Society by-laws (rules)

These by-laws are issued in accordance with the constitution & must be obeyed. Membership for course fishing Members will be from 1st April to 31st march in the following year.

The Society accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury to Members or their property which may occur on Society waters, any activity pursued on Society waters is at the Members own risk.

These rules are subject to amendment at short notice if required by the best interest of the Society. The latest version of these rules can be found by visiting the Societies web site, www.hwas.co.uk

The Society operates a ZERO TOLERANCE policy with regard to litter.  Please take your litter home with you & dispose of it responsibly.

All visitors to Church Farm must be in possession of a valid permit before entering the venue.

Work parties

Are usually held on the first Sunday of each month, please check the website and Facebook paces for confirmation and cancellations.

A 4-hour work party must be complete by all members within 3 months of buying a night ticket in order to retain it, unless completed in advance.

General Rules

  1. Wives/Partners of Senior Members are allowed to fish with the Senior Member in the same swim provided that a maximum of two rods (one each) is used.
  1. A child under the age of 12 years may fish for free when accompanying an adult member provided that both fish in the same swim & that a maximum of two rods (one each) is used.
  1. Junior members under 14 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Over 14’s are permitted unaccompanied except for night fishing, for further details See night fishing section.

General Behaviour

  • All Members will at all times when fishing or visiting all waters and venues, behave in a manner that will not give offence to riparian owners, other members, or the general public.
  • The executive committee strongly recommend that members follow the National Water Sports Code and the Country Code.
  • In addition to the Society’s byelaws, members will comply with any other byelaws imposed on the Society e.g. Environmental Agency, Forestry Commission.
  • Any member fishing any other Society’s waters must comply with their rules.
  • No consumption of alcohol or illicit substances allowed.
  • Swims designated as disabled are given special priority for wheelchair users. Members using one of these swims must vacate if requested to by a disabled member using a wheelchair.

Fishing times

  • Members are not permitted to fish or to be on any venue at any time between 1 hour after sunset & 1 hour before sunrise except where night fishing is allowed. Where night fishing is allowed Members must be in possession of a valid Night Fishing Permit to remain on the venue between 1 hour after sunset & 1 hour before sunrise.
  • The close season applies between 15 March and 15 June (inclusive) on the society’s river stretches and the Basingstoke canal.

Bank Side Rules

  • All Members must, at all times when fishing or visiting Society waters, be in possession of a valid Society Permit/Rulebook and an Environment Agency Rod Licence. These must be shown to any other Member, Bailiff or Officer of the Society or any Riparian Owner or his Representative upon request. Failure to produce a valid may result in the angler being requested to leave the venue.
  • Members must confine themselves to fishing the designated areas and gain access to these areas via designated routes. Where gates/locks are in use these must be re-closed/re-locked upon entry or exit.
  • Where parking is provided Members shall at all times park their vehicles in such a manner as to not cause obstruction or inconvenience to others. The Society accepts no liability for damage to vehicles parked at Society waters.
  • Members may use rod & line only and must not fish by any other means or use any net other than a landing net or keep net to help land or retain fish hooked with rod & line.
  • When fishing with multiple rods the rods must be positioned such that the distance between any two rod butts does not exceed three metres.
  • A Marker Rod or Spod Rod without a hook may be used but must be withdrawn after casting & baiting of the swim is completed. These are not counted when assessing the number of rods used above.
  • Members are permitted to use a maximum of 2 rods from April 1st to September 30th.  From October 1st to March 31st members are permitted to use 3 rods.  This is exclusive of any marker & spod rods. With the exception of Lakeside where 3 rods can be fished all year.

Members wishing to use three rods must be in possession of a second valid Environment Agency Rod Licence.

  • Surface fishing with floating baits is allowed with one rod only. The rod must never be left unattended or interfere with other anglers, waterfowl, swans or other wildlife.
  • All fish landed must be returned to the water as soon as possible.
  • Adequately sized landing nets and unhooking mats must be carried and used. When fishing for carp a landing net of 40” minimum and unhooking mat measuring a minimum of 24” x 36” must be used (if you have any questions please call the head bailiff for clarification.)
  • No rod & line may be left unattended with a baited hook either in or out of the water. No member may leave their swim unattended for more than 60 minutes.
  • No bent hook rigs may be used.
  • No permanently fixed leads or feeders larger than 1oz (28g) may be used.
  • No multiple hook systems (eg pennell rigs etc) may be used.
  • Only fishing from the bank is allowed on Society waters. Under no circumstances is fishing allowed from boats, rafts or islands.
  • The lighting of fires or camping is not allowed on Society waters. Portable cooking stoves may be used. Disposable barbecues may not be used.
  • The use of fishing shelters is allowed on Society waters except where prohibited by Local Bylaws. The shelter must fit within the swim without obstructing pathways or causing nuisance to others.

