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https://environmentagency.blog.gov.uk/2021/03/15/start-of-the-close-season-how-do-we-protect-our-breeding-fish-at-this-time-of-year/

Start of the close season: How do we protect our breeding fish at this time of year?

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Fisheries and biodiversity

Matt Buck, Fisheries Technical Specialist for the Midlands, explains how close season helps protect our breeding fish.

Well the evenings are getting lighter, and across the country fish are starting to move out of their winter haunts - a sure sign that spring really is on the way. This is the season best known for renewal and rebirth and this certainly applies to some of our much-loved fish species.

Every year, usually between March and June, our rivers begin to reawaken, trout fry will be emerging in streams and dace will soon be spawning in shallow gravel runs - their eggs will sit and wait for nearly a month before hatching. Predators like perch and pike will also be spawning soon, they need to be some of the earliest so that their offspring can predate on other species fry through the summer. Barbel and chub wait until May and June when the weather is slightly warmer, cutting depressions (or redds) in gravel to lay their eggs.

Often you may be unaware that beneath the river bed millions of tiny eggs are developing and hatching, and delicate fry float in clouds in our rivers. That is why it’s so important that both the spawning fish and the eggs they lay are undisturbed, allowing the eggs to hatch and giving the fish the ability to swim freely. Once spawned, adult fish are also very sensitive and need time to recover.

In fact, the law actually protects the fish and eggs at this stage from disturbance and damage, from both angling and other activities. Anyone carrying out work in rivers that disturbs spawning fish, their eggs or their spawning grounds is committing an offence. For anglers, fishing is prohibited during the period when most fish are either preparing for, recovering from or actually spawning.

Known as the coarse fish close season, coarse fishing on rivers and streams is closed for three months from and including Monday 15 March until 15 June.

This closing down of angling for coarse fish, alongside our year-round fisheries improvement work, helps protect fish stocks and gives them the best chance to access the right habitat and breed successfully.

Our fisheries enforcement officers and Angling Trust volunteer bailiffs will be patrolling rivers to ensure anglers observe the close season rules, and also to detect and deter any, more nefarious activities such as poaching. They will also be patrolling lakes, canals and ponds to make sure all anglers have a valid rod fishing licence.

Throughout the close season, Environment Agency officers will conduct patrols to enforce it. As part of Operation CLAMPDOWN, now in its ninth year, Angling Trust volunteers support the Environment Agency by keeping watch on riverbanks and reporting incidents to our 24-hour incident hotline 0800 80 70 60.

However, the close season doesn’t completely stop you from fishing. It applies to all rivers, streams and a few canals and still waters in England, but does not apply to most still waters and canals. The Canal & River Trust say nearly 8 million of us are within one km of a canal!

Throughout the close season, you could even try your hand at trout fishing, which is also covered by your coarse fishing rod licence. These fisheries still provide a great chance of an excellent catch and might allow you an opportunity to try something new.  You can fish for salmon and sea trout during the coarse fish close season, but you must have a migratory salmon licence and can only use certain types of lures and baits in some areas.

Last year’s closed season was one of our busiest, as we saw many new anglers enter the sport. We want to see even more take up fishing in 2021, but we know not all will be aware of fishing rules like the closed season. So, if you know a new angler, please remind them of this important period in the angling calendar. Let’s ensure that together, we are giving our fish populations the chance of surviving and thriving at all life stages.

We can also look forward to the glorious June 16th when we can get back on the banks.  I know I will be, there are likely some excellent barbel or chub to be found on my local River Trent.

 

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47 comments

  1. Comment by milan posted on

    what about spining?that is same category?some people say no some say yes.i live in halifax and last year i bin check on May on the river from officer and no say nothing.just check my licence.

    Reply
  2. Comment by James Field posted on

    Do fish not spawn in lakes and canals at this time ?

    Reply
  3. Comment by David bailey posted on

    Are there any canals I can fish in the East Midlands in the off season?

    Reply
    • Replies to David bailey>

      Comment by Hooperl posted on

      I think the closed should be the whole June have people for got we did not have carp back in the so we should look at all fish I hope we do

      Reply
  4. Comment by Alan Armitage posted on

    It’s a pity you lot don’t do more to protect fish stocks all year round by campaigning and supporting a cull on inland Cormorant populations and control of Otter numbers. !!!

