Close Season no more?

jon atkinson

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I'm not qualified to comment as to the implied lack of impact on spawning of no close season on still waters, but it's an interesting perspective as reported in the Telegraph none-the-less...

As one who predominantly fishes still waters but is increasingly getting into rivers, I'm really not sure how I feel about this.
 
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binka

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The issue is certainly gaining significant momentum and personally I think it's nothing more than when, as opposed to if, the river close season goes.

I said similar in the other thread recently, I'm for retaining it in no other sense than nostalgia as I don't see what purpose it serves when one of the main river species are spawning just as, or after we return, on the 16th June.

Given that the world is now a very different place I reckon poachers, paddlers and avian predators wouldn't enjoy the three month free reign that they currently do if anglers were still on the banks although that's arguable given how few (other anglers) I see.

In which case you would argue what damage so few anglers could cause but any damage at all is unacceptable imo.

I also see my local stillwaters fishing better than ever so the ending of the close season seems to have had little impact there.

I will be a little saddened to no longer be able to celebrate The Glorious 16th but I am free to observe it and follow with tradition, whilst allowing others the same freedom of choice and I think those exercising that freedom will be able to do so with little if any impact at all in relation to fish stocks and spawning.
 

thecrow

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Maybe then if it is abolished and I think (hope) it will be river anglers will have the full value from the fishing tax they pay instead of being restricted as they are now, its outdated and doesn't represent why it was first introduced.
 

markg

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I would be sorry to see it go completely, a 6 week close season on all waters wouldn't do me, fish or the rest of nature any harm; maybe an earlier 6 week separate one for predators. Its not long for us to stop fishing. it would pass quick enough. The reason for it lifted on still waters was commercials could not suffer the financial break but 6 weeks! maybe they could and use the time to do repairs and stocking on their waters.
All the arguments about spawning, well I don't know but I am sure a lot of spawning fish will get a break from us and I don't mind that, I don't have to fish every week of the year. When it was 3 months I would get a bit itchy and miffed but 6 weeks, not a problem for me I think.
To me a 6 week total close season is a fair compromise for the antis and pros, everyone gets a bit of they want, if nature could have a say in what it wanted, it would stop it completely so 6 weeks total is a bit of compromise for it as well.
I don't think fishing in the close season does as much harm as some would think and the rivers are hardly going to be inundated with anglers if it is lifted but I still wouldn't mind giving it a break for 6 weeks.
Not that I dismiss all the arguments about illegal fishing, paddlers, keeping an eye on the water, payment etc, I can see they are valid points but that's not a basis for consideration of close season laws for me personally, they are just sort of separate issues to me that need separate consideration; it has to be just about are the good reasons for it directly in its affects on fish and nature for me. And there are reasonable arguments that it does not do much good but I always come back to just my gut feeling, giving it a break for 6 weeks wouldn't harm me and nature usually does benefit in some way when left alone by human activity and I could still get a load of fishing done in 47 weeks..
 
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thecrow

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Wildlife on still waters seems to cope without a closed season most of which get more attention than rivers, the spawning argument doesn't hold water, we (most anglers) no longer kill our catches, as it was this action that brought about the closed season in the first place imo it is no longer needed.

There is of course the option for those that would like to see the closed season maintained to not fish during that period, there is also the option for controlling clubs to close their stretches but I could see that loosing members and anglers moving to clubs that keep their stretches open.
 

s63

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A law that's almost impossible to enforce, abolish it.

I'm trying to remember when a lad what it was like when the close season was for still waters too. The thought of not being able to fish anywhere other than game or sea fishing for twelve weeks isn't a comforting thought.
 

Jeff Woodhouse

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I'd just like to point out in fairness of good reporting that the image of anglers fishing portrayed in The Telegraph is not of any English or Welsh anglers fishing a river, but of Scottish Anglers fishing the Tay in Scotland for salmon.



From this arises two points: A) They're NOT coarse anglers and B) Scotland has NO close season for coarse fish.

A small point perhaps, but now duly corrected.

One more point - you don't require a licence at all in Scotland for catching coarse fish. Ain't it fair?
 
