The main carp and pike lake is eight and a half acres in size, it has 2 large islands and is packed full of underwater features. All of our banks are grassed and are more than adequate to fit the largest of bivvi’s and still have plenty of room. All of our swims are decked with grassed banks either side, so whether you have a pod, or bank sticks it, will not be a problem.
The lake has carp up to 42lb with seven different known and named thirty pounders to back it up, and of which most of them are mid to upper thirties. We have approximately 120 twenties too with more being added to the total all the time with our upper doubles growing, with the average carp being caught is mid to high doubles. We actively manage the water by removing any carp caught under ten pound, so it means that your average size is kept nice and high and you would be unlucky to catch anything under ten pound. There are also around 150 pike up to a respectable 22 pounds to keep you busy during the winter months too. Due to the size of the lake and the amount of underwater features, it can sometimes be a hard water, but in the right conditions, bait and right swim, it can be an extremely easy water too. We pride ourselves on the quality and condition of our fish, and by having sensible rules with fish walfare being right at the top, it makes sure that they stay that way. In the past we have seen some anglers have seven twenties and one thirty in a 36 hour session and countless anglers have been reported catching multiple twenties too. Watercraft is an essential part of your tackle when you fish our main lake and can test the most experienced of angler, although beginners have sometimes been more successful than our veterans.
Our main lake has a variety of specimen species like Roach up to 2 pound, Perch up to 3 1/2 pound and Catfish up to a massive 96 pound! So the main lake really does has something for everybody and is the reason why we have won awards and are now officially one of the best carp fishing lakes in Essex.
The history of the past 16 years of Crowsheath….
Our main carp and pike lake originally started life as a little tiny pond of about an acre in size in the middle of a farm in Essex. It did have a few fish in the pond but was not used for fishing at all at the time. The owner of the farm was looking for ways to use his land for the greater good and decided that seeing as we are located on green belt land and there already and abundance of nature around the area, he needed something that would fit in with the surroundings. In 1998 the owner of the farm contacted one of the most well known and respected people in our industry, Dr Bruno Broughton, with an idea to create a new fishery. Dr Broughton helped and advised on many aspects in the design of the fishery and also on how to maintain and run it as a day ticket or syndicate lake. The lake itself has been designed in such a way that it is a complete ecosystem and natural environment for the carp and other species that are contained in it, as well as being enticing to anglers and to a point test their watercraft because the lake is not just a hole filled with water. it took over a year to finally dig the lake and a few months to fill up too. We finally had delivery of fish and opened our doors to the public in 1999.
When the lake first opened it was pretty bare and did just look like a hole in the ground if you did not know what was below the surface. Because the lake was man made from scratch we could take our time to plan out what to plant around the lake, so that when it matured we would have what we have today 16 years on. Every little detail has been covered to ensure that this man made lake seamlessly blends into its surroundings like it had always been there. We even thought about how the weather affects the fish and the fishing, so where the winds are predominantly south westerly, we planted a huge row of conifers at the far end of the lake so that there would always be an area of shelter and still water not just for the fish, but for the anglers too. There was a lot of time selecting which trees to plant on the islands too because being an island it is not the most accessible to maintain. We planted conifers, pines, ash and several types of willow, ensuring that when autumn arrived there was not too many leaves falling into the lake and also in the middle of the winter there was still an abundance of greenery from the evergreens that surround the lake.
There are so many underwater features packed into the design of the lake like islands, shelves, bars, gravel beds, weed beds, silt traps, deep holes, overhanging trees and snags, reed beds, lily pads….. the list goes on. This means that no two swims are the same and each and every time it will test your watercraft knowledge because with a water of this size you will need to half know what you are doing to locate the fish. Even if you have located the fish in a particular swim and you know for sure that the carp are there, you still may not catch one because you needed to be a foot to the right, or a bit deeper because the carp are not up in the reeds or on that feature. We are not an easy water by a long shot which is how carp fishing should be. Carp were once thought of as uncatchable. That was until recently with the way the sport has taken off and evolved with an ever more growing number of tackle and bait companies out there making catching a carp just that little bit easier.
In 2005 the main lake was divided into 2 halves creating 2 lakes with the idea of having one half as a pure specimen carp and catfish lake, and the other as a runs water for smaller carp and coarse fish. It worked well for a couple of years, but as the fish were growing rapidly the specimen half was becoming overstocked with fish that were graduating from the other lake. Plus the fact that the smaller fish were getting rapidly eaten by the catfish, cormorants and herons. So through natural selection it became a big fish water rather than just a mixed fishery. There are a few smaller species of fish like Rudd, Roach and Perch that still live in the lake, but these are mainly of specimen size and are always worth sticking a float rod out for when the carp go quiet. There used to be a busy bar and club at the lakes many years ago, which was a big draw to the lakes, but on a weekend there were loads of bivvi’s put up but there was no rods in the water, because everyone was drinking and watching football in the bar. The fishery was run back then by the owner and with a few complaints, the council shut down the bar and the premises became several residential properties. In 2011 there was a change in fishery management and Nick took over as a bailiff. This was a major turning point for the fishery as it was now being run properly to its full potential. Rapidly our reputation grew for the right reasons and it was then decided to open up the lake back up into 8 and a half acres once more in 2012. We took away the divide completely on one side of the island and opened up a wide gully on the other. This gave you two bays to fish to which can be very prolific in the summer where the carp like to get amongst the deep reed beds and shallower water. We have two stock ponds next to our main lake which contain our next generation of specimen carp, and between the members and management we take out anything from the main lake under 10 pound and grow them on in the stock ponds which means it keeps your average carp somewhere between 15 – 19 pound, and that figure is creeping up every year. At the beginning of 2015 we moved our pike into the main lake to help control the fry and smaller species, so there would be more food avalable for the carp to grow even more, and at the same time creating a much larger water for the pike to grow in and for pike anglers to fish in the winter months.