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Sea and shore fishing

Find out where you can fish in Dorset, when you need a rod licence and learn about responsible sea fishing.

When you need a rod licence

You need a rod fishing licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel with a rod and line. You must also get permission from the land owner.

You must always carry your rod fishing licence when you're fishing or you could be prosecuted. 

Children under 12 don't need a licence. Licences for children aged between 12 and 16 are free. 

Buy a rod licence

The Environment Agency owns all fishing rights in the tidal waters of the Rivers Frome and Piddle from Wareham to the white posts where the river enters Poole Harbour. You can get a permit from the Blandford Office by calling 0870 8506 506 ( see UK call charges and rates (opens in a new window)).

Where you can fish in Dorset

Find out where you can fish in Dorset on  Visit Dorset (opens in a new window) and on  i-coast (opens in a new window).

Responsible sea fishing

The Dorset Wildlife Trust have tips on helping to conserve the marine environment (opens in a new window) as well as information on minimum catch size, spawning seasons and fish handling techniques.

Recycling fishing line

There are recycling bins for recycling fishing line at these locations:

  • Baiter
  • Christchurch
  • Kimmeridge
  • Poole Harbour in Hamworthy
  • Sandbanks
  • Swanage
  • West Bay
  • West Bexington
  • Weymouth

Sustainable fishing

Fishing has an impact on our marine environment and affects fish stocks, sensitive habitats and endangered species. The Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) ecolabel and fishery certification program contributes to the health of the world's oceans by recognising and rewarding sustainable fishing practices, as well as influencing the choices people make when buying seafood.

Read about sustainable fishing on the MSC website.

The Marine Conservation Society have produced the Good Fish Guide which uses sustainability ratings to help you choose the fish to eat and which fish to avoid.

Buy local

Buying locally caught fish reduces the number of 'food miles' the product travels before reaching the consumer, and you will often be rewarded with a fresher product.

The south west has many local specialities which are line caught such as mackerel, saithe (coley), dab, dover sole, witch (Torbay sole) and edible (brown) crab.

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