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What Age Do You Need for a Fishing License in the UK?

Fishing is a beloved pastime in the United Kingdom, enjoyed by people of all ages. However, to ensure the sustainable management of fish stocks and the protection of the aquatic environment, certain regulations are in place, including the requirement for a fishing license. The age at which you need a fishing license in the UK varies depending on the type of fishing you plan to engage in and the region you’ll be fishing in. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the essential information you need to know about fishing license age requirements, types of licenses, and additional considerations to ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable angling experience.

Fishing License Age Requirements in England and Wales

In England (except for the River Tweed) and Wales, the following age requirements apply for obtaining a rod fishing license :

Children Under 13

Children under the age of 13 are not required to obtain a fishing license. However, it’s important to note that the person supervising them must have a valid fishing license to assist or handle the rod .

Ages 13 to 16

Anglers aged 13 to 16 must obtain a free junior fishing license, but no fee is charged for this age group.

Ages 16 and Above

Anyone aged 16 and above is required to purchase a paid fishing license to engage in angling activities legally.

Types of Fishing Licenses and Prices

The type of fishing license you need depends on the species you plan to target and the number of rods you intend to use. In England and Wales, there are two main categories of rod fishing licenses :

1. Trout, Coarse Fish, and Eel Licenses

  • 1 rod for trout (non-migratory) in rivers, streams, and canals
  • 2 rods for trout (non-migratory) in reservoirs, ponds, and lakes, and for freshwater species

2. Salmon and Sea Trout Licenses

  • 1 rod for salmon, sea trout, and trout (non-migratory) in rivers, streams, and canals
  • 2 rods for salmon, sea trout, and trout (non-migratory) in reservoirs and lakes
  • 3 rods for all freshwater species

The licenses are available for different durations, including annual, 8-day, and 1-day options, with varying prices based on the license type and duration .

As of 2024, the prices for fishing licenses in England and Wales are as follows :

Annual License:

  • Trout, Coarse Fish, and Eel: £32 (£22 for concessions)
  • Salmon and Sea Trout: £86 (£58 for concessions)

8-Day License:

  • Trout, Coarse Fish, and Eel: £14
  • Salmon and Sea Trout: £29

1-Day License:

  • Trout, Coarse Fish, and Eel: £7
  • Salmon and Sea Trout: £13

Concessions are available for anglers over 65 years old and those with a blue badge, entitling them to a 1/3 discount on annual licenses .

Fishing License Requirements in Scotland and Northern Ireland

While this guide primarily focuses on the fishing license requirements in England and Wales, it’s essential to be aware of the different regulations that apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland :

Scotland

A fishing license is not required for most freshwater fishing in Scotland, except for the Border Esk region, where the same rules as England apply. However, anglers must obtain permission from the landowner or an angling club to fish in certain areas.

Northern Ireland

Separate fishing licenses are required in Northern Ireland, and the regulations differ from those in England and Wales. Anglers aged 12 and above must obtain a rod license from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) . The licenses are categorized into game and coarse fishing, with different requirements for each type.

Additional Considerations and Regulations

Obtaining a fishing license is just one aspect of fishing legally in the UK. Anglers must also :

  • Seek permission from the landowner if fishing on private land.
  • Observe the close season (typically March 15 to June 15) when fishing for certain species is prohibited.
  • Obtain additional licenses for specific areas, such as locks or weirs on the River Thames.
  • Follow national and local bylaws and regulations specific to the fishing location.
  • Adhere to minimum landing size limits and restrictions on certain protected species, such as salmon, trout, eels, and bass.

It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with all relevant regulations and guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable fishing experience while respecting the environment and fish stocks.

Purchasing Your Fishing License

Acquiring a fishing license in the UK is a straightforward process. The Environment Agency provides several convenient options to obtain your license :

  • Online: Visit the official Environment Agency website (www.gov.uk/fishing-licences) and follow the step-by-step instructions to purchase your rod fishing license online. This method is quick, secure, and accessible 24/7, allowing you to obtain your license from the comfort of your own home.
  • Phone: Contact the Environment Agency’s dedicated rod fishing license helpline (0344 800 5386) and speak with a representative who will guide you through the licensing process. They will provide assistance, answer any questions you may have, and help you obtain your license over the phone.
  • Post Office: You can also visit your local Post Office branch or go to their website (www.postoffice.co.uk) and purchase a rod fishing license in person. Ensure you have the necessary identification and payment method available when visiting the Post Office.

Conclusion

Fishing is an enjoyable pastime in the UK, but it’s crucial to understand the legal requirements associated with angling. By obtaining the appropriate fishing license and adhering to the rules, anglers can contribute to the sustainable management of fish stocks and the preservation of aquatic ecosystems for future generations to enjoy.

Remember, the age at which you need a fishing license in the UK varies depending on the region and the type of fishing you plan to engage in. Always check the latest regulations and guidelines before embarking on your fishing adventure. By doing so, you can ensure a hassle-free and rewarding angling experience while promoting the responsible use of our natural resources.

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