Fishing Regulations

The Association attempts to keep anglers up to date with information about national and local laws and by-laws relating to fishing on the Dart and elsewhere. This information is given in good faith. However, the Association can take no responsibility for errors and omissions and it is the responsibility of individual anglers to ensure that they comply with such regulations, further details of which may appear on The Environment Agency’s website. The Association’s own regulations follow.

THE DART ANGLING ASSOCIATION FISHING REGULATIONS

(January 2001)- (Amended to April 2017)

All persons wishing to fish on Association Water must be in possession of:-

(i) The appropriate Association Ticket

(ii) The appropriate Environment Agency Licence

(iii) A copy of these Regulations

Fishing Regulations are reviewed annually and set by the Committee at their first Meeting in January. The Association has long been concerned about the state of fish stocks in the river, particularly the salmon component. To ensure future sustainability, whilst urging the authorities to move more effectively to combat the real causes of the decline such as habitat degradation, pollution and over-exploitation on the high seas, the Association has long adopted a conservation ethic designed to reduce exploitation in the river, until stocks recover sufficiently. The following Regulations are finely balanced to protect not only the fish stocks, but also the future of the sport of angling and the Association.

The Committee introduces the restrictive elements reluctantly, but encourages all Members to adopt the conservation ethic contained therein, until such time as recovery permits relaxation of the measures to take place.

1. SALMON

National Byelaws, introduced in 1999 to run for a period of 10 years, restrict the taking of any Salmon prior to 15th June, inclusive. All fishing for Salmon before that time is strictly catch and release. [Please note this 10 year period now extended.]

All anglers to restrict their takeable catch in the river from 16th June onwards, to no more than 1 Salmon in the season. A takable limit of 1 Salmon in any one day shall apply.

Subject to the above overriding Regulations, the following measures also apply:-

All members and visitors must, for conservation reasons, return the first salmon they catch after 15th June. Catch and release is encouraged at all times, where the condition of the fish after capture makes this possible.

The Association is keen to ensure that all heavily coloured or gravid fish are returned and, in particular, encourages the return of all hen salmon and all salmon over an approximate weight of 10lb after the 15th June.

To facilitate catch and release, the use of barbless or debarbed hooks is recommended. In particular the use of a single barbless or debarbed hook is encouraged. This applies equally to flies or lures, which could be amended for the purpose. The onus is entirely on the angler to ensure their tackle is designed to cause as little damage as possible to the fish, so that all fish caught can potentially be successfully released. When the limits as above have been attained the use of barbless or debarbed hooks is essential.

Additional local measures – some subject of local Byelaw:-

No fishing from one hour after sunset until sunrise.(See regulation 4)

Prawn and shrimp are only permitted below Staverton Bridge, excluding Totnes Weir Pool only after 15th June. Fishing with worm or other bait is not permitted anywhere on Association Waters.

The use of a gaff or tailer is prohibited.

Spinning for salmon is permitted except as follows:-

a) Totnes Weir Pool from 1st April to 30th September – fly only (subject to annual review). Spinning is however permitted at any time of the season when the flood marker is covered.

b) The following water is “Fly Only” for the whole season:-

(i) Halliwells

No angler shall allow their spinner to be used in ‘Fly Only’ water except when following a hooked fish.

Spinning Line shall not be less than 8lbs breaking strain. Lures shall not be less than 1.5” (38mm) long excluding hooks. No treble hook shall be larger than No. 3. No weight shall be nearer than 10” (250mm) from the lure.

2. MIGRATORY TROUT

Fly fishing only is permitted.

The [minimum] size limit is 10” (305mm) measured from nose to the centre of tail fin.

No treble hook shall be larger than No 6 ( Redditch Scale)

No restriction on hours of fishing subject to the provision of Regulation 4

The bag limit is 2 Migratory Trout per day

For conservation reasons the return of all sea trout over 6lb is encouraged

3. BROWN TROUT

Fly fishing only is permitted.

