Recreational fishing is a popular pastime activity year-round with Estonia's nearly 4000-kilometer coastline, hundreds of rivers and lakes as well as thousands of islands holding plenty of fishing challenges. Estonian fishing culture is a great part of the local culture, with smoked and salted fish being among the most cherished local delicacies. Estonian waters are full of brown trout, sea trout, chub, pike, pike perch, eel, Baltic herring and sea lamprey, all of which are popular ingredients in Estonian cuisine.

Here's an idea for a great nature holiday: with many Estonian manor houses offering high-end accommodation located in the country nearby rivers and lakes, you can even add a relaxing fishing trip to your luxury holiday itinerary.

Fishing licence and permits

While you don't need a fishing licence when using a simple hand line in public waters, you can easily pick up a permit from some Estonian post offices (Eesti Post) and online at when looking to fish with up to three hook gears. People under the age of 16 and over the age of 65 as well as individuals with special needs do not need a fishing licence. 

Fishing gear regulations in Estonia: 

    1. Line Fishing - Everyone is allowed to fish free of charge and without a special fishing permit with one simple hand line from sunrise to sunset on a body of water designated for public use, taking into account the restrictions set for permitted fishing seasons, areas and protected fish species.
    2. Fishing Licence permits you to use a spinning reel, trolling line, pulling device, fly hook, bottom line, krunda, trimmer, hand line and more than one simple hand lines, harpoon gun, harpoon and a fish hook.
    3. Fishing Card grants you the right to use the following fishing gear: gill net, bottom set long-line of up to 100 hooks, dip-net and crayfish trap, hoop-net and dragnet. 
      • Note that you will also need a fishing card for catching salmon and sea trout on river Pirita, Jägala, Selja, Narva, Vääna, Purtse and Valgejõgi; for catching river trout on some rivers in Järva County and for catching with a harpoon on Lake Saadjärv and Lake Kuremaa.

You can purchase both the fishing licence and fishing card online at