River coarse fishing is back in full swing following a three-month close season from March 15 to June 15.
It comes as the Environment Agency (EA) revealed that it reported 87 close season offences during the first 10 weeks of the annual restricted period for course fish.
EA officers undertook 729 target patrols, also detecting 115 other offences, which were mainly unlicensed fishing, but also several illegally set traps.
EA Fisheries Environment Officers were supported by Angling Trust Voluntary Bailiff Service members on Operation CLAMPDOWN.
Now in its sixth year, Operation CLAMPDOWN is a joint initiative between the EA, Angling Trust Fisheries Enforcement Support Service, and police forces.
The operation helps gather intelligence about illegal fishing and respond through targeted patrols.
Patrols took place across rivers, streams, drains and on specific canals that still retain the close season.
Kevin Austin, EA deputy director for agriculture, fisheries and the natural environment, said: “It’s a great time to go fishing.
“So I’d encourage anglers to get out there, enjoy yourselves fishing and make sure you are doing the right thing.
“I’d like to thank the Angling Trust volunteers for the significant role they play in stopping illegal fishing through their work on Operation CLAMPDOWN.
“The vast majority of anglers fish legally; sadly there are a small number of anglers who cheat others by fishing during the close season.
“It is still possible for anglers to fish during this time on many still waters and canals, which are open all year round.
“We respond to the intelligence we receive about illegal fishing by ensuring our patrols are targeted at the right places - and the right people.”
Dilip Sarkar, Angling Trust national enforcement manager added: “These figures show that during Operation CLAMPDOWN 6 volunteer bailiffs throughout England are demonstrating their massive commitment to protecting fish and fisheries and cracking down on illegal fishing.
“All anglers can help this process, in fact – at any time of year – by reporting information and offences in progress to the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60, or the police on 101/999 as appropriate.”
The EA reminds anglers to make sure they have a fishing licence before they go.
To purchase a fishing licence, click here
All fishing licence income is used to find work to protect, improve and develop fisheries, fish habitats and angling.
For details of venues, river levels and angling clubs, click here