Fishing in Germany: Guide to German Angling Adventure (2024)

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Germany is a patchwork of idyllic lakes, winding rivers, and expansive coastlines that stretch along the North and Baltic Seas. This makes it a paradise not just for the sightseer but also for anglers—both seasoned and novice.

From battling the fierce pike in the muddy waters of the Elbe River to leisurely catching trout in a placid Bavarian lake, the country offers a multitude of experiences that promise to leave you both enriched and enthralled.

So grab your fishing rod, and let’s dive into this comprehensive guide that will navigate you through the intricacies of fishing in Germany. This guide has got you covered from legal requirements to the types of fish you can catch and the best spots to throw your line.

Key Takeaways

  • Germany offers diverse fishing environments, from tranquil lakes to bustling seas.
  • You’ll need both a fishing license and a daily or weekly “Angelkarte” to fish legally.
  • Popular fishing destinations include Lake Constance, the Rhine River, and the Baltic Sea.
  • Pay attention to seasonal factors like water temperature and fish migration patterns.
  • Choose your fishing gear carefully based on your chosen fishing environment.
  • Different fishing techniques are more effective for different types of fish in Germany.

Types of Fish in Germany

Freshwater Marvels

In Germany, you could be pulling up anything from a feisty pike to a graceful trout. The country’s lakes and rivers are brimming with a variety of freshwater species that are sure to get your adrenaline pumping. Let’s meet some of the stars of the show:

Pike: Known locally as “Hecht,” this predator is a prized catch for many anglers, known for its size and ferocity.

Carp: Popular among both amateur and professional fishermen, the carp, or “Karpfen” can be found in nearly all types of freshwater habitats. They are often associated with traditional German dishes, making them a doubly rewarding catch.

Trout: Whether it’s brown trout, rainbow trout, or the elusive brook trout, these species are often found in colder, fast-flowing streams and rivers. They’re a favorite among fly-fishing enthusiasts.

The Allure of Saltwater

If the ocean calls to you, then Germany’s coastline along the North and Baltic Seas won’t disappoint. Picture yourself on a boat, the salty sea breeze rustling your hair, as you troll for some of the most delectable seafish out there. Here’s what you might find on the other end of your line:

Cod: A classic catch in the North Sea, cod is not only a challenge to reel in but also a staple in many delicious dishes.

Herring: Often found in schools, catching herring can offer action-packed angling. Plus, they are a significant part of regional cuisine.

Necessary Documents

Necessary Documents
Document TypeDescriptionWhere to Obtain
Long-Term LicenseAllows fishing in public waters for an extended period; usually requires an exam.Fishing authority of each state
Tourist LicenseShort-term license for tourists, usually no exam required.Local fishing shops or online
Angelkarte (Day Pass)Daily or weekly fishing permit for specific waters.Local fishing shops, sometimes online
Protected Area PermitSpecial permit for fishing in protected or restricted areas.Conservation offices

The Quest for the Fishing License (Angelschein)

But before you charge off on your angling expedition, there are a couple of important “quest items” you’ll need to acquire. Imagine these documents as your gateway passes to the enchanted lands of German fishing if you will.

The first crucial document is your fishing license, or “Angelschein” as it’s called in German. This isn’t just a piece of paper; it’s your rite of passage into the angler’s paradise that is Germany.

Obtaining one typically involves passing a fishing examination that tests your knowledge of fish species, fishing techniques, and legal regulations. The good news is, that some states allow this test to be taken in English!

Fishing Permits: Your Ticket to Specific Fishing Havens

Once you have your license in hand, you might think you’re set to cast your line anywhere you please. Many fishing spots require an additional document known as a fishing permit, specific to the area you intend to fish in. This permit gives you the right to fish in particular rivers, lakes, or coastal areas for a specified period, usually ranging from a day to a year.

