Fish Safely & Responsibly

Follow the Countryside Code & minimise the hazards of wild fishing

Most anglers, whether experienced or novices, will have an appreciation of the Countryside Code and some understanding of the hazards that might be encountered. If you are new to angling, or you are fishing a river which is new to you, consider taking the services of a guide – for more information visit the Game Angling Instructors Association (GAIA) or the Association of Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors (AAPGAI) or the Angling Trust.

Passport Beats

If you are fishing one of our Passport beats, the following notes will be useful to you.

  • Please follow the Countryside Code when accessing the beat, keep dogs under control (on beats where they are permitted), avoid damaging crops, keep away from livestock and close gates behind you. Please park considerately.
  • Parts of Dartmoor are used for military exercise; these are shown on O.S. Explorer OL28. Full information is available athttps://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dartmoor-firing-programme.
  • Please take great care if you need to cross or walk along the roadways. Please follow the Highway Code at all times –gov.uk/highway-code.
  • Take care when crossing stiles and gates, particularly when wearing waders. Watch out for barbed wire, slippery grass slopes and soft ground/riverbanks. Place your rod over the obstacle first so that you can use both hands.
  • Some of the smaller streams can be accessed with the use of knee boots or thigh waders but deep wading with chest waders assists angling on some beats; it may also be advantageous to wade across to fish from the opposite bank on some beats. As with any wading, great care should be taken at all times. Watch out for slippery substrate and unseen ledges. Use waders suitable for the substrate in question, i.e. studded and / or rubber (try and avoid felted soles as they have the potential to trap invasive species) . Carry a wading stick and wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid.
  • Always wear a hat and glasses, particularly if fly casting. Always keep a good distance away from other anglers and allow them sufficient time to fish a pool before fishing nearby.
  • When casting look up first. If you are near power lines the minimum recommended distance horizontally is 30m. Be aware that rods and fishing lines can conduct without making contact with the power line.
  • Access to some rivers, such as areas of the Dart, can require considerable walking, sometimes over open moorland and the fishing can be physically demanding. Take a map with you, obtain local knowledge from other anglers, watch the weather and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back, especially if night fishing. You should not rely on there being any mobile phone signal, very often there will be no signal.
  • Night fishing for sea trout should only be undertaken by suitably experienced anglers and always in pairs or larger groups. Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. Night fishing is only appropriate at times of low water.
  • In the summer it is quite easy to pick up ticks on bare skin. They can travel anywhere on your body. Remove the tick with a tick remover. Some ticks may carry Lyme’s disease. Watch out for a bull’s eye ring around the tick bite which might appear several weeks later. There is more information atnhs.uk Weil’s disease from rat urine is unlikely but could occur. Consult your GP if in doubt.
  • There are also a number of diseases that can affect fish and other organisms in our water courses. These can be transmitted by anglers on clothing and equipment such as nets and waders. These diseases include Gyrodactylus salaris and crayfish plague. It is important that everyone takes care to prevent the spread of all invasive species.  Anglers mustcheck-clean-dry their equipment and footwear / clothing when moving between water bodies.  Full details can be found at nonnativespecies.org.
  • Please report to Westcountry Rivers Trust any hazards or pollution, for example farm run off or litter, that you identify. If you have an accident or injury let us know so we can warn others of the hazard. If you see unusual wildlife or habitats we would be interested to hear from you.

All information on this website was believed to be correct at the time of publish.

While Westcountry Rivers Trust endeavours to ensure that the information on this website is accurate we cannot be held liable for any errors or discrepancies that occur. Through the Westcountry Angling Passport the Trust has opened up extensive wilderness fishing to the public which would otherwise be inaccessible to visiting anglers. As with any fishing there are hazards involved as described above. While we endeavour to highlight these hazards you undertake the activity at your own risk.

Dartmoor Beats

The River Dart and its tributaries epitomise ‘wild fishing in wild places’. Please pay particular attention to the following notes which relate more specifically to the Dartmoor fishery –

  • Please follow the countryside code and the Dartmoor National Park Byelaws at all times.dartmoor-npa.gov.uk
  • Parts of Dartmoor that form areas of the fishery are used for military exercise; these are shown on O.S. Explorer OL28. Full information is available atgov.uk/government/publications/dartmoor-firing-programme
  • Please take great care if you need to cross or walk along roadways. Please follow the Highway Code at all times –https://www.gov.uk/highway-code.
  • Take care when crossing stiles and gates, particularly when wearing waders. Watch out for barbed wire, slippery grass slopes and soft ground/ riverbanks. In some areas stock fencing maybe electrified.
  • When wading great care should be taken at all times, use suitable soles (try and avoid felted soles as they have the potential to trap invasive species), carry a wading stick and wear a lifejacket.
  • Always wear a hat and eye glasses when fly fishing. Always keep a good distance away from other anglers and allow them sufficient time to fish a pool before commencing to fish nearby.
  • The minimum recommended distance from power lines horizontally is 30m; rods and fishing lines can conduct electricity without making contact with the power line.
  • Access to some areas can require considerable walking and the fishing can be physically demanding. Take a map (OS Explorer OL28), obtain local knowledge from other anglers/ guides, watch the weather and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  • Do not rely on there being mobile phone signal, often there will be no signal.
  • Night fishing for sea trout should only be undertaken by suitably experienced anglers and always in pairs or larger groups. Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. Night fishing is only appropriate at times of low water.
  • In the summer it is quite easy to pick up ticks on bare skin. Some ticks may carry Lyme’s disease; please check nhs.uk
  • Weil’s disease, from rat urine, is unlikely but could occur. Consult your GP if in doubt.
  • There are also a number of diseases that can affect fish and other organisms in our water courses. Detailed information can be found on the Westcountry Angling website.
  • Invasive species.  There are a whole range of non-native plant and animal species appearing in the UK that could be very detrimental to our native species.  These include Signal Crayfish, Quagga Mussels, Killer Shrimp, Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsam to name a few.  It is important that everyone takes care to prevent the spread of these.  Anglers must check-clean-dry their equipment and footwear / clothing when moving between water bodies.  Full details can be found at nonnativespecies.org.

Record your catch returns

We cannot stress how important your catch returns are. It is the main source of information available which enables us to know and understand what is happening to our fishing.

Record your return now