Angling rod licence and permit regulations (rules)

To fish legally in Northern Ireland you’ll need to buy a rod licence and permit or day ticket to fish in freshwater lakes, loughs and rivers. A rod licence and permit/day ticket is not needed for sea angling, except when fishing for salmon or sea trout.

Rod licences

A rod licence is for the fishing rod and the game or coarse fish you’re allowed to catch.  

Rod licences are bought from:

  • the 'Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs' (DAERA) 
  • or a private fishery

DAERA rod licences are not transferable which means that a rod licence in your name cannot be passed on to someone else.

Always carry your rod licence when you’re fishing or you could be prosecuted.  

DAERA game rod licence holders

DAERA game rod licence holders are allowed to fish for salmon and all species of freshwater fish with one rod and line or hand line.

DAERA coarse rod licence holders

DAERA coarse rod licence holders are allowed to fish for freshwater fish species (except for salmon, brown trout and rainbow trout) with two rods and lines or hand lines on DAERA managed coarse fish waters.

Permit and day ticket regulations (rules)

The holder of a rod licence will also need to buy a permit or day ticket for permission to fish in the chosen water therefore:

You can’t buy a permit or day ticket without a rod licence.

A ‘Juvenile Permit’ 

A ‘Juvenile Permit’ is only for those who have not yet reached their nineteenth birthday.

Concessionary 60+ permit

Only those who have already reached the age of 60 are allowed to hold a ‘Concessionary 60+ Permit’.

Have proof to show you're fishing legally

If DAERA or any authorised person finds that you’re not following the permit or day ticket rules, you could lose your permit or day ticket.  DAERA permit or day ticket holders are also legally required to give information about their angling activities if asked and must follow the fish size and bag (catch) limits. More details are at the links below:

Act in a sportsmanlike way

The permit or day ticket holder must act in a sportsmanlike way, this includes:

  • not interfering with other permit/ day ticket holders or annoying other people
  • keeping to the paths provided, not trespassing on neighbouring land, not leaving gates open, not lighting or causing fires, not damaging any property and following instructions displayed on notices at each water
  • not littering or leaving behind lines, hooks or casts

DAERA reserves the right to close any of its angling waters for management reasons or other purposes and when this takes place no refund can be paid to the holders of DAERA permits.

 The permit/day ticket holder shall not fish on waters when they are reserved by DAERA for angling competitions unless you're  a competitor in any such competition.

Fishing seasons

There shall be no fishing in waters containing salmon, sea trout or brown trout during the close season for game fishing, except where DAERA has publicised particular waters as pike or coarse fisheries.

Everything you need to go fishing

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