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Know the rules before you go fishing

[W]ith the settled summer weather set to continue and locals in Cumbria enjoying the great outdoors, the Environment Agency is reminding people to make sure they have a rod licence and to check the rules before they go fishing.

It’s never been easier to get a fishing licence. You can buy one online at www.gov.uk/fishing-licences or you can go to your local post office if you’re over 16 years old. If you want to fish a new river this season, why not visit the fishinginfo website to find details of different venues, river levels and angling clubs.

Every year we reinvest the money from rod licence sales locally. Rod licence money is used when we respond to fish kills, improve habitats for fish and facilities for anglers; plus fish restocking, invasive species eradication and working with partners to encourage people to take up fishing for the first time.

New rules (known as byelaws) came into force last month on the River Eden and Border Esk. These require:

  • Mandatory catch and release of all salmon;
  • A limit of 4 sea trout per season per angler on the Border Esk;
  • A limit of 2 sea trout per season per angler on the River Eden;
  • Requirement to return all female sea trout caught on or after 10th September up to and including 30th September on the Border Esk and River Eden.

The Environment Agency has some top tips on caring for your catch in the summer months:

Unhooking & Recovery

  • When the fish is quiet, remove the hook carefully and promptly with forceps. If you rupture a blood vessel you may kill the fish.
  • Fish should be allowed to recover and returned in steady clean water, but not in a fast flow. Recovery may take some time.
  • If fish are deep-hooked, particularly in the gills, it may not be possible to remove the hook – snip the line close to the hook. This will cause less harm to the fish than removing it.
  • As an additional precaution, it is wise not to fish at all during extended periods of hot weather.

Recording Your Catch

  • Only lift the fish from the water for the minimum time necessary.
  • Photography – Keep the fish in or briefly just above the water. Support the fish gently under the belly and loosely hold the wrist of the tail.
  • Weighing – If possible, use a weigh net, or scales hooked on to a conventional net.
  • Measuring – Do it in the water. Take a tape measure or mark up your wading staff or the butt section of your rod as an easy indicator.

A fishing licence is great value for money – the cost starts at £30 with some short term and concessionary licences also available. People who don’t buy a fishing licence are not only cheating other anglers and the future of the sport but running the risk of criminal conviction and a fine.

The Environment Agency urges anyone to report fisheries crime as quickly as possible by calling our incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

You can find more information on how to purchase rod licences and about fishing rules in your local area by visiting https://www.gov.uk/topic/environmental-management/fisheries-rod-licensing

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