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24 Jun 2015
by Mark Pitchers
Old Mill Lakes, Lincolnshire
Top northern carper, Mark Pitchers gives you the lowdown on one of his favourite venues

Old Mill Lakes is set in a wonderful rural location with pleasant views across the Lincolnshire Wolds and comprises two waters. Willow Lake is around two-and-a-half-acres in size and has a great stock of fish that average around 14-16lb, although there are a good number of twenty-pound fish present.

Despite its small size, the lake has an abundance of features including reed-fringed margins, weedbeds, an island, several bays and deep sloping marginal shelves. The depths also vary greatly, from as little as 3ft at the top end of the lake down to a maximum of 18ft in the middle section. This water responds well to a variety of different tactics, although due to the large numbers of carp present large beds of pellets and boilies do tend to score well.

Birch Lake is the newest lake on-site and since its creation two years ago it has certainly created quite a ‘buzz’ amongst northern anglers. The carp have shown exceptional growth rates since their introduction and today the lake boasts a staggering number of twenty-pound fish along with at least twelve different thirties, including three around the thirty-five-pound bracket. The lake was recently extended to allow the carp even more room in which to grow, and it now covers around seven-acres in area.

One of the standout features in Birch is the number of islands positioned around the lake. These not only provide each swim with a visual feature for anglers to cast to, but they also act as clear boundaries to ensure there is no conflict from neighbouring swims.

One of my favourite pegs is the Double Swim situated in the middle of the lake, which features three large islands. These create a narrow channel, which is regularly patrolled by the carp and this area produces fish throughout the year. The shallow bay near the life-buoy is also worth investigating, especially during warm or bright conditions.

In recent sessions I have enjoyed great success by using small white hookbaits, and one of my favourite tactics is to fish a 10mm Mainline Milky Toffee Pop-Up over a scattering of Cell or Hybrid boilies.

The vital information you need...


Biggest resident: Birch Lake, 35lb.
Average fish size: Mid-doubles in Willow Lake, mid-twenties in Birch Lake.
Rough fish stock: Birch Lake, 180; Willow Lake, 200+.
Going bait: Mainline Cell and Sticky Krill.
Local tackle shop: Castaway Tackle (01522 567220).
Takeaways: Mayyah Tandoori (01673 849900).
Rod limit: Three rods
Location: Market Rasen, Lincolnshire.
Contact: 01673 828265
Website: oldmilllakes.com
Prices: Willow Lake: 23hrs (12pm till 11am), £20; day session (7am till 7pm), £15; Birch Lake: 23hrs (12pm till 11am), £25; day session (7am till 7pm), £20.
Facilities: On-site freezer, drinking water, toilet, shower and secure parking.
Known summer areas/swims: The shallow bay near the life buoy can be very productive during the daytime.
Pitchers' top tip: “If the lake is quiet be prepared to move swims because the carp will quickly move to less pressured areas.”

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