12 May 2020

Fisheries open again 13/5/20

First of all my apologies for the length of this document but we have a lot to cover. Please ensure you read it in its entirety. Following the recent statement about changes to the Covid-19 ‘lock-down’ by the UK government, the Board of Directors have decided to reopen most WADAA waters from Wednesday 13 May.

Please be aware that after reading this full message you must complete the form linked at the bottom of this page, to acknowledge your acceptance of the rules. You will not be eligible to fish until you have done so. 

The only water to remain closed is Castlehead, which has significant weed issues that need to be addressed before it can be re-opened. Weed management of our fisheries was in place for March and April, but this has had to be put on hold due to contractors not being available over the lock-down. Our inability to safely organise working parties to back up this work has also added to our frustration. Cleabarrow is also carrying more weed than we planned for, but it is open and fishable. Please be patient during this difficult period – flooding in February…near drought in April with blazing sunshine….and a global pandemic thrown in for good measure. It has been, and continues to be…’very challenging’!

Further information about planned improvements to our Coarse Section will be provided on a regular basis by Nick Butterfield (Head of Coarse).

Whilst all other waters will be open from this date, we wish to emphasise that any rules regarding travel and social-distancing, being applied by Government now, or in the future, must be followed by all anglers.

We have to prepare for a rush back to fishing, and our waters are likely to be extremely busy.
For this reason, and in order to give as many members as possible a chance to fish, as you will read, we are initially limiting the number of fishing visits a member can make per week. We hope members will understand the need to ‘ration’ fishing for hopefully a limited period, to give as many anglers as possible a chance to enjoy at least some fishing.

WADAA Directors will back-up our Fishery Officer to significantly increase patrols to ensure these additional temporary arrangements are observed. When going fishing, you should have a ‘Plan B’ ready if the water you turn up to is crowded and there is no parking space available.

The following rules will now apply and must be adhered to, until further notification by the Board. We are asking Members to self-police these rules so that all members can firstly be safe, and secondly have a fair opportunity to enjoy the opportunity to fish again.

1.         All waters will be open to WADAA members only. No day tickets will be available for at least two weeks whilst we monitor the pressure on our fisheries. No exchange tickets with our partners in other angling clubs will be available for the first two weeks. Junior members may only fish when accompanied by an adult from the same household. For the first two weeks, we would ask that you only fish on alternate days, Sunday to Saturday inclusive. eg If you fish on the Saturday, you can not fish on the Sunday, the next possible day that you can fish, is the Monday. This will enable us to monitor the pressure on available space and hopefully enable more members to access the waters. We will look to increase this limit as soon as possible.

2.         Members must travel to our waters individually (driver only) unless two or more people from the same household can share a vehicle.

3.         Adhering to social-distancing is vital. When arriving at a fishery, members should stay a minimum of 2m (ideally 4m) from other people. This might mean pausing with your windows and doors closed, before leaving your vehicle, if someone next to you is leaving or entering theirs.

4.         Do not tackle-up at your vehicle, go to the water’s edge, or other open ground offering suitable distancing as soon as you can and tackle-up there. When fishing you must remain at least 15m from the nearest angler. The more distance you can put between yourself and other anglers the better.

5.         When opening and closing gates, please follow the recommended sanitary process, (using sanitizers over 70% alcohol, washing hands etc). You are requested to carry your own personal sanitizer etc for this purpose.

6.         To avoid the possibility of contamination:
a) There will be no signing in/out at Farletonview and Bigland.
b) The toilet at Ratherheath will be closed.
c) The use of shelters/huts is off limits.

7.         In line with Government restrictions on overnight camping, for the time being night fishing is suspended. We will monitor this alongside government guidelines in order to remove this restriction when we can.

8.         Make sure you stay at least 2m apart if you walk near, meet or talk with other anglers, except those from the same household.

9.         You must have your Membership Card with you for inspection (not a copy on your phone).

These rules will temporarily form part of the official Club Rules. Our Fishery Officer (Jim Duncan) will patrol the waters as usual.  As already mentioned, there will be increased bailiff support provided by WADAA Directors, to ensure compliance with them. If you are asked for your Membership Card please hold it out at arm’s length to help us all follow social-distancing rules.

Any member who does not comply with the above rules will be seen to be endangering other members. They will be asked to surrender their Membership Cards and membership will be suspended. The Board will review each case based upon the current Disciplinary Policy.

