International Fly Fishing Association

River - Fishing and Match Rules

to take effect from 1st January 2020


1. Fishing shall be carried out respecting the spirit and traditions of game angling.
2. Matches shall be fished with artificial flies on barbless single hooks that have been manufactured without a barb. Not more than three flies shall be mounted on a cast and flies may be artificially weighted.
3. Fly irons will measure not more than five-eighths of an inch overall, including the eye. The overall length of the fly shall not exceed fifteen-sixteenth of an inch. Flies may be of any pattern or material and may be fished floating or sunk. Attractor chemicals and the use of light emitters to flies are debarred.
4. A competitor may use only one rod at a time, maximum length 12 feet, but may have a second ready mounted as a spare. Any manufactured fly line may be used. Braided leaders, weighted or unweighted, are allowed. Coloured sleeving may be used at the end of the fly line to improve visibility but no other bite indicators are permitted.
Note: a "sacrificial" floating fly is not deemed to be a bite indicator provided it is one of the three permitted flies (see Fishing Rules 2 & 3)
5. Competitors must provide for themselves landing nets made of knotless mesh.
6. At the beginning of the morning & afternoon sessions, all competitors must be at the start points they have been allocated. Thereafter, they may fish anywhere within their beats provided that they do not approach within 30 metres of any other competitor who is fishing. A competitor may fish in the same spot for up to 30 minutes. After that, if requested by another angler, he/she must move at least 30 metres and may not return to the same spot for at least 30 minutes. Any angler whilst measuring a fish shall be deemed still to be fishing in the same place where he/she hooked the fish
7. At the end of Session 1 and Session 3, every competitor must move and fish at least 30 metres up or down stream from the spot he/she is fishing, irrespective of how long he/she has fished there.
8. Competitors may not walk or cast outside their beat. Should a fish, whilst being played, move outside the beat, the competitor must play it from, and land it within, the beat.
9. If a competitor hooks a fish near the end of a session, he/she will be allowed up to 5 minutes of the next session in which to net it.


1. The Match venue will be divided into five beats. There will be one competitor from each country on each beat. The Match itself will consist of four sessions.
2. The Host organisation shall identify the beats and the start points before the draw takes place. The draw for beats and start points will be carried out by IFFA officials and will take place not less than 36 hours before the start of the Match. The Team Captains will draw their team members' morning & afternoon beats and start points within the beats.
3. The river stretches to be used for the Match may not be fished by anyone during the day preceding the event but beats may be walked.
4. Subject to any direction of the Association, any Match shall be fished under the rules of the governing body of the water on which the Match is fished, insofar as these are compatible with the rules of the Association. For every Match, the Association shall fix the hours of fishing. The minimum size and species of fish to be measured will be decided by the Host organisation. Such information will be included in the Match Booklet.
5. Each competitor will have a controller. Controllers may remain on the same beat at the discretion of the host country.
For the duration of the match, apart from competitors and controllers, access to the competition beats will be restricted to the following persons:
  1. those who are on the beats for the sole purpose of collecting score cards.
  2. two nominated persons from each country who are only allowed to communicate with their respective competitors and their controllers, however, they must not encroach within 30 metres of a competitor from another country, or communicate in any way with that competitor or their controller.
6. Controllers are responsible for ensuring that the competitors on their beats comply with the rules, including the start and close times of their sessions. To be fair to all, controllers are not to give advice, net fish or in any other way give advantage to their anglers.
7. Catch & release will apply. All fish must be netted and presented to the controllers whilst still in the landing net. If after netting a fish the fly drops out of the fish, that fish will still count. The controller and competitor will agree the overall length of the fish and the controller will record it on the score card. The competitor will carefully return the fish to the river, making sure that it can swim away before releasing it. At the end of each session the score card must be signed by the angler and the controller.
8. Each qualifying fish will score 20 points plus 1 point for each centimetre or part thereof. For example, a fish of 30.3 centimetres will score 20 plus 31 i.e. 51 points.
9. The score cards for Sessions 1 and 2 must be collected and handed to an IFFA official immediately after Session 2. At the end of Session 3 score cards must be collected and returned to an IFFA official as soon as possible. On the completion of the match, score cards for Session 4 must be handed to an IFFA official without any delay. All score cards will be scrutinised by a sub-committee consisting of the International President, one elected committee member from each country and the IFFA Secretary, for the purpose of computing the results.
10. Competitors from each of the five beats will be "placed" separately according to the points they have scored in each of the four sessions; i.e. in each session, the top competitor on each beat will receive a "1 placing", the second a "2" etc. A blank will earn a placing equal to the number of competitors fishing the relevant beat.
11. Individuals' "placings" in the four sessions will be summed and their totals will determine their positions in the Match. The top individual will have the lowest total of "placings" and so on. Similarly, team positions will be determined by a grand total of all the team members' "placings". If individuals or teams have the same totals, the higher position will be awarded to the individual or team with the most points.
12. If any competitor or controller sees anything which he/she thinks contravenes these rules, he/she will if possible notify the individual concerned and report to the International Secretary by no later than 1830 hours on the Match day and before the results are announced. A Sub-Committee consisting of the International President, who will have the casting vote, and one non-competing official from each country taking part, shall at once be convened to investigate the matter and adjudicate thereon. The International Secretary will attend the meeting but will have no vote. The decision of the Sub-Committee shall be final.
N.B. Competitors must refer to current Safety Policy document regarding personal protective equipment.