If you’re considering rod fishing in the UK, you might need a license.
Otherwise, you might get in trouble. Let’s look at how to get a fishing license in the UK?
This article shows you how and where to get a license for freshwater fishing in the UK.
It provides a comprehensive guide with the steps and prices.
Types of UK Fishing Licenses
There are two types of rod fishing licenses in the UK. Depending on the type of fish you aim for, you should choose one or the other.
Here are the two types:
1. Trout, Coarse Fish, and Eel License
The trout, coarse fish, and eel license allows you to catch all freshwater fish, including non-migratory trout.
It’s the most popular among anglers.
With this license, you get the following options:
- Only one rod to fish for non-migratory trout in streams, rivers, canals, and drains.
- Two rods to fish for non-migratory trout in lakes, ponds, and reservoirs.
- Two rods for any freshwater fish.
Note that a 12-month license can grant you permission for up to three rods to fish for any type of freshwater fish.
2. Salmon and Sea Trout License
The salmon and sea trout license permits you to catch both sea and non-migratory trout in addition to salmon and all types of freshwater fish.
It basically offers you the same as the other type of license, in addition to salmon and sea trout.
Like the other type, this license also gives you three options:
- Only one rod for sea trout, non-migratory trout, and salmon in canals, rivers, and streams.
- Two rods for sea trout, non-migratory trout, and salmon in ponds, lakes, and reservoirs.
- Three rods for any freshwater fish.
Are There Exceptions?
Although you’re generally required by law to obtain a fishing license, there are a few exceptions.
For instance, there’s no limit to the number of spod or marker rods you can use with any type of license if you have no hooks attached.
How Much Does a UK Fishing License Cost?
The price of the fishing license depends on different factors, such as the number of rods, license duration, and the type of fish you’re aiming at.
For instance, a trout, coarse fish, and eel license for two rods costs £6 if it’s only for a day, £12 for eight days, and £30 for an entire year.
In addition, you can have the same license for three rods only for a year at £45.
As for the salmon and sea trout license, you can have it for £12 for only one day, £27 for eight days, and £82 for a year.
Apart from the standard pricing, juniors under 16, seniors above 65, and people with disabilities get special discounts.
For example, seniors and people with disabilities pay £20 for a 12-month trout, coarse fish, and eel license of two rods and £30 for the same license for three rods.
As for a salmon and sea trout license, seniors above 65 and people with disabilities pay £54 for a 12-month license.
Interestingly, juniors between 13 and 16 years old can obtain their fishing licenses for free.
(prices correct as of December 2022)
Are You Eligible for a Disability Discount?
You’re eligible for a disability discount if you:
Hold a Blue Badge
Get any rate of Personal Independence Payment
Receive a Disability Living Allowance
How to Buy a UK Fishing License?
You can obtain your fishing license in the UK by three means:
Applying online at the government’s fishing license service website.
Calling the UK Environment Agency on 0344 800 5386 (Monday to Friday: 8.00 AM to 6.00 PM)
Visiting any post office until January 15th, 2023
How to Extend a UK Fishing License?
You can easily upgrade your one-day or eight-day fishing license to a 12-month license.
Simply call the Environment Agency on 0344 800 5386 within the first 14 days of your purchase.
In this case, you’ll be buying a new license, but you’ll get reimbursed for your initial one.
Do I Need a License to Fish in the UK?
You definitely need a UK fishing license if you’re above 13, planning to do any fishing with a rod,
or fishing in freshwater bodies within these areas:
- England (except the River Tweed)
- The Border Esk region, including the Scottish parts of the river
Do I Need Additional Permissions and Licenses?
When fishing with rods in England and Wales, you must also follow all the Freshwater Rod Fishing Rules.
In addition to the license and these national and local bylaws, you might, in some cases, need additional permits such as:
A special permit from the landowner of a private property
A license for fishing the locks or weirs on the River Thames
What to Do After Getting the License?
After purchasing the UK fishing license, there are three things to consider.
Start using your license within 60 days of its issuance.
Make sure to follow the rules of the area you want to fish in and get any required permits.
Report a catch return by the end of every year, even if you haven’t caught any fish.
What Happens If You Fish Without a License in the UK?
If you fish in any freshwater body within England and Wales, you might get a fine of up to £2,500.
Moreover, your equipment, illegally caught fish, boat, or any related item can be confiscated.
If this happens, you’ll receive a receipt, by which you can reclaim your belongings when a decision has been made.
When you go fishing in the UK, you should make sure that you have your fishing license as well as any required fishing permit.
This can come in handy as proof that you’re legally allowed to fish in the UK.
The officer may also ask to check your equipment or vehicle. In this case, you have to comply and cooperate.
Can You Fish for Free in the UK?
Not really! In fact, you can’t fish for free in any of the 2000 miles of freshwater bodies in England and Wales.
That being said, you can still get a free fishing license if you’re under 16 years old. Interestingly, if you’re under 13, you don’t even need a license.
However, there are frequent Let’s Fish events that are totally free and open to all people over six years old.
Can I Fish Anywhere With a UK License?
Even after you get a UK fishing license, you still need to obtain a special permit from whoever owns the fishing rights in the freshwater body you’re fishing in.
The owner can be a person or an angling club.
For areas where fishing rights aren’t claimed by any organization or angling club, you still need to get a Waterway Wanderers permit.
How Long Does a UK Fishing License Last?
There are different plans to choose from.
You can opt for licenses that last for a day, eight days, or an entire year.
Where does the License Money Go?
The Environmental Agency receives the money you pay to obtain a fishing license. It uses this money to fund its efforts to protect fish habitats, support fishing, and improve fisheries.
The agency also cooperates with other organizations such as The River Trust, Get Hooked on Fishing Campaigns, the Angling Trust, the Canal and River Trust, and The Angling Trades Association.
These tag teams work collaboratively to encourage fishing as a healthy sport and improve the conditions of rivers.
They distribute funds to finance the angling projects within England and Wales as well.
How to get a fishing license in the UK?
If you’re above 13, you must get a fishing license to fish in freshwater bodies in the UK.
The price of such licenses depends on certain factors such as the type of license, the number of rods permitted, and where you’ll fish.
You can purchase the license from the Environmental Agency’s website or phone. You can also get it from the post office.
No matter which fish you’re aiming to catch, get your license and regional permit ready to have legal fishing permission.