Fishing rules

These rules apply to all waters within Priory Country Park and Harrold-Odell Country Park.

Bedford Borough Council reserves the right to alter or amend these conditions at any time and may exclude anyone who breaches the rules and regulations.

Permits and rod licences

  • An Environment Agency rod licence must be shown on demand and its regulations complied with.
  • The permit covers all permissible waters within the park boundary from midnight on15 June to midnight on 14 March and is non-refundable. Fishing is prohibited during the closed season.
  • Fishing is not allowed in some areas; permit holders must acquaint themselves with where they may and may not fish (maps are available).
  • All fish must be returned to the water from which they were caught.
  • Keepnets are prohibited.
  • The permit allows three rods per angler, in the same swim, provided you have two rod licences.
  • Permits are non-transferable. A photograph of the permit holder must be attached in the space provided. Guest anglers are not permitted.
  • Permits must be available to check at all times either by the bailiff or park staff.
  • Only established swims shall be fished. The vegetation between swims must not be disturbed or damaged.
  • Night/day anglers must vacate swims after a maximum stay of 48 hours after which they must leave the water and not return for a further 72 hours.
  • For night permits members under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Acceptable use of our parks whilst fishing

  • Rowdy behaviour and littering will automatically result in the withdrawal of the permit without refund. For your safety and that of others alcohol, the lighting of fires and BBQs is prohibited.
  • Members must familiarise themselves with the park byelaws, displayed outside the café at Priory Country Park and outside the gent’s toilet at Harrold-Odell Country Park. Camping is prohibited (Clause no. 7).
  • Parking is in designated areas only.
  • Where access to parking is by combination padlock the access must be locked behind you. Do not give the access code to anyone else.
  • Members bring their vehicles and equipment at their own risk.
  • Small tents or bivouacs are allowed provided they are kept within the swim area and do not obstruct the bank-side path.
  • No high-powered lanterns (>100,000 candelas) or flashlights are permitted.
  • The park relies on the goodwill of responsible anglers who use the park to assist in enhancing the environment for both wildlife and people. Dispose of all your rubbish responsibly.
  • Please report any suspicious activities or problems to the bailiff or park staff.

Tackle and bait

  • Large landing nets and unhooking mats are essential when dealing with large fish.
  • Barbed and 'bent hooks' are prohibited.
  • When fishing for predators, members must use wire traces and semi-barbed treble hooks. Nylon or nylon-coated traces are forbidden. When lure fishing, barbless hooks must be used.
  • Dead baits - only fresh and frozen sea baits are allowed. The use of coarse fish, chemically treated or otherwise, is prohibited. Live baiting and fishing for live bait within the parks' boundaries is an offence.
  • Only soluble-type boilies are permitted. Nuts and beans are prohibited.
  • No floating baits due to presence of wildfowl.
  • No pre-baiting of any swim.
  • No mass baiting allowed, including bait boats.
  • Please report any notable catches to the bailiff or park staff.

Notes for Harrold-Odell Country Park

  • Cattle graze the riverside meadow from May to November. Please keep a respectable distance at all times and keep dogs away from livestock and wildlife.
  • When cattle are on the meadows an electric fence operates along part of the river bank. It looks like a strip of ribbon - please be aware.

Useful contact numbers

  • In an emergency or if a crime is in progress dial 112 / 999. If poaching is witnessed, quote Operation Traverse, the Police anti-poaching initiative.
  • If non-emergency Police assistance is required ring 101.
  • If the Fire Brigade is required ring 01234 351081.
  • For an Ambulance dial 112 / 999.
  • To contact the Environment Agency ring 0800 807060.
  • To leave a message for the Priory Country Park staff ring 01234 718012.
  • To leave a message for the Harrold-Odell Country Park staff ring 01234 720016.
  • To contact Council staff in an emergency out of normal hours ring 01234 267422.