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The charity making life better by water

National fishing celebration set to be the biggest for decades

We are preparing to host the biggest angling event for young people in almost 20 years.

The National Celebration of Young People and Fishing, held on 16 and 17 September on the Shropshire Union Canal in Staffordshire & Shropshire has already attracted 275 entrants, and we are inviting more young people to get involved.

Man and boy fishing by canal

The Celebration is open to anyone aged 7 to 20 years old, who will participate in four age categories to be crowned champion. Everyone who participates will take home a medal or trophy, a Guru goody bag and a special event certificate signed by six former world champion anglers. Those skilful enough to land a gudgeon – a common and relatively easy fish to catch across most of the canal network – will receive a special 2023 edition Fjuka gudgeon mug.

In preparation for the National Celebration, this summer we have held 16 regional celebrations, attended by over 200 young people. Designed for young people who have been fishing a few times, the regional celebrations offered a chance for participants to learn more about angling and develop their skills, as well as dip their toe into fishing alongside others.

And, on 21 October, we will be hosting the first ever Daiwa Global Communities Celebration. Young people with ancestral connections all over the world are encouraged to take part to represent their communities, alongside teams representing the home nations communities. Fishing is an accessible sport that brings people from all backgrounds together. Last year 16 Commonwealth communities were represented and, in 2023, the Trust aims to further expand the diversity of those taking part.

Let's Fish!

The celebrations are part of our 'Let's Fish!' programme, which has introduced thousands of young people to the sport. 'Let's Fish!' introductory events provide everything needed to enjoy a fishing session free on the day, such as tackle, bait, a rod licence and fishing permit, as well as expert tuition from a coach, made possible thanks to funds raised by players of People's Postcode Lottery.

John Ellis, our national fisheries & angling manager, comments: “Our 'Let's Fish!' events have introduced thousands of young people to the sport and our celebration events are the next step on their fishing journey. They offer a chance for young people to fish alongside others, make new friends, and discover a new community.

“It's fantastic to have the support of players of People's Postcode Lottery, which enables us to host these events that play such an important role in connecting young people from all backgrounds with the natural world.”

Laura Chow, head of charities at People's Postcode Lottery, said: “The 'Let's Fish!' programme has introduced young people to the joy of fishing and brought about a wonderful sense of community. It's fantastic that funding raised by players supports the Canal & River Trust, encouraging more people to spend time by the water and feel healthier and happier. Thanks to players across Britain, over £1.1 billion has been raised for thousands of charities and good causes.”

To find out more about People's Postcode Lottery please visit:

Following a recent government decision to cut future funding to look after canals, compounded by the effects of intense weather brought about by climate change, we are facing significant challenges in the years ahead. We need everyone's support in our campaign to Keep Canals Alive, together with all the activities that take place on them.

Last Edited: 17 May 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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