(See website for details on each of our waters)

  • Hooks used must be single only & barbless except at Church Farm where hooks larger than size 14 must be micro barbed.
  • Members may take dogs onto Society waters unless precluded by terms of the lease or other local bylaws. Members must exercise proper control at all times and not allow dogs to interfere with or cause nuisance to other Members or members of the public. Members shall be responsible for any loss, damage, injury or nuisance caused by dogs they bring on to Society waters. All fouling must be collected immediately and removed.
  • Wading is not permitted on any of the club’s lakes.
  • Members must not cause damage to any vegetation, trees, fences, gates or any other structure on Society waters.
  • Members will be responsible for the cleanliness of the bank & water margin in the immediate vicinity of where they decide to fish up to a distance of 5 metres from the point of fishing. Members will ensure the area is clean before starting to fish and upon completion of fishing.
  • Members must not commit any act while on Society waters that causes interference or annoyance to other Members, neighbours or members of the public.


  • “Your Water” – All members are requested to use sense when fishing their chosen swim. Wherever there is doubt due to swims being close by, your water is classed as the water in front of you and no further than half out towards the next visible swim(s)


We would also suggest discussing what “your water” is upon arrival with other anglers that may be fishing close by, this helps avoid confrontational situations.

Casting out in over other anglers’ lines will not be tolerated

Closure of Waters

  1. When a match is booked to take place on a Society water then that water will be closed from 10pm the night before and until 30 minutes after the finish of the match.
  1. Details of matches will be published on the HWAS website and/or Facebook pages.
  1. Society waters may be closed at short notice where essential work is required for safety reasons or for fish conservation requirements. On occasions only partial closure is required.
  1. During spring lakes are likely to be closed for a number of weeks at a time at short notice due to spawning. Fish safety must come first.

Warning notices will be displayed accordingly and information can be found on the HWAS website and Facebook pages

Movement of Fish

  1. No fish or spawn, dead or alive, may be removed from or introduced to any Society water. Similarly, no fish or spawn, dead or alive may be moved from any Society water to any other Society water.
  1. Where it is necessary to remove, introduce or move fish between Society waters for reasons of fishery management then it will be carried out only by authorised Fishery Management or authorised Committee personnel.

Keep Nets

  1. With the exception of Barbel, Pike or Carp (not including Crucian Carp), fish may be retained in keep nets. If fish are to be kept in keep nets then TWO KEEP NETS ARE REQUIRED, one for silver fish (Roach, Bream, Rudd) under 2lbs and a second for any fish over 2lbs. This is help protect against scale loss & crushing when returning fish to the water.
  1. Keep nets must be constructed of knotless mesh and have a minimum length of 8 feet and minimum diameter of 18 inches. Fish may not be retained by any other method including sacks, stringers or tubes.
  1. When returning fish to the water they are not to be allowed to tumble down the net. Either lift the bottom end only out of the water and let the fish swim down to the top ring whilst gathering the net behind them, or alternatively lift the front of the net out of the water slowly so that the fish are gathered in the bottom two sections, the bottom part should then be pulled through the inside of the keep net and the fish returned to the water. Members should minimise the length of time that fish are retained and under no circumstances should this time exceed 6 hours.
  1. Bailiffs and Officers of the Society have the authority to inspect nets at any time and may, at their discretion, instruct any Member to release fish should they believe that any stress to the fish is being caused. In exceptional circumstances Bailiffs or Officers of the Society may temporarily ban the use of keep nets and this is usually with the authority of the Executive Committee.
  1. Certain minor (temporary) amendments to paragraph 1 above may be authorised for Society matches at the discretion of the Match Secretary. Any such amendments will remain in force only for the duration of the match.
  1. Members should air dry all nets after each use.


Fish Conservation

  1. The use of unhooking mats is compulsory. Under no circumstances are fish to be placed directly onto the bank.
  1. Fish must only be weighed in a wet weigh sling. Fish must not be weighed in plastic bags
  1. The use of sacks for fish retention is prohibited on all Society waters (see Keep Nets para 2).

Bait Boats

  1. Bait boats are allowed on some Society still waters, details can be found by visiting the Society’s web site.
  1. Members using bait boats must ensure that lines are not deployed into areas where fish are likely to become tethered (e.g. into snags or other known underwater obstacles).
  1. Members using bait boats must ensure that their use does not interfere with the fishing of other Members, generally accepted bank side etiquette should be followed at all times.

