Important Covid-19 Updates for Anglers, Clubs & Fisheries

Updates: Night fishing, competitions, insurance cover and situation in Wales

Dear Fellow Anglers,

Firstly, we would like to thank all our wellwishers for your kind words praising the work of the Angling Trust. We have responded to as many emails and social media messages as possible, but we have literally been overwhelmed by your response and apologise if you have not received a reply. Your messages have been much appreciated and your support has played a major part in helping the Angling Trust to get angling permitted in the first phase of the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

Secondly, we would like to update anglers on some of the questions you have asked since angling returned on Wednesday.

Can I go night fishing?

Yes. Following the government statement of 13 May 2020 and the accompanying guidelines from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, fishing at night in England is currently permissible so long as social distancing rules are followed.

In ‘New Guidelines for Spending Time Outdoors’ it states:

“From today (13 May 2020) people in England can spend more time outdoors and enjoy a wider range of activities for any length of time, subject to social distancing rules. People and their households can relax in the park, sunbathe, go for a picnic and go fishing.”

Subsequent legal opinion obtained by the Angling Trust supports this and DCMS guidance as the legal basis for night fishing at the current time. Please make sure you have the permission of the fishery owner and hold any relevant Environment Agency rod licence.

You should adhere to Government advice on social distancing and hygiene at all times and we recommend that you follow the Angling Trust guidelines to keep yourself and others safe

Download and keep pdf guidance for night fishing

Why can’t we organise a fishing match?

As public gatherings/events are currently banned by the Government, competitions are not permitted as they would be in breach of legal requirements under COVID-19 legislation. This is legally enforceable and by holding competitions, fisheries and clubs risk fines for themselves and participating anglers. In addition, committing a criminal offence will invalidate insurance policies.

The Angling Trust will continue to press for competition fishing to be allowed in further easing of lockdown restrictions, provided it is safe to do so and fully compliant with Government guidelines on containing COVID-19.

Our club is a member of the Angling Trust. Is our insurance valid during the Covid-19 crisis?

We’ve been assured by our insurance providers that cover for all Angling Trust member clubs and fisheries remains fully in place during the pandemic, provided that clubs and fisheries are adhering to the Government guidelines and additional supporting guidance provided by the Angling Trust to its members concerning safety and social distancing.

Risk assessments must be carried out and risk management put in place around Covid-19 requirements. Risk assessments are key to evidencing that the risk is being assessed and managed and this is something that the Government has highlighted must be taking place. It is essential that member clubs and fisheries record and evidence that they are working to and controlling the social distancing measures expected by the Government.

It is also important to remember that should any member club or fishery act illegally, criminal actions would not be insured by the insurance policy. This includes breaking the Government lockdown restrictions and social distancing requirements.

I live in Wales. Can I go fishing?Yes. Fishing in Wales is now permitted provided it is local and you can walk or cycle to your venue. Driving to go fishing is only permissible if you are registered disabled.
The Angling Trust will continue to lobby the Welsh Government and make clear that safe local driving is extremely important for all Welsh anglers and should be allowed, subject to the comprehensive guidelines we laid out in our When We Fish Again document, which has been adopted by the English Government.
The Natural Resources Wales website stipulates that anglers should:fish within your immediate locality without driving (unless you are registered disabled)follow social distancing guidelinesfollow the stay at home guidance from Welsh Governmenthave a valid fishing rod licenceadhere to fisheries byelaws including the close seasonhave permission from the fishery ownerYou should not travel to Wales from England for the purpose of angling.
Finally, you can find more guidelines on our dedicated Angling Support Hub which we are continually updating throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
We’ve also produced Phase One Guidance for Clubs and Fisheries on how to start fishing safely again for you to download.

With fair weather expected this weekend, anglers will be keen to get outside and cast a line. There is also likely to be more people travelling to beauty spots and nature sites, so please consider the following:

  • Stay local if at all possible and help reduce traffic on the roads
  • Check whether fisheries are open before travelling and check their payment method
  • Observe social distancing at all times
  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds every time
  • Follow the Government guidelines and the Angling Trust’s recommended guidance

Stay Safe, Stay Alert and Tight Lines!