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FishTrail » United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Angling in the UK

Angling has long been the number one participatory sport in England, with the recent uptake in carp fishing holding numbers steady after a slight decline in interest. As an island, and with our fair share of rainfall, sea, river, canal and stillwater fishing is available accross most of the country.
Chalk streams, mountain brooks, loughs, harbours, piers, resevoirs there’s somewhere to fish whatever your favorite method or quarry.

What Types Of Fishing

A huge variety of marine, coarse and game fishing is available in the UK.

Salmon and seatrout migrate many of our rivers with stocks of brown trout and grayling common also. Other rivers hold a huge array of coarse species like
barbel, chub, dace, roach, eel, perch and pike to name just a few.
In our seas, popular recreational catches include; bass, pollack, mackerel, mullet, flounder, turbot and much more. Most larger seaside towns and harbours will have charterboats for hire who will happily get you on some fish and can often provide tackle where needed.


An Environment Agency rod licence is required to fish in freshwater in England and Wales if you are 12 years or over.
There are two types of licence available:
•One for coarse fish, non-migratory trout and eels (maximum 2 rods)
•One for salmon and migratory (sea) trout (maximum 1 rod)
Rod Licences can be purchased for 1 day, 8 days or a year at:
1. at;
2. at any Post Office branch in England and Wales (and some in Scotland).

Licence type Trout and coarse 2-rod Salmon and sea trout
1-day £6 £12
8-day £12 £27
12-month £30 £82
12-month – over 65 or disabled £20 £54
12-month – junior Free Free

Sea fishing – shore and boat

In the UK there is no requirement for a rod license when sea fishing except where targeting salmon or seatrout where a salmon and seatrout licence is required .
There is also no national restriction on the time of day or year that can be fished. Restrictions currently apply to anglers catching bass, visit the MMO website for more

Inshore fisheries (within 6 nautical miles of English coastal baselines) in England are managed by regional Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs). Waters beyond 6 nautical miles are managed by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). Some specific local rules apply to sea fishing, so you may need to contact the local IFCA office for clarification.

National Rules

•Do not sell or barter rod-caught fish of any kind
•Catch and release of all salmon before 16 June
• Artificial fly and artificial lure only for salmon before 16 June
•All eels and shad are to be returned immediately (eels maybe kept in a keep net/keep sack before being returned)

Local bye laws

•There are a series of local bye-laws in different regions and vary from river to river and between fishing clubs. See for more details

Coarse fish

• There are detailed rules available on which coarse fish species and sizes can be kept at
• The season for river coarse fish runs from the 16th of June to the 14th of March. There is no closed season for coarse fish in ponds, lakes or reservoirs, (excluding SSSI sites)

IFCA districts and finding more information
Cornwall IFCA
Devon & Severn IFCA
Eastern IFCA
Isles of Scilly IFCA
Kent and Essex IFCA
North Eastern IFCA
North Western IFCA
Northumberland IFCA
Southern IFCA
Sussex IFCA

How And Where To Stay

With the huge variety of fishing on offer, a larger choice of accomodation is available.
Fishing hotels can offer room, rod, tuition, day tickets and guiding to make a complete angling excursion, but simpler soloutions exist for more modest budgets.
Campsites offer spaces for motor homes, campers and tents with many offering a ‘boutique’ service with pre-pitched bell tents, yurts and cabins.
Bed and Breakfast is a popular choice with a wide availability accross the country.
Holiday cottages can be an ideal choice for larger groups especially off season where prices can be a fraction of high season.

Catch and Release

We would like all anglers to consider not only if, but also how they can practice catch and release. We recommend that anglers practice skilful catch and release to help preserve these valuable stocks and the quality of angling in the future.

Reminder of rules

Freshwater Fish

•Do not sell or barter rod-caught fish
• Catch and release of all salmon before 16 June
• Artificial fly and artificial lure only for salmon before 16 June
• All eels and shad are to be returned immediately (eels maybe kept in a keep net/keep sack before being returned)

Sea fish

•Bass under 42cm must be returned. Legal Minimum Conservation Reference Sizes also apply to other species, contact the MMO or your local IFCA office for more information. “
•Catch-and-release only or bag limits may apply for anglers catching bass, see for the most up-to-date information.
• All eels and shad must be returned
• All tope caught from a boat must be returned to the water as soon as possible
• Angel Sharks are protected against killing, injuring or taking on land and up to 3 nautical miles from English coastal baselines.
• Recreational anglers must not target Bluefin tuna and must return any bycatch to the sea
• The Angling Trust also recommends that undulate rays, porbeagle sharks and spurdogs are returned to the water.
Further information on Bass Nursery Areas and other local spatial restrictions can be found by contacting the IFCA local to where you plan to fish, as detailed above