Albans Lakes Fishery (Willows), St Albans

A Hertfordshire runs water where action can be plentiful if you get the tactics right

Albans Lakes Fishery (Willows), St Albans

Day ticket or syndicate: Day ticket
Realistic catch rate: Several fish per session
How much: £20 for 24 hours
How do I get a ticket: On the bank
Skill level to catch: Beginner
How busy is it: 3 out of 5
Location: St Albans, Hertfordshire
Can you drive to the swims: No
On site facilities: Toilets, tackle shop
Best bait: Pellets in solid bags
Best swim: The least pressured
Average size: 10lb-18lb
Max realistic size: 25lb

Albans Lakes Fishery (Willows Lake) , St Albans

At around 22 acres, this lake can be classed as the complexes runs water.  The depths range between 3ft and 12ft. The stock comprises over 7,000 carp ranging between 3lb and 30lb+.

The average size is around 12lb. The lake boasts many features including an island, margins, gravel bars, silt spots and deep channels. The lake has been known to do big weights of carp over 48-hour sessions of up to 700lb+. Willows also offers a good head of bream, skimmers and roach and can produce quality silverfish weights.

Willows is a very popular lake and it is by no means a surprise considering the large stock that it boasts

Ryan Curtin

If you are after non-stop action from carp then this is a great place to go. That said, if you love your bream and roach fishing you can bag up too!

The bottom half of the lake is the shallowest part with depths of only 3ft-4ft meaning that this is the best place to target in the warmer months of the year. The top half of the lake is a little deeper with depths going down to 6ft-9ft, making this this ideal place to try when the cold sets in.

If you don’t have a lot of choice then simply head for the swims with least angling pressure. Due to the many lines in the water on most days, you will find that the carp tend to seek the quieter spots.


In terms of presentations and rigs, solid bags work effectively. They seem to work particularly well at this venue. My setup consists of a 4oz inline complete with a nice, short, blowback rig. I attach a wafter as a hook bait, something small and potent smelling, I also top these with plastic corn. Glugged baits will definitely give you an edge over others.

The centre of the lake (unless seen plenty of fish elsewhere) is a very good place to target and I will generally introduce a kg of boilies over the top of all 3 rods to begin with, following with 10 over each rod as bites progress.

I have found that the majority of other anglers are fine on the complex, but it can get extremely busy. Consequently I will always talk to other anglers to make sure you know where they are fishing as to avoid lines crossing.

3 Top Tips

 1 – Solid bags all day long.

2 – Keep topping up the spots with spod to hold the fish in front of you. Little and often baiting approach.

3 – Don’t be afraid to try zigs/floater tactics as this can also bag a lot of fish on a summer session.

Willows Lake Rules

Bait rules: None
Dogs: Not allowed
Hooks: Barbless only, Max size 8
Equipment: No bait boats, no braided mainline,
Lead arrangements : No fixed leads
Fish care: Unhooking mats compulsory and 42in landing net for carp
Other rules: No keepnets unless in organised match

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