Minimising the Impact of Canoeing on your Angling

In recent years there has been an increase in the number of canoe trips undertaken on the navigable section of the Wye. This has impacted not only angling but also other recreational activities on the river and, perhaps most important of all, wildlife that includes highly protected SAC species.

There has been a welcome initiative recently by local authorities and the EA to establish a registration scheme whereby canoe hire companies and their customers follow more closely codes of conduct, health and safety policies and practices to reduce their impact on the river. However, there are some other steps you can take to minimise the impact canoeing has on your enjoyment of the river:

  1. Try to avoid weekends and bank holidays when canoe traffic is at its heaviest, especially during low water in the summer months. If possible, concentrate your fishing on weekdays.
  2. Concentrate your fishing efforts early and late in the day when canoe traffic is at its lightest. These are also the times when fish are most active in summer.
  3. If you are well concealed, make canoeists aware of your presence well in advance of them arriving in your swim. Most canoeists will move to the other side of the river.
  4. If you are wading, indicate clearly which side of the river you wish canoeists to pass.
  5. Avoid confrontation and conflict. There will be the occasional canoeist that does not follow the correct etiquette (usually inexperienced paddlers or those that have not been adequately briefed by the company they hired the canoe from). However much this tests your patience, it is worth bearing in mind that canoeists will respond much more positively to polite advice rather than aggression.
  6. If the canoes in question are from an identifiable canoe hire company, report any breaches of the canoeist code of conduct to the Environment Agency. The hire companies have a duty to ensure their customers are fully aware of the code of conduct on page 39.
  7. Make sure you are aware of any access arrangements on sections of rivers that do not have a right of navigation before you purchase fishing. For the upper Wye and Usk, a quick reference "Where and When" guide is available on the Wye and Usk Foundation website.

If you come across any breaches to the upper Wye and Usk access arrangements please report them to us via email to with details such as where, when, how many and if applicable, which outdoor activity provider or canoe hire company were involved.

A copy of the EA's Canoeing Code of Conduct can be found here.