Fishing is one of the best ways to experience Britain's slow-flowing canals and rivers. Fishing rights to many stretches of our canal network belong to local fisheries or angling clubs.

We hope that you will find most of the information you need within the fishing pages of the website. But, in case you don't, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions to help.

Rod Licences:

What is a rod licence and what does it entitle me to do?

Issued by the Environment Agency, one rod licence actually licences the use of up to two fishing rods and is required before fishing on any inland waters. This licence, however does not give you permission to fish anywhere. Permission to fish still needs to be sought from the owner of the fishing rights or the angling club that controls the fishing on that water. There is no free fishing on any Canal & River Trust owned fishery. Fishing rights not let to clubs are available to fish via purchase of a Waterway Wanderers’ permit.

Where can I purchase a rod licence from?

Rod licences are available from any post office in England and Wales, over the telephone on 0344 800 5386 and also on line at They must be purchased before arriving on site to fish. The maximum fine for fishing without a rod licence is £2500.

At what age do you first need to buy a rod licence?

A rod licence is required by anyone aged 12 years or over, anyone under the age of 12 doesn't require one.

Where can I go fishing with my rod licence?

The rod licence does not entitle you to fish anywhere, for that you need the permission of the owner of the fishing rights. All fishing rights in non-tidal waters are owned by someone. The Environment Agency produces both an electronic and hard copy guide to angling within each of their regions. For Canal & River Trust fisheries use the Find a Fishery search from the fisheries home page for details.

How much do coarse fishing rod licences cost?

  • Full season (expires 31st March 2016) = £27
  • Junior Concession £5.00
  • Senior Citizens Concession £18
  • Disabled Concessions £18
  • 8 day £10
  • 1 day £3.75


Fishing Locations:  

I want to fish at a particular location. What permits do I need?

All information is available at using the Find a Fishery search box. If you are unable to find what you are looking for online, email or telephone 01908 302533. Please provide name of the Waterway, nearest bridge or lock number, postcode or town. There is no free fishing on the canal network.

Where can I find out more about fishing rights not owned about the Trust?

The Angling Trust fishing information pages provides comprehensive information on a wide range of fisheries.

Where can I get a Waterway Wanderers fishing permit from?

You can get one from John Harding, who can be contacted on 01829 732748 or 07713 682379 between the hours of 5.30 pm and 9 pm or by email on

Match bookings on our reservoir fisheries:

I want to book a match at a Canal & River Trust reservoir. How do I go about it?

The reservoirs currently managed by the Trust and available for match fishing are: 

  • Boddington Reservoir
  • Clattercote Reservoir
  • Drayton Reservoir
  • Naseby Reservoir
  • Earlswood Lakes
  • Blythe Waters

Season permits are available at:

  • Cadmore Lane
  • West Midlands (Includes Blythe Waters and Earlswood Lakes Engine and Windmill pools)
  • Earlswood Lakes Terry’s Pool

Contact the Bookings Office on 01582 843454 for more information.

There is also plenty of useful information at and

How can I find out about reservoir fishing?

Please contact the onsite bailiff:

  • Boddington      Ken Ryan                    07740 534891                        
  • Clattercote      John Bonney               07740 534892
  • Drayton           Mark Ryder                 07889 532563 
  • Naseby            Harry Bosworth           07904 493417
  • Tring                Laurence Butters        07939 849108
  • Blythe              Gail Hooper                 01675 443306
  • Earlswood       John Collins                07906 798610

I’ve seen dead or gasping fish on the surface of the Water. What should I do about it?

It’s possible there has been a pollution incident and the Environment Agency deals with reports of pollutions. In the first instance contact their 24 hour hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

Fish Poaching:

There is somebody fishing with a rod and line and taking away the fish. What should I do about it?

It is an offence to take any fish away from a canal or reservoir under the 1968 Theft Act and Environment Agency Byelaws. Please telephone the Environment Agency 24 hour hotline on 0800 80 70 60 immediately.

People have been using illegal nets, what should I do?

Using any instrument other than a rod and line/pole is illegal under UK law. The Environment Agency are the organisation that police these laws and you should contact them immediately on the 24 hour hotline 0800 80 70 60.

I have come across a set line/net/trap in the canal. What should I do?

Contact the Environment Agency immediately on their 24 hour hotline 0800 80 70 60.


I am a commercial crayfish operator. Will you give me permission to set traps?

We do not normally allow crayfish trapping on its waters except for research purposes or as part of an agreed Fisheries and Angling Action Plan. For further information please email details to

I am a boat owner on one of your canals. Can I put a crayfish trap in the canal?

We do not normally allow crayfish trapping on its waters except for research purposes or as part of an agreed Fisheries and Angling Action Plan. For further information please email details to

I am an ecological researcher working for an academic institution or as part of a Fisheries Action Plan, can the Trust give me consent to trap crayfish?

Please email details to for us to consider.

Fishing from boats:

I have a Canal & River Trust boat licence, does that give me permission to fish?

No, a boat licence only gives consent to navigate and not to fish, in the same way that an angling licence gives the holder no rights of navigation.

Is it OK for me to fish off the back of my boat if it’s moored on the towing path side?

Yes, but you must agree to purchase either a day or season membership of the controlling angling club and adhere to the club rules at all times or, if there is no club controlling the fishing rights, a Waterway Wanderers’ permit. Please note however some clubs’ public liability insurances only covers fishing from the bank and may be invalid if an accident were to happen.

Can I fish from a kayak?

Yes, but you need a boat licence and permission from the controlling angling club or, if there is no club controlling the fishing rights, a Waterway Wanderers’ permit. The boat must be moored to the bank to avoid obstruction to navigation.

Canal Fishing Regulations:

Can you tell me what baits are banned in any particular area?

This information is best obtained from the controlling angling club.

Can I fish at night on the canal?

We do not ban night fishing but, on individual sections of canal, the decision as to whether to permit night fishing or not is made by the controlling angling club. Please get in touch with the local club for more infromation.

How do I find out if there is there a close season on the canal?

The old close season which ran from 15th March to 15th June inclusive has now disappeared from most canals except certain SSSI’s. The majority of the canal network is therefore open for fishing all year round. The close season still applies to rivers though. The Environment Agency are responsible for enforcing the close season regulations so for further information regarding individual stretches of canal please get in touch with them.