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The Role of the Closed Season

Every year, as the calendar moves from March to June, our freshwater ecosystems become vibrant with activity. The coarse fish that inhabit these waters go through a crucial phase in their life cycle called spawning. This period, essential for their reproduction, puts them under stress and fatigue. Any disturbances during this time can have negative effects, possibly completely halting the spawning process and jeopardising not just the reproductive success of the season but also the entire years.

To shield these vital fish populations, a designated closed season from March 15th to June 15th is observed for coarse fishing in rivers and streams. This pause in angling activities is aimed at minimising disruptions, thus safeguarding the fish during their most vulnerable period of spawning.

During the closed season, fishing for coarse species in England’s rivers, streams, and drains is off-limits, with significant penalties for violations. The Environment Agency, vigilant during this period, encourages reporting of illegal fishing activities through their 24/7 incident hotline at 0800 807060, emphasising the importance of this time for fisheries enforcement personnel.

As the temperatures rise, signalling the onset of spawning for various species, the protection of these spawning grounds becomes paramount. From pike in shallow, weedy waters to the later spawning barbel and bream, each species relies on undisturbed habitats to reproduce successfully. The Environment Agency plays a key role in enforcing these protective measures during the closed season, ensuring the longevity and health of our fish populations.

While the closed season restricts fishing in certain areas, it’s essential to note that many still waters and canals remain open for angling, subject to the agreement of the fishery owners and adherence to specific bylaws. The closed season’s purpose is not to hinder the angling experience but to ensure the sustainable future of our freshwater ecosystems.

The closed season is a time of heightened vigilance for Environment Agency officers and Angling Trust Volunteer Bailiffs, who patrol waterways to deter illegal fishing and safeguard the spawning process. Their dedication extends beyond standard hours, utilising advanced technology and collaboration with law enforcement to protect our fisheries.

Initiatives like Operation CLAMPDOWN, now in its 12th year, continue to play a vital role in conserving our aquatic environments. Through education, enforcement, and technology, the collective efforts of the angling community and regulatory bodies ensure that our rivers and their inhabitants thrive for generations to come.