Angling Trust’s response to the Government’s Winter Covid Plan

The Angling Trust reports:

What it means for angling

The Angling Trust has now had an opportunity to consider the government’s comprehensive, 64-page Winter Covid Plan which will introduce a revised three-tier system from Wednesday, December 2nd.

Full details can be found here

We are pleased that ministers appreciate both the importance and safety of outdoor recreation and organised sport and that the plan opens more opportunities for more people to enjoy leisure and recreation. Although anglers have been in the fortunate position to be able to fish continuously since May 13th, there have been a number of restrictions in place during the latest lockdown which will now be lifted. Tackle shops can open up fully, competition fishing can resume as can coaching and charter boat fishing with up to six participants in total. This is all positive news for our sport.

Meeting people The Rule of Two is now back to the Rule of Six. This applies both indoors and outdoors in T1, outdoors only in T2 and in T3 only in ‘outdoor public spaces’. Of course, most angling is, by its nature, already socially distanced, and organised matches and events have their own rules.

Travel Once again, we expect the travel guidance will be advisory rather than law but the Angling Trust will be urging anglers to exercise common sense and act within the spirit of the government’s guidance.The government is advising against all unnecessary travel into and out of T3 areas, the exceptions being for ‘work, education, youth services, medical attention or caring responsibilities’.  Travel for fishing within T3 areas is not currently discouraged.In all other tiers, travelling to go fishing is fine but long journeys should be avoided ‘wherever possible’. Sea anglers should focus on their local beaches and fishing marks, and freshwater anglers should not be travelling hundreds of miles in search of fishing during the current pandemic.You absolutely must not leave home to fish if you have Coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating.

Tackle Shops and Clubhouses Retail outlets can open in all three tiers meaning that tackle shops are no longer restricted to ‘click/call and collect’. Indoor venues such as clubhouses and on-site cafes serving food and drink can now reopen in T1 and T2 providing table service is offered.  T3 allows only for takeaway service. All outlets must continue to adhere to the appropriate regulations including the requirement to ensure social distancing.

Fisheries Angling-related businesses, now including those offering accommodation in T1 and T2, can operate as normal whilst adhering to the appropriate regulations including the requirement to ensure social distancing.

Match Fishing With the rules on gatherings likely to be revised to once more allow sporting events and outdoor activities, match fishing can resume as long as appropriate risk assessments are in place. Participants and organisers still need to follow the published Angling Trust guidelines to ensure compliance with social distancing and to minimise the risk of infection.To comply with the travel guidance in the Winter Plan, match organisers will need to revise any planned competitions which could result in participants seeking to enter or leave T3 areas. Local competitions within T3 areas remain within the parameters of the government’s travel guidance.

Night Fishing There are presently no limits on the time that can be spent on outdoor recreation, anglers are able to continue fishing into and through the hours of darkness providing the other rules are observed. Night fishing will continue to be permitted under the re-introduced tier system.

Coaching The Winter Plan allows for angling coaching to resume at our recommended ratio of 1:4 and in accordance with our previously published guidelines. The Winter Plan specifically identifies ‘classes and organised sport’ together with ‘organised activities for …under 18s and disabled people’ as something that can take place outside in all three tiers.

Charter Boats Charter boats can resume their previous operations in accordance with the Rule of Six – so a skipper plus five clients.

Tackle Shows and Game Fairs The Winter Plan takes the first steps on the road back to restarting major events. In T1 this is limited to 50% capacity or 4,000 persons outdoors and 1,000 indoors. In T2 this reduces to 2,000 outdoors and 1,000 indoors. The only large-scale events permissible in T3 are drive-ins. We are hopeful that planning can now begin for the resumption of tackle shows and events involving angling in the latter half of 2021.

What happens next? The regulations will be published in advance of a vote in Parliament on Thursday and following the vote further guidance and FAQ’s are likely to be produced by the various government departments. Once we have seen the details of regulations we will update, where necessary, our published guidelines and distribute to our members and to the wider angling community.What we will not be doing is seeking to police the government’s regulations as that is not our responsibility. People wishing to report breaches of the regulations should contact the police via the 101 telephone number. Our job, as the recognised national governing body for angling, is to provide advice and guidance on how these regulations affect our sport and to ensure that anglers can continue to enjoy their fishing safely. However, we will take a stand against any conduct or practices that bring our sport into disrepute and threaten the good name and reputation that angling has built over many years and throughout this pandemic. 