In addition to these temporary rules, members should be familiar with all the rules governing each fishery. Take particular care when handling fish and where possible unhook fish whilst still in the landing net, or even better, without taking the fish out of the water. This is much easier using barbless or de-barbed hooks. This is a Club rule and will be stringently enforced to help ensure the health of our fish.

High Fairbanks Tarn

This water is now open and has been recently stocked. Please follow these additional rules:

1. Parking on the grass immediately after Borwick Fold cattle-grid is for a maximum of 5 vehicles.

2. Parking is at the owners risk. Cattle roam across this area and WADAA cannot accept responsibility for any damage caused to vehicles.

3. To access the Fishery, walk along the road until you pass through a gap in the wall  (approx 200m). Turn immediately right and follow a rough track across farmland and down to a gate. Go through (leave the gate as you found it) and continue down to the water. Cattle can be spread across this area and anglers should give them a ‘wide berth’ – especially if calves are present.

4. Members should assess the situation for themselves and only proceed to the water if they believe it is safe to do so. WADAA does not accept responsibility for any damage or injuries caused by livestock.

5. Please note the access road from Crook is closed until the 25th of May. So please use the other access by turning off the A590 just after Ings filling station. Please see the website for more details.

PLEASE REMEMBER – This is a CATCH & RELEASE water only. 


We are anxious, during this period of COVID-19 control, to avoid having to implement the need for members to formally sign in and sign out of our waters, or to have to introduce a booking system where you would need to pre-book a slot. There are multiple issues around managing such a system, dealing with people who ignore it and turn up, people who book and then don’t turn up etc.

We have, therefore, decided to trust that our members will respect the needs of all other members and police themselves in complying with the rules, understanding they are intended to ensure the fairest distribution of what is a limited resource at a time of probable high demand.

We are sorry but there is nothing we can do, in the short term, to increase parking availability around the waters. Other than ask members to park considerately to maximise possible parking area use, members will have to use/find convenient parking slots to the best of their ability.

Members should be prepared to be asked to show their Identification/Membership card at least once and possibly on more than one occasion of every visit to our waters. We will be increasing Bailiff presence and each Bailiff will be asking for sight of Membership cards from everyone. This is to your benefit to ensure only members are fishing our waters and that all members are adhering to the rules being applied. Please understand this is to safeguard you and to maximise fishing opportunities for all members. Please accept being asked for sight of your membership card gracefully and take it as a positive step to enable you to fish. REMEMBER you MUST carry your membership card on all occasion’s you fish WADAA waters.

BEFORE FISHING: It is important that WADAA protects itself by ensuring all members who fish during this period of COVID-19 Control, have read and understand the rules and agree to self police. WADAA take no responsibility for members who choose to Fish our waters during this continued period of Covid-19 outbreak, who then contract Covid-19. We via our rules are doing all we practically can to prevent such an occurrence, but you individually are accepting your own liability should you choose to fish any of our waters.

Before any Member visits our waters, you must, confirm you have read this document and provide your membership details by visiting the following link and ticking the confirmation of acceptance. The details of the members who have done this will be held by all Bailiff’s. Anyone found to be fishing who has not done so will be asked to leave the water and not return until they have complied with this request. You can either:

We would be grateful if you would ensure any family or friends, who are members, know and understand this requirement before they fish. Please note that confirmation of the additional rules must be completed for each member.

FINALLY – the WADAA Board and Staff have continued to work during the lock-down. Our Fishery Officer (Jim Duncan) and others have stepped up surveillance on our waters. There has been a small number of incidents involving illegal fishing. We have reported these (with evidence) to the police and we have also involved the Angling Trust and Environment Agency.

If any member has information on illegal fishing, they must inform us immediately, so that we can take speedy action to deal with it. Some members have occasionally stated that, “They saw people spinning at Ghyll Head last week”. This is no real use to us – we need to know at the time it is occurring. Any information we receive will be treated in confidence, but we must be proactive if we are to send out a message that we are serious about dealing with this issue…and we are!

It is a real pleasure to be able to announce a resumption of angling. Please follow the new temporary rules and make sure you know all WADAA rules (you’ve had plenty of time to read them during lock-down!). Enjoy fishing…and help everyone to STAY SAFE.

David Blacow
(Acting Chairman) – on behalf of the WADAA Board of Director