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UK licensing – fishing rod licence

Freshwater fishing in the UK is one of the best fishing in whole Europe. Salmon, sea trout, but also wild brown trout and rainbow trout are caught in the numerous rivers in England, Scotland and Wales. There is also good reservoir trout and pike fishing and plenty of coarse fish, like  carp, bream and roach in still waters.

In most parts of the United Kingdom (UK) a valid fishing rod licence is a prerequisite to go fishing. Often you need an additional permit to actually fish in a particular fishery.You will find practiced “Catch and Release” in many of the still waters and some rivers in the UK. Anglers are voluntarily releasing an increasing number of fish they capture to help maintaining the stocks of salmon and sea trout.

There are different licensing systems in the UK, depending on the country:

Fishing licences in England and Wales

A fishing rod licence is required to fish in:

  • England (except the River Tweed)
  • Wales
  • the Border Esk region of Scotland

Furthermore you need an additional licence to fish in the river Thames.

Fishing licences in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland a licence and a permit are needed for legal fishing in freshwater lakes, loughs and rivers. The fishing rod licence legalises the fishing rod and regulates the type of fish you are allowed to catch. The permit grants you the right to fish in a particular fishery.

Fishing licences in Scotland

Except of the Border Esk and its tributaries in Scotland only a written permission, but no fishing rod licence, is necessary for legal fishing. The permissions are sold on different websites and range from £9 to £100 (GBP) per day. There are also offers that include Lodge & Fishing, especially for Salmon fishing.

There are plenty of waters that do not require a written permission for freshwater fishing. You can find some waters here, however make sure this information is still valid before you go fishing.

Gyrodactylus salaris

Before arriving in the UK anglers from areas with known occurrence of Gyrodactylus salaris must take precautions to decontaminate their fishing gear and tackle.

The parasite Gyrodactylus salaris was found in rivers of the west coast of Sweden, in Norway and recently in some rivers in northern Finland and northern Russia.

A guide on how to decontaminate fishing gear and tackle can be found here.

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