Unlike Hampshire the Island has only small rivers and therefore the potential for coarse angling is limited. Carp roach and dace are the predominant species on the Island. Rudd, perch, bream and tench are found in small numbers, while minor streams are characterised by stoneloach, bullhead and eels. Trout can be found in several rivers & streams. Bass & Mullet, which are predominantly sea dwelling, are very tolerant of low salinity & can enter the upper reaches of estuaries. They can often be seen inland of the sluice gates that regulate the flow of the Eastern Yar into Bembridge Harbour.
The Medina Restoration Project has sought to improve the Medina for trout and eels and the Towngate project included improving fish passage at St Cross Mill on Lukely Brook. As part of the Down to the Coast programme there are a number of projects that hope to improve the Eastern Yar for fish.
There are a number of privately owned Stillwater lakes and ponds on the Island and these offer the greatest opportunities for recreational angling.
You need a fishing rod licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt and eel with a rod and line on the Island. You must always carry your rod licence when you’re fishing or you could be prosecuted. Click here for details on obtaining a licence.
You also need the permission of the riparian owner to fish in any freshwater river, stream or pond.
An Environment Agency byelaw prevents anglers from retaining the European eel (Anguilla anguilla). However, they can be retained for weighing or measuring but must be returned alive to the water they were taken from on completion of fishing.
Estuary Sea Angling
The Medina river & western Yar both have estuaries with the Medina being by far the largest, stretching from its entrance in Cowes Harbour up to Newport Quay. A rod licence is not required to fish in these but access over private land requires the landowners consent.
Bass, Flounder, Mullet & eels are the main species found but other species associated with the open sea can be encountered at the seaward end of these estuaries.
For legally enforceable retention sizes of sea fishes refer to the web site of the Southern Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority
Netting in the Medina
The river estuary between Newport Quay & Cowes Harbour is governed by two authorities.
Between Newport & the Folly inn comes under Newport Harbour. It currently has no byelaws regulating netting but this situation is under review.
Between the Folly inn & Cowes Harbour comes under Cowes Harbour Commissioners. Their byelaws (directions) include:
4.2. Fishing – The Master of a vessel shall not use or permit it to be used to drift, trawl or undertake any other net fishing in any part of the Harbour so as to be or to be likely to become an obstruction or danger to the navigation of the Harbour.
Nets are not to be left unattended. Bottom gear is not to be used in any fairway or channel or any area designated as small craft moorings or no anchoring. Any gear left unattended shall be marked so to be clearly visible by day and fitted with a light if deployed between sunset and sunrise.
The use of commercial netting for financial gain is governed by restrictions set out in the web site of the Southern Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority but these do not currently put any restriction on where it can be done within the Medina.