Jamie Cook, CEO of Angling Trust & Fish Legal, said: “Angling has conducted itself safely throughout this pandemic and must continue to do so. These new restrictions are good news for angling as a whole and we urge all anglers to continue to fish responsibly and not to put themselves or our sport at risk. The Angling Trust will continue to monitor guidelines published by the government and keep members and informed as to what they will mean for angling.”

The Angling Trust will publish updated guidance on its Covid-19 Support Hub:

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2021 Spring & Autumn Loch-style Internationals, plus Rivers International, postponed to 2022

Spring and Autumn Loch-Style 2021 Internationals and Rivers 2021 International.

The Angling Trust reports: The International Fly Fishing Association (IFFA) have announced that there will be no Loch-style or Rivers Internationals in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This means that the Spring and Autumn Loch-style teams, and Rivers team, who qualified in 2019 will now rollover to form the teams for 2022. The host nations for each international remain as they were for 2020; Ireland hosting the Spring Loch-style International, Wales hosting the Autumn Loch-style International, and Scotland hosting the Rivers International.

AT TEFF are now formulating an exciting competition programme across all fly fishing disciplines for 2021. Further details will follow early in the new year.

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When will Match Fishing be Allowed again?

Angling Trust CEO Jamie Cook with some background information – from a coarse match fishing angle, but with relevance to competition fly-fishing:

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AT TEFF announce Peter Scholes as Rivers National Coordinator

The AT TEFF are pleased to announce the appointment of Peter Scholes as AT TEFF Rivers National Coordinator. Pete has fly fished for over thirty five years and has spent time working in the industry at Stocks Reservoir.  An experienced river angler, Pete has fished competitively for the last ten years and has competed in two Rivers National Finals, along with fishing domestic competitions such as the Hanak Grayling Festival and the Broadlands Grayling Classic. Pete is a regular fly angler on the Lancashire and Yorkshire rivers, and also enjoys fishing on the Welsh Dee and River Annan. Pete brings considerable experience to the role as both a competitor and angler on the river scene. He will work closely with AT TEFF and the volunteers who run the English River Qualifiers to develop a programme for 2021 and beyond. 

Peter Scholes, AT TEFF Rivers National Coordinator said: “I am really proud to take up this role. I am looking forward to taking the rivers qualifiers forward and developing the way they are organised and run going into the future. It’s a real privilege to be able to do this and hope we can get competitions back up and running next year.”

Andy Taylor, Competitions Support Officer said: “It is great to have someone of Pete’s experience stepping up to take on the role of AT TEFF Rivers National Coordinator. Pete has been a regular competitor on the rivers scene over the last few years and it is clear he has the passion and enthusiasm to develop this side of competition fishing. Having competed himself in the AT TEFF Qualifiers and domestic rivers competitions, Pete will have a good understanding of the venues, formats and angler requirements to develop the river qualifiers programme.”

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Angling Trust: No competition fishing during lockdown

The Angling Trust reports: Fish safely, locally and respect the ‘rule of two’ during lockdown

Having now examined the government’s new Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations the Angling Trust is pleased to be able to offer some initial guidance and interpretation to anglers and fishery providers. Our formal guidelines will be published following further consultation with colleagues at Sport England and DCMS once Parliament has debated the regulations today and passed them into law.

Overall the Angling Trust is pleased that ministers have recognised the value of allowing angling and some other forms of outdoor recreation to continue through the forthcoming lockdown period in England. However, the new rules are more complicated than we had hoped and anglers should be fully aware of what we can and can’t do in the next 28 days.

How to fish

The regulations are clear and you can only leave home to fish with members of your own household, your support bubble or with one other individual. The Rule of Six is now effectively the Rule of Two for most of us. The tightening of the rules on ‘gatherings’ means that match fishing or any other organised fishing event is prohibited by law during lockdown. However, competitive fishing will be able to resume once there is a return to the three tier system of restrictions.

On this basis we can announce that all Angling Trust competitions are suspended for the period covering 5th November – 2nd December 2020.

Where to fish

Angling is deemed a permissible form of ‘outdoor recreation’, and a lawful reason to leave home. It can take place, without time limits, within the provision allowing people  “to visit a public outdoor space for the purposes of open air recreation”.

