Fishery Focus | Ham Green Fishery, Top Lake

by Tony Grigorjevs |
Published on

If you’re looking for a stunning lake where big bream and quality tench will dominate, then you needn’t look any further than Ham Green Fishery's Top Lake.

This 22-peg water in Bristol has everything that the traditional angler could desire, with several sets of lily pads in each swim, very few carp and silence that is only broken by the resident wildlife.

Previously owned by Bristol Angling Club, the lake has plenty of history, with the current owner recalling sessions on it as far back as in the 1960s. All but one of the swims are located on a single bank, with fishing not permitted at the top end of the lake to allow the fish somewhere to sit undisturbed.

The venue is really picturesque.
The venue is really picturesque.

How to fish it

Float and feeder tactics both score, with a little watercraft required to make the most of your time on the bank.

Fishing close to the cover is best for the tench, although strong tackle is required to draw them away from the lily pad roots. Floatfishing with a waggler and double corn hookbait will score, with 8lb mainline to a 6lb hooklength and a size 14 hook recommended. Make sure your rod packs a punch too so that you can lean into fish from the word go and beat that initial surge of power.

When bream are your quarry, fish a large cage feeder into open water to build a bed of bait. A fishmeal groundbait packed with a mixture of micro pellets, dead casters and corn will soon draw their attention and then hold the fish. Drop a flatbed Method feeder over the top and once you catch one slab, you can guarantee more will follow.

The tench fishing can be excellent.
The tench fishing can be excellent.

End peg hotspot

Peg one has acres of space all to itself and when the wind is blowing down that end, it can be a real hotspot. As with almost every peg on the Top Lake, it is packed with features and fishing close to them can produce quick results.

Go easy on the loosefeed in the early stages as there is a solid chance that there are already fish lingering around. A couple of small handfuls of pellets and corn will draw them over your baited rig while making sure your hookbait isn’t missed because they have too much choice.

There are some superb bream to go at too.
There are some superb bream to go at too.

Silverfish bagging

The tench and bream are a big draw for a lot of visitors, but the lake is also teeming with roach and rudd. Baits such as maggots and casters will keep bites coming throughout the day, with a regular trickle of bait the key to creating competitive feeding among the fish.

Start by fishing a light waggler set up or short pole on the deck but be prepared to come shallow. Most fish will be hand-sized specimens, but roach to 2lb reside in here so a personal best is never off the cards. Over 11,000 fish, ranging from hand-sized silvers to bream nudging the double-figure mark, have been stocked in recent years to provide plenty of bites for anglers of all disciplines.

Look for the firm spots

Most of the bottom is covered in silt, but a good proportion of the swims have firmer spots that make ideal features to fish over. Fishing on such an area increases the chance of your hookbait and loosefeed being well-presented when a fish arrives.

Cast a lead around at the start to explore your swim. If you feel resistance while pulling it back then it has plugged into the silt. If, however, you can draw the lead smoothly over an area without any resistance you will have found a firm spot. If you are forced to fish over silt, try floatfishing as a feeder could bury in it upon hitting the deck and end up being hidden from sight.

The firmer areas will result in more consistent action.
The firmer areas will result in more consistent action.

Best bite times

As you may expect on a bream and tench water, the sport hits peak levels when light levels are relatively low. Visit early morning or as the sun is starting to dip late in the afternoon or early evening and you’ll find the fish ready to feed. If you’re unable to visit at these times, then try to plan your session for an overcast day when it is slightly breezy. The cloud cover and ripple above their heads will dim the light a little and encourage the fish to feed with added confidence.

Venue factfile

Location: Ham Green Lakes, Chapel Pill Lane, Bristol, Avon, BS20 0HL

Contact: 07818 640227

Prices: Adults £7, concessions £6, 24hrs £15. Bookings can be made in advance here

Rules: No barbed hooks or braided mainline, no carp, tench or large bream to be placed in keepnets, under 14s must be accompanied by an adult.

Facilities: Parking, disabled access, toilets

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us