Freshwater rod fishing rules

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Fish size and catch limits

You’re only allowed to keep a certain amount of the fish you catch.

These fish must also be of a certain size.

You must return fish you can’t keep to the water unharmed.

You’re committing an offence and can be fined if you take too many fish or fish that aren’t the right size.

Size limits

Whether you can keep a fish depends on:

  • the type of fish
  • where you’re fishing

Read the local byelaws for your region.

You must measure fish from the tip of the snout to the fork of the tail.

Catch limits

There’s a daily limit on the number of fish you can take.

Coarse (freshwater) fish

Each day you can only take from rivers:

  • 1 pike (up to 65cm)
  • 2 grayling (30cm to 38cm)
  • 15 small fish (up to 20cm) including barbel, chub, common bream, common carp, crucian carp, dace, perch, rudd, silver bream, roach, smelt and tench

Any eels you catch (except conger eels) must be released alive.

You can also take:

  • minor or ‘tiddler’ species, such as gudgeon
  • non-native species
  • ornamental varieties of native species like ghost or koi carp

You can be fined if you remove fish from privately-owned waters without written permission from the owner.

Salmon and trout

Read your local byelaws for the local daily limit of salmon and trout you can take.

You can be fined for selling rod-caught salmon or sea trout in England and Wales.