A ‘public outdoor space’ is defined as an ‘outdoor place to which the public have, or are permitted, access (whether on payment or otherwise).’ We believe this clearly includes riverbanks, towpaths, beaches and stillwaters that can either be accessed freely or on the payment of a day ticket or subscription levied by the owner or leased to a publicly available fishing association. The Government clearly intends for people to be able to take their outdoor exercise and recreation in the form of angling and these regulations allow this to occur.

Fisheries are not on the published list of businesses that the government has ordered to close and there is no reason that they should do so providing that they operate in accordance with the rules.

It does not permit club outings or organised amateur sporting activities of any sort. All indoor or social facilities in any way connected with a fishing venue must close or refer to the relevant Government guidance. Fishing tackle shops, whether onsite or not, can only operate a ‘click and collect’ service.

Travelling to fish

Whilst the Government have chosen not to write their travel guidance into law we are urging anglers to respect the advice which states that it is permissible to travel in order:

“to spend time or exercise outdoors – this should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)”

Put simply, you can travel to go fishing but long journeys should be avoided ‘wherever possible’. Sea anglers should focus on their local beaches and fishing marks and freshwater anglers should not be travelling hundreds of miles in search of fishing during lockdown. It is up to the individual to apply common sense and act within the spirit of the Government’s guidance. You absolutely cannot leave home to fish if you have Coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating.

How long to fish

There are no limits on the time that can be spent on outdoor recreation which means that anglers are able to continue fishing into and through the hours of darkness providing the other rules are observed.

Fishery management

Essential fishery management work, which clearly cannot be undertaken from home, can continue as can any necessary, socially distanced working parties which fall within the provisions for ‘voluntary work’. Appropriate risk assessments must be in place and numbers should sensibly managed.


This is going to be an extremely difficult period for everybody and as anglers we must recognise that we are fortunate that our chosen form of recreation can continue even though there are restrictions on what we can do. The Angling Trust made the case for fishing based on the health and wellbeing benefits that angling offers coupled with the importance of reducing pressure on other open spaces by allowing us to continue to safely enjoy the social isolation and peace that fishing brings. It is incumbent on us all to continue to act responsibly and to fish safely, fish locally and respect the Rule of Two.

Jamie Cook, Angling Trust CEO, said: “We are obviously pleased that fishing can continue during lockdown even with the restrictions that are in place which have to temporarily suspend match fishing. Angling has conducted itself safely and responsibly throughout this pandemic and the Angling Trust is determined to ensure that our chosen form of outdoor recreation remains part of the solution rather than the problem. To do this anglers must continue to fish safely, locally and responsibly. “

Further guidance and updates will appear on the Angling Trust’s  Angling Support Hub

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AT TEFF Bank Semi-final, Elinor trout fishery, Sunday 1st November 2020

Sunday 1st November saw the rearranged AT TEFF Bank Southern Semi-final held at Elinor Trout Fishery. 26 anglers took part, and they had qualified from the Southern heats held in 2019/20. These anglers were fishing for a place in the Final, which is to be held in May 2021 at Chigborough Trout Fishery.

A strong, South-Westerly wind with squally showers tested the anglers throughout the day, especially those fishing the Dam during the middle part of the match. Practice revealed a good head of fish up the ‘Brookside’ bank with fish in pockets along the Dam. The fish were high in the water, and floating and tip lines along with Fast and Slow Glass Intermediates being the preferred choice for most of the competitors.
The match was fished to full catch-and-release, with controllers marking scorecards. Anglers fished eight forty-minute sessions – four in the morning and four in the afternoon. The winner would be the angler with the most fish points.

Anglers were into fish from the start, with many catching in the first session, with the top end of Brookside Bank being the most productive, along with the Dam. The strong wind made the Dam tricky to fish in the latter half of the morning and first sessions after lunch, however the pegs along Brookside continued to produce, with several trout between 5lb and 10lb making it to the net.
There was a final flurry in the last two sessions as the wind dropped, allowing the competitors a chance to fish their pegs more easily than earlier in the day. This final flurry saw many anglers move up in position, with a tight finish expected at the top, and for the final qualifying places.

118 trout were caught for a rod average of nearly five, with all 26 competitors catching. The winner, with 14 fish for 20 points, was David Neilson. Dave fished the indicator and his ever-reliable ‘Shammy’ to take first spot. Runner-Up was Sam Bailey. Sam fished a Fast Glass line and an Olive Apps, catching most of his fish on the “hang” close in. Sam caught 13 trout for 16 points. Third was Ian Watts who caught 11 fish for 15 points.

