Environment Agency national byelaws
These byelaws were introduced in 1999 together with byelaws restricting net fisheries as part of a package of measures to protect the future of salmon stocks. Full copies of the byelaws are available from regional offices.
Early season catch and release for salmon with rod and line: any angler who catches a salmon before the 16th June in any calendar year, must return the fish immediately to the water with the least possible injury.
Early season method restriction for salmon with rod and line: any angler fishing for salmon may only use artificial fly or artificial lure before 16th June in any calendar year.
All licensed salmon and sea trout anglers must make a return by 1 January in the following year. This includes "Nil" returns. A catch return form is attached to the angler's rod licence.
You may not use a landing net with any knotted meshes or meshes of metallic material. (Knots along the seams of the nets are permitted, provided that the net is constructed from knotless mesh.)
The use of a gaff is prohibited at all times when fishing for salmon, trout, freshwater fish or freshwater eels in England and Wales.
No fishing weights made of lead may be used except those of 0.06 grams or less and those of more than 28.35 grams.
In angling terms this means that lead shot from size 14 to size 8 and lead weights of over 1 ounce can be used in fishing.
While lead dust shot (size 8 and smaller) are legal, they are toxic to birds if ingested. Use spillproof containers for lead dust shot and always dispose of used lead safely at home.
It is now an offence to sell, barter or exchange for goods or services rod-caught salmon or sea trout in England and Wales.
This link provides a layman's guide to byelaws made under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975, regulating fishing by rod and line within the area covered by Environment Agency Wales. This leaflet (pdf) is for guidance only and is not intended to be a legal interpretation of the byelaws.