If you are buying someone who has never fished before a rod for Christmas, don’t forget the rod licence. The reminder comes as 348 cases of fishing without a valid rod licence were brought in front of the courts by the Environment Agency in November, resulting in more than £50,000 in fines and costs.  
Fishing for salmon, trout, freshwater fish and eels in England and Wales and the Border Esk in Scotland requires a licence from the Environment Agency. Failure to have a licence is an offence. Those caught fishing illegally face tough penalties, including fines of up to £2,500 and a ban from fishing.

“Our enforcement officers target rivers, lakes and other waters where we believe cheats are present,” confirmed Environment Agency Head of Fisheries Dafydd Evans. “The rod licence fees are essential in improving and maintaining our fisheries, which is why our enforcement officers are out there checking for those who try to cheat the system. Last year, we invested approximately £29 million in fishing, with £19 million of this coming from rod licence fees paid by anglers.”

A full season coarse and trout fishing licence costs £24.50 and a salmon and sea trout licence costs £66.50. There is also a range of concessionary, junior, eight-day and one day licences. People who receive Disability Living Allowance in England and Wales are eligible for a reduce price fishing licence.

Buying a new licence couldn’t be easier – around 15,000 Post Offices and other outlets sell them; a direct debit can be set up, and they can be purchased over the phone (0870 1662662) or on-line at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/rodlicence <BLOCKED::http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/rodlicence>  any time, day or night.