The AT TEFF would like to thank Lee Cartmail for running another great competition, the controllers who helped score for the competitors, and Ed Foster and team at Elinor Trout Fishery. Elinor is on top form at the moment and is well worth a trip! Congratulations to all those who qualified and thank you to all those anglers who fished in some atrocious weather conditions.

The qualifiers from the southern semi-final are as follows:
David Neilson 14 fish 20 points
Sam Bailey 13 fish 16 pts
Ian Watts 11 fish 15 pts
Tim Joyce 7 fish 11 pts
Mark Haycock 7 fish 11 pts
Colin Fitzjohn 7 fish 10 pts
Sean Brooks 6 fish 9 pts
Craig Barr 6 fish 8 pts
Leigh Pond 5 fish 8 pts
Simon King 5 fish 8 pts
Anthony Meadows 5 fish 8 pts
Stephen Pattinson 5 fish 7 pts
Ron Wilday 4 fish 7 pts

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AT TEFF Fundraiser, Draycote Water, Sun 27th Sept: Results & Report

The Angling Trust reports: Results from today’s AT TEFF fundraiser at Draycote Water. Congratulations to John Hardy who caught 18 fish to finish in first position.
24 anglers caught 168 fish for a rod average of 7. Many thanks to Ifor Jones and the team at Draycote: Tom, Alan and Lloyd for hosting the match. Draycote was on fine form despite a cold north westerly wind. Thank you to Chris Bobby for helping with the results.

Match Report: A cold north-westerly wind greeted the 24 anglers at Draycote Water for Sunday’s AT-TEFF Fundraiser.
Many of the anglers had practiced in the lead up to the competition and when the claxon sounded to start the match most of the boats headed to Dunns Bay and Biggin Bay.

The match was fished to full catch and release with anglers recording the time of the first three fish caught. Anthony Smith was first to catch at 10:05 closely followed by John Hardy at 10:07, with John taking his second and third fish by 10:37.
The field continued to do long drifts from Dunns, Biggin and Lin Croft Point with the occasional boat doing short drifts along Farborough Bank.

At 1pm most of the boats had caught fish but it was boat 5 with Stephen Peart and John Hardy which had seen the most action with John having caught 12 and Stephen four. There were other anglers who had also caught well. Tony Baldwin, Frank Sumnall, Pablo Mullings, and Tony Fox were all on seven and still in with a chance at just after the half-way point.

Despite the bright conditions the fish were holding high in the water and floating or tip lines along with slow and fast glass intermediates were the main line of attack.
The competition ended at 5pm. 168 fish were caught by the 24 anglers giving a rod average of seven. In first place was John Hardy with 18 fish. John fished a slow glass line with two size 14 FAB’s with two Hare’s Ear Nymphs. This was the same tactic that saw him take first place the week before at Grafham in the AT Loch Style Autumn Series Match.

First place saw John win £120. Second place went to Frank Sumnall. Frank fished in the mouth of Dunns Bay to take most of his 12 fish. Frank’s second place finish saw him win £90. Three anglers caught 11 fish and therefore third place was decided by the time of the first fish caught. Tony Baldwin took this spot having caught his first fish at 10:30am. Tony won £60 for his third place finish.
In total £654 was raised for TEFF Teams for next year.
Many thanks to those anglers who competed, to Ifor Jones, Tom, Lloyd, and Alan at Draycote water for hosting the event and to Chris Bobby for assisting with the results.


1st John Hardy 18 fish
2nd Frank Sumnall 12 fish
3rd Tony Baldwin 11 fish (1st fish 10:30)
First fish was caught by Anthony Smith at 10:05am winning a day for two at either Draycote Water or Eyebrook Trout Fishery. Thank you to Ifor Jones at Fishery Management LTD for donating this prize.


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AT TEFF Fundraiser, Draycote Water, Sun 27th Sept: Boat Draw

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Angling Trust: Angling Remains a Permitted Activity

Follow the Guidelines and Stay Safe

The Angling Trust reports: Following the Government’s announcement at 12.30pm today, the Angling Trust is pleased that the government has not sought to place further restrictions on healthy outdoor activities such as angling.

