Trout Fishing

We extend a warm welcome to all trout anglers. The range of fishing we offer ensures excellent sport for all abilities. Our still water fisheries are among the best in the west and vary in size from around 50 to over 900 acres!

Our fisheries are picturesque and atmospheric lakes, including countless secluded bays, weedy shores and tree line margins to explore. We boast rainbows, browns and a large number of blues of the highest quality. Traditional fly fishing is the rule at our stocked fisheries, although other methods can be used at our free wilderness trout waters. 

Young People and Newcomers

We are working hard to encourage young people and newcomers to take up the sport. Under 18 fish for free with a paying adult and part of their bag limit. Throughout the season, we host open days and events where we offer free fly fishing tuition for all.

Boat Fishing

Boats are available at most of our waters which provide an alternative to bank angling. These must be pre-booked, either by calling 01566 771930 (8.30am - 5.00pm 7 days a week) or online by scrolling to the bottom of your chosen lake page.

You will need to sign a disclaimer before you can take a boat out. Once a year you will need to complete a boat induction – please watch the induction video here

Access for All

Most of the waters benefit from facilities designed for disabled or wheelchair anglers, either by platforms or Wheelyboats. These boats must be booked at least 48 hours in advance.


A number of the fisheries have associated local clubs. These are a great way to meet fellow anglers, as well as participating in competitions and social events. We run several competitions during the season - more details of each of these are available on our competitions page.

Environment Agency Rod Licence

Anglers on all our waters must have a valid Environment Agency rod licence which are available from post offices or via the Environment Agency. The only exception may be when attending a bona fide course or a coaching session with a qualified coach – please check beforehand.

South West Lakes Trust

South West Lakes Trust is the managing charity of SW Lakes Trust Fishing. The charity is a member of The Angling Trust. In 2014, the South West Lakes Trust fisheries hosted the Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships; Scotland took gold and England won silver. 

Reporting an Incident:

South West Lakes Trust manages a portfolio of nearly 50 lakes and other natural resources so it is not always possible for our wardens to be on the scene when issues occur. The very remote and rural nature of our estate, the thing that makes them so special, also means that modern mobile communications don’t always cover the areas we would like them to. This makes getting an immediate response to ongoing incidents very challenging.

Please use this form to report any incidents of poaching, illegal fishing or any other form of antisocial behaviour to the management team so that we are able to take appropriate action.

Complete Form


Colliford was formed in 1983 when the River St Neot was dammed. The resulting lake (when full) is just over 900 acres and is the second largest reservoir South West Lakes manages. The fishing is bank only by traditional fly fishing methods. Along with Roadford, Wistlandpound and Fernworthy, Colliford forms a quartet of stocked Brown Trout waters under our control. The Brown Trout, the lake's sheer size and lack of any other watersports activities all combine to give Colliford a unique feel and, indeed, this different feel is very much part of its appeal.


The season runs between 15 March and 12 October inclusive. Permits are available online through our website here. Season tickets are also available and evening tickets are just £13.50.


Whilst our stocking level has varied in the last decade, catch returns have shown us that when we maintain a stocking level of 2000 fish per year the lake is capable of providing some terrific fishing. We have recently stocked 2000 Brown Trout around the seven to ten inch mark. However, in addition to these fish, and as part of our ongoing plans to further develop our Trout Fisheries, a further 2000 fish around the 3 to 4 inch mark were also stocked in 2019. Whilst it may take a season or two before we reap the full benefits of these extra stock fish, we are optimistic these fish will thrive and that Colliford can develop into an outstanding Brown Trout fishery.

The average size of the Trout caught here is around 12ozs to 1lb. However, each year fish to over 3lbs are caught and, in the past, fish to over 5lbs have been taken by fly fishermen. In 2018, during a carp removal exercise, a Brown of 9lbs 8oz was caught and released (picture below). This huge fish gives us a glimpse of what the lake is capable of producing.


The first thing anglers need to grasp is that this is a Brown Trout fishery. Catching Brown Trout is a somewhat different exercise than fishing for stocked Rainbows. Fishing for Browns is essentially a highly mobile affair. The importance of staying on the move, covering fresh water, cannot be overstated. Thankfully Colliford has many miles of fishable bank so it really lends itself to this free ranging roving approach. Its good old fashioned, time honoured, cast and walk.

The two most popular methods of fishing at Colliford are pulling teams of wet flies and also dry fly. Early and late in the season it’s wets that usually take the bulk of the fish. Traditional patterns that have been fooling Browns for years still have a magnetic attraction for the Colliford fish. Patterns such as Soldier Palmer, Bibio, Zulu, Black and Peacock Spider are all good fish catchers but if you have a favourite traditional pattern why not give it a swim.

