Day Ticket Water Fishing Guide
In addition to the Environment Agency (EA) rod licence that all anglers must have on any UK water, many popular waters are managed for the public good with an additional day ticket fee. Though usually rather small, it must be paid each time you visit one of these lakes, ponds, canals, gravel pits or streams. While a great many day ticket waters are found within quick striking distance of London, they are also found throughout the countryside, too.
When visiting day ticket waters, you'll usually present your rod license to a warden or treasurer who patrols the bank. Since, as the name implies, they are only good for a single day, the rates are usually quite reasonable usually only £1-3, depending upon the season and what type of fish you'll be casting for. Tickets are sometimes able to be purchased ahead of time from a nearby office, a club house or even from a local pub.
There are many websites that include interactive maps that list all the day fishing waters in your area or Home County. Such maps usually give directions from a given set-point and some information on the type of fish, the rate, when the waters are open for business and how your fee will be collected.
Day ticket waters may be owned by a private party, a fishing club or even a village or town that wants to offset the cost of managing these spots. Facilities vary considerably, and can include some basic amenities, such as running water or toilets. Some do not have an official car park, so it's a good idea to be careful about what you choose to leave unattended in your vehicle, especially if you have to walk some distance down a trail to get to your fishing spot.
Since day ticket waters are privately administered (and just who does it can change from year to year), there are often very specific rules, in addition to those set out by the EA. For instance, many such waters do not allow night fishing, certain types of nets or "ground-baiting," while others do. There is usually a sign or available pamphlet that outlines what the local rules are, but it's always a good idea to check beforehand, if possible.
While there are still a few places in the UK where you can still fish for free (other than having the appropriate EA rod license), such spots are getting fewer and fewer each year. Again, even if you thought a spot was free, it's always a good idea to keep a few extra quid on hand, just in case ownership of the fishery has changed, as is very often the case.