Think of the permit as your VIP ticket to the exclusive fish-filled events held at various “venues” across Germany. Whether it’s a secluded lake surrounded by whispers of the Black Forest or the rhythmic waves of the Baltic Sea, a permit grants you access to these natural wonders.

And worry not; most fishing permits can be obtained at local fishing shops, online, or even at some tourist information centers. Plus, you often get the bonus of local tips and advice along with your purchase, setting you up for a fruitful day by the water.

Best Fishing Spots

Bavaria’s Lakes

Imagine the backdrop of the Alps, framing a tranquil lake whose waters mirror the sky, as you stand on a wooden pier, your fishing line dancing in the wind. Bavaria’s lakes are straight out of a fairy tale and offer some of the best freshwater fishing in Germany.

From Lake Chiemsee to Königssee, the clear, deep waters are home to a variety of species, including pike, perch, and whitefish. Each lake has its own unique character, ensuring that every fishing trip feels like a brand-new adventure.

The Mighty Rhine and Danube Rivers

If you’re more of a river wanderer, then the tales of the Rhine and Danube Rivers might already be calling your name. These iconic waterways stretch across multiple countries and offer a plethora of fishing opportunities.

Whether you’re perched on a rock, rod in hand, in the picturesque Upper Danube Nature Park, or cruising on a fishing boat in the Rhine near Düsseldorf, the experience promises to be as epic as the rivers themselves. Look out for salmon, catfish, and even sturgeon in these ancient waters.

Coastal Regions

For those whose hearts beat to the rhythm of the waves, Germany’s coastal regions along the North and Baltic Seas offer a completely different, yet equally thrilling, fishing experience.

Imagine sailing out into the open sea, the horizon stretching out in every direction as you drop your line into the deep blue below. Sea fishing trips can be organized from ports like Rostock or Kiel, where you could end up reeling in anything from cod to flatfish.

Hidden Gems

Beyond these well-known spots lie lesser-known, hidden gems that promise a more secluded fishing experience. Places like the Mecklenburg Lake Plateau in the northeast offer a patchwork of smaller lakes, perfect for a quiet afternoon spent fishing for bream or roach. Or explore the Harz Mountains, where pristine brooks and streams provide excellent fly-fishing opportunities.

Each location offers its own set of challenges and rewards, making every fishing trip an unparalleled experience. It’s not just about the fish you catch but also the memories you reel in along with them. Are you excited to know when to plan your trip for the maximum fishing thrill?

Seasonal Considerations

Seasonal Considerations

As the seasons change, so does the world beneath Germany’s waters, each time of year presenting its own unique set of adventures. Imagine the first buds of spring lining the banks of a river, the water’s surface punctuated by the ripple of fish returning from their winter slumber. Spring is a fabulous time for trout fishing, especially in the fast-flowing rivers and streams where these fish love to spawn.

Summer Fishing

Come summer, the scene shifts to the bountiful lakes and ponds, where the water becomes a playground for a variety of species. Carp are particularly active during the hot months, often seen frolicking near the surface.

It’s time for those lazy, sun-drenched afternoons where your fishing line serves as the perfect excuse to bask in nature’s glory. Just don’t forget your sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat!

Fall’s Feisty Fish

As the trees burst into a fiery display of autumn colors, many fish species became increasingly active, fueling up for the winter ahead. This makes fall one of the most exciting times to fish in Germany.

Picture yourself amidst a backdrop of golden and crimson leaves, the cool air filled with the smell of damp earth, as you cast your line into a river teeming with pike and perch. The scene couldn’t be more poetic if it tried.

The Winter’s Tale

Winter turns many of Germany’s water bodies into icy wonderlands. While some might shy away from the idea of fishing in colder temperatures, true adventurers see it as an entirely new realm to conquer. Ice fishing is an experience like no other—a serene, almost meditative practice that offers rewards like delicious winter whitefish.

