Following the publication this week of the new Covid Regulations, which come into force from March 29th, the Angling Trust has published a new set of guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to help the angling community prepare for the new fishing opportunities that will be available from next week.
The guidelines follow on from the Angling Trust’s Fishing out of Lockdown submission on February 11th to the Cabinet Office making the case for a relaxation of travel restrictions and a return to all forms of angling including night fishing, charter boat angling and match fishing. It should be noted however, that there is no change to statutory close season for coarse fishing on rivers which remains in place from March 15th to June 15th inclusive.
The key changes are the return of both night fishing and match fishing, the ending of any statutory limits on travel (but with the advice to avoid ‘unnecessary travel’), and the opening up of private and charter boat fishing.
The FAQs are also available as a downloadable pdf and anglers are encouraged to keep a copy on their phones. They cover all relevant areas including:
Can we fish at night?
Yes, there are no time limits on outdoor recreation so you may fish into or through the night. This has been confirmed by the Cabinet Office. Campsites and holiday accommodation cannot open until April 12th but fishing from a bivvy is not prohibited under the regulations.
Can we fish matches?
Yes, match fishing (in sea and freshwater) to Covid secure guidelines is classified as an organised outdoor sport, and not subject to the gatherings limit, provided the relevant precautions required by the law are taken.
How far can we travel to go fishing?
There are no statutory limits on how far you can travel to go fishing. We are encouraged to avoid making unnecessary journeys or traveling more than is reasonably necessary to take part in our activity. However, traveling to the coast or to a river or lake is entirely permissible.
Angling clubs and fisheries are advised to consider opening up in a manner which limits any larger gatherings in car parks or outside the fishery in order to minimise the risk of infection transmission. As long as social distancing is maintained there are no legal limits on the numbers attending any fishery but sensible local management measures will be important.
Angling Trust CEO Jamie Cook said:
“It’s been a long road and has taken a lot of hard work but we are delighted to see the return of all forms of angling from March 29th. Once again we must ask people to avoid fishing in crowded places where social distancing could be difficult and might give rise to concerns over public health. We must continue to fish responsibly and safely and remember that we have been extremely fortunate to be able to fish throughout this lockdown when other sports have been banned.”
Angling Trust Head of Policy Martin Salter added:
“All the recognised national governing bodies for sport are tasked with producing specific guidelines for their areas taking into account the regulations and accompanying Government guidance and advice. These latest angling guidelines have been drawn up following extensive dialogue with relevant Government departments and the Environment Agency to help anglers, fishery owners and managers to better understand what is permissible as the current lockdown regulations are lifted from March 29th. They have benefitted from senior legal input and are fully in line with both the latest regulations and FAQs issued by Sport England.“