Licenses and Law – Denmark

We do our best to keep the below information up-to-date. However, we do not assume liability for the accuracy of the information given below. In case of doubt, please refer to the latest information on the websites of the respective ministries and institutions. Last Update: September 2018

Danish fishing regulations are administered by the Danish Agricultural Agency. Among other things, they define the minimum measurements, conservation periods, protective zones and bag limits. On its website you can buy the obligatory state fishing licence that is required if you’re between 18 and 65 years of age. There are, however, also a number of physical locations where you can buy the state fishing licence. These locations are listed here.

The state fishing licence grants you permission to fish in both fresh and salt water, and it costs 185 DKK per year, 130 DKK per week or 40 DDK per day.

Once you’ve bought a fishing licence, you can head out and fish. Depending on what you’ll be fishing for, you’ll need to read up on the laws and regulations with regard to minimum sizes and protection periods. Minimum sizes have been introduced to ensure that all fish stand the chance of spawning at least once in their life. Conservation periods have a similar intention: protecting the fish during the period of spawning.

Seatrout are protected from 16 November to 15 January in fresh water. During the same period sea trout in spawning colours are protected in salt and brackish water. Sea trout have a minimum size of 40 cm.

Cod don’t have a conservation period, but they’re protected by a bag limit of 5 cod per angler per day. During the period from 1 February to 31 March, the bag limit is 3 cod per day. Furthermore, cod have a minimum size of 35 cm.

Mackerel have no conservation period, but they are covered by a minimum size of 20 cm in Skagerak and Kattegat. In the North Sea and the two fjords Limfjorden and Ringkøbing Fjord the minimum size is 30 cm.

Garfish have neither conservation periods nor a minimum size.

Pike are protected during the period from 1 to 30 April. In salt and brackish water, this conservation period has been expanded until 15 May. The minimum size – in fresh, brackish and salt water – is 60 cm. Finally, a complete ban on killing pike caught in Praestoe Fjord, Stege Nor, Jungshoved Nor and Fane Fjord has been introduced. The specific geographical areas involved can be found here.

Conservation periods & protected zones

A complete list of conservation periods for all freshwater species of fish can be found here and similarly for saltwater species here. Furthermore, minimum measurements for all saltwater species can be found here and similarly for all freshwater species here. Additionally, there are certain areas that are completely or periodically protected in order to conserve migratory sea trout populations. These protected zones can be studied in details here.

When panning across the map, you will see that the protected zones are shown with different colours: red for all-year conservation periods, blue for 16 September–15 March, or yellow for other conservation periods or if special rules or regulations apply. To access additional information about the protected areas, simply click on the coloured zone and a pop-up window will appear.

Finally, we recommend that you download the app “Fangstjournal” on your smartphone. Here, you can find all protected zones, and the app shows you exactly where you are in relation to them.

Catch & Release

Apart from all the official rules and regulations, there are also a series of unwritten rules regarding general behaviour and how to handle fish, which you should acquaint yourself with.

Catch and Release fishing has long since been popularised in the Zealand region, and the practices involved do not only apply to fish that legally have to be released. They are also used when dealing with fish that are biologically valuable because of their size or distribution.

When practising catch and release, you need to make sure that the fish is released in a viable state. In practice, this means that you should adapt your tackle so that the fish can be landed without causing exhaustion or excessive stress. Landing the fish should be done with either wet hands or a knotless net that doesn’t damage the fish’s vital slime layer. Additional handling should be done with wet hands and – ideally – with the fish in the water, or alternatively on a wet unhooking mat. If you want to weigh the fish before releasing it, consider using a weigh sling or a net. When releasing the fish, wait for the fish to regain strength and don’t let it go until it swims away on its own. You can learn more about proper Catch and Release of brackish water pike here.

Good conduct – and unwritten rules

Lastly, we encourage you to respect other people outdoors – and other anglers – by keeping an appropriate distance. Respect the public path, general traffic and parking regulations and show consideration for the environment. Fishing lines and other garbage should be disposed of in public waste bins or taken home.

You can read more about the unwritten rules and conduct guidelines on Fishing Zealand’s website here.

Enjoy the fishing and the scenery on Zealand – Tight lines!