Bellows Mill


The VAC's premier freehold fishery near Whipsnade Zoo and featuring a carp-free coarse lake, a trout lake and a short stretch of the River Ouzel.

The fishery, purchased by the VAC in  Spring 2010, comprises of two lakes named Ford and Mill, and also includes a section of the River Ouzel.

An initial water quality survey was completed in December 2009, and a fish health examination completed at same time. To back this up, an electro fishing unit carried out a fish population check, as seine netting could not be completed because of the amount of sub surface weed present at this time.  The overall condition of the water was found to be good, with an ability to support course and game fish alike. Fish were captured and tested with nothing of significance reported. In summery a good freehold purchase by the VAC, with significant development potential.

Proposals were discussed and the initial report came to a conclusion to develop a coarse and trout fishery. Ford Lake was decided to be the trout lake, with Mill being the coarse Lake. Excavation was needed, to increase the depths on both lakes with islands being created on Mill  with spoils being deposited on the sides of Ford Lake. The stocking of these lakes were discussed and an overwhelming census proposed that the Mill Lake be a NO CARP venue, with an emphasis on maintaining the fish stocks of tench, crucians, roach and perch found in these waters. The existing grass carp registered in the waters would remain. To date there are 20 of these up to 28lbs. Ford Lake to be a trout only water being stocked with both rainbow and brown Trout

Work started in earnest in October 2010 with the new gated entry into complex via the Ford Lane. Ford Lake was electro fished and fish moved into Mill that included large perch and grass carp. The lake was pumped out and excavators removed the spoils to increase the depth and a liner around the periphery to create a drop-off and make a retaining bank. At the same time many of the large Willows and bushes were removed, not only to open the space, but with the back cast of the trout anglers in mind. Once this was completed grading took place into November 2010. Initially walk out stands were erected, but were removed later and lake edge platforms were installed.

The excavation moved on to Mill Lake in November 2010 with the decision to create three islands to accommodate the spoils from the deepening of this lake. These are retained by liners to hold back the spoils and retain an edge. By end of month the three islands were completed and three months of winter with lakes frozen over by ice ensued. In May 2011 with the lake unfrozen work began to create swims around Mill. These were thought out so as to not get anglers fishing in each other’s swims but be able to converse at same time, by making the swims at an angle. Due to the electric cables running over Mill we have a loss of four swims. This is the roped off area on both sides. The trees on either side of the cables in the wood by the Ouzel were cut back and pollarded to stop any toppling over into the fishery in the future.

The fishery retains its level to about two inches deviation over last summer. There are two feeds into Ford Lake from the River Ouzel upstream of the road ford. There are springs also in Ford. The water continues into Mill via a 4-inch pipe through the dam. There is also and over-spill system built in. Another pipe also feeds into Mill Lake over the dam from the river. The level is controlled with the use of a monks weir at far end of Mill and flows on to the river from there.

Ford Lake

Ford Lake is an extremely popular trout fishery with two 12 week seasons for permit holders when a substantial number of trout are stocked to keep everyone happy! Brown trout are also stocked at various times of the year to complement the stock of rainbows and day permits are available to club members throughout the year. The lake is run by Verulam Trout, a dedicated and extremely helpful group of officers that run an active agenda  with day trips and other events throughout the year, all open to Verulam AC members The details of availability and costs of fishing Ford Lake are available from the Verulam Trout  page. Contacts in your handbook or via the VAC website

Mill Lake

Mill Lake is now maturing as an excellent ‘carp free’ fishery and provides good sport with tench to 5lb. perch to 3lb. crucians to 1lb plus rudd and roach to 1lb. The fishery also holds around 20 grass carp up to 25lb. No strategy has been found to directly target these great fish. It seems the ones that have been caught have been caught whilst fishing for the other species. You will need some time to land them.


River Ouzel

The Ouzel holds pike, chub, perch and roach and does provide some good sport at times throughout the year.

- The fishery is located about 20 miles from central St Albans via the M1 and is maintained by a dedicated team of fishery officers who ensure the grass is cut and that the whole site remains a delightful place to visit. Male and Female toilets are available and ample car parking close to the lakes makes for a great place to visit in such delightful surroundings.


- Fishery Managers -
Andy Karczmarek 
07730430378  & Bob Ring (for all trout fishing enquiries)
- 07747 795334


- Last Updated January 2016



Webmaster: Stan Kiddle
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