Fishing in Spain

Information on fishing, angling and the permits required for the fresh water rivers and lakes of Spain, as well as sea fishing off the Spanish coast...

A regional fishing licence, or rod licence, (permiso/licencia de pesca) is required to fish both inland and sea waters in Spain.

  • Fishing licences are valid from one to five years
  • Licences are available to anyone 16 years of age and older
  • A parent or guardian must apply for a licence for a child under 16
  • Licences are free in some regions for residents of Spain over the age of 65
  • Licences state which areas can be fished and specify if they are "catch and release" (sin meurte) areas

Holders of a valid foreign fishing licence will usually be able to obtain a Spanish shore-fishing licence the same day by producing the foreign licence, passport, application and any applicable fees to a territorial Ministry of the Environment office (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente).

For those not holding a foreign fishing licence, a Spanish licence can be obtained from the territorial Ministry of the Environment office (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente). Applicants must pass an exam in Spanish before being granted a licence. After the exam, it can take over a month to receive the results and permit.

It is possible to fill in the application form online, but it must be printed and taken to a Medio Ambiente office.

  • For a recreational fishing licence application form: Click here (select the option "Impreso de licencia de pesca"; PDF; in Spanish)

For those planning on coming to Spain to fish, it may be advantageous to obtain a foreign fishing licence prior to arriving in Spain. Holders of an existing foreign licence will not be required to take an exam in Spanish and may obtain a fishing licence online from Telelicencia.

Fishing insurance (seguros de pesce) for civil liability may be required when applying for the licence. Inquire prior to applying for a licence, as this insurance is not required in all regions of Spain.

Fishing in rivers, estuaries or lakes also requires an angling licence, which can be obtained from many fishing shops, some Caja Rural and Caja Mar Banks, or from the local office of the Ministry of the Environment (Minsterio de Medio Ambiente). Trout fishing usually requires an additional daily permit (licencia de pesca rio con recargo trucha), which essentially buys temporary membership to a local fishing club.

Failure to obtain the necessary permits and licences can result in large fines and confiscation of fishing equipment. Some anglers choose to hire professional tour operators to obtain the required permits, licences and insurance.

Fishing Waters

There are both public and private waters in Spain. An additional permit may be needed to fish in some. There are three types of fishing environment:

  • Free (libros): These waters do not need a special permit
  • Restricted (cotos): These are waters that do require a permit
  • Fisheries (intensivos): Permits for these waters are often available in local shops

The fishing season varies based on the particular species of fish. Most rivers have restrictions on the numbers of licences issued per day and the quantity and size of the fish that may be caught.

The Spanish Fishing and Casting Association (Federación Española de Pesca y Casting) has further information (in Spanish) on fishing sites and regulations.

Further Information
  • For a multilingual list of fish names: Click here (PDF)
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