UPDATED AUGUST 2023
If you fish in freshwater in England & Wales then legally you need to have a valid fishing licence. The good news is that a licence is easy to buy and inexpensive. Annual fishing licences now last for 365 days from the day you buy them and they offer far better value for money than short term licences. So get yourself a licence and get fishing!
When do I need a fishing licence?
You need a rod fishing licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel with a rod and line in:
- England (except the River Tweed)
- the Border Esk region of Scotland
You must always carry your rod fishing licence when you’re fishing or you could be prosecuted.
You can be fined up to £2,500 for fishing without a rod fishing licence!
Children under 13 do not need a licence.
Licences for children aged between 13 and 16 are free. You’ll still need to get a junior licence.
You will also need:
Permission to fish from the landowner or whoever holds the fishing rights. This is usually via a fishing club membership or day ticket. The Fishinginfo website is a brilliant way to find out who sells memberships and permits.
Where can I buy a Fishing Licence?
The easiest way to buy is via the government website
You can also buy a licence over the phone by calling:
Telephone: 0344 800 5386
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturdays, 8am to 1pm (from 1 March to 31 May)
Bank holidays, 8am to 6pm (from 1 March to 31 May) remember call charges may apply.
THERE ARE SOME SITES WHO ADVERTISE HEAVILY ON GOOGLE WHO WILL TAKE AN EXTRA FEE FOR “HELPING” YOU APPLY FOR A ROD LICENCE. DO NOT USE THESE SITES OR YOU WILL END UP PAYING EXTRA FOR NO GOOD REASON. IF YOU ARE BUYING A FISHING LICENCE ONLINE ALWAYS USE THE .GOV SITE (link below)
Which Licence do I need?
If you intend to fish for Salmon or Sea Trout you will need to buy a Salmon & Sea Trout licence, however this also covers you to fish for non-migratory trout and coarse fish with up to 3 rods at a time. If you are not targeting Salmon or Sea Trout but wish to fish in freshwater, then you should buy a Trout & Coarse licence. The standard licence covers you to fish with up to 2 rods at a time, however if you are a specimen angler and wish to fish with three rods, you will need to buy a three rod licence. If you are aged between 13-16 you need to get a free rod licence which can be obtained online or via the phone service. Under 13’s do not need to hold a rod licence.
What does a fishing licence cost?
|Licence type||Trout and coarse 2-rod||Trout and coarse 3-rod||Salmon and sea trout|
|12-month – over 65 or disabled||£22||£33||£57.40|
|12-month – junior (13 to 16)||Free||Free||Free|
You can get a 12-month disabled person’s licence if you’ve got a Blue Badge, or you get Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (any rate) – you’ll need your National Insurance number to prove this.
You can also get a discounted 12-month licence if you’re over 65. You cannot get a discount for a 1-day or an 8-day licence.