Fisheries - Moor Mill Pits, Park Street

By Paul Hill, Fishery Manager

Moor Mill Fishery is located just a couple of miles outside of St Albans city centre, in Park Street village on the old A5. It’s a stunning location that offers a very diverse range of fishing to suit all tastes and abilities.

There are four fishing lakes on the complex, and each lake has it’s own distinct character and offers a different challenge. The complex as a whole is open to the public, as there are footpaths running through the venue, but there is plenty of scope to hide yourself away on any of the lakes. The main car park is located at the bottom of Hyde Lane. A short walk over the footbridge brings you into the fishery, and you will find the Island Lake immediately on your right. If you carry on a short way down the main path, the Leather Lake is found on your left, and the Pike Pit (or Long Lake for those that have been around a while!) is the second lake on the left. There is a second car park located in Branch Road which accesses the other end of the fishery, and this is best used if you want to fish the School Pit. Parking is relatively limited and we do share the car park with the public, so please park sensibly and allow as much room as possible for other vehicles.

The Island Lake  

This is the first lake on the right as you come up the main path from the footbridge. It takes it’s name from the dozens of islands that are immediately apparent. These islands, and the huge amount of bank-side cover offer a superb habitat for the residents of the lake, and we’ve tried to manage the lake so that each swim has it’s own dedicated water to fish. From many of the swims you will not be able to see another swim on the lake, and with the many islands, bays and channels, the options for placing your bait are endless. The lake varies in depth from a couple of feet down to a maximum of about ten feet. There are gravel bars, humps, bumps and plateaux everywhere. Silt channels, bloodworm beds, lillies, banks of rushes and huge amounts of overhanging bushes in the margins all ensure that the angler has a myriad of choices when it comes to how and where to fish.

Stock-wise, the lake contains a large head of hard-fighting and very pretty carp. We estimate the total to be about 150 fish, but this is guesswork at best, as nobody is quite sure how many “originals” were in the lake before we took the venue over. The average carp is probably 16-18lb, but there are plenty of 20lb plus fish being caught, and the largest confirmed specimen from the lake so far is over 37lbs. Decent quality boilies are the going bait, but many anglers do very well with particles as well. Location is far more important than bait. It’s not an easy water, but then again it’s not a heartbreaker either.

Spend some time getting to know your swim, set your traps well, and multiple fish in a session is common. The fish are not particularly “riggy” so don’t get obsessed with the latest wonder-rig. A simple effective rig which is combined with a decent bait and placed well will always work. One thing to bear in mind is that there are crayfish in this lake. They are only a minor inconvenience at certain times of the year, and you can overcome them easily enough – be selective with your bait choice, fish the silt rather than the gravel, or wrap your hookbaits, and you will generally not be troubled.

The silverfish potential of the Island Lake is largely unexplored. We see plenty of roach, but people rarely target them. However, we do know that there are some truly monstrous perch about, and in fairly large numbers. There are also a couple of large shoals of bream, with fish to 10lb+ taken pretty regularly. We stocked some tench into the lake several years ago, and these are just starting to show at weights of around 3lbs. There are also some old original tench in there to over 8lbs.

Predator fishing is popular in the winter months, and whilst there is a large head of pike in the Island Lake, we haven’t seen a big fish for a long time. I’m told that pike weights are cyclical, so we are waiting for that big one to appear. For the time being, large numbers of “jacks” can be caught, with fish up to about 12lb not uncommon.

The Leather Lake  

The Leather Lake is the first lake you come to on the left. It takes it’s name from the mighty Toadless – at the time she was the second largest leather carp in the UK, and weighed in excess of 44lbs. Sadly, she died a few years ago, but this lake is still part of carp-fishing history, and features in many of the “big name” anglers’ books.

Let’s get it straight right from the start – the Leather Lake is difficult. Whilst we do manage the banks and undergrowth, it’s deliberately more “wild” and unkempt than the other lakes on the complex. Again, it has bays, channels, humps and bumps, snaggy margins and beds of lillies.

It’s a challenging water, with low stocks of all species. It will always remain this way, and it attracts the specimen hunters, because the rewards can be huge. The lake is the home of the current UK record for crucian carp.

