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Angling licences and permits

An angler requires a rod licence and a permit to fish in freshwater lakes, loughs and rivers in Northern Ireland. The licence is for the fishing rod and the game or coarse fish you're allowed to catch. A permit grants you the right to fish in a particular fishery.

Fishing areas in Northern Ireland

The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and the Loughs Agency of the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission (FCILC) are responsible for protecting fish stocks in Northern Ireland. On the map below, fisheries marked with small pink circles are managed by DCAL. FCILC-managed areas are outlined.

Map showing different fishing areas

Buy angling licences and permits

You can buy original and replacement DCAL angling licences and permits online.

Buy DCAL rod licences and permits (DCAL website)

DCAL licences and permits are also available from appointed distributors throughout Northern Ireland or by contacting the Inland Fisheries Group directly.

For information about buying a FCILC licence or permit including a list of appointed distributors, visit the Loughs Agency website.

Rod licence and permits - Loughs Agency website

Licences

You need a rod licence to fish anywhere in Northern Ireland. A rod licence is required by law:

  • for each rod used by anyone over 12 years in the DCAL area
  • for all ages in the area covered by the Loughs Agency

DCAL and FCILC issue angling licences for their respective jurisdictions. On payment of an extra fee, licence holders are allowed to fish in the other jurisdiction.

If you want to fish in Northern Ireland, you will always need a licence issued in Northern Ireland. You aren’t covered by a Great Britain (English, Scottish, Welsh) or Republic of Ireland fishing licence.

Game angling licences

Licences and permits are available for game or coarse categories. Game species include brown trout, sea trout, salmon, and arctic char.

A game licence is required by law:

  • for each game fishing rod used by anyone over 12 years of age in the DCAL area
  • for all ages in the FCILC area

A licence is required by law for using a fishing rod when angling for freshwater fish. There is no requirement to have a licence for sea angling, except when fishing for salmon or sea trout. A DCAL game licence entitles the holder to fish for either game or coarse, but with only one rod at a time. A separate game licence is required for each extra rod being used for game or coarse.

You can find out more about the types of game angling licences and permits available at the following nidirect page.

  • Game angling licences and permits available

Coarse angling licences

Licences and permits are available for game or coarse categories.Coarse species include pike, bream, roach, perch, carp, tench and rudd.

A coarse licence is required by law:

  • for each coarse fishing rod used by anyone over 12 years of age in the DCAL area
  • for all ages in the FCILC area

A DCAL coarse rod licence entitles the holder to use two coarse rods. A separate coarse licence is required for a third coarse rod being used.

You can find out more about the types of coarse angling licences and permits available at the following nidirect page.

Permits

A permit or day-ticket is issued by the fishery owner which allows the angler the right to fish in that fishery. A fishery owner can be:

  • a private individual
  • a company
  • an angling club
  • the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL)

DCAL provides a Public Angling Estate of fisheries available to tourist and local anglers on payment of a permit fee.

A DCAL game permit entitles the holder to fish the Public Angling Estate for either game or coarse, but with only one rod at a time. A separate game permit is required for any extra rod being used for game or coarse.

A DCAL coarse permit entitles the holder to use two coarse rods. A separate coarse permit is required for a third and extra coarse rod being used.

Holders of concessionary permits using more than one game rod require a full adult game rod licence and game permit for their second and every extra game rod.

Buy River Bush day tickets

River Bush day ticket allow anglers to fish on four reserved stretches of the river - the New, Town, Leap and Dundarave sections. You can buy River Bush day tickets online and can also search the dates, times and stretches available before purchasing.

You can find out more about angling on the River Bush at the following nidirect page:

More useful links