Who must have a Rod Licence?
All individuals over the age of 13 who wish to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt, or eels using a rod and line in England and Wales must have an Environment Agency Rod Licence to fish, except for fishing in the River Tweed. A licence is also necessary when fishing in the Border Esk region, including parts of rivers that flow in Scotland.
Do children need a Rod Licence?
Individuals under 16 are not required to obtain an Environment Agency Rod Licence to fish. However, those between the ages 13 and 16 who wish to fish must apply for a free Junior licence.
Do I need a licence to fish with spod or marker rods?
Licences are only needed for fishing rods used to catch fish. They are not required for spod or marker rods.
Am I allowed to fish anywhere with a Rod Licence?
No, a Rod Licence from the Environment Agency only grants permission to fish. Anglers must pay any fees required by landowners and venues for fishing, such as commercial coarse fisheries or private lakes. Anglers who go sea fishing do not need a licence.
What are the fishing regulations?
It is illegal to fish in most rivers, and canals during the breeding season (March 15–June 15), which is known as the closed season.
Many “landlocked” stillwaters, such as commercial coarse fisheries and lakes, do not have a close season—they can be fished at any time of the year.
Where can I apply for a fishing licence?
The easiest way to buy a fishing licence is through the official government website.
Starting from January 16, 2023, you can also purchase rod licences through the Environment Agency’s telesales service number at 0344 800 5386. That line is open Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) 8:00 AM-6:00 PM
Expiration of Fishing Licence?
One-day and eight-day fishing licences will show the expiration date on their face, while annual rod licences were previously valid from April 1st to March 31st of the following year.
This has changed and 12-month rod licences are now valid for up to 12 months from the date of purchase.
Are there penalties for fishing without a licence?
If you’re caught fishing without a licence, you may be fined up to £2,500. Always carry your licence with you or have proof of purchase when going fishing—otherwise, the consequences could be severe!
It’s important to note that a fishing rod licence only grants you the right to fish with a rod and line. You must also seek permission from whoever owns the water, whether it’s a farmer who owns his own pond or stretch of river—or even if it is a commercial fishery run by someone else, where you will need to purchase a day ticket.
What are the licences available for anglers?
The Environment Agency offers several kinds of fishing licences, depending on the type of fishing you plan to do and how often you go fishing. One-day or eight-day licences are available, but some people prefer annual permits because they’re cheaper in the long run.
Trout, Coarse Fish, and Eel Licence?
This licence is the most popular choice among anglers, as it covers fishing for non-migratory trout, carp and other coarse fish—like roach or bream. Eels also fall under this category.
This licence will give you a great deal of fishing freedom at lakes, rivers and ponds that are open to the public.
Salmon and Sea Trout Licence.
For those who plan to fish for salmon and sea trout, a Salmon-and-Sea Trout licence is required. This licence costs more than the Trout-, Coarse Fish-, or Eel Licence.
With a Coarse Fish, Trout and Eel licence, anglers can fish with one rod for non-migratory trout in rivers, streams and drains. They are also allowed to use two rods for fishing non-subsistence freshwater species which include eels.
A full-year fishing licence allows anglers to fish with three rods at any given time.
Trout and Coarse Fish Rod Licence Prices
Children and Juniors
Children under 13 do not need a licence. Juniors between the ages of 13 and 16 are eligible for free licences, but older children or adults must pay to fish in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Disabled anglers can get concessions on their licences: seniors over 65 years old can also benefit from this system
Catch and Return Form
Anglers who take out a salmon and sea trout licence are required to complete Catch and Return forms, whether or not they catch any fish.
The form requires the angler’s fishing licence number, as well as information about which rivers were fished and when—including details of whether it was before or after June 16. Anglers must also list all fish caught, how they were caught, and whether any were released by them (and if so how many and what the total weight was), among other details required by law.
Additional Venue Rules
Anglers should be aware that each fishing venue has its own rules regarding the number of rods permitted, and which techniques, lures or bait can be used.
Pricing for Salmon and Sea Trout Rod Licence
- One-Day Licence: £12
- Eight-Day Licence: £27
- One-Year Licence: £82
Concessions for Senior and Disabled Anglers
- Over 65 years old: £54
- Disabled: £54 (with proof of Blue Badge, Disability Living Allowance, or Personal Independence Payment)
License to fish for Juniors
- Under 13 years old: Not required
- Between 13 and 16 years old: Free (with option to have disability noted for future discounts or assisted access)
Extending a Licence
- In order to apply your one- or eight-day licence for 12 months, contact the Environment Agency within 14 days of purchase at 0344 800 5386 (Monday through Friday 8:00 am – 6 :00 pm excluding holidays) and receive a refund on the initial purchase.
Note: Please check the government website for the most up-to-date prices.
“Licensing Information for Anglers”
I. It may take up to 15 working days for the Environment Agency to process an application. If you haven’t received your 12-month licence within that time frame, contact them either by phone (03708 506 506) or email (email@example.com).
II. If anglers lose or have their licences stolen, they should first contact the Environment Agency to report this. The agency will then direct them on what needs to be done next (such as renewing licences)
III. It is important to remember that the money collected from anglers through rod licence fees goes toward protecting habitats for fish, improving fisheries and tackling illegal fishing.
The Agency benefits from partnerships with organizations such as The Angling Trust and Rivers Trust, which work to improve rivers and encourage more people to go fishing.
IV. Anglers fishing in Scotland, excluding the Border Esk region and parts of the River Esk that flow in Scotland, do not need an Environment Agency rod licence—but they must get permission from either the landowner or angling club that owns those fishing rights. as is required in England and Wales.
In Northern Ireland, anglers are required to carry a rod licence and angling permit issued by an agency within the region.
The Northern Ireland fishing system is managed by two agencies, DAERA (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs) and the Loughs Agency. For more information on what you need to know about getting involved with angling in the area visit their website.
In addition to the rod licence and angling permit, there are also National and Regional rod fishing Byelaws in place in England that regulate fishing with a rod—as well as restrictions on tackle.
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