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One of Hampstead Heath's ponds, with water in the foreground and grass and trees in the distance.

The angling season runs from 15 March to 15 June (inclusive) each year. You will need an Environment Agency rod licence and an annual Hampstead Heath fishing permit to fish on the Heath. Read on for full details.

Angling on Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath has over thirty ponds and lakes, of which five are designated for fishing. Eight species of fish are currently found at the Heath: carp, bream, roach, rudd, tench, gudgeon, perch and pike.

Contact information

Report any lost tackle, pollution and sick or dead fish or birds to a member of staff or by ringing the Heath Constabulary on 020 8340 5260.

Other important out-of-hours contacts are:

Environment Agency Hotline
0800 80 70 60

RSPCA
0300 1234 999

If you have comments about or would like to help with the management of fishing facilities on the Heath, please contact us.

Guidelines, regulations and frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

​When is the fishing season?

The fishing season is from 16 June 2018 until 14 March 2019.

How can I obtain a fishing permit?

To obtain a fishing permit you must have a 12-month Environment Agency Rod License and two matching passport size photographs, ID and proof of address. You must bring them to the Parliament Hill Office (NW5 1QR) in person.

When can I obtain a fishing permit?

You can obtain the fishing permit from 16th May 2018. What time is the Office open? The office is open Monday-Friday from 8.30am-4pm and 10am-4pm on weekends.

How much does a fishing permit cost?

Fishing permits are free of charge. You need to provide an EA license and 2 passport size photos as mentioned above.

How long does it take to get a fishing permit?

Fishing permit will be issued on the spot and you can start fishing as soon as you’ve been issued with a fishing permit.

Are children require to have a fishing permit?

Children under the age of 12 do not require a fishing permit, however we recommend that they are accompanied by an adult with a fishing permit.

Where can I get an Environmental Agency rod license?

A 12-month Environmental Agency rod license can be purchased by ringing 0844 800 5386, at any Post Office, or online via the Environment Agency website.

Can I take any fish away with me?

No, all fish must be put back into the Ponds, it is an offence if you take any fishes out of the Heath.

Can I fish during the night?

Yes, but under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult. The fishing permit will be signed by Hampstead Heath Rangers or Constabulary during spot checks.

Can I use lures and spinners to target perch and pike?

No lures, barbed hooks, bent hooks, lead shot, tethered rigs, bolt rigs or braided lines are allowed.

Licences and regulations

  • We operate a close season of 15 March to 15 June (inclusive)
  • Night fishing is not allowed by anyone under the age of 16 unless accompanied by an adult
  • An Environment Agency rod license must be held, except by children under 12 years of age
  • An annual Hampstead Heath fishing permit must also be held, these can be obtained from our Parliament Hill office - opening hours: 8.30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday; or 10am to 4pm on weekends. You will need to bring two matching passport sized photos (not photocopies), photographic identity, proof of address and an Environment Agency rod licence to obtain a permit
  • Licenses and permits must be presented upon the request of City of London staff
  • Avoid fishing from swims where there is a risk of snagging trees, vegetation or underwater obstacles
  • All rubbish must be put in appropriate litter bins or taken away
  • The use of waders to enter any pond to fish is forbidden
  • No fish, aquatic animals or plants should be introduced to or removed from the ponds

For more information on Environment Agency rod licenses and to apply for a license, please visit GOV.UK.

Rod, line and tackle regulations

  • Only three rods may be in use simultaneously and these will require two Environment Agency rod licenses
  • Under Environment Agency byelaws it is an offence for baited rods to be left in the water unattended
  • Hampstead Heath byelaws must also be adhered to
  • No bait boats, live bait (including crayfish), or bait nuts may be used
  • Ground bait should be used in sensible quantities in order to preserve water quality
  • Unused bait must be taken away
  • No lures, barbed hooks, bent hooks, lead shot, tethered rigs, bolt rigs or braided lines are allowed
  • Your hook line must be of lower breaking strain than the reel line
  • The reel line must never be used directly to the hook, without a weaker link
  • Tackle must be free to slide off the line (towed lead, feeder or float can snag the fish)
  • If pike fishing, minimum line breaking strain should be 12lb, and minimum trace of 18" of 20lb wire
  • All broken line must be removed to prevent water birds becoming ensnared

Landing and handling regulations

  • All fish are to be handled carefully with wet hands and using wet equipment
  • Remember that watch straps and jewellery can injure a fish during handling
  • All anglers must have a landing net
  • No keep nets or carp sacks are to be used
  • Suitably-sized knotless landing nets must be used at all times (minimum size of 106cm (42in) when specifically fishing for carp)
  • All anglers must have a disgorger and forceps for removing hooks
  • Unhooking mats must be used to unhook large fish
  • A weigh sling or bag, in good condition, must be held above the unhooking mat during weighing
  • When photographing fish, have all the photographic equipment ready before bringing the fish to the bank
  • The fish should be photographed over the mat, as close to the ground and as quickly as possible
  • Please respect fish of all species and all sizes by returning them to the ponds as quickly as possible
  • Never drop or throw them back into the water but use a sling or enclosed mat for the transfer

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