top of page



Fen rules


RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes Angling Club


Minimum fishing rules to fish RSPB waters.

These rules represent the minimum standard to be enforced by the angling club. Further

rules may be imposed by the club so long as they do not undermine the standards set out below.


Membership and Permits


  • ·         Anglers must ensure that they have in their possession their club permit and Environment Agency rod license(s) at all times when     on site. Permits must be shown on demand to club and RSPB representatives or other members.

  • ·         Permits are not transferable

  • ·         All anglers must hold the necessary valid Environment Agency rod license(s)

  • ·         All members must comply with Environment Agency rod fishing rules including local bylaws for the East Anglia region


Access and Parking


  • ·         Vehicles are only permitted on specified routes as shown on the attached map.

  • ·         Unless specified otherwise, the speed limit on site is 10mph. Anglers are reminded that tracks are shared with many other users including pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

  • ·         Vehicles may only be parked in designated parking areas as shown on the attached map. Vehicular access for the purpose of dropping off or collecting tackle is permitted in the areas shown; however vehicles must be moved to designated parking areas as soon as tackle has been taken to a swim.

  • ·         Members’ vehicle permits must be displayed in vehicles at all times when on site.

  • ·         Members are not permitted on site when an Environment Agency flood alert, flood warning or severe flood warning is in force.

  • ·         Access is not permitted when a MET Office severe weather warning (wind) is in force.

  • ·         Access is not permitted in any event when the RSPB has declared the ‘facilities closed’.

  • ·         Members may not share any lock combinations nor acquire duplicate keys themselves. Lost keys can be replaced through the club administrator.


Boats and other equipment


  • ·         With the exception of Fen Drayton, manned boats are not permitted except in exceptional circumstances where it is necessary to free a snagged fish or retrieve lost tackle which may cause a hazard to fish, other wildlife or other people.

  • ·         Where boats are used, they must be no larger than ten feet in length.

  • ·         Suitably rated self inflating life jackets must be worn at all times.

  • ·         No petrol motors allowed, electric motors only.  At least one oar must be in the boat when on the water.

  • ·         Boats may not be left on the water, must be kept out of view at all times and secured by lock and chain to prevent use by members of the public.

  • ·         A designated boat park area will be allocated.

  • ·         Bailiffs will inspect all boats and if deemed unsafe must not be used and removed from the site.

  • ·         Oars are not to be left with stored boats to prevent use by members of the public.

  • ·         Remote controlled bait boats are permitted however their use must be kept to a minimum.

  • ·         Club and RSPB representatives reserve the right to inspect anglers’ luggage, equipment & vehicles at any time whilst on site where it is deemed reasonably justified in enforcement of the rules.

  • ·         Fen Drayton boat use must be kept to the minimum, transportation to a swim, baiting an area, placing baited rigs, freeing snagged fish.  Maximum 2 boats on the water at any time.

  • ·         From the 1st November till the 1st March manned boats are not allowed on the water with the exception of retrieving lost tackle.


Fishing tackle and techniques


  • ·         Under no circumstances should cast rods be left unattended.

  • ·         Line Strength – The minimum main line breaking strain for baited carp and pike rods is 15lb

  • ·         Braided mainline - The use of braided mainline with a baited rig is under scrutiny, only safe raided mainline use will be permitted.  If there is a chance of cut offs across some of the severe known bars do not fish over them.

  • ·         Braided hook links – low diameter braids must not be used.

  • ·         Leaders - The use of all leaders, lead core or mono types is not permitted. 

  • ·         Lead attachment - The use of fixed lead rigs is not permitted. For semi fixed rigs good quality lead clips should be used at all times.  In-line lead rigs must eject the lead. Running lead rigs must have suitable large eye swivel or plastic attachment, Chod rigs need to be able to eject the lead or the hook link safely.   

  • ·         Hooks - Micro barb or barbless, no long shank or bent hooks to be used at anytime. 

  • ·         Leads – a maximum weight of 4oz is permitted for long range casting, for bait boat use larger leads can be used for enhanced bite detection at the angler’s discretion.

  • ·         Particle baits – Must be soaked and prepared properly.

  • ·         Plastic or artificial baits are not permitted with the exception of maggots, casters and predator lures. 

  • ·         Suitable landing nets must be used.

  • ·         Unhooking mats must be used at all times and all mats must be large enough to fully accommodate the fish, have raised sides or a cradle and be wet prior to use.

  • ·         Suitable forceps, disgorgers and antiseptic fish care equipment must be available and used.

  • ·         The handling of fish should be kept to a minimum and fish must always be kept low to the ground and over an unhooking mat, which should be wet before the fish is landed. A sling must always be used when moving fish and returning them to the water. 

