Angling Code of Conduct

Angling code of conduct

The Public Angling Estate waters are open to everyone. It is important that people using the fisheries follow the angling code of conduct. The code encourages sportsmanship, care for fish stocks, the environment, wildlife and respect for fellow anglers.

Rules and Regulations

Anglers must make sure they have the right licence and permit for the particular fishery.

You should provide your name and date of birth to a Fishery Protection Officer from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). Fishery Protection Officers carry a warrant card which can be shown when requested.

All anglers should obey the rules on the angling regulations page and on signs at each fishery. 

Think of Others at the Waterside

Always show consideration for other anglers and water users on the shore or at the waterside. Respect their right to enjoy the peace and quiet of the fishery.


Stay safe when fishing from a slippery bank or near deep, fast flowing water. Don't take risks near the water. For safe and enjoyable angling, follow the advice below:

check the weather forecast for changing conditions which affect the water you are fishing

wear the right safety gear - always wear a life jacket when fishing from a boat

notice and avoid contact with overhead power lines

tell someone where you are going to fish and what time you expect to return home

don't walk on ice-covered water

Anglers should also be aware of the dangers of Leptospirosis which is transmitted through contact with rat urine in the water or on the river side.

Handling Fish

Fish to be returned should be handled as little as possible and placed gently back in the water. Fish to be retained should be quickly and efficiently dispatched, with a single accurate blow to the head using a suitable priest/cosh.

Care for the environment

You should follow the countryside code at all times. Do not leave any litter, do not damage fences, hedges, walls and do not leave gates open. You should avoid fire risk, drive carefully on country roads and always park your vehicle considerately and safely. Do not pollute waterways or reservoirs.

The Countryside Code

As an angler you should be aware that fish diseases such as the salmon parasite Gyrodactylus or invasive species such as zebra mussels can be spread inadvertently through fishing equipment which has been in contact with infected fish, water or sediment. You should clean and disinfect all your fishing equipment regularly and particularly if it has been used overseas.

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