    Reply
    • Replies to Alan Armitage>

      Comment by Daniel Rose posted on

      I agree, the otter numbers are high again and the cormorants, well. There getting out of hand now

      Reply
    • Replies to Alan Armitage>

      Comment by James posted on

      Otters control themselves as they are territorial and will kill each other if required. The numbers are not out of hand, they are simply back up to the numbers they were at prior to the rivers being compromised in the 50's and for thousands of years prior.
      A total of 117 captive bread otters were released nationally and that stopped nearly 30 years ago. We NEED them to balance the eco system. They predate on mink the female of which can fit down a water vole burrow. Nature is wonderful and it's only our intervention that messes things up. The only people that seem to grumble about otters are fishermen namely pond anglers. If your hobby was catching mice with rods and line then you'd probably take issue with owls and kestrals.

      Reply
    • Replies to Alan Armitage>

      Comment by Dave P posted on

      otters are still incredibly rare and whilst I agree with your cormorant statement, the statement on otters is a bit ridiculous

      Reply
  5. Comment by Dave Charrington posted on

    What about canoeists, paddle boarders, wild swimmers and dog walkers disturbing spawning fish during this time ???? If we are to have a closed river season it should be closed to all not just Coarse anglers ?

    Reply
    • Replies to Dave Charrington>

      Comment by Brad posted on

      100% agree. What about the barges aswell

      Reply
    • Replies to Dave Charrington>

      Comment by Philip Knihht posted on

      Precisely, surely boating is far more of a disturbance than a angler is going to make trotting a float down a river. Closed season on rivers only doesn’t make sense as everything that applies to rivers must also apply to lakes and canals.

      Reply
  6. Comment by Mike lynch posted on

    Quite simply there should not be a close season. The numbers that fish rivers is considerably down on the 60’s and 70’s. Cormorants, Otters etc have a far greater impact on fish stocks through the close season than the handful of anglers on the riverbank ever would. It also pushes anglers towards the commercial waters resulting in less anglers on the bank side that keep an eye on the upkeep of the natural waters

    Reply
    • Replies to Mike lynch>

      Comment by David Hutchinson posted on

      Obviously , there won't be no comments regarding Otters etc as well as the illegal netting / poaching that goes on . Personally I disagree how this spawning agenda is set up . Pike spawn in February . So would imagine Perch also . Because of Global warming waters are warmer and thus alters the breed time .
      Given economic impact of Covid . Without scientific proof of negative impact . Rivers should be allowed open all Year . Rather strange the Close season merges to Salmon and Sea Trout running . So truth of matter is most likely keep us common folk off the Water . While the numble get the fly tackle .

      Reply
  7. Comment by Gary Cyster posted on

    Anyone carrying out work in rivers that disturbs spawning fish, their eggs or their spawning grounds is committing an offence.

    When and where was the last time the EA prosecuted anyone for this offence on the River Trent and what was the penalty?

    Reply
  8. Comment by Hugh Schkok posted on

    I hate littering and the destruction of the foliage even though the requirement to cut some back is necessary. However there is no excuse for littering. Fisheries should provide a contained space to dump litter in as only a few currently do. Next be sure that all anglers provide a valid ID and their vehicle reg number so that if after they have departed should they leve piles of rubbish they are dealt with to the finite level of the law. I caught a carp last year and when I opened his mouth to get the hook out it had part of a plastic chocolate bar wrapper in its mouth and partially in his throat. How it took my bait I can only guess. I was sickened to the core. If the perpetrator simply bagged it up and took it away the less the stock may suffer

    Reply
  9. Comment by Pat D'Arcy posted on

    How can I confirm whether or not I am able to try fly fishing on the "free water". The Avon, downstream of the Gladstone Road bridge in Chippenham Wiltshire. I have a 2 rod coarse license. Any advice would be welcomed.

    Reply
  10. Comment by Dave simpson posted on

    Is the nottingham canal between beeston and nottingham still open in the close season, cheers,dave

    Reply
  11. Comment by JOHN CLINTON posted on

    VERY GOOD BLOG HOPE MOST OF US ARE READING IT. LOTS OF GOOD INFO. JOHN.

