Rod licences and fishing permits

A lifeline during lockdown

Local waterways have been an escape for many during these difficult times. Our work to protect them is more urgent than ever.

To fish on any of the 2,000 miles of canals, rivers and commercial fisheries we look after, you will need a rod licence and a permit.

Poles and tackle Poles and tackle

A rod licence gives you the legal right to use a fishing rod or pole. You can buy a licence:

A permit gives you permission to fish the actual stretch of water, depending on who manages that stretch. Check whether you need to buy a permit from:

What is a rod licence and what does it entitle me to do?

Issued by the Environment Agency (EA), one rod licence covers up to two fishing rods. You'll need a licence before you fish on any inland waters. This licence, however, does not give you permission to fish anywhere.

You still need to get permission to fish from the owner of the fishing rights or the angling club that controls the fishing on that water. There is no free fishing on any of our own fisheries.

You can fish on stretches where fishing rights are not rented out to clubs, but you'll need to buy a Waterway Wanderers permit first.

Who needs to buy a rod licence?

  • Anyone aged 13 or over
  • Parents or guardians of anyone under 13 if they’re fishing too

How much does a rod licence cost?

  • Standard (2 rods) £30
  • Standard (3 rods) £45
  • Junior (aged 13 to 16) free - but you still must get a licence
  • Over 65 or disabled £20

How do I find out who to buy a fishing permit from?

The fishing rights on the majority of our waterways are rented to local angling clubs. For these fisheries, use our Find a Fishery search tool for details.

If the stretch you want to fish isn't controlled by an angling club then you will need one of our Waterway Wanderers permits.

Help and advice

Can't find what you’re looking for? Email us or call 03030 404040. Please provide the name of the waterway, nearest bridge or lock number, postcode or town.

And remember - there's no free fishing on our canals.

Last date edited: 19 February 2021