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Information and rules

When fishing in Denmark, you need to be mindful of certain rules.

Minimum size limits and closed seasons

Useful links

On the Danish Fisheries Agency website, you can find all the information about minimum size limits and closed seasons.

For several fish species, a minimum size limit and/or a closed season are imposed when the fish have gathered to spawn. The purpose is to ensure that the fish have time to spawn and thereby maintain a population.

Fish moving from watercourses to the sea need to have free passage. For that reason, closed season zones are in place, marking where you are not allowed to fish. These zones cover the areas where rivers and streams flow into the sea and fjords. It is always sensible to check whether a closed season zone exists where you intend to fish.




Closed season and protected zones

Before you commence fishing, it is important that you have examined the closed season and protected zones near the fishing waters.

You can see the protected zones via Fishing in Denmark, Danish Fisheries Agency or The Catch Journal

National fishing licenses

In most places in Denmark, a fishing license is required to fish. The fishing license permits you to fish along the Danish shores as much as you want. There are private fishing waters in Denmark to which the license does not grant access. So be sure to examine the special rules for these areas.

The fishing license measures

  • The national fishing license measures
    Release of fish – e.g. sea trout and turbot
  • Restoration of watercourses which helps the development of fish populations
  • New knowledge about fish behavior

The revenue from fishing license sales for instance goes towards fish care, release of fish, and watercourse restoration. Thus the fishing license enables us to aid in providing our fish with a better future.

You can buy a license that is valid for a year, a week, or a day. And uniquely to Denmark, anglers only need a single fishing license to fish almost everywhere in the country. In 2020, sales of fishing licenses have been rising. This is truly a positive development, both because it means that more people want to go fishing, and particularly since it also means that more money will go towards creating better conditions of life for the fish. So remember to buy your fishing license, and be a part of helping the fish.

You can read more about this on the Danish Fisheries Agency website Danish Fisheries Agency.


Angler ethics

What is angler ethics? It’s a jungle out there in the world of angling, trying to tell right from wrong. Below, you can find several of the ethical rules that are important to know when you move about the many Danish fishing waters.

With respect for nature, landowners, and anglers

In Denmark, we are many anglers that actively use nature – therefore, it is important that we all treat nature and its animals with respect as well as consider our behavior out by the water. Several guidelines and regulations point us in the right direction, but there are also many unwritten rules concerning correct behavior in nature and being considerate when it comes to like-minded anglers as well as the fish we catch. The unwritten rules can be difficult to understand since people often interpret them differently. Below, you will find a quick list of bullet points to keep in mind when you as an angler roam around the fishing waters.


Moving about and consideration

Where can I move about?

Where can I move about? Wherever you are, always make sure that you are allowed to fish there. As a rule of thumb, you may park in publicly allocated parking spaces as well as verges along roads if there is room. Keep your distance to private properties, and stick to paths and shores.

Private roads are private, and as such you are not allowed to drive there, even though you are “just” going fishing. However, you may use them as access roads to the fishing water if you walk or bike. A potential benefit of walking the final stretch to the fishing water is that no one else is there. You can always ask a landowner if you may park on or cross his property to reach fishing water.

Be considerate

Be considerate – no matter where you fish, it is always a good idea to keep your distance and be considerate towards fellow anglers. It varies how much space each individual angler prefers. There may be differences from coastal fishing to fishing from a pier or a boat out at sea. But take care of each other, and be considerate. If in doubt, ask the angler.

Clean up after yourself

Clean up after yourself in nature. Leave your fishing spot without any signs of your presence. Take your own trash with you, and if you find trash around the fishing spot, be a good sport, and take it with you when you leave.

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Handling fish

Always hold the fish in the water if it is to be released. A net with rubber mesh can be a huge benefit when handling fish.

Handling of fish

Handling of fish

DTU’s recommendation concerning gentle handling and release of fish

Handling fish that you catch must always be done in a respectful manner towards the fish. If you are taking the fish home, kill it as quickly and gently as possible.

If the fish is to be released, this needs to be done as gently as possible. Hold the fish in the water, and remove the hook underwater. By proper handling, the fish has a good chance of survival without injuries.

Colored fish

“Colored fish”, as anglers often call them, are always a source of discussion among anglers. Until the start for the closed season, you are free to take home colored fish. It is then up to the individual angler to assess whether it is to be taken home. When the fish is “colored” and on its way to its watercourse, it is on a mission to spawn. For that reason, many choose to release the fish, since it is already so close to its destination.


A kelt is a fish that has just finished spawning. Since it has spent a lot of energy spawning, it is often thin and lean and does not have a very good consumption value.

It is an unwritten rule that you release kelts in order to give them a second chance and to limit the number of sea trout we take home in general.