Your Guide to the Coarse Fishing Closed Season UK

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Your Guide to the Coarse Fishing Closed Season UK

What is the Date of the Coarse Fishing Closed Season?

As all coarse anglers, and most involved in other disciplines will be aware, the UK river close season has started, dating from 15th March until 15th June as it does every year. This prohibits fishing from all rivers. For more details, read below.



What Closes During the Closed Season for Coarse Fishing?

The Coarse fishing closed season prohibits anglers from fishing on any river in England and Wales for 3 months every year. Anglers should not fish in the following…

- You can’t fish for coarse fish and eels on rivers, streams, drains or waterways

- Most canals are okay to fish but some canal sections where they meet rivers may be closed.

- Anywhere with nature conservation designations, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) will be closed during this period of time.

- Privately owned bodies of water can also have their own close seasons.

Please check your local byelaws or the byelaws of your planned fishing venue before setting off for a trip during Coarse Fishing closed season.



Why is there a Close Season for Fishing?

The close season on coarse fishing on rivers is to mostly protect cause species during the vulnerable spawning period. In addition to fish spawning, the close season also provides times for bankside vegetation to flourish, increasing and encouraging wildlife to thrive from insects to birds.

The Deputy Director for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment at the Environment Agency, Kevin Austin, said:

“The close season aims to protect fish while they are spawning which improves the health and resilience of our fish stocks. Alongside our fisheries improvement work, the close season gives our fish populations the chance to recover.”

Although there are some debates about the times of the close season for coarse angling as well as whether to have a close season at all, by part-taking in a closed season, anglers remove the risk of additional pressure during the stressing time of spawning, ensuring healthy fish for UK rivers.


What Stays Open During the Closed Season?

Anglers who do still want to get out on the banks during the close season should know that most canals and stillwaters will still be open for recreational angling during the river close.

  • Most stillwaters (reservoirs), except some fisheries that have nature conservation status, can remain open all year for fishing, depending on the fishery owner
  • Some commercial fisheries
  • Most of our canals are open for you to fish all year round.  

Click here to find a place to fish near you on the Canals and River Trust Website.

This means despite the close season on rivers, you can try fishing for coarse fish, eels, rainbow trout and brown trout on most enclosed stillwaters and canals all year!

What Happens During the Close Season?

Other than giving the fish time to spawn, throughout the close season, the Environment Agency (EA) officers conduct patrols to enforce the close season.

Nino Brancato, Angling Trust National Enforcement Support Manager, said:

“The close season will provide a great opportunity for the Fisheries Enforcement Support Service and the Voluntary Bailiff Service to work closely with the Environment Agency and police during Operation CLAMPDOWN 9.”

Operation CLAMPDOWN is where Angling Trust (AT) volunteers support the EA by keeping watch on riverbanks and reporting incidents to the 24-hour incident hotline. See more information here.

Also, EA fisheries enforcement officers and AT volunteer bailiffs spend time patrolling riverbanks during the close season to ensure anglers observe the close season rules along with patrolling lakes, canals and ponds to make sure all anglers have a valid rod fishing licence too.

REMEMBER! Anyone fishing without a fishing licence can face a court hearing and run the risk of prosecution.


Warning For New Anglers

With the growth of new anglers in the past year, (check our 2020 report), we wanted to remind beginners to obey the fishing rules during the close season. If you know anyone new to the sport, be sure to remind them of the close season dates.

What To Do If You Witness Illegal Fishing

The Environment Agency advice that if you suspect illegal fishing that you should report it to the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60. Anyone who does fish illegally during the closed season should expect to be prosecuted and to face a substantial fine from EA.

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