Rules & General Notes


  1. Only those possessing a current RFA Member club Membership card with RFA  sticker attached, or who hold a current RFA Complimentary Permit, or who have  (where appropriate / permitted by the Bailiff) purchased a day ticket, or who are members of authorised visiting clubs, or who have other authorisation given by the RFA may enter onto and/or fish RFA properties and waters and further, clubs must make themselves aware that each angler who is a member of each club must have an RFA sticker attached to, or printed on (if a plastic ID-type), their club card. Under 16s may have a sticker at no charge. (See Notes below)
  2. Any RFA Member or riparian owner may demand sight of any angler’s permit to fish RFA waters.
  3. Angling shall be by rod (maximum two) and line only using bait, fly or lure. No nets or other devices (except for landing and keep nets used in conjunction with fishing rods) shall be used, and for disease control purposes, no live fish to be used as bait. Fishing for Pike and Perch is STRICTLY reserved for RFA Members, and barbless hooks should be used with both lures and baits.
  4. Any persons fishing must hold a current EA Licence to Fish and will, before fishing, have read, understood, and then agreed to obey all EA Bye-Laws and RFA Rules and any other notified regulations as apply eg they must also abide by any RFA notices placed on the river or canal bank. NOTE – on ALL RFA waters, as per Section 4) of the RFA General Notes, the ‘old’ Close Season of March 15th – June 15th inclusive applies.
    1. Example EA National Bye-Laws:
      1. if using two rods, they must be NO MORE THAN 3 metres apart;
      2. it is ILLEGAL to leave a rod and line unattended with its bait or hook in the water;
      3. you MUST be in control of your rod and line at all times
      4. no lead weight above one ounce may be used (as any form of leger weight or float setter)
    2. Additional ‘fish welfare’ RFA Rules:
      1. the maximum distance you may be away from any rod with line in the water at any time is three metres;
      2. no rod, reel and line clearly meant for use as sea fishing tackle may be used at any time;
      3. all anglers fishing for Pike, Carp, Tench, or Bream, must have with them a suitable means maintaining the welfare on the bank of any fish caught and that means some type of soft material to lay the fish on, ie, an unhooking mat or any other similar material that properly serves the same purpose.
      4. No ‘fixed rig’ shall be used, ie, no end tackle which, should the line break, does anything to tether or otherwise restrict the subsequent free movement of the fish.
  5. In any one day, no more than two sizeable game fish may be retained per angler. All other fish must be returned alive to the water. If a keepsack is used before weighing a fish, no more than one fish per keepsack, and no fish to be so retained for more than ten minutes before being returned to the water. Keepnets may be used if they are of dimensions that are specified in the EA byelaws, and fish may be so retained for the duration of the day’s fishing.
  6. Night fishing is prohibited. (Except at Henny Street on the Suffolk Stour for as long as our water share arrangement continues.
  7. Visiting and Member clubs must hold public liability insurance to indemnify the RFA against any and all costs or other liabilities which might result.
  8. Access to RFA waters shall be by way of authorised gates and paths only. Any person trespassing onto adjoining fields or other property will be banned from further access to RFA waters.
  9. The ‘Country Code’ must be observed at all times, and in particular:
    1. No gates to be left open or unfastened;
    2. Livestock not to be harassed or otherwise interfered with;
    3. No bait to be dug for in adjoining fields or banks;
    4. No damage to be caused to any fence, hedge, noticeboard, bank or other        structure;
    5. No fire to be lit;
    6. No dog to be brought onto RFA waters and properties;
    7. No firearm, trap or other snare to be carried or used;
    8. No game to be interfered with or otherwise damaged;
    9. No tent, camp, ‘bivvy’ or similar structure to be pitched;
    10. No vehicle to be parked on or driven onto any bank or adjoining field, or in any way which might cause an obstruction;
    11. No litter or rubbish to be left;
    12. No radio, tape recorder or other similar noisy appliance to be used;
    13. No gaff to be used;
    14. No commitment of any act which might in any way prejudice any rights held by the RFA, or which might bring disrepute upon the RFA.
  10. All persons using RFA facilities must show the relevant permit to the authorised RFA Bailiff (upon production of his own RFA identification) and they must behave towards the bailiff in a polite and civilised way at all times. Any person making any sort of threat, or subjecting the bailiff to any form of abuse, verbal or physical, shall (if asked by the Bailiff) leave the fishery immediately.

Additional rules for Day Ticket anglers

Rother Fishery Association Waters are Private Waters – Rules for Day Tickets (Additions / Reminders, read with other Rules.)
Extracts from the Rules – you MUST read before fishing – they apply WITHOUT EXCEPTION.

These waters* are private – for RFA Members fishing ONLY
NO Night Fishing, Boats (of any type / size) Fires, Radios, Barbecues, Camping, Tents or ‘Bivvies’, Traps, Snares, Dogs, Guns (or other Weapons) are permitted.
A maximum of TWO rods to be used. ALL fish to be returned ALIVE to the water IMMEDIATELY.
Pike fishing is restricted to RFA Members ONLY. NO livebaiting. Deadbait or lure / fly fishing ONLY is permitted, and a suitable landing net (42” or more)** with unhooking mat** MUST be used. NO gaffs to be used.
(** = also applies to anyone carp fishing.)
Banks must NOT be disturbed in any way eg. digging out swims and NO parking is permitted on the canal or river bank. NO litter to be left. NO damage or disturbance of livestock, or wildlife.
“Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints.”

If the RFA Bailiff considers a person to be in breach of any of these Rules that person shall be asked to leave the waters immediately and it shall be reported to the Committee. The Bailiff’s decision is final and not subject to appeal on the day. Day permits to fish MAY be issued at current prices, solely at the discretion of the bailiff.
(* – Royal Military Canal, Iden Lock to Appledore Dam, both banks, and Blackwall Bridge / Potmans Heath Channel.)