Guidance

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 suspension of fishing from our allocated lock and weir fishing sites on the non-tidal River Thames, in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), we are pleased to reinstate this from 16 June 2021 when these sites will be open again to lock and weir fishing permit holders.

It is intended these sites will remain open until the end of the open season on 14 March 2022 but this is subject to the continued review of safe systems of working to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of lock staff and visitors whilst adhering to government restrictions and guidance.

Please follow government social distancing guidelines at all times when visiting lock sites. The permit application form for 16 June 2021 to 14 March 2021 is now available.

Where you can fish

With a current lock and weir fishing permit you may be able to fish during the open fishing season from the allocated fishing sites, numbers permitting, as follows:

  • 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

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 cannot transfer your permit to anyone else (for example you cannot 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 are younger than 14, you can only enter a fishing site if you are with an adult. You, and the adult you are with, must have separate permits and rod licences.

When you can fish

The Environment Agency lock and weir fishing permit allows you to fish between the 16 June and the 14 March inclusive to align with the coarse fish river fishing season.

No fishing at any of the lock and weir permit fishing sites will be permitted between the 15 March and the 15 June inclusive to align with the river closed season for coarse fish.

More information on the closed season can be found here fishing with a line and rod.

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

You will 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 is 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 24 May 2021 + show all updates
  1. Lock and weir fishing to resume at allocated lock and weir sites on the River Thames from 16 June 2021.

  2. Updated guidance: fishing sites remain closed.

  3. Coronavirus (COVID-19) information updated: lock and weir fishing sites remain suspended until further notice. They will not open on 16 June, the start of the coarse fishing season.

  4. Coronavirus (COVID-19) information added: lock and weir fishing suspended until further notice.

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

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

  7. New locks added.

  8. Molesey Lock not available.

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

  10. First published.