Coronavirus and angling

Update 7 January 2021: Local angling is permitted during the national lockdowns in both England and Wales, but is subject to restrictions. Below we’ve explained what this means for you, depending on where you live.

In England

England is currently in a national lockdown and exercise is one of only a few reasons for which you are legally allowed to leave your home.  The government have confirmed that angling is a permitted form of exercise. You can only exercise once a day and just for a short period.

You can fish alone, with members of your household or support bubble, or with one person from another household. Matches and overnight fishing are not permitted.

If you're meeting someone from another household, you should follow social distancing guidelines and stay 2 metres away from them at all times. The same applies to any members of the public that you come across during your fishing.

During the lockdown it's against the law to travel outside your local area for exercise. If you don't have anywhere local to fish, you must take your daily exercise in a different way. Use our fishery search to find a local place to fish.

You can read FAQs about angling during this current lockdown on the Angling Trust's website (bottom of page).

In Wales

Wales is currently in a level 4 lockdown, which means that you can only fish as part of your essential exercise. You can do so alone, or with members of your household or support bubble.

You must not drive somewhere to fish, unless you have a health or mobility issue that prevents you from walking or cycling there. Use our fishery search to find a local place to fish.

Follow social distancing guidelines and stay at least 2 metres away from other members of the public. Matches are not permitted.

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

Our guidance

We are very lucky to be allowed to fish during lockdown, 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.
  • You must not share fishing positions or equipment with other people, except members of your household.
  • 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 practicable 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: 11 January 2021