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markg

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Its not but if you have to dress like that to fit in, the license is worth paying for.
:)
 

daltons

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As a very recent returnee to winter river coarse fishing after a 35-year layoff, I'd be delighted if the Close Season was scrapped. I speak with the evangelical enthusiasm of the recently re-converted (like those former 40-a-day smokers who bang on and on at their mates who don't want to give up :)). Colours to the mast, I flyfish rivers for wild trout and have to endure a 6-month Close Season in that game, and to be honest the early weeks of the season when cold tend to offer pretty poor sport.
The opportunity to spend another few weeks mooching the banks of the Windrush,Cherwell or Thames, willing the quivertip to be pulled round by a beefy chub appeals far more that dredging the riverbed with tungsten-beaded nymphs in mind-numbing repetition. Dry fly - now that's a different matter, but that ain't happening 'til May, usually.
Can't buy the argument that the fish in our rivers - those that are left - need us, the law-abiding conservation-minded anglers to lay off them for 3 months while they don't spawn. Apart from anything else there doesn't seem to be enough of us to make a blind bit of difference. In a dozen river trips since Christmas, I've encountered the grand total of one other angler (not counting bumping into Jason Bean in the car park at Thrupp as I was finishing and he was starting!).
Those who wish the fish harm certainly don't think "Better not poach is weekend - it's the Close Season after all" and I for one would stop fishing immediately in the unlikely event I appeared to be disturbing fish that were spawning or preparing to.
You never know, my presence might just keep a cormorant, otter, mink or poacher away from the river for a few more hours; small comfort, but nevertheless......

Mike
 

floatfish

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Whilst no close season seems to make a difference in still waters. The only thing I wonder about
is possible damage done to fish following Spawning, when in this area they spawn in shallow
water, then after clean off in the faster water. The fish are stacked one on another and in huge
numbers in places. Hungry and very easy to catch.Do they need some restrictions on catching
in those areas,then be held in a net for hours on end. Fine in deep water no restriction are needed but when it's too easy. ??
 

Jeff Woodhouse

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Do they need some restrictions on catching in those areas,then be held in a net for hours on end.
A little baffling, but is the water there really deep enough for a keep net anyway? There are two ways around this, one is to ban match angling and keep nets at a time when fish are known to spawn in an area. The second is simply to ban keep nets at that same time, which in turn satisfies the first solution also. You can't have a match without keep nets.



heres the history of when and why the closed season was first introduced
And the problem with that page, Keith, is that John Essex is far more knowledgeable on this subject than he has shown in the article. He gave a talk for us many, many years ago and as part of it covered some aspects of match fishing in the day, the fact that they never used keep nets, all fish caught were killed and removed. Those that could be fed to the family were, chub were reserved for the mother-in-law of course, and the remainder were probably fed to the chickens in the yard.
One fact came from this, if you kill a roach that is hydrating her eggs, you not only kill her, but the 10,000-15,000 eggs she is carrying. That was the "... wanton waste of our riverine species..." that Philip Geen referred to in a speech he made. So the close season was not only to surround the spawning period, but more to stop the slaughter of gravid females in the run up to spawning.
Since keep nets are now used (and rarely unless it's a river match, even rarer) no freshwater fish are now killed for any reason (OK, EEs, but them aside) whatsoever.
 

Mark Wintle

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Whilst I don't think abolishing the close season will make a massive difference to most rivers there's a good case for banning keepnets from 1st March to the end of June or even July on all natural waters. Anyone who thinks rivers will fish well mid spring in matches is deluded; June matches have always been patchy at best.
 

dave m

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Is it time to get rid of the closed season on rivers…

I posted elsewhere on this subject and talked about the 3 P's... poaching, predation and pollution.
These are things that anglers can have some small influence on and it might make a difference if more anglers were present on the banks in the closed season as it does for the rest of the year.
Poaching may be happening on rivers but with less anglers about to deter anyone taking a big barbel or roach that are full of eggs then the effect will become a snowball and the river wont be replacing fish. Nets and set lines have been found on many rivers but these may just be the tip of the iceberg. Many poachers come and fish without a licence too. Some may just fish for sport but many others have also been found with bags full of fish they have caught and will take them away for food.
Its a very similar situation with predators. Birds are taking smaller fish before they can become mature enough to spawn, and otters are now taking the mature fish so there are then less to try and repopulate the rivers.
Anglers are often the first to notice pollution and although it may not help in that instance, a quick response may help identify the source and then prosecute the polluters and then prevent future incidents.

