Like almost everything else, fishing in Germany is heavily regulated. And that’s a good thing in my opinion. Since the fishing law differs greatly from state to state, I outline here only roughly what is needed for legal fishing in Germany.


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2 components needed: Fishing license + fishing permit contract

This official license is obtained only after passing the fishing exam and is virtually the license of fishing. In order for the license to be valid, a fishing fee must be paid annually. With this license you can prove that you are able to move properly on the water, handle the fish correctly and use only the approved fishing methods.

You can go fishing with this license only if you own a water, for all others you need a fishing permit. As the name implies – the permission from the owner (which can be clubs, fishermen or private individuals) that you are allowed to fish in that water.

Once again for understanding it is mentioned that even if the water belongs to you in Germany, you may fish there only with a fishing license.

As a foreigner in Germany, how do I get a fishing permit and what does it cost?

The fishing permit contract or also called fishing license, you get nowadays already online, but also uncomplicated in the fishing store of the region in which the water is located.

It costs, for example, for one of the largest and most popular fishing areas in Germany – the Müritz, 82, -Eur per person and month (as of 2021).

The corresponding tourist fishing license costs 24,-Eur per person and month.

Together this makes 106,-Eur for one month fishing at the Müritz in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Order online here.

So-called tourist fishing licenses are currently only available in Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg without proof of expertise. In Brandenburg, this license only allows fishing for peaceful fish. In some other federal states you can get a short-term fishing license for foreign visitors with proof of expert knowledge of his home country.

You will get an info sheet with the most important rules how to behave where. Violations of the German fishing law are punished with up to 25.000,-Eur fine.

In summary, what is important is:

If you want to go fishing legally in Germany, you need a fishing license, a fishing permit contract and the knowledge of the fishing law in the respective state in which you are on vacation. Expect costs of about 100,-Eur per month (as of 2021).

An example of fishing rules at the water in Bavaria/Germany

I. Introduction
The water rules regulate the practice of fishing in the club waters.
Good comradeship, sportive and fair behavior on the water as well as mutual helpfulness and consideration should be a matter of course for an angler and cannot be replaced by water regulations.
The water guards appointed by the association are responsible for the supervision on the water; they are supported by the members of the board. In case of violations of the legal or club regulations, they have the duty to intervene in an unrelenting manner. Their orders are to be obeyed in any case.

It should be noted
When fishing must be carried
– Annual fishing license
– Permit
– Special regulations
These papers are to be shown to the control bodies on demand.
Fishing is only allowed in the waters approved by the board.
Catch limits, restrictions and temporary changes to the water regulations will be announced annually in advance or on a case-by-case basis (special regulations).

II. Fishing
Each member is allowed to fish with max. 2 hand-held fishing rods (see Bavarian Fishing Law). The fishing rods must never be left in the water without supervision.
All baits (natural and artificial) are allowed, unless prohibited by law or special regulation.

III. Duties
The fishing places must be left clean at all times. Violations are subject to punishment.
Noticeable phenomena on the water such as contamination of the water, fish deaths, other damages and irregularities are to be reported immediately and as soon as possible to the board or’ water warden. The quickest notification is absolutely necessary.
Other people’s property – water, meadows, banks including trees and bushes – must be protected at all costs.
Meadows and fields are to be entered only insofar as it is absolutely necessary within the framework of the right to access the banks. Permanently fenced plots of land may only be entered with the permission of the owner. Each member is personally liable for damage to the land and will also be held accountable by the board of directors. Each individual member must contribute in the interest of the association to create a good relationship with the riparians and property owners.
Undersized fish and fish caught during the closed season must be put back with wet hands and the greatest care. For lost fish, see special regulation.
Sick fish may not be put back into the water, but are to be killed and buried. Report to the board of directors or water warden.
Every member has to keep his catch book carefully. The entries have to be made immediately after the catch. The catch books are to be handed in by 31.12. of each year at the latest, regardless of whether something was caught or not.
For the development, care and maintenance of the waters each member has to perform a yearly fixed number of working hours. Exemptions are decided by the board. For each hour of work not completed, a financial amount determined by the board must be paid.

IV. Prohibitions
It is forbidden:

Fishing elsewhere during club events.
– Ice fishing.
– The use of leggings and rods.
– Camping on the water outside campsites without permission.
– Ice skating, boating, bathing, camping, etc. at or on club waters.
– Entering enclosed properties and driving on private roads, meadows and fields.
– The paid utilization, sale, exchange etc. of the fished fish.
– The taking of excluded club members as guest anglers.