1. When you need a 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)
  • Wales
  • 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 12 don’t need a licence.

You may also need:

You must follow national and local rules (byelaws) when freshwater fishing with a rod and line in England and Wales.

Types of licence

There are 2 types of licences:

  • trout, coarse fish and eel licences that let you fish for non-migratory trout and all freshwater fish
  • salmon and sea trout licences that let you fish for salmon, sea trout, non-migratory trout and all freshwater fish

Your licence is for freshwater fishing only, not for sea fishing.

Number of rods you can use with your licences

The maximum number of rods that you can fish with depends on the type of water and fish.

Types of fish Rivers, streams, drains and canals Reservoirs, lakes and ponds
Salmon, trout and char 1 rod 2 rods
Coarse fish and eels 2 rods (or 4 rods if you buy an extra licence) 2 rods (or 4 rods if you buy an extra licence)

Don’t count these rods unless they have hooks attached:

  • spod rods (used to propel bait into water)
  • marker rods (used to mark out lines)