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Amsterdam Canal Fishing- Is It Allowed?

fishing in amsterdam canals

If you’re wondering if there are fish in Amsterdam’s canals. Then your answer is yes! There are fish living in Amsterdam’s canals. At first glance, Amsterdam’s canals may appear murky and devoid of life, but surprise is when you discover that beneath the surface lies a full variety of fish species.

These canals, though manmade, have become a habitat for approximately 20 different types of aquatic animals, making them a unique ecosystem within a bustling city. Some of the popular fish found in the canals include perch, pike, zander, and roach because the canals of Amsterdam are deep enough. The city’s efforts to maintain a cleaner environment have played a crucial role in sustaining this aquatic life. So, you might wonder if you can go fishing in Amsterdam’s canals?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll tell you everything there is to know about fishing in Amsterdam’s canals, such as the history, rules to be aware of, the best fishing spots, and more.

. Can you fish in Amsterdam’s canals?

Yes! Fishing is allowed in the canals of Amsterdam but there are certain areas where fishing may be restricted or prohibited. It’s important to respect the designated fishing zones and follow the rules set by the local authorities. Additionally, some areas may require additional permits or have specific regulations, so it’s crucial to research and understand the guidelines before casting your line. By adhering to the rules, you can enjoy a safe and fulfilling fishing experience in the canals of Amsterdam.

2. Fishing Rules in Amsterdam:

To ensure a sustainable and responsible fishing experience, it’s essential to adhere to certain fishing rules. Only specific baits are permitted, such as bread, potato, cheese, seeds, and dough, along with prawns and worms. Different species have closed seasons, which vary throughout the year. For example, salmon and sea trout have a closed season throughout the year, while pike’s closed season falls between March 1st and June 30th.

Please note that your fishing permit only allows you to fish in designated areas, and it’s crucial to verify the species and times allowed within your permit. Additionally, night fishing is only permitted between June and August, and restrictions apply from September to May.

2.1 Fishing License in Amsterdam:

If you’re keen to try your hand at fishing in Amsterdam canals, you’ll need a fishing license. The most commonly used license is the VISpas, which grants access to fishing in most waters in both Amsterdam and Haarlem. This credit-card-sized permit, introduced in 2007, allows fishing with two rods and all permissible bait. However, keep in mind that some specific parts of the canals may require membership in local fishing clubs, which might be challenging for one-time visitors. The average cost of a VISpas is around 40 Euros, and it’s valid until the end of the year (December 31st).

fishing in amsterdam canals

You can easily obtain your VISpas through their website, where credit card payments are accepted. Upon completing the transaction, you’ll receive a confirmation email along with a booklet detailing the fishing waters you’re permitted to access, making it a seamless process to start your fishing adventure.

3. Types Of Fish in Amsterdam Canals:

The most commonly spotted fish species in Amsterdam canals include perch, pike, zander, and small roach. Pike, in particular, can grow impressively up to 130 cm in length. Roach and rudd are also abundant, adapting effortlessly to the organic pollution that sometimes plagues these waters. Zander, a favorite among local fishermen, offers a delicious catch, while perch adds its charm as a smaller, yet delightful, fish. Eels and carp, though less common, can also still be found in these canals. 

For those interested in exploring a more comprehensive collection of aquatic life in Dutch canals, a visit to Artis, the Royal Zoo, is recommended. They occasionally showcase seasonal displays of the wildlife inhabiting Dutch canals, offering an enriching experience for nature enthusiasts.

4. The Best Fishing Spots in Amsterdam:

Now that we’ve established that fishing is indeed possible in the Amsterdam canals, let’s explore some of the best fishing spots in the city. The canals are vast, and each area offers its own unique fishing opportunities. Here are a few popular fishing spots to consider:

  1. IJ River  (located behind Central Station)
  2. The North Sea Canal (Dutch ship canal from Amsterdam to the North Sea at IJmuiden)
  3. The canals running through the city center

For those exploring the Netherlands as a whole, there are numerous exceptional fishing spots to consider. Popular choices include the North Sea, rivers, and vast lakes. The eastern part of Holland, with its rivers and canals, also presents enticing opportunities for anglers. Sportvisserij Nederland provides a helpful map of fishing spots throughout the country, enabling you to find recommended locations based on your preferences.

6. What Else Can You Find In Amsterdam Canals?

Amsterdam’s canals are not only home to a diverse range of fish but also host several other species. As water quality improves, more species are attracted to these vibrant waterways. Some notable canal residents include:

  • Ducks: Mallard and Muscovy ducks are a common sight in Amsterdam’s canals, and feeding them is a beloved local pastime.
  • Gulls: Various gull species, including common gulls, lesser black-backed gulls, herring gulls, and black-headed gulls, can be spotted.
  • Swans: Graceful swans are a regular presence.
  • Coots: These smaller, dark birds with white foreheads add to the diversity of canal wildlife.
  • Geese: These ubiquitous birds are known for their territorial behavior.
  • Herons: Long-legged herons also make appearances along the canals.

7. Conclusions

Fishing in Amsterdam’s canals offers a unique experience. With a variety of fish, a charming atmosphere, and a vibrant city to explore, Amsterdam has become a must-see for fishing enthusiasts as well. If you follow the rules of fishing, care for the environment, and enjoy the culture of the city, you can make great memories while fishing in Amsterdam.

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