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Fishing in Poland

Poland offers plenty of fishing possibilities, as 3% of its surface is covered by water. You can find freshwater fishing in more than thousand different rivers, lakes and reservoirs and sea fishing in and on the shore of the 500 km long Baltic Sea. Freshwater fish include carp, tench, perch, eel, catfish, zander, pike, trout and salmon. This makes Poland one of the best countries for fishing throughout Europe.

In order to legally fish in a particular fishery in Poland, Polish nationals need both a valid fishing rod licence and an additional permit. Importantly for visitors and tourists, foreigners do not need a Polish fishing rod licence and only a fishing permit to fish in a particular fishery is needed.

1. Polish fishing rod licence

For Polish nationals require a fishing rod licence to fish in Poland. To obtain the Polish fishing rod licence (Karta wędkarska), an exam has to be passed. The knowledge for passing the exam includes fishing rules and regulations like size limits and general angling law. The exams are organised by local fishing clubs and licences are issued by the Polish administrative unit. If the exam is passed the holder obtains the Polish fishing rod licence which is valid lifelong.

However, foreigners are allowed to fish without a fishing rod licence and thus without passing an exam. Additionally, children under 14 years old are allowed to fish without fishing rod licence in Poland, as long as they are accompanied and supervised by an adult that holds both a valid fishing rod licence and an additional fishing permit for the particular fishery.

2. Fishing permit in Poland (Zezwolenie)

You always need a fishing permit (Zezwolenie) from a fishery owner to actually fish in a particular fishery in Poland.

3. Polish Angling Association PZW – Polski Związek Wędkarski

By far the most important organisation for anglers in Poland is the Polish Angling Association PZW (Polski Związek Wędkarski), it controls:

  • 26% of all stillwater
  • 84% of all freshwater reservoirs and
  • 66% of all rivers

The Polish Angling Association PZW issues fishing permits for the fisheries it controls. Unfortunately, the Website of the PZW  is mainly in Polish. To purchase a PZW- fishing permit (Zezwolenie) there are at least three different ways (see below).

4. How to obtain a fishing permit in Poland?

It is important to know that all streams in Poland are owned by the state. Stillwater are either privately owned or belong to the state. Fishing permits (Zezwolenie) can be obtained either from the Polish Angling Association (PZW) for the region you want to fish in or from another organisation/private individual for a particular fishery. A fishing permit for a particular fishery can often be found directly on the spot.

For state owned waters (all streams) you can get a fishing permit in Poland either from:

  • the Polish Angling Association (PZW) or
  • a fishermen cooperative

A fishing permit for stillwater in Poland can be obtained from:

  • the Polish Angling Association (PZW)
  • an angling club
  • a private individual or
  • a (water) company or
  • a fishermen cooperative

4.1 Obtaining a fishing permit from the Polish Angling Association PZW

There are three ways to obtain a PZW-fishing permit:

  • directly at an PZW office
  • in a fishing shop
  • being a member of the regional fishing association in Brandenburg or Berlin

If you are fluent in Polish or come with a translator you can purchase a PZW-permit directly at an PZW office. You can find offices of the Polish Angling Association PZW (Polski Związek Wędkarski) in every district capital.

If you are not fluent in Polish

If you are not fluent in Polish the easiest way to obtain a PZW-permit is to visit a local fishing shop. Most fishing shops provide PZW-forms and will help to choose a suitable PZW-permit with you and help with filling out the forms. You will get a letter of referral that enables you to pay the fee. You can do this either by bank transfer or at a post office. After paying the fee the stamped letter of referral will serve as the valid PZW-fishing permit. The stamped letter of referral must always be carried whilst fishing and might be controlled by bailiffs from the SSR that are named by the local authority.

Members of the Landesanglerverband Brandenburg

German anglers and foreigners with a valid german rod licence can obtain yearly regional fishing permits for certain regions in Poland if they become members of the regional fishing association in Brandenburg (Landesanglerverband Brandenburg) or Berlin. For approximately 25 Euros, members can obtain fishing permits for 12 Polish regions (e.g. Bydgoszcz, Gdansk, Jelenia Góra, Katowice, Pila, Rzeszow, Stettin, Suwalki, Torun and Wroclaw).

4.1.1 Different types of PZW-fishing permits

The Polish Angling Association PZW issues permits for:

  • regional coarse fishing
  • national coarse fishing
  • regional game fishing

According to the duration and the type of fishing, fees for the PZW-fishing permit vary considerably. There are various possibilities, like daily or yearly validity periods and coarse or game fishing in 49 different regions.

A detailed table with all different options for the PZW-fishing permit can be found here.

