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Can you go fishing on the canals?

14th April 2022

Fishing on the canals isn’t as simple as you may think - there are in fact fishing rights in place throughout various canals and rivers. It is important that you are familiar with the ‘incorporeal fishing rights’ – for example, most of the canals are owned by the Canal & River Trust, therefore you will have to buy fishing permits from them. Learn more about canal fishing from our detailed guide.

Where can the public fish for free?

Legally speaking, the public only have fishing rights in the ‘recognised fully tidal parts of rivers and in the sea, except where an individual owns a private right of fishery.’ Before you begin fishing anywhere, you must check whether ownership rights and whether there is a way you can pay to access their land.

Canal fishing

To fish on the canals, you will need to either:

If you would like to fish from your narrowboat, you will still have to purchase a fishing license – as a boat license does not give you any right to fish.

What kind of fish are in the canals?

These are just some of the fish you can find on the canals – read all about canal wildlife in our helpful guide.

What happens if I don’t buy a fishing permit?

Fishing without a permit count as theft under the Theft Act of 1968 – in this instance, you would be stealing fish from someone’s fishery. Even if you were to only hold these fish temporarily, it would still mean you are trespassing to some degree,

It is also essential to purchase a rod license from the Environment Agency, which is also a legal requirement. Failure to purchase the correct licenses could land you with a hefty fine of up to £2,500.

If you fancy fishing on the canals, you should check out the range of routes and canal boat holidays. Find out more by contacting our helpful team today.

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