Angling Improvement Fund

What is the Angling Improvement Fund?

The Angling Improvement Fund (AIF) is a way of reinvesting income from fishing licence sales in projects which benefit anglers across England.

Since its launch in 2015, the AIF has made over 500 separate awards totalling over £2m to clubs and fisheries that aimed to improve the infrastructure of angling facilities all of which support the National Angling Strategy. Projects included ways to help tackle the predation of fish stocks, replacement of fishing platforms, improve pathways, car parking facilities, new toilets plus bursaries to over 200 new coaching licences.

The AIF is administered by the Angling Trust on behalf of the Environment Agency who provide the funding through the sale of the non-migratory trout and coarse fishing licence. The total worth of the programme, taking into account match-funding, is an estimated £5.6 million, creating or safeguarding tens of thousands of angling opportunities throughout in England. Safer facilities, better habitats and more accessible facilities enable clubs, fisheries and other angling organisations to flourish and attract more anglers.

In addition to the AIF there are other sources of funding for angling:

The Environment Agency also directly reinvests income received from the sale of licences in  the Fisheries Improvement Programme (FIP) FIND OUT MORE

Sport England have a variety of schemes available FIND OUT MORE

Local Authorities can sometimes have funds available and there are a variety of grant making bodies and charitable foundations, who on occasions are able to fund works. Please contact us if you want more information or advice.

Angling Improvement Fund 2020-21 Round 1

AIF initially reopened in June 2020 and invited applications to fund measures to protect stocks from predation. We received project ideas from a wide range of angling providers –  including clubs, commercial fisheries, charities and local authorities (you don’t need to be an Angling Trust member club or fishery to apply).

Due to the fact that money distributed as AIF awards is derived from income from the sale of the Environment Agency’s non-migratory trout and coarse fishing licences, projects located outside of England – and projects primarily supporting salmon and sea trout angling and/or sea angling organisations – were not eligible to apply.

Awards of up to a maximum of £5,000 were considered where the applicant is able to commit a comparable amount of match-funding (cash, voluntary time or a mixture of the two). In total we are planning to distribute £235,000 to 54 successful projects.

The funded work will be completed by the end of March 2021 at the very latest. Projects include the installation of otter proof fencing and measures to combat over-predation of fish stocks by fish-eating birds.


Angling Improvement Fund 2020-21 Round 2


On 1st December 2020 a new £100,000 Get Fishing Fund was announced to encourage more people to give fishing a go for the first time, or get back into angling after a break from the sport.

Funded from rod licence sales, grants of up to £500 to benefit small-scale projects and up to £5,000 for larger projects will be available. The funding will help the delivery of future angling participation events, including any additional equipment needed to ensure fisheries are following Covid-19 safety guidelines, PPE and signage. It can also cover the costs of fishing equipment, terminal tackle and bait, as well as event resources including promotional material, gazebos and basic storage facilities.

Key information:

All applicants need to complete and submit their form using the online grant management system:


The closing date for bids is Friday 12th March 2021, funding is limited so applicants are encouraged to apply soon. Only forms submitted via the online system will be considered.

Applicants who have not already registered their details will need to do so by following a simple registration process, once registered they can select the relevant electronic form and begin to complete it. There are separate forms for small grants up to £500 and for larger awards up to £5,000

Before applying it’s worth finding out more about the fund. Our guidance documents will tell you more about why we’re offering this fund, plus tips and advice for developing your project or idea.

Get Fishing Small Projects Guidance Notes

Get Fishing Large Projects Guidance Notes

Additional help is included in the ‘help text’ on some of the questions within the form.

When considering your project, the assessment panel will be looking for evidence of a well-planned angling participation event or programme in 2021. We recognise that many clubs, fisheries and others have excellent ideas to build on the current popularity and interest in angling. We are committed to support as many partners as possible to get more people fishing and grow our sport.

For more information on coaching and courses visit In some circumstances, the Environment Agency may be able to provide bursaries for training new coaches.

Need further assistance?

Need help with your application or advice on organising an event then contact one of our participation team

Please think about access for less abled anglers. The British Disabled Anglers Association has some great information on their website ( or email

For any other queries about AIF contact the Angling Improvement Fund Administration team on 0115 822 4561 or email or from Mark Wilton, National Angling Improvement Fund and Club Support Manager, on 07495 433626.


Winning projects from previous years

Winning Projects 2019-20

In 2019-20, the Angling Improvement Fund agreed funding for 31 projects on the theme of fish protection and predation. Most of the funding will be used to provide otter-proof fencing at stillwater fisheries. Other projects involve mink control, protection from cormorants, fish refuges and floating islands.

Winning Projects 2018-19

Fifty-eight new angling projects were selected for funding from the Angling Improvement Fund during 2018-19 – with the total value of all the projects worth over £760,000. In addition to the £296,000 awarded by the AIF, the winning applicants also contributed £280,000 themselves plus an estimated £187,000 of volunteer time.

Winning Projects 2017-18

During 2017/18, over 150 projects were selected to receive grants following a competitive judging process. Two rounds of funding were held on the following themes: Council and Commercial Waters, Predation and Fish Protection (twice), Access to Waters, Health and Wellbeing, and Spring Maintenance.

Winning Projects 2016-17

Another 125 organisations across England won grants from the Angling Improvement Fund in the year to April 2017, sharing a massive £670,000 of funding made available from fishing licence sales. In all, 153 projects were selected for funding at the end of a competitive judging process.

Winning Projects 2015-16

Four rounds of funding was made available from the sale of fishing licences in 2015-16. The themes were Supporting the Aims of the National Angling Strategy, Protecting Fisheries from Predation and Getting Kids Fishing, Otter-proof Fencing and Best Unfunded from Rounds 1 & 2, Community Waters and Schools & Colleges.