The Environment Agency is warning those who fish in rivers that the coarse fishing ‘close season’ is in place and anyone caught fishing illegally can expect to be prosecuted and face a substantial fine.
Judy Proctor for the Environment Agency said:
The river close season for coarse fish is there for a good reason. By preventing coarse fishing for 3 months, between 14 March and 16 June, it allows for an uninterrupted spawning period, which increases breeding success, in addition to providing wider environmental benefits.
Environment Agency enforcement teams will be carrying out regular patrols of waters during the close season and anyone found fishing illegally may face prosecution and a hefty fine.
However, coarse fishing is still allowed on many stillwaters and canals, depending on landowner agreement, though a valid rod licence is still required. Contact your local Environment Agency office for a list of stillwaters and canals within the specified Sites of Special Scientific Interest where the statutory close season still applies. Byelaws for your area can be found at: www.gov.uk/freshwater-rod-fishing-rules/overview
At £27 for coarse fishing and non-migratory trout, or £72 to also fish for salmon and sea trout, the annual licence is great value for money. There are flexible options to choose from too: a 1 or 8 day licence or the full season. There are also junior and concession options.
You can buy a rod licence online from the Post Office here, at your local Post Office or by phoning 0344 800 5386.
Buying a rod licence online from the Post Office website is easy, and saves both time and administration costs, meaning that more of the income can be spent on improving fish stocks and fishing. Always ensure that you buy direct from the Post Office because there are some unofficial websites which charge a handling fee.
Anyone fishing illegally is cheating other licence paying anglers, can expect to be prosecuted and face a substantial fine. In 2013/ 2014 the Environment Agency checked 80,000 rod licences and prosecuted 2,795 anglers for fishing without a licence.
The money raised through the sales of rod licences is re-invested and enables the Environment Agency to improve all fisheries, including rivers for anglers. Officers routinely undertake licence checks and anyone with information about illegal fishing activities is urged to contact the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.