  • ·         Retaining sacks and slings to be used for the shortest period possible or preferably not at all. Preferred handling of trophy fish is to leave the fish in the water in the net to recover.  Wet the sling and unhooking mat and have everything ready, camera, scales and fish care products.  Unhook the fish, take the photo’s and then weigh it before returning the fish to the water all in the shortest time possible.  Large fish should not be subjected to longer handling times than lesser fish, they are more precious.


  • ·         All lost tackle must be retrieved as far as practicably possible, if not retrieved please make the bailiffs and other anglers aware, especially where cut offs occur so sharp bars or snags can be avoided in the future.




  • ·         Swimming is not permitted anywhere on site

  • ·         Open fires are not permitted anywhere on site although camping stoves and small contained barbecues may be used in discrete areas out of view of the public.

  • ·         No litter whatsoever will be tolerated, including cigarette butts, tea bags or other degradable items.

  • ·         Please pick all litter up even when it isn’t your own.  Report any large quantities or re-occurring rubbish found.

  • ·         Members are not permitted to possess any form of weapon or object which may be considered offensive.

  • ·         Radios or other sound producing devices etc may only be used with personal headphones.

  • ·         The removal of fish from or between club waters is not permitted. Any member found or suspected to be involved with this type of activity without the consent of the owner or the club management will be expelled from the club.

  • ·         Members must not cause harm to wildlife or habitats. Birds and other wildlife take precedence in all cases and, if necessary, a swim should be avoided or vacated where the risk of causing disturbance to wildlife exists.

  • ·         Members may not trim or remove vegetation without the consent of the club management.

  • ·         No new swims may be established without the consent of the club management.

  • ·         Members may be accompanied by one dog which must be kept on a lead at all times.

  • ·         Members must take all reasonable measures to ensure the welfare of any fish with which they come into contact. Any member causing unnecessary distress to fish or other wildlife may be subject to disciplinary measures, such as expulsion from the club.

  • ·         Members are asked to notify the Environment Agency 0800-807060 immediately of any pollution or illegal fishing activity that they observe.


Pike fishing


  • ·        Pike and all other predators are fragile, utmost care must be shown to these fish, minimum retention time for photographs and return all fish to the lake as soon as possible, it only takes a couple of minutes to photograph a fish.

  • ·        Live baits are allowed only when caught from the predator fished water, no live baits to be transferred between waters. 

  • ·        Barbless or crushed barbed hooks only for live and dead bait fishing (1 micro barb bait holding, 2 barbless per treble hook) Hooks with crushed down barbs need to have the tip of the barb touching the point where the barb is cut into the hook.  Crushed or filed down barbs on lures to create micro barbs.

  • ·        Minimum line strength 15 pound mono or 50 pound floating braid.

  • ·        Minimum trace strength 20 pound, minimum length 15 inches, 400 mm.

  • ·        Braided main lines for lure fishing and long range drift bait fishing only, floating braid type.

  • ·        Suitable length unhooking mats and slings only.  Wet mats and slings before contact with the fish.

  • ·        Unhooking – Predator anglers must possess suitable pliers/forceps (2 pairs, at least 1 long pair) and wire cutters capable of snipping hooks.

  • ·        No traces to be left in deep hooked fish, to remove, gentle pressure will invert the stomach until the hooks are visible, go through the gills and invert the hooks carefully.  If unsure ask an experienced pike angler.

  • ·        Minimum 42 inch landing net.

  • ·        Lead set ups for static rigs should be safe, preferably free running, semi fixed rigs must eject the lead efficiently, floats and other parts of any rig need to be semi-fixed.  All rigs must be as safe as possible.

  • ·        Takes - To be struck as soon as possible to avoid deep hooking, no un-attended rods, static dead bait rods must have visual and audible bite detection.   

  • ·        Report any fish that seem to go back with difficulties to the bailiffs.

  • ·        In Drayton Fen a 120 lb catlink leader or similar has been used in the past, this is no longer allowed there is no leaders allowed on Fen Drayton Angling Club waters.  If fishing over potential cut of areas load the real with suitable material so there is no chance of break offs.  In severe cut of areas on any water the safest method is always to fish the snag braid or mono straight through.

  • ·        No recovery of malfunctioning bait boats from restricted areas without prior consent from bailiff.

  • ·        Visual and electronic bite indication, showing forward and drop back bites must be used for ledgering/free lining.

  • ·        Night fishing for pike is allowed but no sleeping on the rods, reel in to sleep.

  • ·        Rig checks will be carried out by appointed bailiffs please do not be offended by this and please report anything you see that you consider harmful to our fishery.

  • ·        The full fishery rules, access points, car parking, etc apply to all anglers.

  • ·        Pike members will be asked to read and sign of on the above rules, this seems harsh but so many pike waters have been destroyed through pressure and bad handling and we want to do everything possible to preserve our pike and other predators.  Next season all anglers will be asked to sign of on the rules.

  • ·        Full syndicate members who pike fish must also read and sign of on the above rules.


bottom of page