Angling rod licences explained

The 'Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs' (DAERA) and the 'Loughs Agency' protect fish stocks in Northern Ireland. The types of rod licences available from DAERA and Loughs Agency and what you need to fish legally is explained.

DAERA and Loughs Agency fishing areas

Map showing DAERA and Loughs Agency fishing areas in Northern Ireland.
Map showing DAERA and Loughs Agency fishing areas in Northern Ireland

DAERA and Loughs Agency each sell angling licences for their specific areas (see map) so the type of licence you need, will depend on the area you choose to fish in.

The 70 fisheries managed by DAERA are known as the Public Angling Estate (PAE). These fisheries are open to the public and are listed at the following link where you'll also find private fisheries that are not managed by DAERA.

Private fisheries are known as 'fisheries outside the Public Angling Estate' - they're also open to the public and include Loughs Agency managed fisheries: 

What you need to fish legally

To fish legally in Northern Ireland you will need the following two items:

  • a rod licence plus
  • a permit or day ticket

The rod licence is for the fishing rod and the game or coarse fish you're allowed to catch.  A permit or day ticket gives you the right to fish in a particular fishery.

A Great Britain (English, Scottish, Welsh) or Republic of Ireland fishing licence does not allow you to fish in Northern Ireland. 

Buy DAERA rod licences, permits, day tickets

Anglers can buy DAERA rod licences, permits and day tickets online or from a distributor (for example a tackle shop) and should read the 'Conditions of Sale' for fishing licences and permits before buying:

Buy Loughs Agency licences, permits

Loughs Agency rod licences can be bought online or through distributors (for example a tackle shop) where you can also buy permits and day tickets:

Rod licence 

Anglers require a rod licence by law to fish in freshwater lakes, loughs and rivers in Northern Ireland for:

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

There is no requirement to have a rod licence for sea angling, except when fishing for salmon or sea trout.

Anglers with a DAERA or Loughs Agency rod licence can buy an endorsement on a rod licence for £1.00 which allows them to fish in both DAERA and Loughs Agency areas:

Game and coarse angling

There are two types of angling, game and coarse:

  • game species include brown trout, sea trout, salmon and arctic char
  • ​coarse species include pike, bream, roach, perch, carp, tench and rudd

Your rod licence will show the type of fish you can catch and the number of rods allowed.

DAERA game rod licences

All DAERA game rod licences allow the holder to fish for either game or coarse but with only one rod at a time. A separate game rod licence is needed for each extra rod being used for game or coarse.

Game rod licences are valid for the game season when fishing for game and from January to December when fishing for coarse.  For more information and prices follow the link:

DAERA coarse rod licences

All DAERA coarse rod licences allow the holder to use two coarse rods. A separate coarse licence is needed for a third coarse rod to be used.

Coarse licences are valid from January to December when fishing for coarse only. For more information and prices follow the link:

DAERA short term and tourist rod licences

This rod licence is useful if you do not fish regularly or if you're a tourist.  Follow the link for information about the number of rods you're allowed, prices and more:

Have proof to show you're fishing legally

When fishing you may be approached by a DAERA Fishery Protection Officer, the Police Service of Northern Ireland  (PSNI) or a Private Water Bailiff to check if you're fishing legally.  Find out more about having proof to show you're fishing legally.

Everything you need to go fishing

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