Fisheries can still hook a worthwhile return

The market for fisheries was affected by the slow housing market in 2005, as most people have most of their equity in a house.

A buyer struggling to release such equity to fund a fishery will, therefore, take longer to complete a sale, and several deals looked a little shaky during the year.

But we did not appear to experience any drop in demand or values as a result.

During the year, 37 coarse fisheries came to the market.

There was a diverse range of properties, from a small private fishing pool in Lincolnshire with a guide price of £40,000, to a purpose-built match fishery with 300 pegs and a traditionally designed three-bedroom house in Leicestershire, which was guided at £1.8m.

There was a good level of interest in all properties, with most demand for fisheries in the £500,000 to £750,000 range that included a dwelling.

The greatest demand from anglers is for coarse fishing, with many trout fisheries having converted to this form of angling within the past five years.

As a result, the market for trout fisheries was much quieter, with only four properties coming to the market.

But interest was still high, as evidenced by Kentmere Tarn in the Lake District, which came to the market in September with a guide price of £100,000 and received seven offers of over £150,000 when best offers were invited.

There was a noticeable rise in properties with other commercial activities attached coming to the market.

Possibly the most diverse one in 2005 was Conwy Aquatic Centre in North Wales, consisting of a coarse fishery, aquatic shop, caf and reptile centre.

Lonsdale Park in Cumbria, a 36-acre property with a coarse fishery and 18 holiday lets, is on the market with a guide price of £1.55m.

Farmers and landowners with small farms and those showing very low returns should certainly consider selling up and reinvesting in a fishery, which will show considerably better returns.

Bartles Lodge in Norfolk, a six-bedroom period house with six B&B lodges, potential restaurant/dining room and two lakes set in about 11 acres, sold to just such a buyer during 2005.

The benefit of choosing specialist agents was demonstrated by the sale of Riverton House & Lakes in Devon.

This four-bedroom house with three holiday cottages and two fishing lakes was on the market for about six months with local agents, but was under offer within six weeks of Fenn Wright fisheries4sale being instructed as joint agents.

One sad fact that has emerged from our many visits around the country is that cormorants are now a threat to most fisheries.

DEFRA is beginning to wake up to the serious impact that these birds are having and has become more willing to grant culling licences.

Also of note is the rise in the number of fisheries that have been forced into fencing the entire property to stop fish being killed by otters.

For the future, we anticipate that many commercial coarse fisheries, developed about 20 years ago, are likely to come to the market over the next few years as their owners look towards retirement.

Also expected is an increase in purpose-built “super-fisheries” as well as those with log cabins or other holiday accommodation coming to the market.

Contact Martin Freeman on 01206 216 555 or go to