Night Fishing

The following additional rules are specific to night fishing and apply to all Members, Bailiffs and Officers of the Society. Failure to abide by these rules shall result in the loss of night fishing privileges and may incur disciplinary action.

Church Farm night fishing booking Line: 07785 558 911

    1. Night fishing is restricted to Church Farm, Lakeside Park and Yateley Common Lakes (Wyndhams Pool and Hospital Pond)
    1. Night fishing at Church Farm must be booked in advance through the online booking system. A maximum of 3 nights may be booked at any one time and may not be booked more than 7 days in advance. In the event that 3 nights are booked then all 3 nights must have been completed, or cancelled, before any additional nights can be booked. Night fishing is not permitted without a booking confirmation which must be shown to a Bailiff on request.

    Once a booking has been made then it must be fulfilled or, alternatively, cancelled in advance. Bookings may be placed or cancelled any time up to 19:00 on the day of the booking. Failure to fulfil or cancel a booking may result in disciplinary action.

    Failure to comply with this booking procedure may result in being asked to leave the venue and disciplinary action may be taken.

    1. A maximum of 20 anglers are permitted at Church Farm per night.
    1. Member’s must arrive no earlier than 1 hour before sunrise and no later than 1 hour after sunset from October 1st to March 31st and from April 1st to September 30th no earlier than 1/2 hour before sunrise and no later than 20:00 hours
    1. Noise levels are to be kept to a minimum.
    1. Bite alarms & mobile phones are to be set to low volume only.
    1. Torches & lights, etc, are to be used discretely so as not to cause a nuisance to other Members or neighbouring residents.
    2. Age of eligibility and restrictions
    1. a) Members must be a minimum of 18 years of age to be eligible for a night permit.
    2. b) Members under 18 years of age may night fish, without a night permit, provided that all the following conditions are met;
    3. i) They are accompanied & supervised by their parent or legal guardian.
    4. ii) Their parent or legal guardian is a Member over 18 years of age.

    iii) In the case of Church Farm their parent or legal guardian must have a valid night permit.

    1. iv) They must occupy the same swim as their parent or legal guardian or a swim immediately adjacent to that occupied by their parent or legal guardian. In the case that an adjacent swim is used, then that adjacent swim shall be close enough to that of the parent/legal guardian that appropriate supervision shall be reasonably practicable. In the case of any doubt then advice shall be sought from the head bailiff.
    2. v) They are registered on the online booking system and they have made a booking in line with the rules & instructions contained herein.
    1. c) The parent or legal guardian accompanying the Member while night fishing shall be solely responsible for the conduct and welfare of the Member and shall be liable to disciplinary action for any breach of the Society Bye-Laws or Constitution by the Member.

    Booking system Guidance.

    Please note that Night Fishing is restricted to 20 anglers per night and only 20 spaces are offered per night.

    1) Go to bookeo.com/hwasbookings

    2) Click on “Sign in.”

    3) If you have already registered on the system then enter your login details and click on “Ok”. Update your permit number if applicable.

     If you have not already registered on the system then click on “Sign up”. Provide the information required on the sign up form         (including your current permit number) and click on “Sign up” at the bottom of the page.

    Please note that it may take up to 48 hours for your registration to be validated so early registration is advised to avoid disappointment.

    Once your registration is validated you will be able to log in and will be taken to the bookings page.

    4) Select the date that you wish to book and click on “Book”.

    Your chosen date and your details will be displayed. Click on “Change” at top right of page to alter your selected date or click on “Next” at bottom of page to continue.

    5) If you wish to add another booking then click on “Add another booking” at bottom of the page and proceed as in 4).

    A maximum of 3 bookings is allowed, see Night Fishing Rule 2, above.

    When you have completed your booking selection(s) then click on “Proceed” at bottom of the page.

    6) Read the Terms & Conditions and click on “I agree” found below the Terms & Conditions.

    Click on “Confirm booking” at bottom of page.

    Your booking is not valid unless it is confirmed.


    7) Confirmation of your booking will be sent by email. If you do not receive a confirmation email for each booking then your booking is not complete and is invalid, please return and complete the process. Please take a printed or digital copy of your confirmation with you as it will be required by HWAS bailiffs as the sole proof of booking.

    Failure to provide a copy of your confirmation will result in being asked to vacate the venue.

     To Update Personal details.

    1) Go to bookeo.com/hwasbookings

    2) Click on “Sign in”, enter your login details and click on “Ok”.

    3) Scroll to the bottom of the booking page and click on Customer area.

     4) Click on “Your profile”. Update your personal details then click on “Ok” at the bottom of the page.

    To Review, Change or Cancel Bookings.


