Press release

It’s reely time to get the rods out and #gofishing

The new fishing season on rivers, streams and drains starts on Monday (16 June), just a day after Father’s Day (did you buy him a licence?). It is also the second chance this year to Take a Friend Fishing for free.

Why not take a mate for free #gofishing

Anglers old and new are being urged to buy a rod licence for the start of the new river fishing season and discover some excellent fishing opportunities they never knew existed in the east of England.

The campaign has been organised and run by the Angling Trades Association with the Environment Agency and Angling Trust.

To take part, print the rod licence voucher, fill in the person’s details, validate it online at (http://www.takeafriendfishing.co.uk/offers/free-rod-licence-voucher/) and read the terms and conditions.

Pictures from the day, including venue name, catch details, captor’s name and daytime telephone number, can be sent to info@takeafriendfishing.co.uk.

It costs anglers just £27 (fixed at the 2011 price) for a full annual licence and the money goes towards Environment Agency projects for the area’s vast range of lowland rivers, chalk streams and man-made drains.

Roger Handford, an Environment Agency fisheries specialist said: “We are blessed with exceptional fisheries of national renown in this part of the country.

“The chance of encountering a fish of a lifetime is a significant attraction to anglers who should now be buying a licence to try their luck and skills on local riverbanks as the new season approaches.

“We want to improve fish stocks and provide a better environment for wildlife and people. We want to make it possible for more people of all abilities to enjoy angling and for our fisheries to provide a positive contribution to the quality of people’s lives.”

Rivers in the area offer barbel in the Wensum, zander in the Fens, pike in the Broads, and large perch in the Great Ouse. A variety of stillwaters are also home to carp, bream and tench, while the trout fishing at Rutland, Grafham and other similar reservoirs is also widely praised.

There are over 6,000 fisheries listed on the Environment Agency online database to find a location close to you - (www.fishinginfo.co.uk)

Examples of where the rod licence money goes

Buckinghamshire

On the Great Ouse at Stony Stratford a section of eroded bank was repaired.

The bank had worn as a result of livestock along with flow pressures from Stony Sluice. Working with Milton Keynes’ Parks Trust and volunteers it has now been reinforced and protected using willow bundles, a soft engineering solution.

The work has provided an instant habitat that was previously missing and as the ‘live’ willow grows it will further stabilize the bank preventing further erosion, build up of silt and degradation of river habitats.

Cambridgeshire

Trees have been planted along the Houghton Trout Stream in Cambridgeshire.

Working with land owners and angling clubs, Environment Agency staff helped plant more than 100 willow whips to improve natural habitats and biodiversity within the river.

The trees will help to provide cover and shelter for fish. They will also provide a future source of woody material to the channel which will in turn help to create and sustain good quality habitats.

Norfolk

A restoration project at Heacham Lavender Mill, Norfolk.

Environment Agency fisheries and biodiversity team members completed 300 meters of habitat improvement to transform a silty, straightened and over-grazed section of river with re-sculpted banks to create a floodplain-type habitat. The site will provide a more varied and valuable habitat for fish and invertebrates while preventing erosion.

The team worked with staff and volunteers from Norfolk Rivers Trust on the two-day project. They planted 2500 plugs of native English chalk-stream plants including purple loosestrife, meadowsweet, marsh marigold, lesser pond sedge and fleabane along the bank.

The plants will take hold over the next few months and provide a colourful environment as well as great habitat for insects and possibly water voles. Owners and staff of the Lavender Mill helped by replacing old fencing and planting trees along the new banks. The river will now be made accessible to all visitors and be complemented by an extended nature walk opening up acres of previously ignored land.

Funds also support a 24/7 emergency response service; meaning Environment Agency staff are on hand should the lives of fish be threatened as a result of low oxygen levels or pollution.