With the salmon fishing season due to close in the Trent catchment area from Sunday 8 October 2017 to Wednesday 31 January 2018 inclusive, the Environment Agency is reminding anglers that failure to comply with statutory rod fishing byelaws could result in prosecution in court and a fine of up to £50,000.
Rod fishing byelaws are statutory rules put in place by the Environment Agency to protect fish stocks and apply to all waters in England, whether they are owned by angling clubs, local councils or private individuals. The close season aims to protect fish stocks from the impacts of angling during the fish breeding season.
Matt Buck, Fisheries Specialist at the Environment Agency, said:
We would like to remind anglers that the salmon fishing season is due to come to a close and they should refrain from fishing for salmon until the start of February next year. This allows the impacts of angling to be minimised in order to protect fish stocks at a time when the fish are breeding.
If anglers catch any salmon by mistake when fishing for other fish throughout the salmon close season, they should allow the salmon to recover by handling them with great care so as not to damage the fish before allowing them to swim off upstream.
Survival rates for salmon are greatly increased if the appropriate angling techniques and equipment are used, and best practices for catching, handling and releasing angled fish are adopted. Between 1 February and 15 June, any salmon caught from any waters should not be removed and must be returned to the water with the least possible injury. Other restrictions also apply during this period and anglers must only use artificial fly or artificial lure to ensure the fish can be returned alive.
Anyone fishing with rod and line in England and Wales must hold a rod fishing licence and comply with the byelaws that cover the waters where they are fishing.
A special salmon and sea trout rod fishing licence is required for anyone wishing to fish for salmon and is available from www.gov.uk/get-a-fishing-licence or by calling the Environment Agency on 0344 800 5386 between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. The licence covers one rod for salmon in freshwater. Any salmon taken by rod and line may not be offered for sale.
Catch and release is vital to help protect and restore salmon stocks in our rivers - read our guide for anglers.