Buy a rod fishing licence

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.

Licences for children aged between 12 and 16 are free. You’ll still need to get a junior 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

Trout, coarse fish and eel licence

This lets you fish non-migratory trout and all freshwater fish.

You must use your licence in one of the following ways. You can choose to fish with:

  • 1 rod for non-migratory trout in rivers, streams, drains and canals
  • up to 2 rods for non-migratory trout in reservoirs, lakes and ponds
  • up to 2 rods for freshwater fish

You can also buy a 12-month licence that lets you use 3 rods for freshwater fish.

The place where you fish may have additional rules about how many rods you can use there.

Salmon and sea trout licence

This lets you fish salmon, sea trout, non-migratory trout and all freshwater fish.

You must use your licence in one of 3 ways. You can choose to fish with:

  • 1 rod for salmon, sea trout and non-migratory trout in rivers, streams and canals
  • up to 2 rods for salmon, sea trout and non-migratory trout in reservoirs, lakes and ponds
  • up to 3 rods for freshwater fish

The place where you fish may have additional rules about how many rods you can use there.

Rods that aren’t affected by licence limits

The following rods aren’t affected by licence limits unless they have hooks attached:

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