Anglers across Northamptonshire are being reminded rivers are off limits from next week.
The Environment Agency is warning anyone thinking of going fishing in rivers and drains that the coarse fish season closes on Thursday and anyone caught breaking the rules may be prosecuted.
Chris Reeds, fisheries technical specialist, said: “The angling season for coarse fish ends on 14 March.
“The close season allows fish to spawn undisturbed and it is important that people know the rules.
“Environment Agency fisheries bailiffs will be carrying out regular patrols of waters during the close season and anyone found fishing illegally may face prosecution.
“Our message to anyone thinking of breaking the rules is: You better watch out, there’s a bailiff about.”
The close season runs until June 15 inclusive and applies to all anglers who fish rivers or drains.
Angling is still allowed on some still-waters and canals.
All anglers need a valid Environment Agency rod licence which allows them to use up to two rods.
Rod licences run from April 1 to March 31 and fishing without one can lead to a fine of up to £2,500.
Chris said: “The money raised through the sales of rod licences is used to improve fisheries for all anglers.
“Anyone fishing without a licence is therefore cheating their fellow anglers and we urge anyone with information about illegal fishing activity to contact us.”
Illegal fishing should be reported to the Environment Agency’s Incident Hotline on 0800 807060.
An annual rod licence for the 2013-14 season remains at 2010 prices, costing £27 for non-migratory trout, coarse fish and eels or £72 for salmon and migratory trout.
Concessionary licences, which cost £5, are available to junior anglers (aged 12 to 16). Anglers under 12 do not require a licence.
Anglers over 65 and anyone with a Blue Badge parking concession or in receipt of Disability Living Allowance also pay the concessionary adult rate of £18 (non-migratory trout, coarse fish and eels) and £48 (salmon and migratory trout).
One to eight-day licences for occasional anglers are also available for £3.75 and £10 (non-migratory trout, coarse fish and eels) or £8 and £23 (salmon and migratory trout).
Licences can be bought using a credit or debit card by calling the Environment Agency’s telesales line on 0844 800 5386.
Alternatively, they can be obtained from any Post Office or via the internet at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/rodlicence