If you are a coarse fishing angler then the chances are you would have heard of the coarse fishing closed season. But what does this actually mean?
Can you still fish certain waters in closed season? Do you have to only target certain species in closed season?
I am regularly asked both these questions plus many more regarding fishing at this time of year. For this reason, I thought I would write an article on it. Hopefully, any questions you have will be answered below.
What Is Coarse Fishing Closed Season?
Coarse fishing closed season is a time of the year when it is illegal to go fishing on rivers, streams, and drains for any species of coarse fish. In general, this is due to the fact that this is the time of year when the fish start spawning.
Spawning season is a stressful time for fish, with a good few of them not making it through the process. If you add to this a load of anglers casting lines at them it really does them no favours at all.
The closed season starts on the 15th of March and opens again on the 16th of June. So just to clarify, you cannot fish on the 15th of March all the way up to the 16th of June. The 16th of June is the first day you can start to fish the rivers again.
This date for many anglers is probably the most important date in their calendar. The 16th of June usually sees the river banks start to get busy once more with hopeful anglers trying to bag their fish of a lifetime.
Is There Anywhere I Can Fish In Closed Season?
When the coarse fishing closed season starts there are still places you can go to and fish legally. I have never really properly understood the reasoning behind this.
Coarse fish, whether in a canal, lake river or stream all spawn at roughly the same time. So why are we allowed to generally fish lakes and canals when the rivers and streams are out of bounds?
I did hear one theory that it was rich influential people back in the day that started the coarse fishing closed season. These people liked to get out after the Salmon at this time of year and didn’t like the ‘riff raff’ lining the banks with them. Whether there is any truth in this theory is anyone’s guess though.
Even though still waters are not affected by closed season rules, you will need to check with whoever has the fishing rights. Some clubs like to have a closed season on their still waters merely just to give the fish a break. Which I think is fair enough to be honest, especially on heavily fished venues. We all deserve a bit of peace once in a while.
What Fish Can I Catch On Rivers In Closed Season?
Even though coarse fish on rivers and streams are out of bounds during closed season there are other fish you can target. Trout, Salmon, and Grayling are all up for grabs during the coarse fishing closed season.
Traditionally these types of game fish are caught by means of an artificial fly. A lot of fisheries and clubs stick by this as part of their byelaws and will only let you fly fish for these types of fish. So it is definitely advisable to be checking any local byelaws before game fishing during the closed season.
If the club where you aim to go allows you to use other methods such as lure fishing and spinning then I would highly recommend giving it a go. It can be a great way of targeting Trout and Salmon on the river.
Obviously whilst targeting game fish you may encounter the odd coarse fish that will go for your bait as well. If this does occur you are advised to unhook it and get it back in the water as soon as possible. For example no photo shoots and no retaining the fish for reasons such as weighing it.
You will need a rod license to catch any fish in the UK and Wales. If you are planning to go for Trout during the closed season then the usual coarse fishing license will cover it. If however, you plan to go after Seatrout Or Salmon a separate license will be needed. Find out more details on rod licenses here.
By the way, if you happen to lose or misplace your rod license then don’t panic, there are ways of getting it sorted.
So When Is Trout And Salmon Season?
In the UK you can fish for trout all year round on still waters as long as the owners allow it. But be sure to check what bait you are allowed to use before casting a line. A lot of fisheries only allow fly fishing.
However, when it comes to fishing for trout on a river or stream there is a season you have to adhere to. Trout season starts on the 22nd of March and goes all the way through to the 30th of September.
When it comes to fishing for salmon in the UK a lot of rivers have different seasons and you will have to check the area’s local byelaws.
To Conclude Coarse Fishing Closed Season
If you want to fish the rivers, drains, or streams in the Uk you will have to follow the rules and local byelaws.
This includes following the closed seasons and using the proper valid rod licenses. As I have mentioned earlier, even when the closed season is in force on your local rivers there is always somewhere else to fish nowadays. But fish welfare should always be at the top of your agender, so if you see signs that they are spawning I would advise to leave them well alone.
After all, that is the next generation of fish that we could be putting in danger. anyway, tight lines and enjoy your fishing.