While you may be well-versed in the ways of river fishing within your home county, taking those skills to canals take a bit of adjusting. The waters don't often move nearly as fast, the bottom is likely to be silty rather than gravelly, and there are often no water features for fish to hide in. As a result, canal fishing can be very challenging. However, finding water features that will harbour fish and adjusting your intended quarry to match the conditions can have very good results.
There are hundreds of miles of canals in the UK, many of which were built in the 18th and 19th centuries. As a result, many of these submerged areas have had a long time for nature to have its way with these otherwise rather sterile, man-made structures. You can use the unique environment of any canal to your advantage to increase your catches and target more exciting species of fish. And if you live in areas such as the highly urban centre of London, canals may be some of the best fishing to be found within walking distance.
Perhaps the most commonly sought after species while canal fishing is the carp. There are several different species of carp, but they are all fond of mucky waters as those commonly found in canal zones. Though some urban areas have stopped stocking canal areas with any species, carp are widely considered to be the most successful in such environments.
Less urban areas often have canals with a long tradition of stocking, with some truly massive fish lurking. Many canals in the countryside are now ceded to formal fishing clubs, though day permits are sometimes available for non-club members if you simply want to give it a try.
As for bait, the usual "boilies" and maize are the most commonly used, but summer carping on canals usually calls for some serious "ground-baiting" with mid-diameter pellets. Technique is another thing, with long poles and landing nets being the most often recommended method. Anything that allows you to manoeuvre the fish into or out of a confined space caused by embankments or other types of obstacles is a great help in actually landing the fish you manage to hook.
Canal fishing is governed by the same regulations that cover other types of river fishing, though many urban canals have additional county or local regulations regarding daily catches or close seasons. Canals that occur in known estuaries may have a close season on some species.
Most agree that canal fishing can be a great way to supplement one's diet as well as an engaging hobby. Be careful when taking canal fish for food that there are no notices from the Health Ministry advising against the practice.