Walthamstow 1 & 2
This is our premier carp reservoir with three fish (common and mirror) having been caught in excess of 40lb. The largest, a beautiful mirror of 45lb 12oz. There are many 30lb+ specimens (many 35lb+), backed up with a huge number of 20s. There are also bream to over 16lb, pike over 20lb and eels in excess of 5lb.
A season ticket is available covering the 1, 2 and 3 reservoirs priced at £300. The season starts on 1 June and ends 16 March. Also available is a permit that covers all coarse reservoirs and the Coppermill stream priced at £375 per year.
As I mentioned, the fish at Walthamstow are very nomadic and so it is therefore important to keep on the move and travel light.
You’ll need these for your trip to Walthamstow!
See Tom in action on Walthamstow
What is it like and when did you start fishing it?
I first started fishing the Walthamstow complex in my mid teens. It suited me perfectly at that age because it was, at the time, just around the corner from my house, only 20 minutes away. Being a day only venue too, it meant that I could really maximise my time. The lake had a really good head of 30 pounders to go at too, it still does, which suited me at such a young age. The Big Common was also in there, a fish of my dreams really.
The 2 & 3 is basically two lots of 14 acres that are joined via a small channel. I treat them as two separate lakes really. Each lake is notoriously silty and shallow, and the fish are very active moving between the two lakes regularly each day. Due to the shallow nature of The Stow, it fishes very well in the winter and I have experienced some amazing days with frost on the ground.
Due to its size and spacious swims, there are very rarely any squabbles. It is really well spaced out so you generally have your own slice of water which is nice.
What is the stock like?
I’d guess around 200-250 fish, 30 odd fish over 30lb, 2x 40’s and the rest 20’s. They are proper old looking carp, real gorgeous looking English fish.
As I mentioned, the fish at Walthamstow are very nomadic and so it is therefore important to keep on the move and travel light. I will always take the bare minimum and keep it on the barrow. There really is no need for buckets of bait, marker rods, spod rods, bedchairs and the like because it will weigh you down and make you less reluctant to move.
I lead around with my main fishing rods anyway, rather than thrashing the water to a foam with markers. The venue isn’t very weedy anyway, so there is simply no need.
I take the bare minimum of leads, just enough for my session, a couple of sandwiches and a drink to keep me going for the day. That way, if I see fish elsewhere, I can up sticks in a matter of minutes. I can’t stress enough how key this is. Sometimes, I will even leave the chair in the car and sit on an unhooking mat all day.
What features do you look for?
There are three islands on the 2 and 3 that the fish do like to patrol. A few years back these were incredible features, although since then they have been covered up, but fishing to them still does fish. One of of the best features, though, is pinpointing the firmer areas of silt. As a consequence, you need to be adept at feeling the lead down. If you see fish and can locate a harder area of the lake bed, you are onto a winner.
If I locate a few firmer areas in open water, I ensure to make a note of them for future sessions. I actually have notes in my phone of all the hard spots in each swim, so whenever fish showed I can ‘wrap up’ and cast to each known area without thrashing it to a foam. A few boilies spread over the top will normally do the trick.
What are the best swims?
The best swims are the ones where the fish are showing. Like I said, they love jumping out the water and they certainly don’t do it quietly, so keep an eye out at all times. I would never ever get too comfortable in one swim because they’d move very quickly.
My two favourite swims are The Southend and Tea Party Two. They both target the same bit of water, both on the number 2 reservoir. Southend always features a great island spot and also a large, fantastic open water area that you can target from both swims. Tea Party Two, again, could target that open water area, and there’s a spot right up the right-hand margin that gives you access to a snaggy tree near the channel that divides both lakes. This always holds fish and is the only snag on the lake.
Where is best in winter?
Open water 2 or the bit of open water on the 3 fishing from a swim known as The Royal Box or Post. For me the best is number two in the open water though, fishing from The Fence swim or The Beach swim. There is some deeper water in open water and it’s nice and firm. The fish seem to hold here in the colder temperatures. Bright hook baits will work particularly well in such circumstance. The old faithful yellow pineapples work so well!
Rigs & bait
Simplicity! You need something that is going to present itself in the silt, either a lead clip with a nice long, soft hook length complete with snowman rig or pop-up, or a helicopter rig with the bead halfway up the leadcore with a nice stiff hook link. Both will be presented in silt and won’t bury!
In terms of bait, prebaiting the night before your session can be worthwhile; they love The Cell there and they also find it hard to resist a bright pop-up over the top. They aren’t the fussiest fish in the world in The Stow, so if you can find them you will stand a great chance of catching them.
Travel LIGHT and make sure you have a tub of pineapple pop-ups in the bag!
Walthamstow 2 & 3 Rules
I will always hold Walthamstow close to my heart, I have a strange obsession with the place.
Tom Dove is one of the most popular anglers in the UK, starring in the popular fishing programme, Monster Carp on ITV. He is very adaptable and has fished across Europe for big carp.