Orchid Lake, Oxfordshire

The home of the thirties

Orchid Lake, Oxfordshire

A water steeped in features with 50 to 60 thirties to go at.


Big Fish Potential

Venue Cleanliness

On Site Facilities

Swim Comfort

Value For Money

Orchid Lake

Situated in the heart of the Thames Valley, just south of Oxford approximately one mile from the delightful and historic village of Dorchester-on-Thames, Orchid Lakes has a long history and fine reputation for providing carp angling which is second to none.

Set in delightful surroundings, there are two well stocked, mature gravel pit lakes both of which are maintained in perfect order with purpose built swims.

The lakes are surrounded by large mature oak, poplars and magnificent weeping willows which offer protection and privacy giving the lakes a renown and aesthetic appeal.

Orchid Lake Key Info

Day ticket club?: Day ticket
How much: £25 for 24 hours
How to book: Turn up and fish, prior swim bookings can be made
How busy: Weekends can be busy, midweek is quieter
Can you drive to swims: No, tackle is dropped off to the swim via bailiff
On site facilities: Cafe, toilets
Nearest tackle shop: Top Tackle
Average Size: 20lb plus
Realistic catch rate: 1-2 fish per session
Best swims: The middles fishing to the bars
Best method: Find the clear spots in between the weed, with drop-off leads
Best bait: Boilies, hemp and sweetcorn
Ideal range: 50yrd
Max size: Over 40lb

What is it like?

The lake is a 17.6 acres gravel pit with 28 different swims (three of which are double swims). It’s day ticket, and every swim has an abundance of features to fish to. There’s an island, a large reed bed, several beds of pads, lots of weed, clear silty areas and of course numerous bars. The average depth is around 4ft with lots of deeper silt channels in the middle.

What is the stock?

There are hundreds of carp in there, averaging around the mid-20s mark. At the height of the season, there are 50-60 thirties which is where it gets its name as the ‘home of the thirties’. At least 15 fish are over 35+ with the best being a mirror known as Delilah which has been over forty. The most wanted carp however, is Morgan’s – a heavily scaled mirror which has made almost 39lb and is set to go forty sometime in the future. Other A-Team residents include JD, Cathy, No Name and Daisy which are all regular 37+ fish.

The carp are boilie eating machines, but I’ve always found a good edge is to fish these over a bed of sweetcorn and hemp.

Simon Crow

What are the best areas?

The fish love the weed so anywhere clear close to weed is a good shout. There aren’t any snags anymore as they were taken out during Lockdown. The island is always worth a rod, but the main features are the gravel seams that run parallel down the lake in front of the swim known as Middles. These are a great area to target thirties from. You pick yours swims upon arrival at the lake, but the double swims can be booked in advance.

Summer hotspots are anywhere close to the pads. The All Alone or End Bay swims are always worth a go as the fish go in these in very warm weather.

In the winter the fish mostly prefer the middle area of the lake, over the silt beds. These can be reached from the Alamo swim, Middles, New Middles and Dead Dog swims.

What are the best tactics on Orchid?

The carp are boilie eating machines, but I’ve always found a good edge is to fish these over a bed of corn and hemp. You can use bait boats on here so these are a frequent sight, and they come in handy for presenting over the clear spots. Rig wise, short six-inch braided links work well, alongside size 6 hooks with boilies on the hair.

A good tip for Orchid is to bait heavy, especially in the spring and summer. Fish drop-off leads to counter the weed, and be prepared for some arm-aching action as the carp are proper fighters.

Extra info

In addition to the wonderfully stocked waters and perfect angling facilities, a superb anglers’ lodge has been constructed providing anglers with ladies, gents and disabled toilets together with a shower for those wishing to spend a bit longer on the bank. The Lodge also has a cafe where you can talk fishing over a cup of tea and if you don’t fancy cooking on the bank the local Chinese, Indian and Pitza will deliver to the Main Gate.

As an added service to anglers, transport is made available to take you and your tackle to your chosen swim.

Orchid Lake Rules

Are bait boats allowed: Yes!
Are there any rig rules: No leaders or leadcore
Are there any rules on hook sizes or patterns: No bent hooks
Are there any rules on barbed hooks: Micro barb or barbless only
Are dogs allowed: Yes must be under control
How many rods are allowed: 3
Is there an age limit: 16+ or with an adult
Lead arrangement rules: No fixed lead rigs. All leads must pass freely over leader knots
Line rules: Minimum 10lb main line
Any other rules: ALL big fish must be reported to bailiff

Simon Crow

Simon Crow, based in Northern England, is a renowned and well-respected carp angler. He has an album full of some of the countries finest carp and is also no stranger to huge specimens in Europe.


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