A Guide To Q Lake- Alan Atkinson
Situated just outside the city of York, Q Lake at Poolbridge Farm is a lovely, unique lake that offers some excellent fishing right throughout the year.
I will start out by saying that Q has a membership fee to pay up front and then is run on a day ticket basis. This allows the management to keep a check on who is fishing the lakes and holds the anglers a little bit to account for their actions, sensible fishery management in my mind. All of the rules are up on the fishery website, www.poolbridge.co.uk, they’re a pretty sensible list and all designed to keep the fishery in the best possible shape. Prices are also on there as well as the booking options you have. There is an online booking system and a calendar that shows the availability of the lake.
Despite its proximity to York there’s a special ambiance to the lake, to me. There’s an abundance of wildlife, Barn Owls flying around, Kestrels hunting above. Wonderful sights to see whilst on the bank trying to catch a few fish. The lake continues to mature yearly, it was only dug out in 2008, and it is now a beautiful place to spend your angling time.
Looking at the make-up of the lake itself, the design is unusual in that you fish from the inside of the lake, out. Peg markers are placed on the far bank so the swim boundaries are visible for all to see and any conflict over water is taken out of the equation. Size wise it’s difficult to give an estimate of the water, due to the island, but overall, I’d say the lake is 6.5 acres. There are 13 swims on the lake and they all have a nice amount of water in front of them to explore and create opportunities. All of the pegs around the lake produce fish and there are a number of ways to catch them. All swims have a mix of gravel areas, silty spots and due to the make-up of the lake, a far bank margin. One of the benefits to the design is that if you choose the far bank spots, you can walk round to accurately bait up.
Stock wise it is pretty much unknown the full extent of the stock. Size wise the average size is around the 17-18lb mark. There are around a hundred fish over the 20lb mark and a few thirties too. the lake record is common that is upwards of 38lb as I write this. There are some absolute stunning fish amongst the stock. Really scaley ones, stunning commons and even the odd ghostie too. A very mixed bag.
When it comes to tactics to catch these carp, most will score well. The carp are catchable right through the year, the venue actually has really good winter form. Using a bit of thought and applying some sensible principles you can score really well.
Starting with the Winter (November-February), the fishery allows maggots and these are a great place to start. Naturals, where allowed, are always going to score well and make a great starting point. There are a handful of roach in Q but not enough to make using naturals a chore. Personally, I mix my maggots with crumbed up Live System and then I add some Northern Special Booster Liquid. I use these both in a Spomb and in little mesh bags.
Rigs wise using something you’ve got confidence in will always be the best place to start. I use a Ronnie rig with 12mm NS1 and I top this with some maggots, but any effective rig will do the business. Another tactic that scores well is a zig. The fishery has a ban on artificial baits, including foam, so a small pop up is a good way to go here. Black NS minis have done well for me in this situation. A couple of maggots attached to the rig too can be just enough to nick a bite. Particles are also allowed during the aforementioned winter months and sweetcorn can be a winner too. A yellow Northern Special wafter over a mix of corn a Live System crumb is a good combination. As with all aspects of angling location is the main requirement. If you can get on the fish and fishing sensibly, taking into consideration the conditions, you can definitely be onto a winner.
As the winter passes and spring flourishes the fish become more active. With that, as there is a good head of fish in the lake, applying good amounts of bait can pay dividends. It’s worth noting that as we come in to spring the fishery rules change and a boilie and pellet only rule comes in. Fishing to the conditions and situation presented to you is obviously key, but by building up a swim multiple catches are possible. The fish do show well on Q so you will always know if you’re on fish, and if you’re not, where they are. Tactics wise I change it up a bit here. I switch to the Pacific Tuna as my boilie of choice.
I tend to use this in the 10mm but also use a lot of boilie crumb too. Both these components go into a bucket, along with a good helping liquids. I use the Tuna Compound and the Feedstim XP, both liquids are soluble and also quite subtle in smell so not to overpower the boilie flavor, but they’re also loaded with attraction. I make this mix up before I’m going fishing, usually the day or night before. Once I’m at the venue ready to apply it, I add a selection of my chosen pellets, usually a mix of 2mm and 6mm Pacific Tuna to keep the fish grubbing around. By adding them when I arrive it means that the breakdown of the pellet doesn't start early, which stops the pellet from becoming mush in the mix. This mix is ideal for “scooping” in from the far bank or spombing. Plus, because the liquids are PVA friendly I can also make some small mesh bags to attach to the rig. Over the top of this mix I’d go with a 12mm NS1 yellow on a Ronnie (there’s a theme here) or, if I felt that was too blatant on the spot, I’d use one of the new 12mm wafters.
One thing Q is very good for is floater fishing! The fish love a floating pellet once the water warms up in the summer. The floater fishing can be prolific and it’s definitely my number one tactical choice in the summer. Be prepared to take plenty of floaters with you if you’re heading down there as the fish can certainly go through them! A steady stream of floaters can soon get them up on top and by keeping the feed going in you can keep them up there. Simple floater tactics work well and nothing complicated is needed. As the year goes on the fish do wise up and become a bit more finicky but early summer can be really productive. I use a mix of 6 and 11mm floating trout pellets. To these I add a good glug of Tuna oil. It’s easy to go through a big quantity of bait during the course of a session.
For fishing on the bottom in the summer, the lake can become quite weedy. Fishing up to the weed, or in small holes in it can work well. Solid bags can score well in the holes in the weed. I’ll take this opportunity to say here, make sure you tackle up correctly in these situations. Strong tackle is a must. There is a boat, and importantly a life jacket on site, to free up any really badly snagged fish. If you’re not confident in a boat, then seek help from the fishery staff.
Finally the autumn. My fishing here is pretty much the same as the spring. Not much changes approach wise. Although I do tend to switch more to a match the hatch style hookbait. As with the rest of the year the fish show a fair bit so location and spot finding can be aided. The lake, if fished sensibly, is more than capable of producing good numbers of fish to angler who apply themselves well. The fish are about back in their best condition after the summer period and with the numbers present quantities of bait can produce. I always like to start off conservative at this time of year and build into a session though. Bait mix wise it stays pretty similar all the way through. A bit of hemp oil is added at the start of the autumn though and as the water gets colder I reduce the amount used.
I’ve fished plenty of lakes all over the country, but Q is somewhere I always like to go back to. It holds a yearly Ladies Carp Academy event that I help out on and the place it’s self just feels relaxing to me. The owners are good people, who care about the environment and fishery they’re creating for angler and the fish themselves. If you’re looking for somewhere to escape for a night or two with the good chance of a fish then Q, at Poolbridge Farm could be just the place for you.