Children will fish for free and carp anglers will save money as part of a massive shake-up in the rod licensing system for 2017.

These are just two changes in a raft of new measures announced by Environment Agency bosses in a bid to offer anglers more value for money and encourage more youngsters to fish.

The changes, which come into force this March, include a special price for those using three rods, and scrapping the current £5 fee for under-16s. They will also see 365-day rolling licences from day of purchase. In other words, if you buy a full rod licence in June 2017 it wont expire until June 2018.

The move comes in response to a recent Angling Trust survey in which the nation’s anglers criticised the current licensing system. Big-fish hunters claimed they were being overcharged for fishing three rods by having to buy two full annual licences.

The EA Head of Fisheries Sarah Chare believes the changes reflect feedback from anglers nationwide: “We hope that a 365-day licence, a three-rod licence and a free junior licence will all play a part in getting more young people fishing and securing the sport’s future,” she said.

“All money raised from rod licence sales is ploughed back into England’s fisheries, and is used to fund a wide range of projects to improve facilities for anglers.”