Anglers in the River Trent catchment area have been warned not to fish for salmon over the next four months - or risk a large fine.
With the salmon fishing season due to close in the River Trent rent from Sunday, October 8 to Wednesday, January 31, the Environment Agency is warning those who fail to comply with statutory rod fishing bylaws could result in prosecution and a fine of up to £50,000.
Rod fishing bylaws are statutory rules put in place by the Environment Agency to protect fish stocks and apply to all waters in England, whether they are owned by angling clubs, local councils or private individuals. The close season aims to protect fish by helping stocks recover from the impact of angling during the fish breeding season.
If anglers catch any salmon in the Trent by mistake when fishing for other fish throughout the salmon close season, specialists at the Environment Agency are asking them to allow the salmon to recover by handling them with great care when letting them go in the water.
The River Trent is the third-longest river in the UK. It passes through Stoke, Burton and Nottingham and has often been described as the boundary between the Midlands and the North of England.
Matt Buck, fisheries specialist at the Environment Agency, said: "We would like to remind anglers that the salmon fishing season is due to come to a close and they should refrain from fishing for salmon until the start of February next year. This allows the impact of angling to be minimised in order to protect fish stocks at a time when the fish are breeding.
"Survival rates for salmon are greatly increased if the appropriate angling techniques and equipment are used, and best practices for catching, handling and releasing angled fish are adopted. Between February 1 and June 15, any salmon caught from any waters should not be removed and must be returned to the water with the least possible injury.
"Other restrictions also apply during this period and anglers must only use artificial fly or artificial lure to ensure the fish can be returned alive."
Anyone fishing with rod and line in England and Wales must hold a rod fishing licence and comply with bylaws that cover the waters where they are fishing.
A special salmon and sea trout rod fishing licence is required for anyone wishing to fish for salmon and is available from the website here or by calling the Environment Agency on 0344 800 5386 between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. The licence covers one rod for salmon in freshwater. Any salmon taken by rod and line may not be offered for sale.
Catch and release is vital to help protect and restore salmon stocks in our rivers. A guide for anglers can be found here .