Fly fishing at Barnes Trout Lakes

Barnes Trout Lakes

A gem in the Oxfordshire countryside

Barnes is series of three mature gravel lakes and is amazingly rich in natural food. There is a good Mayfly hatch and Damsel nymphs are an important food source for the Trout all year round. Each lake is around six to eight acres in size. Barnes lakes are situated near to the small village of Standlake (near Witney) in west Oxfordshire, about eight miles to the west of Oxford and with easy access via the A34 and A420.

Facilities at the lakes are very good and include toilets, picnic table, a lodge with armchairs, dining tables, a log burning stove and a kitchen with a gas stove, fridge, kettle and microwave oven. John (Barnes, the owner) keeps the kitchen stocked with tea bags and instant coffee, but be sure to bring milk if you want it. Non-fishers are welcome to visit to watch their friends’ fish and it is a very peaceful scenic setting to while away a few hours well away from the bustle of normal day to day life.

At Barnes Trout lakes Go Fly Fishing UK do fly fishing lessons for complete beginners and improvers tuition for people who can already fish but want to improve their technique and increase their catches. It is an ideal learning environment and Bsrnes gives everybody a very good chance of catching some good sized Trout during their tuition. Note that we do not provide just day rod access to fish without a guide/instructor.

Fly fishing at Barnes Trout Lakes

Fish species / seasons

The lakes contain grown on fin perfect hard fighting Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout. Catch & release is encouraged but one or two Rainbows (not Browns) can be taken for eating. The lakes fish well in winter and summer. In a warm dry summer sometimes the lakes close because of excessive weed growth.


It is not necessary to cast long distances at Barnes and a long rod and heavy line is a disadvantage. A 9 foot rod for a 5 or 6-weight floating line is ideal. Our instructors will loan all the required fly fishing tackle, flies, etc. – or you can bring and use your own. Tackle loan is free included in our normal charge. Usually a 6lb breaking strain tippet is recommended because of the strength of the Trout. Beginners might opt for an 8lb line in dull weather conditions but in bright conditions in the summer months it might be necessary to go down to a 5lb breaking strain fluorocarbon tippet to increase the frequency of bites. Make sure you have a decent sized landing net, preferably with an extending handle, and a pair of polarised sunglasses.


Barnes lakes is not your average Trout fishery. Dry fly catches well as does stalking and sight casting an imitative nymph to cruising fish. Lure stripping is not allowed as are sinking fly lines. Successful dry flies include Shipman’s Buzzer, Claret Hopper and ‘F’ fly with Sawyer’s Pheasant Tail Nymph, assorted buzzers and Damsel nymphs all being great sub-surface flies. So if you like to use imitations of insects to fool wise Rainbow and Brown Trout in clear waters set in beautiful and well-kept countryside then you’ll like it here. This is above all a traditional, sporting fishery.


All our fly fishing instructors are trained and licensed and hold nationally recognised fly fishing coaching qualifications. We do private fly fishing lessons of a full or half-day duration for from one to four people. Barnes is also a very good location for corporate fly fishing days and it is possible to book the fishery for exclusive private use.


Check out our 'Fly Fishing Lessons' 'Prices - Tuition' web page for full details of all our prices and options. Loan of all the necessary fly fishing tackle, flies, etc. is included in our price as is the fishing permit for the location, your one day fishing rod licence and, if required, local accommodation or railway station collection/return. A full day of private fly fishing tuition for one person in the April to October season costs a total of £199 (half-day £129). Prices are lower in the November to March season and the cost per person is significantly lower at all times of the year for groups of two to four friends, relatives or colleagues. Note that we do not provide just day rod access to fish without a guide/instructor.

For more detailed information about the non-fishing highlights of the Cotswolds area please click here ». If you fancy making your fly fishing part of a short-break in the Cotswolds countryside then we can advise you on the best accommodation options. These including manor house hotels, country hotels, inns and bed & breakfasts.

To book your fly fishing lesson or guided day in Cotswolds with Go Fly Fishing UK or to ask for more information please telephone 07899 034728 or email us at

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