This year has seen some welcome changes to the way the annual fishing licence is administered. In previous years, an annual licence was valid from 1st April - 31st arch, regardless of when you purchased it.
New rules that came into effect in 2020 allow licences to run from the date of purchase, or a future date specified by the angler for one year.
Where do you need a fishing licence?
If you are planning on fishing with a rod and line within England (except for the River Tweed), Wales or the Border Ask area in Scotland you will need a licence. This will cover you to fish in those areas for freshwater fish, trout, smelt, eel or salmon.
Fishing without a licence can lead to a fine of £2,500 and repeated offences can result in prosecution.
You must always carry your licence with you at all times, when fishing. Failure to produce it, when asked, could result in a fine or even prosecution.
Do children need a licence?
Children under the age of 13 do not need a licence and those between 13 and 16 can receive a fishing licence for free. Children between 13-16 must still register to receive their licence.
Fishing Licence Prices
Current prices have been held at 2019 levels; however, these are subject to review so be sure to check on the GOV UK website for the most up to date pricing.
Annual coarse fishing licence fees:
Two-rod: £30 (£20 concessions)
Three-rod: £45 (£30 concessions)
16 years: FREE (registration needed)
Daily coarse fishing licence fees:
8 Days: £12
1 Day: £6
Salmon licence fees:
8 Days: 27
1 Day: £12
Concessionary prices are also available. Over 65s and blue badge holders are entitled to â…“ off annual prices (not applicable to 1-day and 8-day licences).
Where to buy your fishing licence
There are several quick and convenient ways to purchase your fishing licence.
- Online at GOV. UK
- By telephone
- At the Post Office
Getting a rod licence is only one part of fishing legally and safely within the UK. There are other rules which you must follow, including seeking permission from the landowner if you plan to fish on private property.
All anglers must observe the UK close season which occurs between 15th arch and 15th June each year.
Fishing on locks or weirs on the River Thames requires an additional licence to be purchased.
Before you embark on your fishing trip, ensure that you are aware of any Bylaws in the area in which you are planning to fish. It is easy to do and could save you from getting into a lot of trouble if you’re caught breaking them.
Types of Fishing Licence
In the UK, there are two main types of licence. They are the Trout, coarse and eel licence and the salmon and trout licence.
You must also register for a licence that is sufficient for the number of rods you intend to use.
Licences are available for one year, 8 days and 1 day.
The licence you buy will dictate how many rods you can use and where you can fish.
Trout, coarse, and eel licence - 1 rod can be used in rivers, streams, and canals for trout (non-migratory). 2 rods for trout (non-migratory) in reservoirs, ponds, and lakes and 2 rods for freshwater species.
Salmon and sea trout licence - 1 rod for salmon, sea trout and trout (non-migratory) in rivers, streams, and canals. 2 rods for salmon, sea trout, and trout (non-migratory) in reservoirs and lakes and 3 rods for all freshwater species.
Particular types of rods are not included in rod limits. If you marker rods, which mark out the water, or spod rods which automatically bait and area, they are not affected by the limits unless hooks are attached to them.
Where does the licence fee go?
The good news is that the majority of the money collected in licence fees is invested back into rivers and the sport of fishing. Funding allows the Fisheries and Natural Environment agency to fund important projects across the UK. These works include improving fish stocks, stock surveys, flood defences and conversation work.
A vital part of their remit is to attract young and new anglers to the sport, to keep the industry thriving future generations to enjoy.