Preparing for the fishing season

Before the fishing season begins, there are a number of things you should do to ensure you’re properly prepared.

By following our top tips, you can make sure you have everything you need before visiting your favourite fishing spot.

1. Buy a rod licence

A very important item, which can be easily overlooked, is a rod fishing license.

In England, all anglers must be in possession of one when fishing for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel with a rod and line.

You can buy a rod licence on the government website. If you’re caught fishing without a licence, you can get a fine of up to £2,500.

2. Replace your leader and tippet

It’s important your leader and tippet are fit for use before going fishing, otherwise you risk losing that memorable fish.

If you cannot remember buying it, then it has most likely had its day. Most leaders and tippets tend to last one to two years before they should be replaced.

We recommend a good quality fluorocarbon leader and tippet of around 8lb minimum. Fluorocarbon appears to be invisible underwater and doesn't reflect sunlight, which makes your fly look like it’s naturally floating.

3. Stretch your lines

A tangled fly line is no fun to deal with. All too often anglers pack away their lines away at the end of the year, for them to only see the light of day at the start of the new season.

In the run up to the start of the season, it’s worth stripping your lines off your reels and hanging them in big loose loops to allow the memory to drop out.

4. Check hooks and flies

It’s a good idea to check your hooks and flies before you go fishing to make sure they are in good condition.

If you return your hooks and flies to the box wet, they can become rusty and weak, which can have a negative impact on your fishing.

Make sure to dry them completely before putting them away to prevent this from happening.

5. Bring supplies and equipment

We all hope for a sunny start to the season, but it is often cold. Bring a flask to help keep you warm and hydrated. It’s also worth bringing food if you know you’re going to be fishing for a while.

Wear thermal layers and wrap up if it’s cold. The lodges at our fisheries are always open during fishing times, so if you start to feel the cold pop in to warm yourself up.

We also recommend bringing sunglasses and a hat when fishing to keep the sun out of your eyes.

Fish at our reservoirs

You can fish at six of our eight reservoirs, with each one offering a unique fishing experience, including game, coarse and fly fishing.

We want to make sure everyone feels like they can fish with us by offering accessibility, affordable prices and support from our team of rangers.

Visit one of our reservoirs and try your hand at catching high-quality fish while enjoying our scenic views.

Find out more about the type of fishing available at each of our reservoirs on our Wessex Water fisheries page.