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Get hooked not caught

With summer holidays well underway and people across Cumbria and The Borders 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 and they are great value for money. You can buy one online at www.gov.uk/fishing-licences or you can go to your local post office. Juniors will still need to register and receive a licence in order to fish but the licence will be free.

Every year the Environment Agency reinvest the money from rod licence sales locally. Rod licence money is used when the Environment Agency respond to fish kills, improve habitats for fish and facilities for anglers, as well as 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 in 2018 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 and a 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.

Darren Bedworth, Senior Fisheries Enforcement Officer at the Environment Agency, said: “We will be increasing our patrols on the Border Esk to ensure that the new fisheries rules are understood and complied with. We would also like to remind anglers that these byelaws apply to all of the Border Esk, including the part of the river that is within Scotland.

“Anglers must hold a valid EA rod licence before fishing upon the Border Esk which includes all waters connected to the catchment of the Border Esk that lay within England or Scotland.

“People who don’t buy a licence are not only cheating other anglers and the future of the sport but run the risk of a criminal conviction and a fine. There is no excuse – a fishing licence costs just £30 for a whole year and you can buy it online at GOV.UK.

“All fishing licence income is used to fund work to maintain, improve and develop fisheries, fish habitats and angling. 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.”

The Environment Agency has some top tips on caring for your catch:

Unhooking & Recovery

  • When the fish is quiet, remove the hook carefully and promptly with forceps.
  • 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.

The Environment Agency is working in partnership with the police, Angling Trust and others to crack down on illegal fishing. We track criminals on an intelligence led basis using information gathered by ourselves, the police and other partners and reports from the public, so we urge anyone to report fisheries crime as quickly as possible by calling our incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

Anyone fishing illegally can expect to be prosecuted and face a substantial fine.

You can find more information on fishing, how to purchase rod licences and about fishing

rules in your local area by visiting: https://www.gov.uk/topic/environmentalmanagement/fisheries-rod-licensing

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