Coronavirus and angling

Angling is permitted in both England and Wales. Below we’ve noted the latest guidelines and what this means for you, depending on where you live.

In England

Update: July 19, 2021

The below guidelines have been advised by the Angling Trust in their capacity as the recognised national governing body for all forms of recreational fishing in England. They have been drawn up following extensive dialogue with relevant Government departments and their colleagues in the Environment Agency to help better understand what is permissible at the current time.

From July 19th, the bulk of the Covid restrictions no longer apply and people are free to meet and gather without limit. However, Government guidance encourages both individuals and organisations to act responsibly and to take steps to minimise the transmission of the virus. 

Key impacts for angling in Step 4:

  • Competitions of any size can continue with draws on the day and a prize giving at the end, however Government guidance suggests gatherings should be outside wherever possible.
  • To follow this Government guidance it is recommended that for larger competitions the draws should seek to stick to the current 30 person maximum – ie by using separate draw tables and splitting into two or more groups.
  • There remains a requirement for risk assessments for all organised sporting events including angling competitions and coaching.
  • Club working parties may continue and club gatherings and meetings may resume.
  • However, clubs may wish to continue to hold meetings online to avoid large numbers of people gathering inside. 

Please remember that angling was one of the few sports allowed to continue, in some form or other, throughout most of the last three lockdowns. By continuing to act responsibly we can remain well placed to keep on fishing should the government feel the need to tighten the rules again in the future. 

You can read FAQs about angling on the Angling Trust's website (at the bottom of the page).

In Wales

Update: July 19, 2021

The below guidelines have been advised Fishing in Wales.

Wales is in Alert Level O. Further COVID-19 restrictions were eased in Wales on the 7th August 2021. More information can be found here.

Key points for anglers:

  • Anglers residing in Wales can travel to go fishing anywhere they wish. Cross border travel is allowed, so anglers from England can visit Wales to fish and vice versa.
  • Residents and visitors can now book accommodation of any kind, including Self catering, Hotels, B&B’s and Campsites. Therefore, an angling holiday will be possible. Indoor hospitality has now fully re-opened, including pubs and restaurants. The use of face-coverings by law when indoors is still required, with the exception of hospitality.
  • Fisheries run as businesses (classed as outdoor sports facilities) are open. Night fishing is allowed in Wales. Charter boats are classed as ‘outdoor attractions’ and can operate without restriction.
  • Please ensure before fishing that the venue, fishery or angling club has decided to re-open and you have acquired appropriate tickets or club membership.
  • Angling competitions, angling club events and activities can take place; with unlimited persons indoors and outdoors.
  • Welsh tackle shops and fishery facilities are fully open. Face coverings must still be worn as a legal requirement for all indoor retail, with the exception of hospitality premises.

For the very latest information on fishing in Wales, we advise you to visit the Fishing in Wales website.

Our guidance

We are lucky to be allowed to fish during this time, so it’s vital that anglers continue to behave responsibly by following government guidance and law.

If you decide to go fishing, please take sensible precautions, both for your own safety and the safety of other members of the public. 

Please note that magnet fishing is never permitted on any of our waterways.

Canal and stillwater fishing guidelines

If you're going fishing, please follow these guidelines, in addition to the government guidance/laws explained at the top of this page, as well as normal club and fishery rules.

  • If you or a member of your household tests positive for coronavirus, or have recently had symptoms, you must follow government guidelines and self-isolate.
  • Use hand sanitiser or wear gloves if you need to touch gates or fences. Wear a face mask if this will make you feel safer. Remember that masks are not a substitute for social distancing measures, but they have a role to play in protecting you and others you may come into contact with.
  • As is the case for all canal towpath users, anglers must maintain social distancing in line with government guidance. Should you make the decision to continue to fish on a canal towpath, we recommend that you choose a location where there is adequate width for people to pass you safely.
  • Where circumstances make it reasonably practicle to do so, you should treat towpath-side moored boats like your fellow anglers and aim to fish at least 15 metres away from them. In locations with large numbers of moored boats where leaving a 15-metre gap just isn’t possible, please choose the most sensible location, keeping social distancing in mind. The minimum distance you fish from a moored boat should be at least 2 metres. At designated winter mooring locations, there will be 5-metre gaps between boats, designed specifically to enable fishing to take place. Fishing opposite moored boats is allowed but please fish appropriately, taking special care not to cause any damage to craft.
  • You should not fish within 25 metres of a water point or a lock approach.
  • Most Trust-owned reservoirs and stillwater fisheries have general permitted public use and in some cases there are public rights of way within them. Please ensure that you maintain social distancing at all times with walkers and other anglers.

Additional guidance for angling clubs

Our partners at the Angling Trust, with whom we work closely, have information and guidance for individuals and angling clubs on their website.

In Wales, more information and updates may be available from Angling Cymru.

Clubs are not obliged to reopen their fisheries if they feel that doing so would put people at unnecessary risk.

Please bear in mind that this guidance will change as the pandemic evolves and different government restrictions come into and out of force.

Last date edited: 17 August 2021