Closed Seasons

While the idea of fishing all year round may seem tempting, it’s crucial to note that some fish have what’s called a ‘closed season.’ This is nature’s way of saying, “Hold on, let’s give these fish a break!”

For example, trout are typically off-limits from February to April, a period when they spawn. Respecting these guidelines not only ensures that the fish populations stay healthy but also adds another layer of adventure to your fishing journey as you tailor your quests to align with the rhythms of nature.

Gear Essentials

The Right Rod

Every hero needs a sword, and in the realm of fishing, your rod serves just that purpose. But unlike medieval weaponry, fishing rods come in an array of types tailored for different kinds of aquatic quests.

If you’re on a mission to conquer the vast seas, a heavier, longer rod is your ally. On the other hand, a light, flexible rod is perfect for those intimate encounters with trout in narrow streams.

Reels, Lines, and Hooks

Think of these as your shield, armor, and battle strategy combined. The right reel will help you cast your line to the perfect spot, while the type of line you choose—be it monofilament, fluorocarbon, or braided—will depend on the fish you’re after.

Hooks come in various shapes and sizes, so make sure to match them with your intended catch. Are you going for the mighty pike or the elusive trout? Choose your equipment accordingly.

Baits and Lures

In the game of fishing, baits and lures are your spells and charms, drawing aquatic creatures into your grasp. Live baits like worms or minnows are often irresistible to freshwater fish like carp or perch. On the flip side, artificial lures work wonders when you’re trolling in the open sea, attracting species like cod or herring.

Specialized Gear

Then there are those specialized items that can turn a good fishing trip into an epic one. Nets, fishing pliers, and tackle boxes are the utility belts of the fishing world, helping you manage your catch and your gear efficiently. For those who want to take it up a notch, consider items like fishing kayaks, sonar fish finders, or specialized fly-fishing equipment.

Fishing Techniques

Fishing Techniques

Traditional Angling Techniques

In the enchanted world of fishing, knowing the right incantations—or rather, techniques—can make all the difference between a tale of triumph and a story of “the one that got away.” Traditional angling techniques like spinning and bottom fishing are your bread and butter here.

Spinning is particularly popular for predator fish like pike and perch. Picture yourself casting your line into the great beyond, your lure dancing through the water, imitating a small, vulnerable fish. It’s a tantalizing display that few fish can resist.


Imagine standing in a crystalline stream that meanders through a lush valley, the whisper of your line cutting through the air as you perform a rhythmic dance with your rod. It’s an art form, really.

In Germany, this technique is often used in the pristine rivers of the south, especially for catching various species of trout. The lightweight fly lures float on the water’s surface, mimicking insects and effectively seducing fish into biting.


If your adventure leans more towards the salty spray of the sea and the thrill of the open waters, trolling is your go-to technique. Picture a boat slicing through the azure depths, your line trailing behind like a lure for sea monsters. This method is highly effective for catching larger species like cod or mackerel in the North and Baltic Seas.

Ice Fishing

For those brave enough to venture into the frosty realms of winter, ice fishing offers an experience wrapped in serenity and suspense. Imagine a tranquil world of white, your fishing hole a gateway to the hidden world below.

It’s less about casting and more about dropping your line through a hole in the ice, waiting in meditative silence for a nibble. It’s a unique technique that promises a unique reward—perhaps a delicious whitefish or pike perch.

Carp Fishing

In the world of carp fishing, patience and strategy rule the day. Think of it as a chess match between you and the carp, where your bait is the queen and your hook the king. The setup often involves a stationary rod and a bite indicator, turning it into a waiting game where the first to blink loses.

Local Fishing Culture

In the lore of German fishing, where ancient rivers meet modern regulations and where the camaraderie of fellow anglers can add spice to any tale, understanding local etiquette is akin to knowing the secret handshake of an exclusive guild.

The fishing community in Germany is typically a welcoming bunch, often willing to share insider tips or even lend a hand in tricky situations. A friendly nod or a simple “Guten Tag” can go a long way in striking up conversations and creating lasting bonds.