LEGEND of the table:

Podstawowa – Basic ; (w zł.) – (in Zloty) ; Składka – Fee ; pełna na wody nizinne – Full permit for the lowland river ; pełna z wodami górskimi – Full permit including the mountain river ; Roczne – per year ; 1 dz. – per day ; Okręg PZW – PZW-Region ; Norm. – Normal ; Ulg. – Reduced ; Ucz. – Students ; PZW – PZW Members ; N.Z. – Non PZW members and foreigners

For example a Non PZW member or foreigner pays 30 Zloty for a day permit for the region Białystok. If the mountain river is included he pays 60 Zloty for a day permit for the region Białystok. A normal season permit costs 144 Zloty per year for a full permit including the mountain rivers. Currently this is approximately 33 Euros.

4.2 Obtaining a fishing permit from a fishery owner

Some waters are not controlled by the PZW and require a fishing permit from:

  • an angling club
  • a private individual or
  • a (water) company or
  • a fishermen cooperative

To obtain such a fishing permit you might find it on the spot or again ask in a local fishing shop to get in touch with the relevant body. Please see below under “6. Where to fish?”.

5. Fishing regulations in Poland

The fishing regulations in Poland are quite detailed. A version of the PZW regulations from 1.1.2016 in Polish can be found here.  In the following you will find information on fishing regulations in Poland. Keep in mind that in contrast to waters controlled by the Polish Angling Association (PZW) in other waters different local regulations may apply!

Most importantly, you should be informed about size limits, daily catch limits and closed seasons. Closed seasons, size limits and daily catch limits depend on the particular region/fishery. However, before you go fishing to a particular fishery make sure your knowledge on the local fishing regulations is complete and up to date. Again, a visit in a local fishing shop might help to get informed and be updated about recent changes.

You may also find information on the backside of your fishing permit or affiliated with the information provided by the body issuing the fishing permit. To be able to roughly understand this information, which is usually only given in Polish, here is a list of available fish in Poland:

General rules

  • Fishing rods must not be left unattended
  • Practicing catch & release is forbidden – except of releasing fish due to size limits or closed season!
  • It is forbidden to fish whilst standing on a bridge
  • It is forbidden to sale or to give caught fish to others
  • A fish hook remover must always be carried
  • The number of hooks used must not exceed:
    • 1 for coarse fishing
    • 2 for fly fishing (max. diameter 30mm)
    • 2 for spin fishing (max. 4 hook tips and max. diameter 30mm)
    • 1 for ice fishing (max. 2 hook tips and max. diameter 20mm)
  • A minimum distance of 50 meters has to be respected towards:
    • weirs, dams, fish ladders and sluices as well as
    • fishnets and other fishing furnishings
  • Night fishing is generally allowed, except of waters with trout or grayling and when boat fishing
  • Water contaminations have to be reported to the official authority
  • When catching a labelled fish that cannot be released:
    • The label and some fish scales should be removed and kept
    • Note fish species, length and weight of the fish
    • Note location and date of catch
    • Send all information, label and fish scales to the bailiff in charge

Types of baits

Generally, all types of natural and artificial baits are allowed:

  • Bait fish:
    • Must originate from the same fishery
    • Size limits and closed seasons must be respected
    • Living bait fish are allowed
  • Baits generally forbidden are:
    • animals and plants that are under protection
    • fish roe

Boat fishing

  • Both sides of a boat used for fishing must be marked with registration plates, well-visible from the distance
  • Be aware that even leased fishing boats might lack registration plates!
  • Night fishing by boat is only allowed between June 1st and 30th of September

Controls

Usually the leader of the local authority sets up a voluntary bailiff system, which is called the SSR. Members of the SSR are authorised to:

  • Check passports and fishing permits.
  • Check the amount, size and weight of fish caught.
  • Check the fishing equipment.
  • Arrest anglers without license and/or permit
  • Report fishing law violations to the police

More information about fishing law violations and issues like unauthorised electrofishing can be found here.

6. Where to fish?

You can book fishing trips on polandtrips.co.uk , see here .

Another excellent website with loads of information can be found on Discoverpoland.travel, see here.

A good resource on fly fishing trips all over the world can be found here. Please also visit the section about Poland´s river San.

Another organiser is River San FlyFishing, offering lodges in the Bieszczady Mountains near the border with Ukraine and Slovakia. They also provide fishing guides.

Guided fishing in Poland and other selected countries worldwide can be found here, on Guidedfishing.eu.

If you are into fly fishing don´t miss this website from Pioneer Fishing on Dunajec River. They also offer a link to purchase flies online.

You can order handmade Polish flies from Polishquills here.

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