The Angling Trust, as the national governing body, has issued the following guidance for those who wish to go angling in England between 5th November and 2nd December.
- 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”.
- You can only leave home to fish with members of your own household, your support bubble or with one other individual.
- If you do go fishing with someone from outside your household ie with one other individual, then no equipment should be shared.
- You must not go fishing if you have symptoms of Coronavirus and you must remain at home and isolate.
Where to fish
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:
“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.
Essential fishery management work, which clearly cannot be undertaken from home, can continue as can any necessary, socially distanced working parties fall within the provisions for ‘voluntary work’. Appropriate risk assessments must be in place and numbers should sensibly managed.
For details of current angling/Covid regulations in Wales, you can find information on the Anglings Trust's Fishing In Wales website.