The Code of Conservation: A Shared Responsibility

Germany has a strong culture of conservation when it comes to fishing, which you could think of as a collective pact to protect the realm’s aquatic treasures. Catch and release is widely practiced, especially for endangered or young fish.

If you do find yourself face-to-face with a beautiful specimen that falls under the protected category, consider it an honor to let it swim away. Your respect for local laws and fish populations will not only endear you to local anglers but also contribute to the legacy of sustainable fishing in Germany.

The Rituals: Local Fishing Events and Competitions

Joining a local fishing event or competition is like stepping into a festival—a celebration of the angling way of life. These events often feature a mix of seasoned pros and enthusiastic amateurs, all sharing a common love for the sport.

From casting contests to biggest-catch challenges, these gatherings are vibrant, communal, and ripe with the spirit of competition. They’re perfect stages for you to showcase your skills, learn from others, and maybe even walk away with the title of the day’s champion angler.

Community Spots: The Unwritten Rules

In popular fishing areas, it’s considered polite to maintain a respectful distance from other anglers. These are often tranquil spots, and the peace is part of the allure.

While there’s no set measurement dictating how far apart you should be from the next person, let’s just say that if you can hear their whispered curses or cheers, you’re probably too close. Keep a mindful distance, and the angling gods will look favorably upon you.

The Stories: Legends and Lore

Last but not least, be prepared to hear tales of mythical catches and legendary fishing spots. These narratives are woven into the very fabric of the local fishing culture.

Pay attention, for these stories often contain nuggets of wisdom or hints about secret spots where the fish are aplenty. Sometimes the storytelling around a fire, following a day of fishing, can be as thrilling as the catch itself.

Legal Regulations

Legal Regulations

You might think of them as the boring part, but in the epic tale of your German fishing adventure, consider them as your map and compass, guiding you through a labyrinth of possibilities while keeping you out of trouble.

And worry not; even the most valiant knights had to adhere to the rules of the realm. So, let’s delve into this crucial chapter with zest!

Fishing Licenses: Your Passport to Adventure

In Germany, a fishing license is more than just a piece of paper—it’s your passport to a world teeming with gilled wonders. Obtaining one usually involves passing a fishing exam, a rite of passage that’s more exciting than daunting when you consider the doors it opens.

However, if you’re here just for a visit, many states offer tourist fishing licenses that don’t require an exam. Voila! Instant access to your aquatic quest!

The Fishing Card: Your Daily Permit

Even with your main fishing license in hand, most areas require an additional day or week pass known as an “Angelkarte.” Think of it as your daily quest scroll, granting you specific fishing rights in certain waters for a set period. You can often buy these at local fishing shops, sometimes even in convenient online portals.

The No-Catch Zones

Some areas in Germany are so revered—be it for their natural beauty or the unique fish species they harbor—that fishing is not allowed. Think of these as the “sacred groves” of the fishing world, places to be admired from afar but not disturbed. Respecting these boundaries is akin to paying homage to the guardians of the realm, and it’s a gesture that earns you the respect of local anglers.

Size and Bag Limits

In the spirit of sustainable adventure, Germany has specific rules on how many fish you can catch and keep, as well as minimum size requirements for different species.

It’s like the universe saying, “Go ahead, have a ball, but let’s make sure there’s adventure left for others!” Abiding by these limits not only makes your tale more honorable but also ensures that future generations can have their own angling epics.

Forbidden Gear

Last but not least, some gear is off-limits in Germany, such as certain nets and electric fishing devices. These are the “dark arts” of the fishing world, and using them could make you the villain of the story rather than the hero.

How to Get Started

How to Get Started

The First Step

Before you dive into your German fishing odyssey, take a moment to choose the kind of adventure you wish to embark upon. Are you yearning for the thrill of sea fishing in the North and Baltic Seas, or is the serene charm of a secluded freshwater lake more to your taste? Your choice of setting will help you tailor your gear and techniques, setting the stage for the tale that’s about to unfold.

