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1. Fishing rod licence 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.

So far annual fishing rod licences in England and Wales run from 1 April to 31 March, but this might change soon.

There are two different types of licence depending on the type of fish you want to catch. The prices are:

  • Non-migratory trout and coarse fish license 1 year £27 (GBP), 1 day £3.75 (GBP) 8 days £10 (GBP)
  • additional +Salmon and sea trout license 1 year 72 (GBP), 1 day £8 (GBP), 8 days £23 (GBP)

For seniors (over 65), disabled and juniors (12 to 16) there are reduced fares.

2. How to obtain a fishing rod licence?

To purchase a fishing rod licence, you can do this:

  • either at the Post Office
    • online
    • in person or
    • by phone (0344 800 5386)
  • or by yearly direct debit with the Environment Agency

Fishing rod licence from abroad

To buy a licence from abroad you can use the UK address where you are going to stay for the online registration. If you don’t get the licence in the post in time for your visit, you can use the confirmation email as proof of purchase!

3. Additional fishing permit

Often you need an additional permit from a local authority or a property owner or an angling club to actually fish in a particular fishery. This is important because, if you fish without a permit and/or license you can be fined. For example in the UK you can be fined up to £2,500 (GBP) for fishing without a rod licence.

4. Local fishing regulations in England and Wales

England and Wales are broken down into regions that have their own local rules (byelaws). National rules are included in each set of local rules. You must follow both national and local byelaws when freshwater fishing with a rod and line in England and Wales. Freshwater fish include salmon, trout, coarse fish and eels.

There may also be additional rules to the byelaws for privately owned bodies of water, like private fishing lakes and waters kept by angling clubs. Anyone failing to comply with these byelaws and rules could face prosecution and receive a fine of up to £50,000 (GBP).

Read the local byelaws for your area to find out the:

  • the areas in your region where you are allowed to fish
  • closed seasons (when you can’t fish), which might depend upon particular types of water and fish
  • the sort of tackle (rod and bait) you can use for certain fish at certain times in the year
  • the size of certain fish you can keep (or must release immediately)

Local fishing regulations in England

In England the Environment Agency statutory regulates the rod fishing byelaws (rules) in different operational regions. The main idea behind these fishing byelaws is to protect fish stocks and fish. These local fishing regulations slightly differ between different regions like the anglian region, north east region or the south east region.

The rod fishing byelaws apply to all waters in England, whether they are owned by angling clubs, local councils or private individuals. Failure to comply with these byelaws could result in prosecution and a fine of up to £50,000 (GBP). Additionally, owners may impose additional rules to the byelaws of the Environment Agency.

For a complete list of local rod fishing byelaws for each region in England please visit here and scroll to the bottom.

Local fishing regulations in Wales

For the national rod fishing byelaws for Wales please visit here.

5. Where to fish in England and Wales?

The website fisheries.co.uk offers links to fisheries in England and Wales, see bottom of the page.

In England there are plenty of angling clubs that offer access to certain waters. You can visit a local tackling shop or have a closer look in the internet into the region´s angling clubs yourself. I was once member of the Northumbrian Anglers Federation in the north-east region to fish in the river Tyne between Wylam and Newcastle upon Tyne. The 2016 annual fee is £135 (GBP), however visitors pay £150 (GBP) for only 7 days of fishing.

More information on fishing in Wales can be found at the websites of

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