wyreside boasts six clear-water carp lakes containing fish of all sizes, including lots of 20 lb-plus specimens. The venue’s biggest fish, which hovers around 39 lb, resides in Wyre Lake.

On-site facilities are excellent here, and include showers and a bar serving food to order.

As the weather starts to cool, carp can still be tempted from this venue, but it’s best to reduce the amount of loose offerings, to avoid overfeeding them.

Single bright boilies fished over a PVA bag of feed is a winner. Try fishing one bait in the edge and another in deeper water for the best chance of finding action.

Another good tip on the carp lakes here – and many other stillwaters – is to fish into a warm wind, as the fish often like to follow it.

Tickets: £9 one rod; £13 two rods; £15 three rods, from the office at the fishery entrance. Tel: 01524 792093.

Location: Gleaves Hill Road, Dolphinholme, near Lancaster, LA2 9DG.

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