The Environment Agency is reminding anglers that all current annual rod licenses expire on March 31 and anyone caught fishing without one faces a fine of up to £2,500.
The reminder comes after 505 people were caught fishing without a valid rod licence in 2009, while fishing in the North West. This led to 444 prosecutions with fines and court costs totaling over £74,000, resulting in an average penalty of almost £160 for each offender.
Steve Powell, Regional Strategic Specialist Fisheries for the North West said: “All anglers aged 12 years and over require a valid rod licence to fish on any inland water such as a river, stream, drain, lake or pond. Anglers wishing to fish must purchase a rod licence before casting a line into the water. Anglers should carry their licence with them on the bank side and be able to produce it to Environment Agency bailiffs who will be patrolling all waters to check compliance.
Anyone fishing without a valid licence in England, Wales and the Border Esk in Scotland runs the risk of being caught and prosecuted.”
An annual rod licence for the 2010/11 season costs £27 forCoarse and non-migratory trout or £72 for salmon and migratory trout. Junior licenses are available and cost just £5 for Anglers aged 12-16 with Anglers under 12 do not require a licence.
Anglers over 65 and anyone with a Blue Badge parking concession or in receipt of Disability Living Allowance also pay a concessionary adult rate of £18 (Coarse and non-migratory tout) and £48 (salmon and migratory trout).
One to eight-day licenses for occasional anglers are also available.
Licenses can be bought using a credit or debit card by calling the Environment Agency’s telesales line on 0844 800 5386.
Alternatively, they can be obtained from any Post Office or via the internet at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/rodlicence
Anyone fishing without a rod licence is cheating other anglers. The money the Environment Agency raises through rod licence sales is directly invested in fisheries work.
Anglers are also reminded that fishing closed season applies to all rivers, streams and drains between 15 March and 15 June inclusive.