Lock and weir fishing on the River Thames

Find out which Environment Agency locks and weirs you can fish at, the licences and permits you need and when you can fish.

Following the announcement from the Prime Minister about the UK’s heightened response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency, we have taken the difficult decision to suspend fishing at our lock and weir sites until further notice.

Application forms for the 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 will not be available until the sites are open again. Thank you for your co-operation during these challenging times.

You can fish at the following locks and weirs on the river Thames:

  • Buscot Lock, Buscot, Oxfordshire
  • Grafton Lock, Clanfield, Oxfordshire
  • Rushey Lock, Buckland Marsh, Oxfordshire
  • Shifford Lock, near Aston, Oxfordshire
  • Pinkhill Lock, near Eynsham, Oxfordshire
  • Eynsham Lock, Eynsham, Oxfordshire
  • Sandford Lock, Sandford-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
  • Abingdon Lock, Abingdon, Oxfordshire (new)
  • Culham Lock, Culham, near Abingdon, Oxfordshire
  • Clifton Lock, Clifton Hampden, Oxfordshire
  • Day’s Lock, Little Wittenham, Oxfordshire
  • Benson Lock, Preston Crowmarsh, Oxfordshire
  • Goring Lock, Goring, Oxfordshire
  • Shiplake Lock, Shiplake-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
  • Hurley Lock, Hurley, Berkshire
  • Cookham Lock, Cookham, Berkshire
  • Bell Weir Lock, Egham, Surrey
  • Penton Hook Lock, Staines, Middlesex - please note the wheelchair accessible platform here is closed until further notice
  • Molesey Lock, East Molesey, Surrey (re-instated)

Lock and weir fishing is not available at Shepperton (Middlesex) or Sunbury (Surrey) until further notice.

Only Cookham Lock is currently wheelchair accessible.

You must only fish from the areas of each lock that are identified as ‘fishing sites’ on the Thames lock and weir fishing maps.

The maps also include directions and parking details for each lock or weir.

Fishing at each location is on a first come first serve basis.

Permits and licences

You must buy a lock and weir fishing permit before you fish at a lock and weir site.

Once you have a permit, you can use 2 rods and lines per permit at any one time.

You must follow the terms and conditions on the back of your permit. You can’t transfer your permit to anyone else (eg you can’t give it to a friend so they can go fishing).

You also need to buy a UK fishing rod licence.

You can be prosecuted and fined up to £2,500 if you fish without a rod licence.

If you’re younger than 14, you can only enter a fishing site if you’re with an adult. You, and the adult you’re with, must have separate permits and rod licences.

When you can fish

You can fish for any fish during coarse fish open season, which starts on 16 June each year and ends on 14 March of the following year.

The coarse fish season is closed from 15 March to 15 June. During this period, you can only fish for salmon and trout and you must use an artificial fly or lure.

Opening hours

You can fish from dawn until dusk at the following locks:

  • Buscot
  • Culham
  • Clifton
  • Hurley
  • Penton Hook

You can only fish during the lock keepers’ hours of duty at the other locks.

Report to the lock keeper

You must show the lock keeper your permit when you arrive at a site.

The lock keeper will let you in to the fishing site if it’s locked.

Fishing restrictions

You must not fish from banks upstream of weir structures or from bullnoses (concrete islands separating sections of a weir).

You can’t use ‘keepnets’ at any of the locations. (Keepnets are large nets suspended in the water to keep caught fish alive.)

You’ll need a drop net or landing net with very long handles to fish at Eynsham or Bell Weir, because the weir walkways are high above the river.

It’s illegal to use lead weights between 0.06g (dust shot) and 28.35g (1 ounce).

Taking guests or ‘buddies’ fishing

You can bring a guest fishing for free on your permit up to 3 times a year.

Your ‘buddy’ must have their own rod licence. They can buy short-term (1 or 8 day) licences.

You must show your permit to the lock keeper when you arrive at the site, and he or she will sign one of the 3 boxes on the ‘buddy card’ section of your permit.

Report salmon and sea trout catches

If you catch salmon or sea trout you should report this to the lock keeper’s office or call 03708 506 506 to help track populations.

You must return any salmon or sea trout to the river if you have a coarse fishing licence.

Published 19 March 2015
Last updated 27 March 2020 + show all updates
  1. Coronavirus (COVID-19) information added: lock and weir fishing suspended until further notice.

  2. The wheelchair accessible fishing platform at Penton Hook lock has been closed until further notice for safety reasons.

  3. Lock and weir fishing is not available at Sunbury (as well as Shepperton) until further notice.

  4. New locks added.

  5. Molesey Lock not available.

  6. Updated with information about Shepperton lock and weir fishing not being available.

  7. First published.