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Freshwater recreational fishing FAQs

Do I need a licence to fish?

All anglers must hold a valid angling licence issued by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture and anglers must purchase a licence before fishing anywhere on the Island. Licences are available for periods of a season, a week or a day. To fish any of the 6 Manx Utilities Authority reservoirs stocked with rainbow trout you must hold a Reservoir Licence. A separate Other Waters Licence is required for fishing elsewhere for salmon, migratory trout, trout, rainbow trout and eels. From March 2012, a season Coarse Fish Licence will be available. Rod licence checks are routinely carried out by Fisheries Officers to protect the fishery interests.

How much does a licence cost?

Licence fees are amended usually on an annual basis and approved by Tynwald. The current licence duties are available in the downloadable documents section of this web page.

I've bought an Other Waters Licence, can I fish anywhere on the Island?

There are a few short stretches of stream that are in private club ownership and therefore not available to the public.  There is also a private commercial fishery which can be fished with either a Reservoir or Other Waters licence (Riverside Fishery, Patrick Road, St. Johns, telephone 801715 for details)

Otherwise, access to watercourses is at the discretion of the landowner and anglers are responsible for ensuring that they do not commit trespass.  Please respect ‘No Fishing’ and ‘Private Fishing’ signs.

Unless requested not to by an IoM Government Officer, licensed anglers may assume they have permission to fish at the following locations:

  • National Glens: mostly brown trout. Salmon also run Laxey Glen, Glen Helen and, to a lesser extent, Silverdale Glen. Sea trout, and occasionally salmon, run several of the other glens accessible to migratory fish. (List of National Glens)
  • Garey ny Cloie (Foxdale River): brown trout, sea trout, salmon.
  • Right bank of Sulby Claddagh Recreational Area (Sulby River): brown trout, sea trout, salmon.
  • The Raggatt (River Neb): brown trout, sea trout, salmon.
  • Right bank of River Neb from Glenfaba Road to West Marine Footbridge, Peel: brown trout, sea trout, salmon.
  • Within the grounds of the National Sports Centre between Quarterbridge and Pulrose Power Station, Douglas (Rivers Glass, Dhoo and Douglas): brown trout, sea trout, salmon. Please note that access may be restricted during some NSC events and anglers must cease fishing if requested to do so by NSC staff.
  • Steam Heritage Trail bank, River Dhoo, between Braddan Bridge and Main Road Bridge, Union Mills: brown trout, sea trout, salmon.
  • Streams within Public Land Open to Ramblageas defined in the Isle of Man Outdoor Leisure Map 1:25,000: brown trout. Please note that anglers need to take great care April-July (inc) to avoid disturbing ground-nesting birds e.g. hen harriers, as to do so is an offence under the Wildlife Act 1990.

Private fishing on the Isle of Man 2012

Manx Game Fishing Club

1. Nunnery Estate Water - from Tesco car park upstream to Pulrose road bridge, fishing from the east bank throughout and also west bank within Nunnery grounds. All legal methods of angling permitted.

2. Kirby Park, River Dhoo - fishing from Castletown Road near Mylchreests Motors, upstream to Braddan Bridge, fishing from east bank only. Fly fishing to end of May, spinning after, to end of season.

3. Port E Chee, River Glass - from Quarterbridge right through the meadow to the flats before Tromode Road on the west bank only. Fly only until the end of May, thereafter spinning and worm fishing.

4. River Dhoo, Union Mills - upstream from private access gate on the railway line through to barbed wire fence within private gardens. North bank only. All legal methods of angling permitted.

Contact:  Treasurer, Neil Richmond Tel: +44 1624 843456 or +44 1624 621632

Douglas Angling Club

Douglas Angling Club fishes the section of the River Glass between the Mill Bridge upstream to the top of the weir at Tromode Falls.

Contact:   Secretary, Geoff Walmsley Tel: +44 1624 628954

What can I fish for?

Wild brown trout are abundant in all the streams and rivers on the Island, the takeable size being 25cm and over. Fishing for migratory fish tends to be most productive during the late summer and autumn, with salmon and sea trout usually captured during or after spate conditions. Wild brown trout are also occasionally caught in the larger reservoirs.

How many fish can I catch?

On reservoirs, there is an overall bag limit of 4 rainbow trout per day and anglers must not continue to fish by catch-and-release once the daily bag limit has been reached. Senior citizens (age 65 and over) and eligible disabled persons may opt to purchase a reservoir adult season licence at a concessionary price with a reduced bag limit of 2 rainbow trout per day. The eligibility criteria for Concessionary Reservoir Licences can be found in the 2011 Inland Fisheries Regulations. Please note that from November to January inclusive on the reservoirs, there is an overall bag limit of 2 rainbow trout for all anglers. From April 2012 for anglers in possession of an Other Waters Licence, there is a daily bag limit of 3 fish, of which no more than 1 may be a salmon or a sea trout.

Which are the Manx Utilities Authority Reservoirs?

The 6 reservoirs are Clypse, Kerrowdhoo, Cringle, Sulby, Ballure and West Baldwin. To fish these for rainbow trout and trout, anglers must be in possesion of a Reservoir or Concessionary Reservoir Licence.

When are the reservoirs open?

