Voluntary Bailiffs to support Operation Clampdown as coarse fishing close season for rivers begins

The annual coarse fishing close season for rivers and streams came into effect today (Wednesday 15 March) and runs until 15 June inclusive. 

Throughout the close season, Angling Trust’s Fisheries Enforcement Support Service and voluntary bailiffs will be supporting the Environment Agency with Operation Clampdown 11 – the crackdown on illegal fishing and poaching. 

The close season prevents fishing for coarse fish in rivers and streams across England to help protect fish during spawning. But there are still plenty of opportunities for coarse fishing with most stillwaters and canals open to anglers, and fly-fishing for trout on rivers and streams still an option.

You can find more information and byelaws for your local area here.

Guidance for national fishing byelaws can be found here.

Environment Agency officers conduct patrols throughout the close season to ensure anglers respect the no-fishing period and as part of Operation Clampdown voluntary bailiffs will be keeping watch on riverbanks and reporting incidents. 

The Voluntary Bailiff Service is managed by the Angling Trust’s Fisheries Enforcement Support Service, which is funded from the Environment Agency fishing licence income. 

Nino Brancato, Angling Trust National Enforcement Support Manager said:  

“The positive impact of the work of the Voluntary Bailiff Service cannot be underestimated in supporting fisheries enforcement across England and a key part of this has been our work on Operation Clampdown. 

“The Angling Trust’s Fisheries Enforcement Support Service will once again be working closely with the Environment Agency and police during the close season and our dedicated volunteers will be out on patrol and taking part in coordinated joint activity around the nation’s waterways in an eyes and ears capacity. 

“Their intelligence gathering and reporting of incidents supports the work of our enforcement partners and is part of our multi-agency approach to protecting fish and fisheries.”  

Heidi Stone, Environment Agency Fisheries Manager said:  

“The close season is an important moment for England’s fish populations to recover by providing the opportunity for juvenile fish to develop and flourish. 

“It’s vital that fish are protected during this crucial spawning period, and I am grateful to all anglers following these rules which not only benefit the environment but ultimately provide a better angling experience for the rest of the year. 

“Enforcing the close season is just one example of how the Environment Agency spends rod licence income – funding which is entirely ringfenced for fisheries work that will directly benefit anglers and fishing licence customers.”  

All full fishing licences now run for 365 days from the day of purchase. Be sure to check when your fishing licence expires – you can buy or renew your licence here.  As of this year, you can no longer purchase a fishing licence through the Post Office but you can pay over the phone using the Environment Agency number provided in the link above.  

If you see any incidents of illegal fishing or suspicious activity, you can report it to the Environment Agency 24-hour incident number on 0800 80 70 60 or the Police on 101 for any crime that does not require an emergency response. For any crime in progress always call 999. 

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