Close Icon
Fishing in Cornwall

The calm lapping waters on our sandy shores, gentle breezes rippling the surfaces of otherwise still lakes, peaceful streams and wending rivers make Cornwall an ideal place for a spot of fishing. So, whether you’re a frequent fisher or fancy trying out a new hobby on your visit to the county, you’re sure to find a great place for a day of fishing in Cornwall. 

And, to get you started and offer some inspiration, we’ve pulled together a round-up of some of our favourite places to fish in Cornwall, from beaches to rock fishing and freshwater lakes and rivers.

Sea Fishing in Cornwall

Being surrounded on three sides by the ocean, Cornwall has an abundance of sheltered and secluded coves that make the perfect spot for a day of fishing. Whether you’re looking to stay local to St Ives and the southwest of the county or head further afield to the north coast, there’s no shortage of idyllic beaches for fishing in Cornwall. 

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives

Who says you have to travel far to find a perfect beach to fish from in Cornwall? The sandy shores around St Ives and Carbis Bay are ideal for an afternoon of fishing. 

If you’re visiting St Ives for the summer we recommend Porthmeor beach for a day of fishing in Cornwall. When there’s a slight swell to the water you might be able to catch a bass or two and there’s often plenty of dogfish around. 

And, if you’re fishing from Porthmeor in the winter months, you might be lucky enough to land yourself some plaice, turbot and flounder. 

Pendennis Point, Falmouth

Head an hour outside of St Ives to Pendennis Point in Falmouth on the southwest coast, and you’ll be treated to a fishing spot surrounded by stunning views out over the Atlantic ocean. 

The rocky ground around the base of Pendennis point makes this Cornish fishing spot perfect for catching a range of species including bass, pollack, mackerel and wrasse in the summer and whiting and flounder in the winters. 

Dennis Cove, Padstow


If you fancy travelling further afield for a day of fishing, why not head to the North Cornwall town of Padstow? 

Renowned for its fish and seafood restaurants, particularly those of celebrity chef Rick Stein, Padstow is a must-visit for avid and amateur anglers alike. 

An ideal spot for shore fishing in the summer, Dennis Cove on the Camel estuary is home to bass, mullet, flounder, bream and eels. And, when the estuary is at low tide, you won’t have far to look for bait; rummage along the shoreline to find bait such as peeler crabs. 

Freshwater Fishing in Cornwall 

If shore fishing isn’t your cup of tea, and you’d prefer something a little more laid back, then never fear there’s plenty of great locations for freshwater fishing in Cornwall. 

Argal Reservoir, Falmouth

This reservoir, set just back from the small village of Mabe near Falmouth, is one of the best spots for freshwater fishing in Cornwall. With a well-stocked fishery full of carp, pike, tench, bream, roach, rudd, perch and eels, amateur and advanced fishers alike will be sure to land a decent catch at Argal Reservoir. 

Permits can be purchased via a self-service system on-site at the reservoir. There’s also a cafe, a children’s play area, a picnic area and showers on-site so the whole family can enjoy a day fishing at Argal Reservoir.  

Clover Coarse Fishing, Portreath

This two-acre lake is perfect for a summers day spent freshwater fishing. Clover lake is home to both mirrored a common carp and is well stocked so there’s every chance of visitors landing a catch.

With bait and permits available to purchase from reception and rods ready and waiting to hire, all you need to do is turn up and get fishing. 

The lake operates a coarse fishing only policy, full rules and restrictions can be found on the Clover Lake website

Considerations Before you go Fishing in Cornwall

Just like anywhere else in the country, you’ll need a rod licence before you head out freshwater fishing in Cornwall. The rod licence covers you when fishing for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel with a rod and line throughout England, including Cornwall. 

You can buy a 1-day, 8-day or 12-month rod licence from the Government website. You’ll need to have your licence with you whenever you fish in freshwater in Cornwall, if you don’t you may be fined up to £2,500.

However, if you’re planning to fish in the sea from beaches, rocks or piers in Cornwall, you don’t need a licence. But, there are some other restrictions in place including minimum size limitations and catch and keep orders. 

Species restrictions for catch and keep

The British Sea Fishing website states that the following fish must be returned to the sea if caught by anglers: 

Salmon and Trout – These species require a freshwater fishing licence if they are to be retained, regardless of where they are caught. Anglers should not target this species unless they have the appropriate licence and any which are inadvertently caught should be immediately returned.

Silver Eels – Protected species due to declining numbers that must be returned alive to the sea if caught by anglers.

Allis Shad and Twaite Shad – Protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Bass – Anglers are required to fish for bass on a catch and release basis during January, February and December of 2020. From 1st March to 30th November 2020 anglers can retain two Bass per angler per day, provided they reach a minimum size of 42cm.

Giant Goby and Couch’s Goby – Protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 due to declining numbers.

As well as these restrictions on which species of fish you can catch, there are also restrictions on the minimum size of fish anglers can catch. The British Sea Fishing website has a regularly updated list of shore fishing minimum size restrictions. 

For a soft place to land after a long day of fishing in Cornwall, why not book a stay in one of our luxury self-catering cottages in St Ives and experience the best that Cornwall has to offer. Check out the fantastic variety of accommodation offered by Carbis Bay Holidays here, or get in touch if you have any questions!