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
Fishing areas in Northern Ireland

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) 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 DAERA. FCILC-managed areas are outlined. 

Buy angling licences and permits

Anglers no longer get a paper rod licence or permit. Instead, they get an electronic record (e-record) with a unique reference number. Find out more at permits and licences changes.

You can buy original and replacement Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) angling licences and permits online.

They are also available from an angling licence and permit distributor or by contacting DAERA Inland Fisheries

An angler cannot buy or hold more than one concessionary rate licence or permit (Concessionary 60+, Disabled, Juvenile). 

Information about 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 DAERA area
  • for all ages in the area covered by the Loughs Agency

DAERA 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 DAERA 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 DAERA 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.

Below are the types of game angling licences and permits available.

Season game fishing rod licence and permit

This licence and permit is valid for the game season when fishing for game and from January to December for coarse. It will allow you to fish for game with one rod only at any one time. If you wish to use two rods then you must buy another game rod licence and permit. You may also fish for coarse but only with one rod at any one time.

Juvenile season licence and permit

The juvenile licence is required by an angler aged between 12 and 18 years old. The juvenile permit is required by anglers aged 18 years and under. It is valid for the game season when fishing for game and from January to December for coarse.

It allows you to fish for game with one rod only at any one time. If you wish to use two rods then you must buy another game rod licence and permit. You may also fish for coarse but only with one rod at any one time.

Concessionary season licence and permit for aged 60 and over

This licence and permit is available to an angler aged 60 years and over and is valid for the game season when fishing for game and from January to December for coarse. It allows you to fish for game with one rod only at any one time. If you wish to use two rods then you must buy another full game rod licence and permit. You may also fish for coarse but only with one rod at any one time.

Concessionary season licence and permit for anglers with a disability

This licence and permit is valid for the game season when fishing for game and from January to December for coarse. It allows you to fish for game with one rod only at any one time. If you wish to use two rods then you must buy another full game rod licence and permit. You may also fish for coarse but only with one rod at any one time.

This licence and permit is available for anglers who are receiving one of the following allowances:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • War Disablement Pension
  • Severe Disablement Allowance

Concessionary tickets and permits are only available from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). It can take two weeks to issue a concessionary ticket or permit, so allow plenty of time before you plan to go fishing.

Local season permit (permit only)

This permit is valid for the game season when fishing for game and from January to December for coarse. It is for anglers who wish to confine their fishing to a local area.

This permit allows you to fish for game with one rod only at any one time. If you wish to use two rods then you must buy another game permit. You may also fish for coarse but only with one rod at any one time. You will also need a game rod licence.

This permit covers named game waters in the area for which the permit is valid. However, in addition to these waters, holders may fish on all the Public Angling Estate coarse fisheries. The following list shows the game and mixed fisheries which are available under each local permit. Please note when purchasing a local permit you must pick one area. The key to the abbreviations are:

  • B: Brown trout are stocked
  • R: Rainbow trout are stocked
  • M: Mixed brown and rainbow trout are stocked
  • W: Denotes a wild game fishery

North/East Antrim local permit

Altnahinch Reservoir (M); Upper South Woodburn Reservoir (B); Lower South Woodburn Reservoir (M); Middle South Woodburn Reservoir (M); North Woodburn Reservoir (R); Lough Mourne (B); Copeland (Marshallstown) Reservoir (M); Killylane Reservoir (B); Dungonnell Reservoir (W); River Bush (W); Ballycastle Rivers (Margy, Carey and Glenshesk) (W), River Maine (W); Ballymoney River (W), Lough Na Cranagh and Lough Doo (B).

South Antrim/North Down local permit

Stoneyford Reservoir (M); Portavoe Reservoir (M); Hillsborough Lake (R); Ballykeel Lougherne (B); North Woodburn Reservoir (R); Upper South Woodburn Reservoir (B); Middle South Woodburn Reservoir (M); Lower South Woodburn Reservoir (M); Copeland (Marshallstown) Reservoir (M); Lough Mourne (B); Lough Money (R); River Lagan (Iveagh) (W); River Lagan (Shaws Bridge) (W) and Lough Cowey (B).

South Down/Armagh local permit

Loughbrickland (B); Castlewellan Lake (M); Spelga Reservoir (W); Ballynahinch, Annacloy and Quoile River (W); Shimna River (W); Hillsborough Lake (R); Ballykeel Lougherne (B); River Blackwater (W); Craigavon North Lake (M); Lough Money (R); River Lagan(Iveagh) (W) and Lough Cowey(B).

Londonderry/Tyrone local permit

River Roe (W); Binevenagh Reservoir (R); Lough Ash (B); Moor Lough (M); Lough Bradan (B); Lough Lee (W); Brantry Lough (B); White Lough (R).

