Most hotels accommodate anglers, but there are some at which fishing is a positive enthusiasm. The Good Hotel Guide, recommends 10 that go for it hook, line and sinker. Check the websites for prices of rods/day tickets, permits, tuition, ghillies, and details of seasons – then go fish.
ARUNDELL ARMS, LIFTON, DEVON
With private rights on 20 miles of riverbank on the Tamar and six tributaries, this former coaching inn is fishing heaven. It has a tackle shop in a converted cockfighting pit, equipment and a drying room for clothing. Instructor David Pilkington issues licences, maps, directions and advice. There are beginners’ courses, and day tickets for non-residents. Fish for brown trout, sea trout, salmon, with access to beats at Endsleigh 10 miles away (below).
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BB single £120, doubles from £160. Fishing breaks (2 nights) single £200, doubles from £290 (01566 784666, arundellarms.com).
HOTEL ENDSLEIGH, MILTON ABBOT, DEVON
Downriver from Lifton, this Regency ducal hunting lodge is now a country-house hotel transformed by Olga Polizzi. The Tamar runs through pleasure grounds landscaped by Humphry Repton. The hotel is a member of Endsleigh Fishing Club, with six beats on eight miles of riverbank. Guests can fly fish for sea trout, brown trout and grayling, and enjoy some of the best salmon fishing in England. Guidance, tuition and licences available.
BB doubles from £190, two-night minimum at weekends (01822 870000, hotelendsleigh.com)
FOX AND HOUNDS, EGGESFORD, DEVON
This Victorian coaching inn turned country-house hotel has six beats on five miles of frontage on the River Taw. Fishing has long been at the heart of the place, with catch records dating back to the 1940s. They have two practice lakes stocked with trout, and on-site fly-fishing instruction. There are opportunities for small-stream wild trout, sea trout and salmon.
BB doubles from £135. Two-night fishing breaks from £225 (01769 580345, foxandhoundshotel.co.uk).
THE INN AT WHITEWELL, WHITEWELL, LANCASHIRE
The River Hodder flows right by this fine but unstuffy former coaching inn overlooking the Forest of Bowland. The hotel has four rods on some seven miles of river, with 14 pools, for trout, sea trout and salmon, exclusively for guests. A ghilllie can be provided. When you come in cold and wet, enjoy a late supper by the fire in the bar, and sleep in an antique bed.
BB singles from £95, doubles from £132 (01200 448222, innatwhitewell.com).
CULDEARN HOUSE, GRANTOWN-ON-SPEY, HIGHLANDS
After a day on the river you may be glad of the freezing and drying facilities for catch and clothes at this Victorian villa. Salmon abound in the Spey, where you can fish against a backdrop of the Cairngorms. Equipment for sale or hire and permits for a rod on Strathspey Angling Association waters are available from the long-established Mortimer’s in Grantown. Flexible hotel meals are designed to coincide with fishing times. Go easy on the malt whiskies.
BB doubles from £150 (01479 872106, culdearn.com).
TRIGONY HOUSE, THORNHILL, DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY
Fisher folk – and pets – are warmly welcomed at this hotel, originally a sporting lodge for Closeburn Castle. They can arrange fly-fishing on local Lochs, from bank or boat, for rainbow and native brown trout, as well as fishing on the River Nith for sea trout in summer and, from August, salmon. Take fly-fishing lessons on Slatehouse Loch on the Duke of Buccleuch’s Drumlanrig estate. Or row out onto Morton Castle loch beneath the castle ruins.
BB doubles from £120 (01848 331211, trigonyhotel.co.uk).
GLIFFAES, CRICKHOWELL, POWYS
Catch a trout and they will fry it for your breakfast at this family-run hotel in an Italianate mansion above the River Usk in the Brecon Beacons National Park. They have three beats on a mile of bank, with a further double stretch a short drive up river. Or obtain a Wye and Usk passport for many more miles. Ask about courses, guides and ghilles.
BB doubles from £135 (01874 730371, gliffaeshotel.com).
DOLFFANOG FAWR, TYWYN, GWYNEDD
Beautifully situated at the foot of Cadair Idris, this farmhouse hotel offers anglers some of the best fishing in Wales. Go for brown trout in nearby Tal-y-llyn, or the Dysynni, which flows out of it, or in one of many mountain lakes. Or drive for 10 minutes to any of four salmon and sea trout rivers. Hotel guests have complimentary fishing on 13 miles of the Mawddach and Wnion. Off the coast there are opportunities for saltwater fly-fishing for bass, mullet, mackerel.
BB doubles from £110, single occupancy from £90 (01654 761247, dolffanogfawr.co.uk).
BALLYVOLANE HOUSE, CASTLELYONS, CO CORK
Catch a salmon and they’ll freeze it for you at this beautiful country house hotel and family home – or it can be smoked locally. Fishing is over a 24-mile stretch of the River Blackwater. Some beats can be fished from the bank, others require wading. There is limited tackle for hire. You can book a guide with close knowledge of the river. Tuition is available. Lakes in the grounds are stocked with rainbow trout for year-round fly-fishing – trout rods and flies available.
BB singles from €135, doubles from €198 (00 353 25 36349, ballyvolanehouse.ie).
CURRAREVAGH HOUSE, OUGHTERARD, CO GALWAY
You need neither licence nor permit to fish at this Victorian country house – a sporting lodge since 1890 – on the shores of Lough Corrib, one of the finest wild brown trout lake in Europe. The record for one of the abundant trout is 24lb, but 1¼ to 5lb is more realistic. A ghillie can be booked, with his own boat and tackle. In June and July there is a small run of salmon. The lough is famed for its mayfly, which hatch from mid-May and can be bought from local children, who get a week off school to catch them. Order a picnic lunch.
BB doubles from €140, single occupancy from €105 (00 353 91 552312, currarevagh.com).