To go fishing on a Westcountry Angling Passport beat you will need an appropriate Environment Agency rod license. Rod licenses now operate on a rolling 12 month period rather than the previous April to April arrangement. In addition, under 16s no longer require a license, which is a great move and should help youngsters get out on the water.
Each beat description gives details of bag limits which must be adhered to at all times. Most rivers also have their own guidelines that are designed to conserve and enhance fish stocks; information is provided below.
In addition to the national byelaws, we would encourage anglers to practice catch and careful release for all fish, especially salmon and sea trout, returning all large or coloured fish as these are particularly valuable to the spawning stock. Larger fish have the capacity to produce more offspring and, in the case of sea trout, are often multiple repeat spawners. On many rivers a variety of voluntary measures have been adopted to protect fish stocks. All anglers must familiarise themselves with these rules before they fish.
Salmon: With the objective of achieving a ‘catch and release’ rate for salmon of 90%, as required by the EA: all salmon must be returned before June 16 (EA National Byelaws). After 16 June the first salmon caught may be kept but do not keep more than two salmon in the season. Notwithstanding the above, return any hen salmon or salmon over 10lbs (approx. 30’’ long) or which is coloured or tagged.
Sea trout: No more than two fish may be kept per night, all coloured fish, fish over 6lbs and fish under 12 inches to be returned. No angler may retain more than 24 sea trout in the season. Please return all salmon and sea trout in September to help preserve stocks. It is recommended that you stop fishing if the catch limit is reached.
Brown trout: Please return all trout under 8 inches and over 11. One fish between 8 and 11 inches may be kept per day.
Please also remember: Members of the public may also have a right of access to the river bank. Please do not climb fences or walls – only use gates and stiles. Take a map with you; O.S. Explorer OL28 covers the Fishery.
The Dart Fisheries Association aims to conserve the natural environment of the River Dart and its tributaries. It works in conjunction with the Duchy of Cornwall, the Westcountry Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency to carry out a range of conservation works. To make a donation to help such works continue, to become a member or find out how you can practically assist, contact Bill Robertson on 01364 652574.