    Reply
  12. Comment by ROBERT TAYLOR posted on

    POLISH FISHING AT IRONBRIDGE BY BOATHOUSE THREE GUYS ALL GOT 3 RODS OUT DATE 05 / 04 / 2021 PLEASE CAN YOU GET SOMEONE TO CHECK THIS AREA THEY HAVE BEEN SEEN TAKING FISH AWAY

    Reply
    • Replies to ROBERT TAYLOR>

      Comment by eileenroffe posted on

      If you see anyone fishing illegally, please report direct to our 24/7 Incident Hotline on 0800 807060. Thanks - Joz

      Reply
    • Replies to ROBERT TAYLOR>

      Comment by Matthew Murray posted on

      You've got banter mate...

      Reply
    • Replies to ROBERT TAYLOR>

      Comment by Kenny Partridge posted on

      We have had 3 instances of theft of a fishery this week alone on Telford waters. That doesn't include the many 'night lines' found used to teacher carp to the bank until they're exhausted and then dragged in for a thieves dinner table.

      Police were called and when they arrived, the let the thieves go, and said there is nothing they can do about it.

      They were Easten European, and had bags of Crucian Carp and Silvers.

      Angling clubs are ran by volunteers who work very hard to protect fish stocks, bird life, and any wildlife that lives on our waters, and when this sort of thing happens NOTHING is ever done about it, yet if it was a river..... fines given and its all over the news.

      Closed season is also the highest point of fish theft, and yet there's nobody on the banks to stop/report/scare off fishery thieves.

      The closed season is an out dated law that has nothing to do with fish spawning and everything to do with Salmon and SeaTrout runs.... 200 year load of lies and waste of time. Name another place in Europe that does this....... I'm waiting......

      Reply
  13. Comment by Dennis Willis posted on

    Can you come over to Norfolk and arrest Natural England officers who plan to prevent bream and pike from reaching their proven historic spawning grounds in Hoveton Great Broad? https://basg.online/campaigns/hoveton-gb/

    I challenge you to publish this.

    Reply
  14. Comment by Petre posted on

    Salut . Este un canal în apropiere de Sibsey(Station Road)se poate pescui pe el în perioada asta ? Cine îmi poate spune ? Unde să întreb ?Am înțeles că pe unele canale este permis pescuitul pe toată perioada anului !

    Reply
  15. Comment by Daniel Rose posted on

    We also have this same issue. My local lake has lost most of its pike and carp sticks as the EU fisherman keep what they catch.

    Reply
    • Replies to Daniel Rose>

      Comment by A&B posted on

      Blah blah blame EU.
      I NOW ALSO ENGLIS FISHER MENS HU BRING HAUME FISH.
      DONT BLAME ALL EU.
      DONT BE RACIST

      Reply
  16. Comment by Michal Galinski posted on

    Still can't get it why closed season works for rivers only...maybe just because most of lakes and ponds are PRIVATELY owned, and the money seem to be more important than "fish and eggs peace" ?

    Memberships, bylaws, gates, private lands.
    Fishing in UK is more stressful than relaxing.
    Before you go, check tens of club's rules etc.

    All I want to do is little bag with lures, spinning or fly rod and walk along the river, in this lovely English nature...impossible, just impossible.

    Reply
  17. Comment by Adam posted on

    Hi all good people 😁
    I had question about tackle,bait and type of lure,weight I can use during close season targeting trout, I found info that you are able target trout during close season using certain lures but no info described lures type or tactic that can be use.
    I can imagine that fly tactics are green light to use but rest spinners, wobblers, plastic worms etc live baits maggots, earth worm.
    Thank you for your time and respond

    Reply
    • Replies to Adam>

      Comment by eileenroffe posted on

      • Replies to eileenroffe>

        Comment by Adam posted on

        Hi, Thank you for respond.
        Unfortunately this link didn't explain any of my issue in fact that was first website I did approach when searching for information,there is no clear info what so ever about type of lures or weights that can be use.
        Regards Adam.

        Reply
        • Replies to Adam>

          Comment by eileenroffe posted on

          Please call our contact center on: 03708 506 506 and they will be able to liaise with a local fisheries officer - Eileen

          Reply
        • Replies to Adam>

          Comment by Matthew Murray posted on

          Yeah mate only a tackles of a certain type and certain live baits can be used. Cant remember which ones but it seems that maybe they just don't want people to fish in close seasons?

