Canals on the rise as anglers flock back to fish them

A research project has revealed that the number of anglers fishing the UK’s canals has doubled in the last four years.

Hundreds of stretches had been left deserted in recent times as a result of the commercial fishery boom, but the latest statistics have shown a remarkable turnaround.

Officials from the Canal & River Trust have announced that sales of their Waterways Wanderers permit have rocketed by 100 per cent since 2012.

The ticket allows anglers to target hundreds of miles of canal for a small fee each year, and national fisheries and angling manager John Ellis believes there are a number of reasons for the revival. 

“Gone are the days when anglers saw canals as venues capable of producing small fish and nothing else, with the awareness of their incredible potential,” he said.

“Whether you’re a predator, match or general pleasure angler, there is certain to be a stretch close to home that will appeal to you.

“Add to this, improved access and pegging in many areas and it is easy to see why canals have drawn back a lot of anglers.”

A national surge of interest in lure fishing and drop shotting is also thought to have aided the comeback.

Korum-backed specimen angler Gary Knowles said: “No matter where you are in the country, a cheap and affordable stretch of canal that is home to perch, pike or zander will be on your doorstep.

“At the drop of a hat, with practically no preparation and carrying just a light rod and reel, shoulder bag and landing net, you are ready to go.

“You can walk for miles fishing a very effective method and catch some cracking-looking fish from both industrial and rural settings. Given all this, it’s no surprise to me that the popularity in fishing canals has increased rapidly.”