The [minimum] size limit is 12” (250mm) measured as for Migratory Trout

The bag limit is 2 per day

No fishing from hour after sunset until sunrise.

4. TOTNES WEIR POOL

Members holding season tickets for salmon or migratory trout will be limited by the Committee to odd or even dates when they may fish Totnes Weir Pool. When a month has 31 days ( viz. March, May, July or August) both odd and even Members may fish on the first day of the following month. Migratory Trout fishing is from sunset on their allocated date until sunrise on the following day.

Fishing from the weir face at Totnes Weir Pool is not permitted during exceptionally low water conditions. Anglers fish from the weir face at their own risk

5. DAY TICKETS – NON SALMON MEMBERS

Members who are not holders of season tickets for Salmon Membership, may by notifying the Honorary Secretary in advance, purchase up to two one-day tickets per month, at a cost to be determined by the Committee, to fish for Salmon on any part of the Association Water, except Totnes Weir Pool. Fishing for Salmon on the second day ticket of the month is strictly on a catch and release basis. This facility is not available for Junior Members.

6. GUEST TICKETS

Members, as a privilege of Membership, shall be entitled by notification in advance to apply to the Honorary Secretary for not more than five tickets per season, of the same or lower category as their own season ticket. Each ticket for use by a personal guest on a specific date. This at a cost to be determined by the Committee.

Members must accompany their guests at all times on the river. Such tickets shall be issued at the discretion of the Committee, which may withdraw this privilege if it is abused. Excessive use of tickets for the same guest in the same season will be regarded as abuse. In the case of Totnes Weir, if there are more than five Member rods fishing then the guest should share his or her host’s rod.

7. CHILDREN OF MEMBERS

A Member is entitled to take his or her grandchild, under the age of eighteen years, to fish for Migratory Trout or Salmon free of charge, provided that child or grandchild is a Junior Member of the Association and accompanied by the Member, fishes only by sharing the Member’s rod and is in possession of the appropriate Environment Agency Licence. Those of school leaver age may continue their junior membership while at a college, university or in further education.

8. VISITORS TICKETS

Subject to review from time to time, visitors’ tickets will be available for purchase from local shops and outlets as follows:-

Totnes Weir Pool

One Salmon ticket per day for fishing from sunrise until one hour after sunset for the Salmon season agreed by the Environment Agency.

One Migratory Trout ticket per day for the season applicable to Migratory Trout.

These will only be available from one source.

Church Commissioners ( does not include Totnes Weir Pool, Halliwells, Hembury, Kilbury, Fogdens, Lancasters, Hood Barton,  Dartington or Colston Fisheries).

Limited day or week Salmon or Brown Trout Tickets for fishing from sunrise until one hour after sunset from 15th March to 30th September.

Limited day or week Migratory Trout tickets for fishing from sunset to 3am the following morning from 15th March to 30th September.

MISCELLANEOUS

9. No fish shall be sold or offered for sale.

10. Fishing from boats of any kind, including float tubes, is strictly prohibited.

11. Any fish retained shall be shown on request to Members of the Committee or EA Bailiff.

12. Neither anglers nor their companion shall be accompanied on Association Water by a dog.

13. No angler shall occupy a pool, stand or run for more than 30 minutes, when others are waiting to fish.

14. Anglers shall confine themselves to paths by the riverbank and not to walk unnecessarily along the railway line, other than at approved crossing points agreed with South Devon Railway.

15. All gates opened to obtain access to the fishing must be closed immediately. Failure to comply renders the offender liable for any damage caused by strayed stock etc.

16. Litter must not be left on the riverbank, nor thrown in the river. Take it home.

17. Lengths of unwanted nylon shall be taken home for disposal and never left on the riverbank or thrown in the water.

18. All Members and their guests shall complete a “ Return of Fish Caught” when requested to do so by the Honorary Secretary. Failure to comply with this rule may result in membership being withdrawn.

19. No Member shall use the river for financial gain, such as paid gillie, without the prior written approval of the Committee, who will only issue such approval when the arrangement can be seen to be of benefit to the Association.