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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

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 a supplement, licence holders are allowed to fish in the other jurisdiction.

Does a Great Britain (English, Scottish, Welsh) or the Republic of Ireland fishing licence cover you in Northern Ireland?

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 and coarse fish

Game species include brown trout, sea trout, salmon, and arctic char. Coarse species include pike, bream, roach, perch, carp, tench and rudd.

Licences and permits are available for game or coarse categories.

Game angling licences

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 a second and subsequent rod being used for game or coarse.

For details on FCILC game licences, visit the Loughs Agency website.

Coarse angling licences

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

Licences are issued by either the DCAL or FCILC depending on which area you are fishing in.

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

For details on FCILC coarse licences, visit the Loughs Agency website.

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 a second and subsequent 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 subsequent 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 subsequent game rod.

Joint licences for three days or 14 days

You can buy a joint licence and permit for three days or 14 days.

Buy angling licences and permits

You can buy DCAL angling permits and coarse rod licences at nidirect's Do it online section.

DCAL rod licences and permits are available from appointed distributors throughout Northern Ireland.

You can get a permit from the Inland Fisheries Group:

Replacement licences and permits

You can buy replacement licences and permits online at nidirect's Do it online section.

You can write to DCAL at the address below.

DCAL Angling
Causeway Exchange
1 - 7 Bedford Street
Belfast
BT1 7FB