Rod Licenses

You require a rod licence in addition to your KDAA membership card or Guest Ticket

What is a Fishing Rod Licence?

A rod licence gives you the legal right to use a fishing rod or pole in the UK.

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 require a rod licence in addition to your KDAA membership card or Guest Ticket.
  • You need a rod fishing licence to fish for all freshwater fish, salmon, trout, 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 and get a criminal record!
  • It is a criminal offence to fish without a rod licence and anglers who fish without a licence could be fined up to £2,500 and fishing tackle confiscated, 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.

There are two main types of rod licence in the UK;

  1. Trout, coarse fish and eel licence
  2. Salmon and sea trout licence

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
  • Up to 3 rods for freshwater fish

Your licence can start on any date within 30 days of the day you buy it.

You can read more about Fishing Rod Licence types on .Gov.

New Junior Anglers?

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! Make sure that if you want to take your child aged between 13 – 16 years of age fishing that you still register then with a 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 angler’s 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 ran by Angling Trust and other angling organisations and charities that encourage youth to take up fishing.  The KDAA and two other fishing clubs are part of the Angling Coaching Initiative a local coaching scheme. Visit the Coaching page on this website.

See more information about the GET FISHING campaign here.

How much does a Rod Licence Cost?

Cost-wise, licences have stayed the same price as they were in 2020, with the Environment Agency freezing the 2021 price for the fifth year running!  By keeping prices affordable, EA wants to encourage as many people as possible to join the sport.

Rod licence prices do depend on the type of fish you are fishing for and the number of rods you use.

Prices from .Gov.UK at 04/02/2022

 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.

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:

  • From your local Post Office branch
  • From the Environment Agency website at
  • By calling the Environment Agency fishing licence service on 0344 800 5386

Additionally Regulations

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.
  2. The easiest way is to join a local fishing club or visit a commercial fishery.
  3. You must follow national and local rules (byelaws) when freshwater fishing with a rod and line in England and Wales.

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, 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;

  • Stock surveys
  • 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 read more on what the money raised from UK rod licences is spent on in the Environment Agency’s Blog.

What does the Rod Licence look like?

The Environment Agency unveiled the new fishing licence images back in March 2020, all of which has been created by the famous fish and wildlife painter David Miller.

Significant increase in angling in 2020

Despite the months of anglers being in lockdown during 2020, the Environment Agency saw a huge rise in Fishing Licence sales. Figures provided by the Countryside Alliance show that between 13 May 2020, when the restrictions were lifted, and 9 June 2020 over 335,000 licences were sold presenting a rise of over 230% in less than two months.  This was reflected in large increases in the membership of fishing clubs.

Environment Agency

Environment Agency Fishing Licence Service on 0344 800 5386


Acknowledgement:  Anna Cooper – Angling Direct – The Official 2021 Guide to Fishing Licences for Anglers