River fishing rights

AndrewCragg93

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Hi All,

I live in Lincolnshire and have recently started river fishing targeting pike. So far I have tried some spots along the River Witham using the waterways wanderers permit and have had some good success so far. Unfortunately the Witham is at least 30 mins drive for me but what has proven so far to be my favourite spot on there is 45 mins away. While this is fine when I can dedicate a good chunk of time I would like to fish closer to home so I can go for the odd hour.
I am close to the great eau/long eau but can’t find anywhere online that explains whether there are any spots I can just turn up to and fish, does anyone know if there are any stretches on there that I can? I have found this is typically the case for rivers, is there a simple set of rules I can follow when looking at fishing a river with regards where I can and can’t fish?
Many thanks for your help in advance
Andrew
 

ian g

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If you look on canal and rivers website you can put in a postcode it tells you what waters are available
 

Aknib

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Your local tackle shop might be able to throw some light on it.

Failing that a visit to a likely dwelling during sociable hours such as a farmhouse along the stretch and which might hold the riparian rights could be worth a polite knock on the door. They will probably be able to confirm whether the stretch is leased to a club or not, whether or not they have any objection to you fishing or at the very worst it's nothing to do with them and they don't know where to point you.
 

AndrewCragg93

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That’s great information thank you all, I feel like river fishing is a bit of a mine field when it really doesn’t need to be. I’ll try the tackle shop first then go over and have a walk up and down to see if I can see any obvious spots I could try and find out who has the rights to. Outside of that I’ll stick to the stretch on the Witham I know I am allowed to fish.
I asked the canal and river trust directly and they said they had no information on it which I found strange.
 

sam vimes

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I asked the canal and river trust directly and they said they had no information on it which I found strange.

Their name makes them sound a lot grander than they really are. There are vast tracts of river where they have zero interest. Whole rivers and fairly wide areas in some cases. I doubt that they'd be able to tell me anything at all about landowners on either of my local rivers. They usually have little involvement beyond canals unless the river is linked to a canal or is navigable itself.
 

Aknib

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Iirc C&RT took over from British Waterways with a £40 million pound golden handshake which was to be paid out on a sliding scale over five years whilst the new, privately funded organisation established income streams.

I've read numerous negative comments on canal related fora and personal dealings with their legal department left me similarly unimpressed, on that occasion it was with regards to an initiative they had launched in relation to canoes/paddling and their advice (or rather lack of it) to would be participants in relation to riparian rights and trespass... I think the dialogue of that may still be buried somewhere here.

They did actually produce a very interesting series of historic angling articles which was quite enjoyable, The Greatest Angler?
 

Ray Roberts

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I joined the trust a while back and as an old fogey it was pretty cheap. If I was in doubt over who owned a piece of river or canal I would just fish it regardless and then plead ignorance if told it wasn’t covered by the permit. If a club can’t be bothered to sign post their waters then they probably won’t bother to bailiff them either.


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grayson

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That might be a pragmatic approach but I find it hard to justify. Signage is a red herring , and absence of it is as meaningless as the fact that my back garden isn't signed either . With very few exceptions- such as tidal rivers- all fishing in England is private , and the fisherman should get consent before fishing. It really is that simple. Clubs , nor private landowners , do not need to demonstrate to trespassing anglers that they have signed adequately , or at all . If you haven't got permission to fish , you are breaking the law . It's not good for you , but it's a bad advertisement for the sport too.
 

john step

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I do know anglers who fish all along those places in Lincs without a care in the world. Never heard of a problem. There is a lot like that in Lincs.
Tread lightly and leave only footprints and I doubt you will see another soul. Cant give a better hint than that.
 

theartist

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Tidal rivers are only public access when the tide is out so you can usually mostly fish on the foreshore, you could well be tresspassing if fishing somewhere at high tide, even so in some cases some landowners own the fishing rights at low tide, or at least claim to, especially on Sea Trout and Salmon rivers. So tread carefully there, also some harbour masters don't like fishing but some do so that clears that up lol.

Also many inland rivers have spots that are free to fish, some small, some go miles, either granted rights by ancient charter, (although common land is no guarantee of fishing rights at all and much of that is also private) councils allowing fishing in parks or just scrub land where no one gives a hoot, someone owns it but it's ok to walk a dog there or have a picnic or get up to some serious nefarious activities. In the grand scheme of things wetting a line is not the biggest crime in the world. If you get someone with a twelve bore shouting get off my land, make an apology bid them a good 'morrow and never return.

Clubs have no obligation to put up signs but common sense dictates they should if there water is public access, by the same token no angler should willingly trespass, once again common sense would dictate whether you deem yourself to be in someone's back garden or somewhere where it's ok to do a bit of fishing. Some of my favourite stretches of rivers are ones where I took a chance to find that it's always been free and have been going back there for decades. It's just fishing after all
 

grayson

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I've fished down in Lincolnshire a lot in my younger days , sometimes without bothering to find out who had the rights (as somebody always does ) - on places like the Barlings Eau , Till , Bain, Upper Witham and many more. But I got caught once , by a decent bloke who was justifiably furious that I was fishing his very own bit of river which he cherished. I couldn't find any excuse - and I haven't done it since.