    Follow the link provided in your confirmation email


    1) Go to bookeo.com/hwasbookings

    2) Click on “Sign in”, enter your login details and click on “Ok”.

    3) Scroll to the bottom of the booking page and click on Customer area.

    4) Click on “Your bookings”.

    5) Click on the booking that you wish to review, change or cancel.

    To Change the booking click on “Change” next to the booking and select the date you wish to change to. Then proceed as before to confirm your booking.

    To cancel your booking click on “Cancel my booking” at the bottom of the page. Click on “Cancel my booking” again, then click on “Yes, cancel” to confirm cancellation.

    Confirmation of changes or cancellation will be sent by email. If you do not receive confirmation then your change or cancellation is not complete and is invalid, please return and complete the process.

Pike Fishing Rules

To help protect the pike stocks in H.W.A.S. waters the following rules will be enforced.

  1. 1st April – 30th September inclusive, lure/spinning only.
  1. No live bait.
  1. Main line should be minimum breaking strain of 12 lb.
  1. 1st October- 31st March, dead fish baits can also be used.
  1. Main line should be minimum breaking strain of 12lb.
  1. Adequate sized landing nets must be carried and used (min 36” arms or 30” diameter).
  1. Wire traces should be minimum length of 18” and 20lb breaking strain.
  1. Use only trebles with one bait holding barb. No more than two treble hooks may be used on any one trace, only one trace may be used per rod. All lures, plugs & spinners must have all barbs removed or crushed on all hooks.
  1. A large unhooking mat must be used at all times.
  1. 12” long forceps and side cutters must be carried and used when necessary.
  1. Pike anglers must use an effective indicator system that shows drop-back bites as well as runs when ledgering.
  1. The use of pike gags and gaffs is strictly prohibited.
  1. All Pike to be returned to the water as soon as possible.

Match Fishing Rules

Match bookings may only be made between Sunday and 18:00 hours on the Friday for matches taking place within the next seven days.

The annual list of match dates will be published prior to the start of the season but the Match Secretary may change venues if circumstances warrant.

Officers and Committee Members will officiate at all Society Matches. Pegs may be subject to change at the discretion of the Match Organiser. Any member wishing to lodge a complaint must inform one of the Officials immediately. That Official will investigate the complaint and consult with other Officials who will give a ruling after the signal ending the match.

  1. Two keep nets to be used at all matches, one for silver fish and one for carp
  2. Carp longer than top of keepnet must be weighed in by the match official. Crucian carp to be placed in Silver fish keepnet
  3. Members will meet at a designated venue where the draw will take place. The time of the draw will be included on the Match List.
  4. All home matches will be pegged and a signal to start and finish the match will be given by the Match Secretary or an Official nominated by him.
  5. Before the start signal no Member may on any account, ground bait or loose feed their swim, or disturb the water in any other way other than to wet ground bait, clear the area of weeds or obstructions or position keep nets and plumb the depth.
  6. After the start signal a Member may wade providing he remains within three metres of the edge.
  7. On still waters the swim is defined as halfway between the allotted peg and the pegs either side and the peg opposite. On flowing waters the swim will be from the allotted peg to within two yards of the peg downstream. No tackle or bait or person may intrude into the adjoining swim.
  8. Only one rod line and hook may be used at one time but any number of rods may be assembled and placed in a convenient position provided they are not baited.
  9. Members must strike, play and land their own fish.
  10. All fish must be retained in a keep net that complies with EA Bylaws. Members failing to observe this rule will not be allowed to weigh in.
  11. A Scales Man & Assistant will be appointed on the match day.
  12. On Society waters all course fish are eligible to be weighed in. No size limits apply.
  13. Pike and game fish do not count in matches unless it is specifically arranged as a Pike Match on the Fixture List.
  14. The individual weight of each Members catch will be recorded to the nearest FOUR drams or 10 grams and rounded up.
  15. Members must cease fishing on the given signal but if they are playing a fish hooked before the signal Members will be allowed a further fifteen minutes to land the fish.
  16. Members are responsible for ensuring their peg is cleared of litter and will not be allowed to weigh in unless this is so.
  17. Optional pools will be run at each match and may include a peg fee.
  18. On waters where peg numbers are limited participation in a match will be on a first come first served basis (see rule 1).

Thames Valley Angling Association – General rules applicable to all waters


  1. All fish are to be returned.
    2. No litter.
    3.  No cutting of trees or bank side vegetation.
    4.  No bonfires or barbeques.
    5. Anglers must be in possession of a current Environment Agency rod licence and abide by all EA Bye-laws.
    6. Two rods maximum to be in use at any one time.

Please ensure you consult the Thames Valley Angling Association website before visiting any of these venues for full location details and specific fishery rules.