1. Fishing rod licence and permit
You need a fishing rod licence and permit to fish anywhere in Northern Ireland. However, a fishing licence for sea angling is not required, except when fishing for salmon or sea trout.
There are two bodies issuing fishing licences and permits for freshwater fishing:
- The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the
- Loughs Agency of the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission (FCILC)
DAERA and FCILC issue angling licences for their respective jurisdictions. However they can be combined by paying an extra fee, allowing licence holders to fish in the other jurisdiction. Instead of a paper rod licence or permit, anglers get an electronic record (e-record) with a unique reference number.
DAERA licences and permits
A DAERA game licence entitles the holder to fish for either game or coarse but with only one rod at a time. A separate game licence is required for each extra rod being used.
In order to fish in the waters kept by the FCILC as well, you need to obtain an “Endorsement to DAERA/FCILC season game fishing rod licence”. This endorsement will allow you to fish in both the DAERA and FCILC areas and is bought together with your season game or coarse rod licence.
There are various types of DAERA game or coarse angling licences and permits in Northern Ireland:
- Season fishing rod licence and permit – valid from January to December
- Juvenile season licence and permit – anglers aged between 12 and 18 years old.
- Concessionary season licence and permit – anglers with a disability or aged 60 years old and older
- Local season permit (permit only) – season fishing in a spercific area in Northern Ireland
- Fourteen day fishing rod licence and permit – valid for 14 consecutive days
- Three day fishing rod licence and permit – valid for 3 consecutive days
- Joint 14 day fishing rod licence and permit – valid for 14 consecutive days for tourist or visiting anglers
- Joint three day fishing rod licence and permit – valid for 3 consecutive days for tourist or visiting anglers
The rod licence and permit are usually bought separately. In 2016, the Season fishing rod licence costs £17 (GBP) and the Season fishing permit costs £77 (GBP) for game fishing and £28.50 (GBP) for coarse fishing. Local permits are just a little bit cheaper. In 2016, the Joint 14 day fishing rod licence and permit costs £26.50 (GBP) for game fishing and £20 (GBP) for coarse fishing and is the perfect option for tourists and visitors.
Obtaining just a FCILC licence only makes sense in very special cases, e.g. if an angler just wants to fish in a local water. For more information visit the Loughs Agency’s (FCILC) website.
DAERA licences and permits can be ordered:
For tourists and visitors ordering the Joint 14 fishing rod licence and permit or the Joint 3 day fishing rod licence and permit is the best option.
3. Additional fishing permit
Like in England and Wales, you need an additional permit from a fishery owner to actually fish in a particular fishery. This is important because, if you fish without a permit and/or license you can be fined.
In Northern Ireland a fishery owner can be:
- the DAERA itself
- an angling club
- a private individual or
- a company