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Why you can’t go fishing without a license in the UK

As an expert angler, I can tell you that fishing is a timeless activity enjoyed by countless people worldwide. However, it’s important to remember that fishing in the UK requires a valid fishing license. Fishing without a license can lead to fines and other penalties. In this article, we’ll discuss why a fishing license is necessary, exemptions, and how to obtain a license.

Why you can't go fishing without a license in the UK

Why do you need a fishing license in the UK?

In the UK, a fishing license is required to fish for any freshwater fish, including salmon, trout, pike, and coarse fish. A fishing license is necessary for the following reasons:

  • To maintain the protection and conservation of fish
  • To manage fishing pressure and prevent overfishing
  • To provide funding for fishery maintenance and enhancement

It’s essential to obtain a fishing license before fishing to help preserve and protect the UK’s freshwater fish population.

Who needs a fishing license?

Anyone over the age of 13 needs a fishing license to fish in England, Wales, or the Border Esk region of Scotland. The Border Esk region of Scotland is the only area where you can fish without a license if you’re under 13 years old. However, if you’re 13 or older, you still need a license to fish in this region.

Certain individuals are exempt from obtaining a fishing license, such as:

  • Children under the age of 13
  • Those fishing on private property with the owner’s permission
  • Military veterans who are disabled and receiving help from the government

Special fishing events and exemptions

Occasionally, special fishing events are held that allow anglers to fish without a license. These events are typically for charitable events, and the organizers must apply for an exemption from the Environment Agency. If you’re interested in participating in a special fishing event, it’s best to check with the event organizers to ensure you don’t need a license.

How to obtain a fishing license

Obtaining a fishing license is relatively easy and can be done online or from a local Post Office. You’ll need to provide basic personal information such as your name, address, and date of birth. The license fee varies depending on the duration of the license and whether you’re a full-time student or a senior citizen.

In conclusion, obtaining a fishing license is mandatory for freshwater fishing in the UK. While some exemptions exist, it’s vital to obtain a license to help protect and conserve the UK’s freshwater fish population. Remember, fishing is a great way to unwind and connect with nature, but it’s important to do it the right way with a valid license.


Why is a fishing license required in the UK?
Answer: A fishing license is required in the UK to help conserve and protect fish populations and their habitats. By law, anyone who fishes in the UK must have a valid fishing license, regardless of age, and failure to comply with this requirement could result in a fine.

Can I fish without a license on private property in the UK?
Answer: No, even if you are fishing on private property, a fishing license is still required in the UK. A license is required to ensure that fish stocks are protected and managed sustainably, regardless of where you fish.

How can I obtain a fishing license in the UK?
Answer: A fishing license can be easily obtained from the Environment Agency, either online, by phone or by post. The license is valid for a year and can be purchased for different lengths of time, depending on your needs. The cost of the license varies depending on where and how often you plan to fish.

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