Fishing Stories

‘We won’t eat your fish’ say Spalding’s Polish anglers

Polish anglers say it is not worth getting a £3,000 fine to fish in a Spalding river without a licence.

Fishing in the River Welland in Spalding

Recent good weather has seen an influx of adults and children fishing along the River Welland. However, a poster promoting Operation Traverse – a campaign against fishing without a licence – was this week placed on the Holland Road footbridge.

The Spalding Guardian spoke to two Polish anglers near the water taxi embarkation point. One had a licence and the other had just applied for one.

He said: “It’s just not worth taking the risk of getting a £3,000 fine. In Poland we are allowed to fish and take them home to eat without a licence. But we just do it for recreation and to have a nice time with friends.”

Operation Traverse is an Angling Trust initiative led by the police in partnership with the Environment Agency and the Angling Trust. Its purpose is mainly to educate and inform anglers on the laws around angling, the seasonality of the sport, the regulations regarding licences and the consequences of illegal fishing. The operation is ongoing and it features targeted patrols of waters in response to information received.

Anyone fishing illegally is cheating other licence paying anglers and can expect to be prosecuted and face a substantial fine. The maximum fine for fishing without a licence is £2,500 – and an annual licence costs just £27.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Environment Agency enforcement teams are carrying out regular patrols of waters and anyone found fishing illegally may face prosecution and a hefty fine.”

In 2013-2014 the Environment Agency checked 80,000 rod licences and prosecuted 2,795 anglers for fishing without a licence. Money raised through the sales of rod licences is re-invested and enables the Environment Agency to improve all fisheries, including rivers for anglers.

Rod licences can be bought using a credit or debit card by calling the telesales line on 0844 800 5386. Alternatively, they can be obtained from any Post Office or via the internet at

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