Assemble Your Gear

Armed with the knowledge of your quest’s setting, the next step is to assemble your fellowship of gear. From choosing the perfect rod to acquiring the right baits and lures, think of this as gathering your allies for the journey ahead.

Many specialized fishing shops across Germany offer not only a wide range of equipment but also the wisdom of experienced anglers who can guide your choices.

Acquiring Licenses and Permits

No adventurer can set forth without the proper papers—your fishing license and daily or weekly “Angelkarte” serve as your official quest scrolls. For those who seek to make Germany a recurring backdrop for their fishing tales, investing time in obtaining a long-term fishing license is well worth the effort. Tourists, fear not; you can easily get your hands on short-term licenses, too.

Learn the Local Terrain

Before you cast your first line, take a moment to study the water, its currents, and the local fish behavior. Sometimes, a few minutes of observation can reveal secret fishing spots or the perfect technique to use. This wisdom, gathered firsthand or learned from local anglers, can turn a decent day of fishing into a legendary experience.

Setting Forth

Finally, it’s time to set forth. With your gear checked and your licenses in hand, step into your chosen realm of water with the excitement of an explorer stepping onto uncharted land. As your line hits the water for the first time, know that this is more than just a fishing trip—you’re penning the first lines of your own angling epic.

In this grand adventure, every cast is a sentence, every catch a paragraph, and every day is spent fishing a chapter in your unfolding story. Now, with the wind at your back and the promise of a great tale in your heart, you are truly ready to explore the captivating world of fishing in Germany.

Resources for the Non-German Speaker

Websites and Apps

In this digital age, there’s an abundance of resources available at your fingertips, acting as your enchanted scrolls to unlock the secrets of fishing in Germany. Websites in English dedicated to fishing in the region are a treasure trove of advice, regulations, and fish tales that can guide your way.

Apps like Fishbrain can act as your magic mirror, showing you where the fish are biting in real time while also offering a platform to share your own catches and stories. All in all, these resources can make your journey into German angling as smooth as a calm lake at dawn.

YouTube Tutorials

Think of YouTube tutorials as the alchemists of the fishing world. These virtual guides can transform the lead of your ignorance into the gold of skill and knowledge.

Whether you’re looking to master the technique of fly-fishing or just need a quick primer on local regulations, there’s probably a YouTube video that’s perfect for you. It’s a sort of wizardry, really, delivering so much invaluable advice through the screen.

Books and Guidebooks

For those who still find joy in the weight of a book in their hands, there are numerous fishing guidebooks that are translated into English. These tomes offer not just information but also the age-old wisdom passed down through generations of anglers. Some books even delve into the esoteric art of understanding fish behavior—a vital skill for any angler aspiring to legend status.

Online Forums and Communities

Engaging in online forums and communities can be like sitting at a round table filled with wise elders. Here, anglers from all walks of life share their experiences, tips, and sometimes even their secret fishing spots.

Even if you’re not fluent in German, you’ll find plenty of English-speaking anglers who are more than willing to share their knowledge and hear your tales in return.

Translation Apps

When all else fails, a good translation app can act like a magical potion, breaking down language barriers and making your fishing trip more enjoyable. Apps like Google Translate can even scan and translate written text, turning those mysterious German fishing signs into understandable English instructions.

By taking advantage of these resources, you’re arming yourself with a quiver full of magic arrows, each one aimed at making your fishing journey in Germany as epic as it can possibly be. So, fellow adventurer, are you ready to set sail into the unknown, guided by these magical resources? The waters are waiting, and so are the fish!


Peter, our exceptional Lifestyle Coordinator. A native of Munich, Peter is the heartbeat of our lifestyle content, offering a rich tapestry of insights into German life’s everyday and extraordinary aspects.

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