1. Overview

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

These rules are aimed at protecting fish stocks and making fisheries sustainable.

Freshwater fish include salmon, trout, coarse fish and eels.

You must have a rod licence to fish in England and Wales if you’re aged 12 or older.

Find out which rules apply to your area

England and Wales are broken down into regions that each have their own rules. National rules are included in each set of local rules.

There may also be rules for privately owned bodies of water, eg private fishing lakes.

Read the rules for your area

Read the local byelaws for your area to find out the:

  • areas in your region where you’re not allowed to fish
  • closed seasons (when you can’t fish) which apply to particular types of water and fish within your region
  • sort of tackle you can use for certain fish in your region
  • size of fish you can keep

Read the local byelaws for your region - there are different regulations for Wales.