Of course you can normally get away with it , but that's hardly the point is it ? We want the full force of the law applied to canoeists, out of season anglers , litter louts , pike killers but we try to justify our own poaching .... ? Good luck with that moral conundrum .
 

theartist

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The moral high ground is a good point.

If there's anyone on this forum who has done worse things in life than fish a water that they suspect is ok please stand up. You gotta be pretty righteous to still be sitting right? Its just fishing crikey
 

AndrewCragg93

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This has confirmed exactly what I thought that it is near impossible to find out for some areas and people are just taking a chance that they can fish there.
I know a lot of stretches of the river that aren’t owned by angling clubs and have access where people will walk dogs etc but I still wouldn’t feel comfortable fishing there without talking to the relevant owner. I met a farmer who was fishing on the Witham and had just come for a change of location but he actually had access to a lot of river on his land that he fished most days. He said he would love to let people fish it but doesn’t because of the small number of people that litter, destroy land, get drunk etc. Granted he did say he had it gated off with private signs up so anyone looking knows not to enter.
Unfortunately it looks as though I will be sticking to the areas I know I can fish and will just have to accept I can’t go for those odd hours I get spare.
Thank you to all who have contributed so far!
 

theartist

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This has confirmed exactly what I thought that it is near impossible to find out for some areas and people are just taking a chance that they can fish there.
I know a lot of stretches of the river that aren’t owned by angling clubs and have access where people will walk dogs etc but I still wouldn’t feel comfortable fishing there without talking to the relevant owner. I met a farmer who was fishing on the Witham and had just come for a change of location but he actually had access to a lot of river on his land that he fished most days. He said he would love to let people fish it but doesn’t because of the small number of people that litter, destroy land, get drunk etc. Granted he did say he had it gated off with private signs up so anyone looking knows not to enter.
Unfortunately it looks as though I will be sticking to the areas I know I can fish and will just have to accept I can’t go for those odd hours I get spare.
Thank you to all who have contributed so far!
No harm in taking a walk down there now and again mate without any gear if it's public access, you may garner more info each time.
 

whitty

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Many not of this country fish all the time without club books,choosing times when bailiffs are unlikely to be on the water,the jungle telegraph gets around and they are all at it,as far as I'm aware club books are relative cheap out in the East....
 
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Coming back to the 'Waterways Wanderer' permit from the CRT, an issue I have encountered more than once is that you find there are stretches of water listed as available to fish, but you cannot get to them as the access is across private land.

In another case a landowner was in dispute with the CRT because they had sold fishing rights to a local club when, in his opinion, they didn't own them in the first place. He thought he did. Either way round he wasn't granting access across his land to holders of either the angling club or the 'WW' permit.

Last year my fishing buddy was challenged by a landowner whilst fishing a stretch of river listed on the 'WW' permit. He contacted the CRT for clarification and the CRT told him they had sold the land in question - apart from a very thin strip which lay between the towpath and the water's edge. I forget the distance; it was 2 or 3 metres, or something like that. The landowner had apparently missed this in the small print and thought he owned the land all the way down to the waters edge; and that consequently he owned the fishing rights as well. The CRT did provide written evidence to confirm their position and we were able to carry on fishing.

Parking can also be a problem. In one instance my fishing buddy and I took a bottle of wine and some chocolates and spoke nicely to a farmer's wife, who then granted us permission to park in a gateway - which then enabled us to access a stretch of river via a public footpath. We couldn't park on the road. The road was private and belonged to another landowner who was less receptive to our request for permission to park.

The 'WW' permit looks like very good value but other stretches of river we have visited are completely un-fishable from the bank due to the terrain or the amount of vegetation on the river bank. Of course they don't mention any of this when you buy the permit, and I don't dispute the fact that access to some of the waters is probably absolutely fine. However, if anyone is thinking of buying a 'WW' permit with a particular stretch of water in mind, I would strongly advise going and having a look at it first - just to make sure you can get at it.

One landowner told me the 'WW' permit is the CRT's way of trying to derive some income from all the stretches of water that they cannot lease or sell to angling club's because of the kind of issues I've described.

Sorry this is all a bit negative, but I hope it helps ?
 

keora

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In 2015 the EA and the Angling Trust launched a website, Fishinginfo.co.uk with details of fishing venues throughout the country. This is no longer accessible, but there is plenty of information on the Angling Trust site.

  • Go to anglingtrust.net

  • On the home page click on Maps on the top right hand side

  • A map is displayed. If you allow it, the screen will change to show your postcode location at the centre of the screen

  • A pop up shows various symbols but there's no key. The blue fish symbol refers to venues

  • Click on it and little fish markers should appear on the screen, showing venue locations

I found the map was a bit clunky and it took me a while to get it right. I've looked for venues in my area, is some places only a few are shown, in others there's lots of venues.
 
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