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Fishing Rules and Regulations

Updated on March 12, 2011

Most thoughtful and experienced anglers have their own personal codes, as well as those imposed upon them by clubs and organizations. 

Now, I'm not going to insult you with cliched advice about leaving litter, lines and so on. But it's a good idea to collect other people's litter up at the bankside. Take a bin liner with you so you can clean up your own little patch of other people's refuse. This might sound like a chore, but many foresighted anglers are now doing this; litter breeds litter and the less there is around the waterside, the less the likelihood of it being dropped in the future. 

Make sure that you always take any discarded nylon line home with you. There used to be a school of thought that you could burn it at the bankside but there's little point in that. Simply bin it.

Shut all gates. If you are driving across fields, keep to the tracks. It's important that anglers and farmers get on well together. I know through bitter experience that lack of co-operation can lead to tears. Remember that straightforward-looking grass is the beef farmer's crop just as much as a field full of cereal, so take great pains to avoid harming it. 

Watch out for anybody who might be poaching. Illegal sales of big fish are now big business, and, as most of us have mobiles now, a quick call to a club secretary or even the police does not come amiss if you have real suspicions — though, of course, don't put yourself in any danger. 

Most vital of all, do watch out for any sign of pollution. If you see the water becoming tainted or, even worse, fish in distress then make an immediate call to the club secretary or the local Environment Agency. Remember that anglers are the guardians of the countryside, so take this vision of yourself seriously from the beginning.

Fish care

  • Always wet your hands before touching a fish.
  • Wherever possible, remove barbs from hooks. This makes unhooking 10 times easier.
  • If possible, do not use trebles on spinners but only a single hook.
  • Try, whenever possible, to unhook a fish in the water and let it go free without ever leaving its environment
  • Think very carefully whether you need to land a fish in a net and take it away front the waterside for photography or weighing. Only do this for important specimens.
  • If a fish is tired after its struggle, support it gently in the shallows with its head facing up-river so oxygen passes through its gills. This can take many minutes, so don't be impatient.
  • Never keep fish in a keep-net. They suffer both mental stress and physical discomfort - sometimes so great that death results.
  • Don't be greedy. If you think you have caught enough fish, pack it in for the day and let them rest and recover.
  • Always make sure that a fish swims away from you as pristine as the moment that you hooked it.
  • When game fishing, if you want to take a tisli for the table, pick a male rather than a female. This especially applies to a female salmon, whose eggs are so precious.


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