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Fishing license in the UK and USA

Updated: Dec 16, 2022



man holding a uk fishing licence
uk fishing license


Fishing is a great way to relax and enjoy the outdoors, but before you can start casting your line, you need to get a fishing license. In this blog post, we'll walk you through the process of getting a fishing license so you can start enjoying this fun activity as soon as possible.


What is a fishing licence?


A fishing licence is an identification card issued to anyone who wants to commercially harvest fish in a certain area.


It must be displayed when engaging in any fishing activities, and ensures that the person harvesting the fish is qualified to do so.


In most jurisdictions, a fishing licence is also mandatory for individuals wishing to possess or transport live fish or shellfish (in certain cases).


Many jurisdictions also have catch limits and size restrictions applicable to commercial fishers, as well as bag and possession limits for game fish.


How to get a fishing licence


To get a fishing licence, you will need to provide proof of residency and identification. You can either apply online or in person.


To apply online, you will need to provide your name, date of birth, address, and contact information. You will also need to upload a photo of yourself.


To apply in person, you will need to provide your name, date of birth, address, contact information, proof of residency (such as a driver's licence or utility bill), and identification (such as a passport or driver's licence).


Get the USA State license









Citizens of Canada and some U.S. states are allowed to fish without a license in certain designated waters, but all fishing activity carries with it risks.


What are the fishing laws in the UK?


The fishing laws in the UK can be a little confusing, but fortunately, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have put together a handy guide to help you understand what you need to do to get a fishing licence.


To get a licence, you first need to be over the age of 16 and have a valid passport or driving licence.


You also need to have proof of your address, such as a utility bill or bank statement.


Once you have all of the required documents, you can visit your local authority’s licensing office. There, you will need to provide your passport or driving licence photo, proof of your address, and your fishing gear.


If you are fishing for commercial purposes, you will also need to provide documentation from your employer confirming that you are authorised to fish for commercial purposes.


Once you have provided all of the required information, the licensing officer will issue you with a fishing licence.


You will also be given a fishing permit, which is necessary if you are fishing in any water that is not open to the public.

Remember: Always obey the law when fishing in the UK!


What can you catch with a fishing licence?


What types of fish can you catch with a fishing licence?


A fishing licence is required to fish in most UK waters. You can catch a wide variety of fish with a fishing licence, including:


trout perch pike salmon chub brassica cod haddock whiting


What are the restrictions on catching fish with a fishing licence?


A fishing licence is required to fish in many parts of the UK. The licence must be displayed on the vehicle when fishing.


You can only fish for a certain number of hours each day, and you must return to shore at the end of your fishing trip.


You can only catch certain types of fish with a fishing licence, and you must follow specific regulations when fishing.


Where can you fish with a fishing licence?


If you want to catch some fish, you'll need a fishing licence.


You can find out what kinds of fish you're allowed to catch with a licence by checking the regulations governing fishing in your specific area.


It's important to note that there are some species of fish that are strictly protected, so if you're planning to try and catch one of these creatures, make sure your licence is valid and approved by the relevant authority.


In general, licences are available for all sorts of water bodies - salt or fresh - but they usually allow people to take only certain species of fish.


Before getting out on the water, be sure to check the regulations in place for where you intend to go fishing.


How long does a fishing licence last?


There are a number of different types of fishing licences available in the UK.


The most common type is called an annual licence which allows the holder to fish for one year. Other types of licences include a daily, monthly and weekly permit which allow you to fish for a specific amount of time or at a set location respectively.


All fishing licences must be stamped each time you catch something, regardless of the type of licence you have. Licences also come with conditions such as stating that you cannot fish on particular days or during certain hours.


Licences last for 12 months from the date it is issued, but can be transferred to other people if required.


How to fish safely


Follow the basic safety rules


Follow the basic safety rules when fishing:


  • Stay away from fish that are feeding in close proximity to one another; these fish may be more aggressive and could injure you if caught.

  • Use only licensed gear, and make sure it is in good working order.

  • Gear can make a big difference when catching a fish, so take the time to learn how to use it properly.

  • Take care when landing your catch - keep your hands and feet clear of the water while bringing it ashore.


To minimize the chance of injury or worse while fishing, follow these commonsense safety tips:

  • Select an area where you know there are no restrictions on catching what you've targeted. If possible, avoid solitary angling areas; select instead known hotspots for gamefish spawning, such as creek mouths or areas behind rocky outcroppings where schools of baitfish congregate.