Fermanagh local permit

Upper and Lower Lough Erne (W); Corrany Lough (R); Corry Lough (B); Mill Lough (Bellanalack) (R); Colebrooke River (W); Ballinamallard River (W); Keenaghan Lough (B); Glencreawan Lough (B); Achork Lough (B); Meenameen Lough (M).

Fourteen day game fishing rod licence and permit

This licence and permit is valid for 14 consecutive days and cannot be split into different days in different weeks. It allows you to fish for game with one rod only at any one time. If you wish to use two rods then you must buy another full game rod licence and permit. You may also fish for coarse but only with one rod at any one time.

Three day game fishing rod licence and permit

This licence and permit is valid for three consecutive days and cannot be split into different days in different weeks. It allows you to fish for game with one rod only at any one time. If you wish to use two rods you must buy another full game rod licence anD permit. You may also fish for coarse but only with one rod at any one time.

Joint 14 day game fishing rod licence and permit

This is a joint licence and permit and is valid for 14 consecutive days which cannot be split into different days in different weeks.

This joint licence and permit is perfect for tourist or visiting anglers. It allows you to fish for game with one rod only at any one time. If you wish to use two rods you must buy another full game rod licence and permit.

You may also fish for coarse but only with one rod at any one time.

Joint three day game fishing rod licence and permit

This is a joint licence and permit and is valid for three consecutive days which cannot be split into different days in different weeks.

This joint licence and permit is perfect for tourist or visiting anglers. It allows you to fish for game with one rod only at any one time. If you wish to use two rods you must buy another full game rod licence and permit.

You may also fish for coarse but only with one rod at any one time.

Endorsement to DAERA/FCILC season game fishing rod licence

This endorsement will allow you to fish in both the DAERA and FCILC areas and is bought together with your season game or coarse rod licence.

FCILC licences

For all FCILC licences, visit the Loughs Agency's website.

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 DAERA area
  • for all ages in the FCILC area

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

Below are the types of coarse angling licences and permits available.

Season coarse fishing rod licence and permit

This licence and permit is valid from January to December and allows you to fish for coarse with two rods only at any one time. If you wish to use more than two rods, you must buy another coarse rod licence or permit, or both.

Juvenile season licence and permit

The juvenile licence is required by any angler aged between 12 and 18 years old.

The juvenile permit is required by anglers aged 18 years and under. It is valid from January to December and will allow you to fish for coarse with two rods only at any one time. If you wish to use more than two rods, you must buy another coarse rod licence or permit, or both.

The juvenile permit also allows you to fish for game (only within the game open season) with one rod at any one time.

Concessionary season licence and permit for aged 60 and over

This licence and permit is available for anglers aged 60 years and over and is valid from January to December. It will allow you to fish for coarse with two rods only at any one time. If you wish to use more than two rods then you must buy another coarse rod licence or permit or both.

The concessionary permit also allows you to fish for game (only within the game open season) with one rod at any one time.

Concessionary season licence and permit for anglers with a disability

This licence and permit is valid from January to December. It will allow you to fish for coarse with one rod only at any one time. If you wish to use two rods, you must buy another full game rod licence or permit or both.The concessionary permit also allows you to fish for game (only within the game open season) with one rod at any one time.

This licence and permit is available for anglers who receive one of the following allowances:

  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • War Disablement Pension
  • Severe Disablement Allowance

These are only available from DAERA and can take up to two weeks to process. Allow plenty of time before you plan to go fishing.

Fourteen day coarse fishing rod licence and permit

This licence and permit is valid for 14 consecutive days and cannot be split into different days in different weeks. It will allow you to fish for coarse with two rods only at any one time. If you wish to use more than two rods, you must buy another coarse rod licence or permit or both.

Three day coarse fishing rod licence and permit

This licence and permit is valid for three consecutive days and cannot be split into different days in different weeks. It will allow you to fish for coarse with two rods only at any one time. If you wish to use more than two rods then you must buy another coarse rod licence or permit or both.

Joint 14 day coarse fishing rod licence and permit

This is a joint licence and permit and is valid for 14 consecutive days which cannot be split into different days in different weeks.

This joint licence/permit is perfect for tourists or visiting anglers. It will allow you to fish for coarse with two rods only at any one time. If you wish to use more than two rods you must buy another coarse rod licence or permit or both.

Joint three day coarse fishing rod licence and permit

This is a joint licence and permit and is valid for three consecutive days which cannot be split into different days in different weeks.

This joint licence/permit is perfect for tourists or visiting anglers. It will allow you to fish for coarse with two rods only at any one time. If you wish to use more than two rods, you must buy another coarse rod licence or permit or both.

Endorsement to DAERA/FCILC season fishing rod licence

This endorsement will allow you to fish in both the DAERA and FCILC areas. You can buy this with your season game or coarse rod licence.

FCILC licences

For all FCILC licences, visit the Loughs Agency's website.

Information about 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 Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)

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

A DAERA 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 DAERA 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. 

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