Environment Agency officers are urging anglers to take part in two major fishing competitions in the region. Anglers will have the chance to win cash prizes whilst also doing their bit to help survey the Rivers Tyne and Wear for coarse fish.

The Environment Agency has teamed up with the Tyne Anglers Alliance, the Tyne Rivers Trust, and local sponsors to organise the championship which has run successfully for the last three years.

The championship on the Tyne is on Sunday, August 19, with the draw for fishing sections taking place at Hexham Mart. The Wear championship will be held on Sunday 9 September, with the draw taking place at the Graham Sports Centre, near Durham. Both competitions will run from 11am until 4pm. Up to £2,000 worth of prizes are up for grabs at each event, where there will by adult and junior matches.

Environment Agency fisheries specialist Philip Rippon said: “One of the Environment Agency’s roles is to assess and manage fish stocks in river. The aim of our competitions is to gather more information about the coarse fish in the Tyne and the Wear and to encourage people to try river angling.

“The Tyne and Wear are excellent rivers for coarse anglers as well as salmon anglers, and this year we have extended our competition to cover the Wear.”

In 2006, the match was won with 40lbs of fish caught from a section near Corbridge. Most of the catches comprised of dace, with chub, roach and gudgeon making up the rest of the species caught. The area around Hexham proved the most productive for anglers but coarse fish were caught as far upstream as Bellingham.

Tickets cost £6 and are available from local tackle shops and must be bought before the competition. Junior tickets can also be bought from the Environment Agency by contacting Rob Stevenson on 0191 2034266.