The Netherlands (also known as Holland), with its intricate network of waterways, expansive lakes, serene canals, and picturesque rivers, is a popular destination for a lot of anglers. This country may not be the first destination that comes to mind when thinking about fishing, but it boasts an array of angling opportunities that cater to all types of fishermen. The small country has a rich history of fishing that dates back centuries.
About one third of the country lies below sea level and almost half of the country used to be swamp or water but has been reclaimed as fertile land. To keep the water out of the country an extensive network of rivers, canals and ditches has been created, all of them chuck-full of fish.
There’s no better place in the world to fish for European perch, and some of the biggest specimens ever caught, were caught in The Netherlands. The Dutch carp fishing scene is legendary, with vast lakes and well-maintained fisheries hosting enormous carp. Many record-breaking carp have been caught here, making it a dream destination for carp anglers. The country is also home to some of the finest pike fishing in Europe.
Street fishing is also very popular in The Netherlands, because of the abundance of water in Dutch cities. Amsterdam is sometimes called the Venice of the North and has about 165 canals and over 1200 bridges. In these canals you can catch perch, pike, roach, zander, bream and many more species of fish.
For those who prefer saltwater angling, the Dutch coastline provides ample opportunities for sea fishing. You can target species like sea bass, mackerel, and even cod.
The Netherlands’ efficient transportation system make it easy for visitors to access prime fishing spots. Many fishing venues are conveniently located near major cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. You can rent boats, hire guides, or fish from designated piers and platforms. Local fishing shops provide gear, bait, and valuable information about the best spots to fish.
Fishing in the Netherlands offers a captivating blend of nature, culture, and angling opportunities. Whether you’re after the thrill of catching trophy-sized carp, the excitement of reeling in a pike, or the tranquility of sitting by a serene canal, the Netherlands has it all. With its accessible fishing venues, conservation efforts, and diverse fish species, this country is truly an angler’s paradise that should be on every fishing enthusiast’s bucket list.
And uhhm, don’t forget to eat some raw herring while you’re there!
Best fishing spots in The Netherlands
The Netherlands offers a variety of fishing spots for anglers to enjoy. Whether you prefer freshwater or saltwater fishing, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of the best fishing spots in the Netherlands:
IJsselmeer: This large freshwater lake is one of the most popular fishing destinations in the country. It’s known for its abundant pike, perch, zander (walleye), and carp. You can also find a variety of other species here.
Hollandse IJssel: This river is famous for its excellent pike fishing. It’s a popular spot for predator anglers, and you can also catch perch and other species.
Haringvliet: Located in the southwestern part of the Netherlands, Haringvliet is known for its diverse fish population. You can find pike, perch, carp, and various other species in this brackish water estuary.
Veerpolder: Located near Leiden, Veerpolder is a popular spot for carp fishing. The polder offers plenty of opportunities to catch carp of varying sizes.
The North Sea: If you’re interested in saltwater fishing, the North Sea offers a wide range of species, including cod, sea bass, flatfish, and mackerel. There are many fishing charters available along the coast.
Amsterdam Canals: In the heart of the capital city, you can find various fish species, including pike, perch, and roach, in the Amsterdam canals. It’s a unique urban fishing experience.
Zeeland: This province in the southwestern Netherlands is known for its saltwater fishing opportunities. The waters around Zeeland are home to a variety of fish, including sea bass, flounder, and mullet.
Maas River: The Maas River and its tributaries offer excellent fishing for species like pike, perch, and catfish. It flows through various parts of the Netherlands, providing ample opportunities for anglers.
Markermeer: This large lake, adjacent to the IJsselmeer, is another great spot for freshwater fishing. It’s known for its pike, perch, and carp.
Biesbosch National Park: This unique freshwater tidal area is famous for its pristine nature and diverse fish population. Anglers can catch pike, perch, and other species in the labyrinthine creeks and channels.
Local permits, rules and regulations
In the Netherlands, you generally need a fishing license (Vispas) to fish in public waters. The vispas is obtainable from local fishing clubs and allows you to fish in specific regions and waters covered by the club’s agreement. There are different types of vispas available, so choose the one that suits your needs. There’s also a national vispas which covers all the bodies of waters that border several municipalities, like the sea, rivers or large lakes. There’s a downloadable app called VISPlanner in which you can see for every single body of water in The Netherlands which permit is necessary.
Fishing seasons and closed seasons vary depending on the species you’re targeting and the location. Check with local authorities or fishing clubs for information on the specific fishing seasons for your area. There are catch limits in place for various fish species. These limits can vary, so it’s crucial to know the regulations for the specific water you plan to fish in. Catch and release practices are encouraged for certain species to protect fish populations.
Specific rules may apply to fishing gear and methods. For example, certain waters may have restrictions on the use of live bait, barbless hooks, or specific fishing methods like fly fishing or trolling. Some fish species are protected and cannot be caught or kept. It’s important to be able to identify different species to avoid unintentionally catching protected or endangered fish.
To get detailed and up-to-date information on fishing rules and regulations in the Netherlands, it’s recommended to contact the local fishing club or association in the area where you plan to fish or visit the official website of Sportvisserij Nederland (Dutch Angling Federation), which provides information and resources related to fishing in the country.