          Reply
  18. Comment by John Court posted on

    No look here, everyone. When I was a kid, it was impressed on me that tradition demanded a close season, such that a level of excitement built up, culminating on the 16th June when off I went to the Grand Union canal to catch 4oz roach, using the floats I had lovingly touched and admired for the previous 3 months. Now I see most of you want to do away with it. You can still go out into our beautiful countryside but do not attempt to catch any fish until the early morning of the glorious 16th.
    Old Codger, now living in Brisbane.

    Reply
  19. Comment by Hank posted on

    Hi all coarse?anglers expat from the Netherlands. Have lived in Australia since 1954 As in the Uk the Dutch love ther Carp fishing, Where live in Adelaide?have never had to be?a licensed angler . Sea fishing here is different more people do fishing in Boats than like Europe weather being a big factor . Coming back to?Carp fishing every year we have?a?Carp Comp. Organised?by Rotary and other clubs. 2 years?ago at a Lake named Lake?Bonney Barmera Adelaide. There wa a haul of European carp an introduced Pest an unbelievable 13,000 fish?in 2 days of Recreational fishing over in?Australia they are used as lobster?bait and pellet fertiliser

    Reply
  20. Comment by Ped posted on

    Hi EA, Where can i find the list of river stretches that are under your control? I have a rod license and would like to course fish on the river Severn and river Trent but can't find any information on your website as to where i can fish without joining a club.

    Cheers Ped

    Reply
  21. Comment by Ped posted on

    Hi, this is the message I get when trying to access the website. I have tried from different devices and different search engines and still get the same result everytime.

    Error 1016Ray ID: 6cbf7b641a9e71b4 •2022-01-11 16:22:06 UTCOrigin DNS error

    What happened?

    You've requested a page on a website (fishinginfo.co.uk) that is on the Cloudflare network. Cloudflare is currently unable to resolve your requested domain (fishinginfo.co.uk).

    What can I do?

    If you are a visitor of this website:
    Please try again in a few minutes.

    If you are the owner of this website:
    Check your DNS settings. If you are using a CNAME origin record, make sure it is valid and resolvable. Additional troubleshooting information here.

    Cloudflare Ray ID: 6cbf7b641a9e71b4Your IP: 148.252.128.223Performance & security by Cloudflare

    Reply
    • Replies to Ped>

      Comment by eileenroffe posted on

      Checking the link it was published in 2015 so it may be that it has been withdrawn but not sure why we can still get it. I can copy and paste into Chrome. It may be your provider? Eileen

      Reply
  22. Comment by Ped posted on

    Hi, I have passed the link on and others have tried the website in the search bar and they are getting the same error message. Have you tried logging on to it from off your network. It seems strange that multiple people can't access it with the same error code.

    Cheers Ped

    Reply
  23. Comment by Ped posted on

    Hi, I have shared the link and and used your advice as to try and access the website, but unfortunately neither me or other people who have bought rod licences can access your website. Everyone is getting the same error code

    Reply
    • Replies to Ped>

      Comment by eileenroffe posted on

      Hi Mr Bowles - we spoke on last week - I have sent the feedback to the team responsible for Gov.uk as promised - Eileen

      Reply
  24. Comment by Ped posted on

    Thanks very much Eileen

    Reply
  25. Comment by Kevin Siddle posted on

    Hi, I am a returning angler following a hiatus of 20+ years. I live within 20 miles of Peterborough. In my previous live I was an avid team match angler but the move over to commercials effectively ruined my enjoyment of my natural surroundings and drove me from the sport.
    I decided this time round to avoid matches and commercial fisheries and to fish wherever possible in rivers. To that end I have to say that the waterways have changed hugely in my absence. My local rivers have become almost devoid of fish for huge stretches with vast numbers of fish shoaled up in tiny areas. Cormorants are more common than Coots and I see Otters every time I go to certain stretches of river, On one day in January I saw three adult otters all within a two hour spell, all photographed and definitely not the same one. As previously mentioned I am a nature lover and accept that nature will in the main sort out an equilibrium as you stated in a previous response. However, we have otters in the town centre of Spalding and you have placed otter refuges on the downstream end of the town Welland. Surely if nature is to be allowed to find its own level, that is as much an interference as a measure to control numbers would be.

    Reply

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