In 2015 Colliford saw a huge explosion in stickleback numbers. Some of our regular fishers caught lots of fish on Alexandras and Butchers that year and, even though stickleback numbers have declined, they are still present, so a silver bodied fly could well bring success. Not quite as traditional, but highly effective, are Black tadpoles and Zonkers. Not used as much these days, Vivas have caught plenty of fish here in the past. Sometimes the inclusion of a wake making pattern on the top dropper can help things along. Muddler headed versions of traditional patterns are good in this roll, as are Sedgehogs or even Ethafoam Beetles. A range of sizes can be useful. 10’s down to 16’s will cover most eventualities with 12’s and 14’s probably the most useful.

Whilst pulled wets will catch fish all season long, during the warmer months fishing dry fly often comes into its own here. Colliford can be an excellent dry fly water. The very best of the fishing can be if you happen to be there during a fall of terrestrial flies. Throughout the season these flies could include Hawthorns, Beetles, Ants, Cowdung or Daddy Long Legs together with various other bits and pieces. Some wonderful fishing has been had here during a fall of these land based insects. There are hatches of buzzers and sedges too and these can also bring fish to the surface. Whilst it is always nice to see some rising fish, happily Colliford seems to be one of those places where the fish are often willing to come ‘blind’. It does sometimes require a leap of faith to fish surface patterns when no fish are showing but it really can work here. Fishing this way is essentially a prospecting way of fishing. Cast, leave the flies on the surface for ten to fifteen seconds, if nothing rises, pull in, walk a few paces down the bank then cast again. Once again keeping on the move as you fish. With regards to patterns the Colliford fish are usually pretty undemanding. A selection of Bits and Hoppers in various sizes and colours together with a few beetle patterns should cover most eventualities. Black, Claret and Red are really good colours and a few olive and ginger patterns can be handy too. Although it is a method mainly associated with the warmer months, some opening days in the past have seen fish caught on dries. It's by no means unusual to see a fall of beetles on closing day so  really dry fly can work at any time of the season. Although less used than pulled wets and dries, fishing teams of nymphs and spiders certainly works. PTNs, Crunchers, Diawl Bachs, GRHEs and Damsels all catch fish here. Generally slim sparse tying’s seem to do best.


Colliford is no place for multiple rod set ups and huge tackle bags laden with umpteen reels and lines. It’s really not needed and will only hinder the mobile approach Colliford usually demands. One rod and reel, a small rucksack or sling pack to carry your food and drink (and waterproofs if you’re not already wearing them) with the rest of the stuff your likely to need for a day’s fishing easily stored in your jacket/waist coat pockets. A couple of boxes of flies, some spare tippet, sinkant, floatant, clippers or scissors and a pair of forceps, along with a pair of sunglasses, is pretty much all you should need. If you’re going to take a fish for the table then obviously a priest should be carried too.

Selecting your rod is simple, go with what you’re comfortable with. Although 7 or even 8 weights may help in strong winds, some anglers now fish with rods down to 3 weight when conditions allow, enjoying the delicacy and extra sport these light rods afford. Generally a 5 or 6 weight is a pretty good compromise. Whilst sink tip and intermediate lines can occasionally be useful, Colliford is a real stronghold for floating lines. Truth is many of our seasoned anglers rarely use anything else.

Weather you use or carry a landing net really comes down to personal choice. Some anglers like them, others find them an unnecessary encumbrance. Again, go with what you’re comfortable with.  Whilst it is not mandatory we strongly suggest the use of barbless or de-barbed hooks at all times. These days the majority of anglers choose to return all their Brown Trout but, even if you do wish to keep a fish for the table, it is probable you will catch an undersized fish or two along the way. These fish must be returned and barbless hooks will greatly help with successful catch and release. That little fish you return now may turn out to be the fish of the season in a few years’ time. Barbless hooks have the added bonus of being far easier to extract should you accidentally hook yourself too!!


Whilst Colliford is not a dangerous place to fish it is entirely sensible to take care. Wading is generally fine in most areas but do be really careful if you’re unsure what`s under your feet. Mobile phone coverage is generally good, but we don’t recommend you wade any further than thigh depth and that you have a wading belt on. Colliford is high up on Bodmin Moor and it is often several degrees colder than at lower levels, so dress accordingly. The weather can close in quickly. Better to take your waterproofs and not need them rather than to be caught out if an unexpected squall comes through.


We hope this information will prove helpful to you. A full list of rules and regulations can be found on our notice board at the fishery and on our website. Please remember to fill in a catch return every time you fish. There is a catch return box in the car park by the old toilet block or you may find it more convenient to use our online return service which can be found here. Its really important to let us know if you have caught or not as this can influence our decisions on future stocking and development for the fishery.

Thanks for reading and good luck at Colliford – it’s an amazing place to fish.