  • Always use proper tackle - line size, type and weight - appropriate for the species you're targeting, the depths at which you're fishing and your ability to handle a potential fight. Failing to adhere to these basics can lead to serious injuries, or worse.

  • When fishing from a boat, use common sense when approaching and whaling in on potential targets - never go too fast or too close! Watch the situation before taking any action and avoid making sudden moves that could spook gamefish.

  • If an angler hooks something big, don't fight it alone - alert others nearby of your location and intended catch. Raise a red flag if you're unsure what to do next; professional fishermen are more than happy to help get that fish into the boat alive!

Read the regulations


Fishing is a popular pastime in many parts of the world, but it can also be dangerous if done incorrectly.


Before you go out fishing, make sure you are familiar with the regulations in your area. In some places, you may need a fishing licence to fish. Regulations may also require you to use specific types of gear, or to follow specific safety guidelines.


If you are not familiar with the regulations in your area, ask your local government or police department.


Understand where you can and cannot fish


First and foremost, fishing should be enjoyed responsibly. Always use common sense when out on the water. Here are some rules to fishing safely:

  • Stay within your boundaries - Don't venture too far from shoreline or into protected areas.

  • Know the laws in your state/province - In most cases, there are specific regulations governing where you can and cannot fish. Review these carefully before going out to fish.

  • Follow the basic tenets of angling - When casting, keep a straight line with the rod tip and body; never cock your arm back excessively. Follow through with your cast by keeping your fingers close to the line while releasing the fly or bait quickly onto the strike zone.


What are the rules for fishing in UK waters?


Fish only in authorised waters


It is important to remember that fishing in UK waters is subject to a range of regulations and restrictions.


These include the requirement to have a valid fishing licence, to obey designated zones and limits where fishing is allowed, and to use appropriate gear.


Taking any fish without first possessing the required licence or permit can result in fines and/or imprisonment.


Get a rod fishing licence


To fish in UK waters, you will need a fishing licence.


The licence is free to obtain and can be obtained from your local authority or the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).


The rules for fishing in UK waters are laid out in the Fisheries Act 1996. These rules are designed to protect both the environment and the interests of recreational fishermen.

Some of the rules that apply to fishing in UK waters include:

  • You must have a valid fishing licence to fish in UK waters.

  • You must comply with any restrictions that are imposed on the type of fishing that you can do.

  • You must not fish where there is a danger of causing damage to wildlife or property.

  • You must use proper fishing gear and techniques.

Follow the rules of catch and release


In the UK, it is compulsory for all persons 14 years of age and over to hold a licence to fish. License categories are:

  • Open Season: The open season for fishing depends on the type of fishing authorised. Generally, most types of fishing are open from 1 March until 31 December. For certain species such as salmon and trout, the open seasons may be longer (for example, salmon in Scotland may have an open season until 30 September).

  • Purse Seine: A purse seine is a net designed to trap schools of fish. It is not generally used to catch other types of animals or birds but is instead used mainly for herring and mackerel. A license is required if you wish to use a purse seine.

  • Boat: A boat licence is not required to fish from a boat, but you must have a valid fishing licence if you wish to fish from a landbased fishing spot.

  • Catch and Release: You must release all fish you catch, except for bream, carp, tench and eel. You must also release any invertebrates you catch.

Respect other water users


UK fishing regulations are generlly quite simple, with a few exceptions.


In general, you must have a valid fishing licence to fish in UK waters.


The licence must be displayed on your boat or on your person while fishing. You must also abide by the rules of the particular fishery in which you are fishing.


For example, you cannot fish for salmon in a river that is closed to salmon fishing because of a salmon fishery closure.


There are a few other important rules to keep in mind when fishing in UK waters.


You must not disturb wildlife, and you must not damage or remove any natural features or objects from the water.


Finally, you must always use proper safety equipment when fishing, including a lifejacket when fiehing from a boat and sturdy shoes.


What are the penalties for breaking UK fishing laws?


In the UK, fishing is a popular pastime for many people. However, there are also laws that need to be followed in order to ensure that fishing is done safely and legally.


If you fish without a valid fishing licence or break any of the Fishing Laws in the UK, you may face fines and even jail time.


A fishing licence is required to fish in the UK. You can get a fishing licence from the Post Office or online from the Environment Agency. The fishing laws in the UK are designed to protect fish stocks and the environment.


You can catch a variety of fish with a fishing licence, but you must follow the rules for fishing safely and responsibly. breaking UK fishing laws can result in a fine or imprisonment.


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