Through our ‘When We Fish Again’ campaign earlier in the year we demonstrated to ministers that by following sensible COVID-19 guidelines anglers could enjoy their sport in a safe and responsible manner.

We have been delighted with the response from angling clubs, fisheries and the wider angling community and it’s important that nothing is done that would damage our reputation for acting sensibly and in the wider public interest.

Jamie Cook, CEO of the Angling Trust added: “We are still fishing and there’s no reason why that won’t continue as long as anglers remember to follow the Angling Trust COVID-19 guidance and remember to be careful and protect each other and our sport. By working effectively and responsibly the Angling Trust has ensured that angling is seen as part of the solution and not the problem – let’s keep it that way. “

The latest Angling Trust COVID-19 guidance for all anglers from every discipline can be found at the Angling Support Hub section of our website here.  The latest COVID-19 information from the Fishing In Wales website can be found here.

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AT Loch-style Autumn Series: Results & Report

Angling Trust Loch Style Autumn Series Results.

44 anglers caught 269 fish for a rod average of 6.1
First fish caught by Robert Middleton at 10.08 winning a days fishing for two at one of Anglian Water Fisheries.

1st John Hardy 18 fish
2nd Tom Adamson 15 fish
3rd Sean Hanlon 12 fish (1st fish 10.24am)
4th Ben Worley 12 fish ( 1st fish 10.40am)

Thank you to Anglian Water staff Angela Tarry, Pauline Gibb, Stuart and Andy, Chris Bobby for doing the results and Kirsty Marshall for her work behind the scenes!
A big thank you to the 44 anglers who took part today. Grafham was in fine form despite the bright and breezy conditions

AT Match Report: Forty four anglers fished the Angling Trust Loch-style Autumn Series match at Grafham Water on Sunday 20th September. This was the only match to be held from the original 12 matches planned and therefore this contest became a one-off final.
Blue skies and a north easterly wind greeted the competitors, which were far from ideal fly fishing conditions. Many anglers had been out and practiced in the run-up to the match and this was evident at the 10am start when there was a two-way split with the boats. Half the fleet headed to the North East side of the reservoir, from G Buoy to the Willows, and the other half focussed on the North West side, from Sanctuary Bay into Savages Creek.
The format of the match changed from three fish retained and catch and release 12 fish, to a timed catch-and-release match where the times of the first three fish caught by each angler were recorded on a score card with a maximum catch of 20 fish. The score card, along with the briefing documents, were emailed out to all competitors prior to the match. A live FB boat draw, no weigh-in, and the results announced again on FB live ensured anglers, organisers and staff were kept safe in the current Covid1-19 situation.

The early cloud cover meant the fish were keen to feed and many anglers caught in the first hour. Robert Middleton was the first angler to catch, as a nice Grafham rainbow was caught and released at 10.08am. Tim Joyce fished size 12 red dries to take his first three fish by 10.18 fishing in Sanctuary Bay and Savages. By 12.15 Tim was on seven fish and his boat partner Ian Gaskell was on three. Tom Adamson and Charlie Abrahams were both into fish at P Buoy at 12.45, with Tom on seven and Charlie four at this point. Tom was fishing a Slow Glass line with a Black Booby on the point, Cormorants on the droppers, and a small Blob on the top dropper. Ben Worley and his boat partner Alex Urquhart were also catching well, targeting resident fish in the weedbeds at Sanctuary. The pair fished tip lines catching trout up to 4lb in weight. Ben fished a Black Bejusus Booby, Black Hopper, Black Muskins and an Orange Foam Daddy.

However, it was the long drifts from G Buoy/Marlow Stones/Willows down to the South end of the reservoir where the winner John Hardy caught his 18 trout. John and his partner Graham Currie caught close in at first, but as they drifted further out they found pods of fish and focussed on these pods. John fished a Slow Glass line with two small FABs and two Hare’s Ear Nymphs.
A full match report will be posted on the Angling Trust website on Thursday with details of John’s winning tactics!

1st John Hardy 18 fish
2nd Tom Adamson 15 fish
3rd Sean Hanlon 12 fish (1st fish 10.24am)
4th Ben Worley 12 fish (1st fish 10.40am)

44 anglers caught 269 fish for a rod average of 6.1

First fish caught by Robert Middleton at 10.08 winning a day’s fishing for two at one of Anglian Water Fisheries.


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