Read the story of how the Canal & River Trust came to be
Work for us
We have vacancies across all of our waterways and in the offices, museums and attractions that support them. We're one of the UK's biggest charities and we take pride in everything we do
If you're thinking of getting in touch then please take a moment to look through these pages as we probably have the answer on our website
Planning & design
All you need to know about planning and design on our canals and rivers
Find a winter mooring
Find a cosy section of canal to hunker down in this winter
10 reasons to take up canoeing
It's a great way to get fit and explore our waterways at the same time
Share the Space
Take a look at our common sense guide to sharing the towpath
Find a place to fish
From reservoirs to club-managed canals and river stretches - find your nearest place to fish
Get your free guide
Download your free guide today and start exploring the waterway nature near you
Download your free guides
You've nine free days out guides to choose from - where will you go first?
Find a walk near you
Are you ready to ramble? Find a waterside stroll or a satisfying hike along our beautiful canals and rivers
Take a look at our upcoming events here.
Find your favourite waterway
With over 95 canals, rivers, reservoirs, docks and navigations, find out more about your favourite waterway
Something for everyone
Help us make a difference and have fun along the way. Find your perfect volunteer role today
Join our team
Could you join your local Towpath Taskforce team and help us to keep our canals looking lovely?
Desmond Family Canoe Trail
If you're aged 16-25 and would like to get involved with this exciting project, please get in touch
Could you be a volunteer lock keeper?
Find out what's involved with this popular volunteering opportunity
Why we think canals are better with Friends
Become a Friend of the Canal & River Trust today and you’ll open yourself up to new experiences and endless opportunities.
We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
Whenever a canal is drained of its water during our maintenance work or an unplanned emergency, as the charity that cares for everything to do with the nation's canals and rivers, we’ve a responsibility to make sure the resident fish are safe and well. But how do you do that?
Often this involves a fish rescue using a technique called electrofishing. Don’t worry – it’s not as scary as it sounds – it’s a way of temporarily preventing fish from swimming so we can move them safely.
Usually, it’s the familiar common fish species that we end up rescuing and relocating to a stretch of that canal that still has its water. The most common of all British fish species is the ubiquitous roach followed by bream, perch, gudgeon, pike and increasingly chub. Canals that don’t see a lot of boats also hold good populations of rudd.
What's that fish?
If you've seen or caught a fish in the canals and rivers and don't know what it is - find out here
Just occasionally, fish out of the ordinary turn up, which is what happened recently on the Walsall canal…
John Ellis, national fisheries and angling manager
Recently our fish rescue team netted a fish that a first glance they thought was a British record bullhead. A closer look revealed it was nothing of the sort. What they captured from around Lock 1 of the Walsall Canal was a leopard plec, a native fish of South America but sold in pet shops as an ornamental fish. No doubt the owner felt it was surplus to requirements in their tank and decided to simply throw it into the canal. This irresponsible behaviour risks introducing new fish diseases to the wild and is against the law. Given its need for warm water conditions, it’s unlikely it could have survived a Black Country winter.
Once extremely common on our waterways, and in times gone by considered something of a nuisance species by most fishermen, the European eel is now a species in rapid decline. It’s considered more at risk of extinction that the giant panda!
Large eels are rare indeed but one turned up unexpectedly following a fish rescue in the Ridgacre branch back in 2016. She weighed in at nearly 6 lbs. Due to the powers of social media, the outsized specimen made the news in Australia and headlined in the Bermuda Times newspaper, highly appropriate, given the sea around Bermuda was its original birthplace.
It is said that Henry I died of food poisoning after he stuffed his face with a lamprey pie a few days past its sell by date. Back in the era before the industrial revolution with its associated pollution and loss of rivers for migratory fish due to the building of unpassable weirs, lampreys and sturgeon were abundant in our rivers. Rarely do we find such species today but were lucky to uncover these river lamprey on a lock stoppage a few years ago. They were safely returned to the water, which perhaps would have made Henry turn in his grave.
Probably the most popular species that anglers who target big fish love to catch is the carp. Introduced to the UK by monks in the Plantagenet era, they thrive albeit in low numbers in many urban canals. This monster turned up out of the blue when Hazlemere marina on the River Lee Navigation was emptied for development work, it weighed not far short of 30 lbs and is likely to be more than 30 years old.
What our fishing team are up to
Keep up to date with our fisheries team’s work here or follow us on the angling Facebook page page
We'd love to tell you more
Our newsletter is packed full of exciting updates and stories of how our work has helped local people and communities. Sign up today, and join us for the journey
Support our work, support your waterways
The support we get from the public helps to keep canals and rivers alive. Donate now to make a real difference in your local area
Last date edited: 14 August 2017