Whether you are new to angling or want to renew your licence for another year, now is the time to get that renewal ready. This guide to Fishing Rod Licences will answer the common queries beginner and returning anglers deal with when purchasing a licence.
What is a Fishing Rod Licence?
A rod licence gives you the legal right to use a fishing rod or pole in the UK. To find out about rod licences elsewhere in Europe, you can find more information on Fishinglicense.eu
If you have been fishing for a few years you will know that annual licences can now run from the date you choose when buying it, unlike previous years where it was fixed at April 1 to March 31.
When You Need a Rod Licence
You need a rod fishing licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel with a rod and line in England (except the River Tweed), Wales and the Border Esk region of Scotland.
You must always carry your rod fishing licence when you’re fishing or you could be prosecuted!
Anglers who fish without a rod licence could be fined up to £2,500, so it really is worth the investment.
All the money made from rod licence sales goes directly back into angling, which we will cover in more detail later in this guide.
Types of Fishing Rod Licence
There are much more options than just an annual rod licence, for those that only like to fish in certain seasons there is the 1-day and 8-day license. Additionally, you need to register how many rods you use and the type of fishing whether it be carp, coarse or salmon.
There are two main types of rod licence in the UK;
1. Trout, coarse fish and eel licence
2. Salmon and sea trout licence
With the correct rod licence, you can enjoy your freshwater fishing, sea fishing as long as there are non-migratory trout and all freshwater fish.
You must also note what type of licence dictates where and how many rods can be used.
With the Trout, Coarse and Eel Licence you can choose to fish with:
1 rod for non-migratory trout in rivers, streams, drains and canals
Up to 2 rods for non-migratory trout in reservoirs, lakes and ponds
Up to 2 rods for freshwater fish
If the one and rod options do not meet your fishing needs, you can also buy a 12-month licence that lets you use 3 rods for freshwater fish. This licence covers the same species as the original two-rod licence, however, for anglers who want to fish with three rods, this licence means that you no longer have to invest in two two-rod licences. It is important to remember that the rules regarding trout apply to this licence.
If you purchase the Salmon and sea trout licence you must use your licence in one of 3 ways. Either choose to;
Fish with 1 rod for salmon, sea trout and non-migratory trout in rivers, streams and canals
Up to 2 rods for salmon, sea trout and non-migratory trout in reservoirs, lakes and ponds
If you want to get a young one into the sport, the good news is that children under 13 do not need a licence and licences for children aged between 13 and 16 are free! From the 1st of April 2017, children from age 13 to 16 get a free UK fishing licence. Make sure that if you want to take your child aged between 13 - 16 years of age fishing that you still register then with Junior's Fishing Licence.
The Environment Agency wants to encourage younger anglers to get involved with fishing and hopes that this will help to maintain younger anglers’ interest in the sport.
NOTE: Young children who are under 13 years old do not need a licence to fish, however, the person supervising them needs the proper permit to take hold of the rod or to help the child fish with it.
In addition to fishing licences being free for 13 - 16-year-olds and not needed for children under 13, there are plenty of events run by Angling Trust and other angling organisations and charities that encourage youth to take up fishing.
Cost-wise, licences have stayed the same price as they were in 2020, with the Environment Agency freezing the 2022 price for the sixth year running! The Environment Agency is continuing to offer great value for money at just £30 for an annual permit. By keeping prices affordable, EA wants to encourage as many people as possible to join the highly-rewarding sport of fishing.
Rod licence prices do depend on the type of fish you are fishing for and the number of rods you use.
A two-rod annual coarse fishing licence costs £30, a three-rod licence £45, concessionary £20/£30 respectively.
All juniors are free, but 13-16-year-old have to register online. The cheapest rod licence is a one-day coarse licence which is £6 but there is better short-term value £12 for eight days. The salmon licence is £82 a year, £12 a day or £27 for eight days.
If you are over 65 or a blue badge holder, you can get 1/3 off the 12-month price.
Where can I buy my rod fishing licence from?
You can purchase your fishing rod licence in 3 ways:
By calling the Environment Agency fishing licence service on 0344 800 5386
Purchasing your rod licence online (although telephone and Post Office services are still available), makes obtaining a fishing licence easier than ever and it ensures that the joy of angling is accessible to all. You can buy a 1-day, 8-day or 12-month license online via GOV.UK
Once you get your rod licence sorted, you also need to make sure to meet the expectations and rules depending on where you fish.
1. You must seek permission from the landowner to fish on private land and sort an additional licence to fish in locks or weirs on the River Thames.
2. You must follow national and local rules (byelaws) when freshwater fishing with a rod and line in England and Wales.
3. You must report a catch return every year even if you did not fish and your chosen place to fish may have additional rules about how many rods you can use there.
It is also important to consider other restrictions, too, including the close season on UK coarse rivers which runs between 15th March and 15th June, annually.
Rods Not Affected By Licence Limits
There is some good news as not all rods require to follow such limits. If you use spod rods (used to propel bait into water) or marker rods (used to mark outlines), these are not affected by licence limits unless they have hooks attached.
Where Does the Rod Licence Money Go?
The Environment Agency is committed to putting the money you pay back into the sport of fishing. The funding from licence sales enables the Fisheries and the Natural Environment at the Environment Agency to carry out vital projects supporting anglers and fisheries across England, such as;
Improving fish stocks and waterways
Promoting the sport to a wider range of people
Fishing licence income is also used to fund work to maintain, improve and develop fisheries, fish habitats and angling. With plenty of flooding occurring of late, the Environment Agency use the money raised by the rod licence to improve river habitats and construction of methods to improve fish passage, amongst other crucial projects.
The money raised also encourages people to try angling for the first time, and to successfully prosecute angling crimes – including poaching. You can find out more about the planned actions for 2022 and have your say on what you think needs improving to Angling Trust.
By generating a yearly income from rod licences, the EA has also been able to invest in key projects with partners aimed at opening up rivers to migratory and coarse fish. Among these projects is DNAire, a flagship collaboration that will open up more than 60 kilometres of the Aire for the first time in 150 years. This project relies on the installation of fish and eel passes at Armley, Kirkstall, Newlay and Saltaire.
The Environment Agency unveiled the new fishing licence images back in March 2021, all of which has been created by the famous fish and wildlife painter David Miller. Pike and Trout art is shown on 2 of the licence types, already displayed above in this article. The third can be seen below:
Kevin Austin, Deputy Director Agriculture, Fisheries and the Natural Environment at the Environment Agency said:
"We are so pleased with David’s beautiful designs for this year’s rod licences. The income we receive from licence sales allows us to invest in fisheries and carry out vital improvements to protect and enhance our much-loved fish populations."
"We hope David’s designs encourage even more people to take up fishing and recognise the beauty of our natural environment and fish species."
Join nearly 1 million anglers!
Every year nearly 1 million anglers buy their fishing licence. Your licence money helps to protect and improve fisheries, which helps to improve the places you love to fish.
We, here at Angling Direct encourage you to join these anglers in getting your hands on this year’s rod licences. Buying a fishing licence is quick and easy and will encourage more anglers to fish safely and legally.
Still need help with Rod Licences?
If you are struggling to find the answer you need check out the following links and contacts.