Information on fishing, angling and the permits required for the fresh water rivers, lakes and sea fishing off the coast of the Netherlands. Information includes contacts for local fishing associations…
The main fishing areas in the Netherlands are the North Sea, rivers and big lakes – there are also good fish supplies in the eastern part of the Netherlands in rivers, canals and seas.
Licences and Permits
Sport fishing in the Netherlands is organized and monitored by Amateur Fishing Netherlands (Sportvisserij Nederland). A permit is required to fish.
The VISpas (fishing pass) is a credit card-sized permit which allows the holder fishing rights according to the terms of the pass they have chosen. Various types of VISpas are available and each acts as proof of membership of a fishing club. The holder must also have a booklet (issued with the card) which lists permissible fishing waters in the Netherlands (Lijsten van Viswateren). A regular VISpas costs approximately €40
A standard VISpas allows fishing with two rods with permissible bait. Children under the age of 15 can fish without an angling licence if they are accompanied by a permit holder. If the child wishes to fish with two rods, they must obtain a Junior VISpas (JeugdVISpas).
The Small Fishing Pass (KleineVISpas) is available to people who are not members of a particular fishing club. It allows fishing in selected areas and only with one rod.
Dutch Fishing Restrictions
-Bread, potato, dough, cheese, corn and seeds
-Worms and prawns
-Insects, larvae (maggots) and imitations with maximum size of 25mm
Fishing with any other bait or multiple rods requires a fishing permit.
From beginning of April to end of May, the use of certain types of bait is prohibited across the Netherlands:
-Worms (or imitation worms) and offal
-Live or dead bait fish, a chunk of fish (irrespective of its size)
-Any type of artificial bait or lure apart from artificial flies smaller than 25mm
Night fishing is allowed across the Netherlands on most stretches of water from beginning of June to end of August. During the remainder of the year, angling is not permitted from two hours after sunset until one hour before sunrise.
The LNV has exempted some waters from these regulations and night fishing is not allowed at any time on Lake IJsselmeer and the open harbours bordering it. The permit issued by the owner of the fishing rights will provide further information.
There are closed seasons for certain species of fish. If any such fish is caught during the closed season, it should be released, unharmed immediately in the same stretch of water in which it was caught.
|Closed Season||Fish Species|
|All year||sea trout, salmon|
|1st Oct – 31st Mar||brown trout, char, brook trout|
|1st Mar – 30th Jun||pike|
|1st Apr – 31st May||barbel, chub, dace, nose carp, ide, grayling|
|1st Apr – last Sat in May||perch, zander|
Endangered and Protected Fish
Certain species are protected by Dutch conservation or endangered species laws. It is forbidden to fish (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 one of these species is caught by accident, it should be released immediately in the same stretch of water in which it was caught. Likewise if the fish caught is smaller than the size limit for that species, it should be released unharmed immediately in the same stretch of water in which it was caught.
If the fish cannot be identified, it is best to release it.
Grass carp should always be released as the species has a role in controlling under water vegetation. Stocking grass carp may only take place with permission of the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Management.
Special types of tackle
A peur is a hookless line, usually connected to a stick, to hold a clump of worms on a length of wool. This type of tackle is used for specialised eel fishing. A peur licence is needed in addition to other permits. There is a limit on the number of peur licenses issued.
Maps & Apps
– Sportvisserij Nederland offers a ‘Fishing in Holland’ map of fishing spots throughout the Netherlands. It allows you to filter by species of fish, nearby facilities, fishing method and type of VISpas required.
– The VISplanner phone app offers an interactive map of fishing locations in the Netherlands and the type of fish that can be legally caught at each.