During the fishing season, angling on the reservoirs is allowed between the hours of 6am or sunrise, whichever is the later, and 30 minutes after sunset or 10.30pm, whichever is the earlier.

How often are the reservoirs stocked?

Six of the reservoirs (Clypse, Kerrowdhoo, Cringle, Sulby, West Baldwin and Ballure) are stocked on a regular basis from March through to mid October with rainbow trout. Approximately 20,000 rainbow trout are stocked out each season. Please note that stocking does not normally continue after 1 November. To allow the fish to acclimatise to their new environment, a section of each reservoir is closed for 24 hours following the introduction of new fish. These closure zones are clearly marked and details are displayed on notice boards at each site. 

What methods can I use to fish the reservoirs?

Fishing in the Clypse and Kerrowdhoo reservoirs, which adjoin each other in Onchan, is by traditional fly fishing only. Fly fishing and spinning methods are permitted on the other reservoirs. Bait fishing is prohibited

Am I allowed to wade in the reservoirs when fishing?

The Inland Fisheries Regulations 2017 do not prohibit wading while fishing but, for health & safety reasons, we strongly advise against it.

Can I fish from a boat on the reservoirs?

For health and safety reasons, boat angling is not permitted on any of the reservoirs.

Do children need a licence?

Children must hold a licence, these are issued free of charge for children aged under 14 years of age. Note that Child licences cease to be valid on their 14th birthday. The Young Person Licence is also available with a reduced rate for who have attained 14 years but have not yet attained 19 years of age. Note that a Young Person licence ceases to be valid on their 19th birthday irrespective of the date of end of season shown on the licence.

When does the fishing season commence?

The reservoir season opens on 10 March and continues until 31 January of the following year. The season on Other Waters commences on 1 April and continues until 30 September for trout and eels. You may fish for salmon and sea trout until 31 October, with a season Other Water Licence only.

Are there any licence restrictions for fishing for migratory fish?

During the month of October, you may fish only for salmon and sea trout if you hold a season Other Waters Licence. Week and day licences are not valid for the month of October for fishing streams.

Do I have to complete a catch return?

The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture has introduced a catch return initiative for reporting catches of salmon, migratory trout and trout. You will find the form attached to the Other Waters Licence. If you have fished during the season, even if you have not succeeded in catching any fish, you are asked to complete the form and return it to the Fisheries Section via the address printed on the form. See downloadable documents for a river catch return form.

Where can I buy a licence?

Concessionary reservoir adult season licences, which senior citizens (aged 65 and over) and eligible disabled persons may opt to purchase, can be bought at the DEFA headquarters, Foxdale Road, St Johns and at most Island Post Offices. The criteria for eligibility are specified in the Inland Fisheries Regulations 2017.  All other licences are available to purchase online via the IoM Government’s Online Services.  With the exception of Coarse Fish licences, they may also be purchased at DEFA headquarters during office hours (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm exc Bank Holidays) and at The Welcome Centre, Douglas (8am – 6pm Mon to Sat except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day & Civil Service privilege day, plus Sunday 9am – 2pm during summer season).

Can I buy a licence online?

From 2009, fishing licences (with the exception of reservoir concessionary licences) are available to purchase via Online Services on the Isle of Man Government website. You will have to register with Online Services to use this service. From March 2012, coarse fish licences will be available for purchase via Online Services only.

Are there any other rules I should be aware of?

The Fisheries Act 2012 and the Inland Fisheries Regulations 2017 provide for general rules for angling in both reservoirs and rivers. If you are unsure of any of the regulations, or would like further information, please do not hesitate to contact the Inland Fisheries Section on +44 1624 685857 for clarification. A Code of Conduct is available to provide guidance to anglers on the relevant rules and regulations.

Can I fish for migratory salmonids from the shore?

Under Isle of Man Sea Fisheries legislation, it is an offence to fish for migratory salmonids in the sea, estuary or from any foreshore.

Is coarse fishing available?

The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture does not currently maintain any facilities for coarse fishing, although there are small pockets of coarse fish in a number of the small dubs and quarries, which are private fisheries. Perch are known to be present in Eairy Dam, and from March 2012 a coarse fish licence will allow coarse fishing in this stillwater and all other private or commercial coarse fisheries.

Can I sell the fish I catch on rod and line?

It is an offence under the Fisheries Act 2012 to sell, offer or expose for sale any fish to which a licence issued under these regulations applies.

Are there any other web-based sources of advice on freshwater fishing in the Isle of Man?

Isle of Man Fly Fishers is a source of advice from local anglers.

DEFA Fisheries has a page on Facebook where updates on freshwater fishing issues are regularly posted.

How can I contact the Fisheries Directorate with questions, comments and ideas?

The various contact details for the Inland Fisheries section are listed below. The Department has recently established a Manx Recreational Anglers Forum which meets twice a year to discuss and take forward initiatives relating to recreational angling. Anglers are welcome to contact forum members direct or via the Department. Copies of the most recent minutes from forum meetings are available to download.

Fisheries Directorate

Department of Environment Food and Agriculture

Thie Slieau Whallian

Foxdale Road

St John's

IM4 3AS

Telephone:+44 1624 685857

Fax:+44 1624 685851

Email:Send Email

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Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm
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