During the Bank Holiday weekend, Environment Agency fisheries enforcement officers checked 363 anglers at separate locations in Northumberland, Durham, Teesside and Tyneside, using local knowledge and intelligence to target offending.
Over the three days, 17 people were reported for various fisheries offences – most of which were for fishing without a licence.
As well as the rod licence offences, the officers discovered two illegal crayfish traps, which were seized.
David Shears, senior fisheries enforcement officer at the Environment Agency, said: “We use intelligence gathered previously to indicate the locations where anglers are likely to be fishing illegally and we concentrated our efforts towards those areas.
“We shall continue to target those waters where evasion and illegal activity is high and those caught may be prosecuted.”
He added that the current coarse fishing close season on rivers, some canals and some stillwaters started on March 15 and finishes on June 15. There is no close season on most canals and most stillwaters.
Anyone who suspects illegal fishing to be taking place should report the matter to the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 807060.