1. France Fishing License
In France, the rules around fishing licenses are somewhat similar to the UK.
General Coarse fishing
Licenses are available under two categories:
- Category 1 (première catégorie) – rivers, stretches of water (plans d’eau), lakes.
- Category 2 (seconde catégorie) – streams, canals and stretches of water with game fish.
Options are available depending on your age (adult/child) and your fishing practice (daily fishing, all year round, etc.)
You can get the card online on the fishing card issuance site
The license is also available in certain shops or at approved fishing tackle dealers displaying “Here, fishing cards”.
- Fishing throughout the year: € 10
- Fishing for 7 consecutive days: € 4
- Fishing for 1 day: € 1
For fishing for eel fry, salmon and sea trout, a supplement of € 20 must be added to the general license.
Full details in English are available at this link to the French government fishing site
Take note that night fishing in France is NOT allowed except for Carp fishing in certain designated sites.
Make sure you purchase a license, failure to have one may lead to a fine of up to € 450 and if you do not have it with you, the fine is up to € 38.
Shore and Coastal Fishing
Fishing from the beach or the rocks by the sea (pêche à pied) does not require a permit in France. It does however require the angler to respect the following:
- Some fish are subject to fishing restrictions during certain periods or in certain regions
- Rules regarding minimum size of the fish
- Amount of fish allowed
- A Basic Knowledge of fishing rules
- Fish caught may be for personal consumption only – fish may not be sold.
2. Germany Fishing License
For German nationals, the fishing licence (Fischereischein) can be obtained only on completion of the Sportfisherprüfung (sport fishing exam) When the exam has been passed, then the license can be purchased and has a validity of one/three/five/ten years.
Follow the steps below to get your Germany licence:
Apply to a fishing club (Angelverein) to find out when lessons and exams take place.
Around 30 hours of supervised fishing lessons must be taken before the exam. Dates and guidelines are available from most fishing clubs or shops)
The exam covers the knowledge of the following:
- Different types of fish
- Treatment of catch
- Relevant legislation on fish, animal and nature protection
- Different types of waters (lakes, rivers, seas)
- Fish biology and habitats
- Fishing equipment and its uses
On completion of the fishing exam, the fishing club will issue a pass certificate which is then exchanged at the local town hall (Bezirksamt) for an official fishing licence. The licence is renewable for a fee.
Tourist and Temporary Licenses
Tourists and visitors may also apply for a tourist fishing licence from a fishing club and is valid usually for a limited period only. A 28 days license costs 24 €. It can be extended several times during the calendar year, each time for 13 €.
Recently, due to the large number of tourists wanting to fish in Germany, several federal states have abolished the licence requirements altogether. In the German states of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, anglers do not need a license.
Note: When fishing, failure to produce a fishing licence to the respective authorities may lead to huge fines of up to 25,000 €. This is because several laws are considered being broken (nature protection, theft, animal cruelty).
Sometimes more than one lake or river can be fished using the same permit and this is also indicated. A list of all regional waters can be found on the back of the permit. Fishing shop staff will then highlight the waters chosen. Prices vary depending on season and region.
Permits are not required for sea fishing, although fishing licences are still necessary (apart from federal states with special tourist allowances).
In Germany, there are fewer free fishing opportunities than those in the UK and at most locations, a permit is required at the specific lake/river that you want to fish.
3. Finland Fishing License
In a land of a thousand lakes (actually 188 000 lakes!) fishing is considered to be an everyman’s right. For this reason, the people of Finland have a rare benefit of fishing without a permit!
This rule, of course, comes with limitations. It only applies to fishing with hook and a line, ice fishing, and Baltic herring fishing with a herring rig. This rule also does not apply to rapids and lakes reserved for trout fishing, or any other special fishing site.
Any other kind of fishing is subject to paying the state fisheries management fee. This will allow you to fish with one rod and one lure on all waters, with exception of rapids and special fishing sites. Also, people younger than 18 and older than 64 do not have to pay this fee, and can fish with one rod and one lure for free!
Fishing with more than one rod, or fishing in special fishing areas, requires a fishing permit.
Tip: If you are not certain about the status of the water you want to fish on, it is clever to check it. Visit the website www.Kalastusrajoitus.fi and find a map that contains all no-fishing zones, both with restricted areas where you need a permit to start fishing.
Fee for all state fisheries can be paid on the Finland Fisheries Website The annual fee is 45 Eur, the weekly fee is 15 Eur, and the daily fee is 6 Eur.