In the past ten years, we have seen bream to over 17lbs, roach to over 3lbs and tench to over 13lbs. These fish are few and far between, however, and it takes considerable time and effort to tempt these specimens.

As far as the carp fishing goes on this lake, the stock is low, and we have supplemented the “originals” with a handful of carefully chosen fish. There are a total of about 20-25 carp in the lake, and several of them go to over 30lbs. We are hopeful that with careful management we’ll soon see some larger specimens growing on from the existing stock.

In terms of tactics, this is a thinking-anglers water. It’s down to you guys to figure out how best to approach it and put your plan into action.  
The Pike Pit (Long Lake)  

The Pike Pit is the second lake you come to on the left as you walk up the main path. I have absolutely no idea when or why the name was changed from The Long Lake, but it’s now commonly known as the Pike Pit, so we will stick with that. From the start, we should say that it’s NOT because the lake is full of pike. There are some pike present, but they are not there in great numbers, or in large sizes. In all honesty, this is the least productive of the four lakes on the complex as far as predator fishing is concerned. So how did the name come about? Nobody seems to know.

Fishing is from two sides of the triangular shaped lake, and whilst the lake has large beds of lillies in the summer, there’s generally not as much to contend with as there is with the Island and Leather lakes. The Pike Pit is deeper than the others, but fishing from the swims available is pretty standard.

The lake has a reasonable head of carp – we estimate somewhere around 30-40 fish, to just under 30lbs. It also holds a good stock of roach, perch, crucians and tench. All methods will work, and there is the potential for some surprises from this lake, but compared to the two above, it’s relatively lightly fished.

The School Pit  

This pit is separated from the other three lakes on the venue by a few hundred yards. Carry on down the main path from the footbridge, and you will come to the lake on your right. Alternatively, if you park at the Branch Road car park, the lake is right in front of you. It takes it’s name from Park Street Junior School, located just behind it.

The School Pit is very shallow, heavily silted up, and has only two or three “swims” that are fishable. There are plenty of other spots that you can drop a bait in. It’s weedy, full of lillies, overhanging margins and undercut banks. When you walk around it, it looks completely devoid of fish. Don’t be fooled! Whilst you will only find a maximum depth of about 3 feet, there are plenty of fish in here. Perhaps 15-20 carp are resident, with the biggest specimen going mid-20s. Her name is Two Tone, and she is much sought after, simply because in many people’s opinions she is the best looking carp on the complex. She’s also notoriously difficult to catch.

The lake has a decent head of tench up to about 9lbs, and because there is so much cover for the fish, the silverfish population is thriving. Large numbers of decent roach are present, and the occasional crucian can be tempted – these potentially go to very large sizes, with fish over 3lbs being taken recently. All standard tactics will work, and you can approach this lake two ways. By all means set up in one of the few “swims” and fish as you normally would. However, it’s an awesome lake to wander around for a few hours, dropping a bait into little holes and margins and trying to stalk out one of the residents.    

Overall, the four lakes on the complex offer a variety of different challenges, and there should be something to suit everyone. Please bear in mind that we do have some very special specimen fish in these lakes. We would ask that you go properly equipped – decent unhooking mate, robust tackle etc. Please please please ensure that if you are legering your rig will eject the lead – we have so many snaggy areas that it’s vital that you fish safely. Also, can we please ask that you be respectful and polite to members of the public – we share the venue, and we have to co-habit with them, so let’s try to get along with them.   The bailiffs are always around, and if you want a tour of the venue or any advice, you only have to get in touch. All the bailiffs have been fishing the complex for many years, so we would hope that we can point you in the right direction. Good luck – and please let us know how you get on! If people report catches (or lack of catches) to us, it helps us to see how the place is performing, and this makes the venue management so much easier.   Finally, if you want up to date news on the venue, or if you have any questions and want to speak to any of the regulars, we now have our own Moor Mill Facebook page. It’s a members only page, so you will need to apply, but we try to accept all applications within 24 hours. Come join us and see what is happening right now! Click below.

Last updated September 2017


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