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Buying a Fishing Rod Licence

You can be fined up to £2,500 for fishing without a rod licence so don't fish illegally

You need a fishing rod licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt and eel with
a rod and line in England (except the River Tweed), Wales and the Border Esk region of Scotland.


Children under 12 don’t need a licence. However, if you take a child under 12 fishing and hold the rod or help hold it you must buy a licence for yourself.

Types of licence

There are 2 types of licences:

  • trout, coarse fish and eel licences that let you fish for non-migratory trout, char, coarse fish, eel and smelt
  • salmon and sea trout licences that let you fish for salmon, sea trout and all of the fish in the licence above

Number of rods you can use with your licences

The maximum number of rods that you can fish with depends on the type of water and fish. You may need to buy additional licences if you fish with more than one rod.

Types of fish Rivers, streams, drains and canals Reservoirs, lakes and ponds
Salmon and sea trout (migratory trout) 1 rod 2 rods
Trout (non-migratory) and char 1 rod 2 rods
Coarse fish and eel 4 rods 4 rods

You don’t need a rod licence for ‘spod’ or ‘marker’ rods as long as they don’t have hooks attached.

Additional licences

You’ll need to buy:

  • 2 licences if you’re fishing for coarse fish with 3 or 4 rods
  • 2 licences if you’re fishing for salmon or trout with 2 rods

Buying a fishing licence

nnual licences run from 1 April to 31 March.

You can buy a licence:

  • online, in person or by phone at the Post Office
  • by yearly direct debit with the Environment Agency

How much it costs

Prices for 2019.

Licence type Trout and coarse 2-rod Trout and coarse 3-rod Salmon and sea trout
1-day £6 Not available £12
8-day £12 Not available £27
12-month £30 £45 £82
12-month - over 65 or disabled £20 £30 £54
12-month - junior (13 to 16) Free Free Free

You can get a disabled concession if you’ve got a Blue Badge, get Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment (any rate).

Apply online, in person or by phone

You can:

You can go fishing as soon as you have paid for your licence - take your Post Office till or email receipt with you.

Contact the Post Office if you’ve had a problem paying for your licence.

Apply by yearly Direct Debit

Contact the Environment Agency to set up a Direct Debit.

Your renewal payment will be taken from your account at the beginning of March each year. Your new licence will be posted to you in April.

Environment Agency
Telephone: 03708 506 506
Minicom: 03702 422 549
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

You can also send the Direct Debit form by post.

Buy a licence from abroad

You can buy your licence online. Use the UK address where you’re staying for the online registration.

You can use the confirmation email as proof of purchase if you don’t get the licence in the post in time for your visit.

For a concessionary licence call the Environment Agency on +44 (0)1709 389 201.

Change or replace a licence

Contact the Environment Agency:

  • if you have questions about your licence
  • to replace a licence
  • to update your details if you’ve changed your name or address
  • if you haven’t received your licence within 15 working days

It costs £5 (£1 for junior licences) to replace a lost or damaged full licence.

Environment Agency
Telephone: 03708 506 506
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

Upgrading your licence

You can’t fish for salmon or sea trout with a Trout, Coarse Fish and Eel licence.

Take your licence to a Post Office branch to upgrade your licence and pay the difference.

Fishing in Scotland and Northern Ireland

You don’t need a fishing rod licence in Scotland but you need permission.

Fishing in the Thames

You need to buy an additional permit to fish at locks or weirs on the River Thames.

The permit costs:

  • £28.50 for adults
  • £18.50 for people over 60 and Blue Badge holders
  • £18.50 for children under 16

They’re valid from 1 April to 31 March each year. You’re allowed to take another person fishing with your permit 3 times a year.

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