Considering permits for special fishing areas, there is no general lure as each area can have a special set of rules and different prices. You can usually get the info from the local fishery association. It is important to get all the needed info if fishing on rapids or any other special area, as fishing without a permit can get you in serious trouble!
You can also get a combined permit for lure fishing on the lakes of the Tampere Region. This will give you the right to fish with several rods at the same time. You can get your combined license at www.Kalapassi.fi which has an English version.
The largest city in Finland covers a lot of water and has a special set of lures.
A yearly lure fishing permit for Helsinki residents will be 13 Eur or 17 Eur for the Helsinki-Espoo area.
Tourist fishing permit is 10 Eur a day, 15 Eur a week, or 40 Eur per year. Helsinki-Espoo’s yearly permit is 60 Eur.
All the information, plus details on getting your license for Vanhankaupunginkoski rapids fishing, are available on www.kalakortti.com
4. Spain Fishing License
Fishing in Spain requires a rod license, both for sea and freshwater fishing.
In order to acquire your rod license, you either need a foreign fishing license (for tourists) or a Spanish fishing license that requires passing a test. It is suggested to obtain a foreign fishing license if coming to Spain for a fishing trip, as test results may take months to arrive!
Spanish rod license can be valid from 1-5 years. They are available to anyone over 16 years (a child under 16 years needs a guardian).
You will need a rod license both for freshwater and saltwater fishing: these can be obtained in fishing shops, or from the local Ministry Of Environment office (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente). For trout fishing, you will need an additional day permit!
There are private waters in Spain that will require an additional permit for fishing.
To get more details on how to get a Spanish sea fishing license or a boat fishing license, check out this very informative site in English, where you can buy a 5 year Shore fishing license for 44.99 Eur!
5. Croatia Fishing License
To fish in Croatia, you need to obtain a fishing license for the body of water you will fish at. For residents of Croatia, there is also a mandatory fishing license obtained by passing a fishing test!
Most of the fishing waters in Croatia are under regional sport fishing clubs, that sell daily or yearly permits for fishing on their waters.
As there is a lot of sport fishing clubs in Croatia (132!), especially around the main city of Zagreb, it is possible that on a 5 km stretch of river you will need to obtain 4 different permits! This can be confusing as most of the fishing clubs have very limited information on the web (if any), so it is recommended to get in touch with local anglers to collect the needed info.
Buying a fishing license will usually give you the right to fish with 3 rods for 24 hours: however, some waters have a different set of rules.
Daily rod license is around 8 Eur for most waters but can go all the way to 50 Eur on special fishing waters (especially carp fishing lakes and salmonid rivers). There are also weekly, and even monthly licenses, but these vary a lot from club to club.
For sea fishing, you also need a fishing license, but there is no fishing test. Daily license is 8 Eur, 3-day license 20 Eur, weekly license 40 Eur, and annual license 66 Eur. You can purchase it here: https://ribarstvo.mps.hr/default.aspx?id=4010
Fines for fishing without a license in Croatia go from 250-660 Eur!
6. Poland Fishing License
Similar to Croatia, Poland also requires a fishing test to be passed for Poland residents. Tourists do not need to pass the test!
Most of the fishing waters in Poland are controlled by Polish Angling Association (PZW). They are responsible for selling the fishing permits and have offices in every district capital. However, it might be complicated to get your license if you are not fluent in Polish!
In that case, visiting a local fishing shop should be the best decision. You will get all the needed info there, and will most likely have an opportunity to buy a suitable PZW permit.
Fees for permits can vary a lot depending on their length (daily, weekly, yearly), type (coarse or game), or region (49 regions). The normal price is around 6.5 Eur for a daily permit and 33 Eur for a yearly permit.
Most of the information is available on the official Poland Angling Association website at https://www.pzw.org.pl/home/
There are also private waters in Poland, where you will have to buy a special fishing license. These are usually available in local fishing shops, or can be bought on the spot!
If caught fishing without a fishing license in Poland, you can even get arrested!
7. Fishing License For Other European Countries
Some other additional European countries are listed below, please click on the link for the country you are interested in to get more information.
Ireland – NO licence is needed for Trout, Pike and General Coarse fishing in the Republic of Ireland.
I hope this information was helpful to anyone planning on a European fishing trip. For information on the United Kingdom License please check out this link.
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