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Regulations for sportfishing in the Netherlands

Licenses & permits

For angling in the Netherlands you'll need at least two separate documents:

· A rod license ('Sportvisakte') which can be obtained at any post office (most postoffices are open on weekdays from 8.30 to 17.30 and the central postoffices in large cities generally open on Saturdays as well, and in many tackle shops and

· a fishing permit ('Vergunning') from the local owner (or leaser) of the fishing rights.

More about the regulations:

The Angling documents

If you want to fish the inland (fresh) waterways in the Netherlands, you generally need two seperate official documents: the SPORVISAKTE, an national rod license issued by the Dutch government, and a fishing permit (VERGUNNING) issued by the owner or leaser of the fishing rights.

The rod license

The basic rod license for the angler in the Netherlands is the SPORTVISAKTE. It can be purchased at any post office, and from numerous angling clubs, fish tackle shops and tourist information offices (V.V.V.)

This licence is valid from January 1 until December 31.

Anglers under the age of fifteen are allowed to fish without angling licence as long as they fish with one rod and use of the types of bait designated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Managment and Fisheries.

Designated types of bait:

· bread, potato, dough, cheese, corn and seeds;

· worms and shrimps;

· insects and larvae of such (e.g. maggots), and their imitations with a maximum size limit of 25 mm (1 inch); i.e. NO artificial flies langer than 1" may be used).

The fishing permit

Irrespective of your age, you also need a written permit from the owner or leaseholder of the fishing rights. The fishing rights often reside with an angling club (or with several departments like: Amsterdam, Utrecht, etc.), in which case you can acquire a permit from the angling club in question, either by becoming a member or by buying a dayticket (if available) or from a tackle shop.

Please pay attention to specific restrictions which may be mentiond in the local permit, such as a prohibitition to use a certain bait in a particular season, or obligatory catch and release rules for certain species or size slots. In some cases you also need a trespassing permit.

More information on local fishing permits can normally be obtained from a good tackle shop, a police station (but not always), town hall (again your mileage may vary..) and ofcourse from holder of the fishing rights.


If you use one rod only and a designated type of bait, you do not need a permit to fish in public waterways (meaning waterways that are regularly used for commercial shipping purposes). Over the age of 14, however, you always need a rod license.

If you want to use any other type of bait or two rods, you need a fishing permit, irrespective of your age.

Special types of tackle

A 'peur' is a hookless line, uselly connected to a stick, to which you have attached a clump of worms on a length of wool. This type of tackle is used for a specialized form of eel fishing. For 'peuren' you need a special 'peur' license next to the other documents. There is a limit on the number of 'peur' permits issued. Check this with the club.



Night fishing is allowed nationally in most water(s) from June 1 through August 31. For the remainder of the year, angling is not permitted from two hours after sunset until one hour before sunrise.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries has exempted some waters from these regulations so that night fishing is not allowed at any time on Lake IJsselmeer and the open harbours bordering it. The permit purchased from the owner of the fishing rights will contain detailed information on this subject.

Closed season for certain types of bait

During the period from April 1 until the last Saturday of May it is prohibited nationally to use the following typed of bait:

worms (or an imitation thereof), offal, live or dead bait fish, a chunk of fish (irrespective of its size), any type of artificial bait or lure with the exception of artificial flies smaller than 25 mm (1 inch).

Closed season for certain species of fish

There are closed seasons for certain species of fish. If any such fish is caught during the closed season, it should be released unharmed immediatly to the same water it was caught from.

Closed season: species

· Januari 1 - March 31; trout, salmon, charr

· March 1 - June 30; pike

· April 1 - May 31; chub, dace, barbel, nose carp, ide and grayling perch and zander

Endangered and protected fish

Certain species are protected by nature conservation laws or endangerd species laws. One is not allowed to fish for (i.e. catch or use an angling technique that is known to specifically target) the following species:

Spotted bleak, brook lamprey, lampern, stone loach, bitterling, minnow, sheatfish, large and small gudgeon, bullhead, sturgeon, catfish and houting.

If you accidentally catch one of these fish, it should be released immediately to the same water it was caught from.

If you cannot identify the fish you caught, it is best to always release it anyway.

Size restrictions

If you catch a fish which is smaller than the size limit for that species, it should be released unharmed immediatly to the same water it was caught from.

species and their minimum size

Eel 28 cm. Nose carp 30 cm

Perch 22 cm. Pike 45 cm.

Barbel 30 cm. Zander 42 cm.

Char 25 cm. Grayling 35 cm.

Flounder 20 cm. Ide 30 cm.

Trout* 25 cm. Salmon 40 cm.

Chub 30 cm. Sea trout 40 cm.

Rudd 15 cm. Tench 25 cm.

Dace 15 cm.

*brook-, brown- and rainbow trout

There are no size restrictions for other species.

Keep restrictions

Because of it special function a grass carp should always be released. This species is introduced in order to control under water vegetation. Stocking grasscarp may only take place with permission of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Managment and Fisheries.

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