The EA and their subcontractors are hell bent on stripping any bankside cover that might act as sanctuary and some protection for fish to escape predation and all done in the name of flood prevention but their actions only exacerbate the effects of flooding.
There is also a question of water quality and the causes are many…
run off from farm land due to destruction of soil quality due to intensive farming practices and tree clearing allows too much soil to was into the rivers and then the gravel beds become silted stopping fish eggs being able to hatch properly.
Pollution from untreated sewage, endocrine disrupting chemicals from female contraceptive pills and microplastics getting into the water supply then have long term health effects on fish and their ability to spawn effectively.

In a mild winter and warmer spring the pike and perch and probably dace will have spawned by the middle of march, but in a cold spring and early summer the barbel may not spawn until mid june or even early july, so the dates dont cover all the fish spawning times which ever way you might suggest moving them.

Rivers are open all year round on the continent and Ireland with no ill effects, many of our rivers are still fished all year round with salmon and trout anglers catching barbel, chub and other coarse fish with no problems.
The lakes and canals have been opened for years with no ill effect so there is a mountain of evidence that suggests that the time is up for the old fashioned closed season.
 

tdrozdow

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If you list the pros and cons the answer to me is obvious:
PROS to retaining
Protection for spawning fish
Allow nature to 'recover'
Conduct work parties
PROS to scrapping
enbles you to fish the best months of the year (april, may, june)
better security (predator and poacher disruption)
water quality monitoring
can only help our beleaguered tackle shops
those that dont want to see it abolished do not have togo if it is
get 3 months more value from your rod licence
Personally I think the 3 PROS associated with retaining the close season were disproven when it was made optional on stillwaters. I run a 3 water (non profit) stillwater syndicate in Essex and we have never observed any ill effects on either the fish or the banks and it certainly never stopped us conducting work parties. Oh, and by the way, most of the spawning happens either before or after the old close season dates anyway. You could argue a case for nostalgia (which i kind of share) but frankly thats not a rational reason. On balance I would say eliminate it asap as it serves no real world purpose.
 

markcw

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I have not seriously fished a river for a number of years,but I would like to see a close season in place even if only for 6 weeks. I am old enough to remember the close season on all waters and the anticipation waiting for the 16th of June.
A local water Lymm Dam a near on 100 peg water was crowded at 4am on the 16th of June, everyone waiting for first light. Now you can drive past on the 16th and you will be lucky to see half a dozen on there, As for fish spawning
on the stillwaters, responsible clubs close the waters involved anyway, so in effect there is some sort of close season in place around the country.
 

dicky123

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Sounds a good idea Mark.
I do think they could have a just a few weeks non fishing on both lakes and rivers to fit in with spawning/recovering fish now climate change is with us?
Maybe one month on rivers and the same for lakes, but not at the same time.

It is nice to have a path that hasn't been walked for a few weeks, and a few fish less cautious?
 

Keith M

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Every water has its own characteristics, and a well trodden river bank with deepish water and a fair amount of boat traffic could see very little gain in having a closed season.

However the fish and wildlife along a shallowish gravel bottomed fairly remote river could come under a lot more stress at certain times during the springtime, and it could be very advantatious to retain a closed season albeit at a different time period more in line with the fish and the other wildlife in and around it.

Taking this into account wouldn’t it be a lot better for individual clubs and/or fishery owners to either retain a closed season (albeit at more suitable dates) or remain open all year round just as it currently is on stillwaters?.

I don’t think that the argument that ‘anglers would leave a club in droves if a club decided to retain a closed season’ holds a lot of water (excuse the pun) especially on a decent water as one of my clubs who still retained a closed season on its stillwater (until recently) still had a waiting list as long as your arm, and it wasn’t getting any shorter.

NB : The club recently decided to try opening all year round simply because of some Eastern Europeans who were found laying lines tied to trees and removing fish during the closed season when there was no-one there.

Keith
 
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