Fishing and Angling in and Around Hamburg

Information on freshwater fishing in the rivers and canals of Hamburg, including details of fishing and angling associations...

Fishing is a very popular sport in Hamburg and eel, grayling, trout, perch, barbel, European chub, flounder, northern pike, carp, salmon, sea trout, burbot, asp, tench, catfish and blue bream can all be found.

  • For more information about the fishing seasons for each of these species: Click here (in German)

Fishing in a Club

The Association of Angling Sports of Hamburg publishes a list of their 83 member fishing clubs. Some are regionally organised, often with their own fishing lake for members. Some clubs specialise in different fish species.

Guest membership cards are available for fishing in the waters of several associations. More information can be found at the Anglers' Syndicate website (in German).

Where to get a fishing licence in Hamburg

The Association of Angling Sports of Hamburg, the Anglers' Syndicate and other organisations regularly offer courses, conduct examinations and award the angling exam certificate (sportfischereiprüfung). The minimum age for starting the course is 11 years, and the licence can be awarded from 12 years age onwards.

Once the course and the exam are completed, the certificate should be presented at any local administration office (bezirksamt). The fishing licence can be obtained for a small fee.

The following documents are required:

  • Proof of identity
  • Passport photo
  • Angling exam certificate (sportfischereiprüfung)

Certificates from other regions within Germany are accepted.

Tourists with a fishing licence from their home country (non-residents) can obtain a one-year-permit.

A permit for fishing from a boat on the Elbe (Hamburg area) can be obtained at the Hamburg Port Authority.

  • Hamburg Port Authority
    : Neuer Wandrahm 4, 20457 Hamburg
    Tel: 040 428 472 582

An all-year permit is necessary.

Open Waters in Hamburg

There are many open waters in Hamburg where fishing is allowed for people who are not a member of a fishing club:

  • Along the River Norderelbe - Right Riverside
    From the mouth of Dove-Elbe to the western federal state boundary with Schleswig-Holstein at Wedel. This includes the “Billwerder Bucht” and the middle and lower Bille down towards Heckkatenweg Bridge. Not allowed: Natural Reserve Boberger Dünen to Ladenbeker Furtweg.

  • Left Riverside
    From Bunthausspitze to the western federal state boundary with Niedersachsen at Cranz. Not allowed: from Goetjensort to Müggenburger Schleuse, and the harbour basins.
  • Süderelbe and Köhlbrand Rivers
    Both riversides from the old Harburg Elbe bridges up to the mouth of the River Norderelbe, including the harbour basins and canals. Not allowed: Alte Süderelbe.
  • River Alster
    From Fuhlsbüttler Schleuse up to the mouth of Alsterfleets into Elbe and all canals and distributaries entering into Alster. Not allowed: Goldbekkanal between Wiesendammbrücke and Stichkanal, Eppendorfer Mühlenteich and some other exclusion areas.

The exact details of the areas where fishing is forbidden are listed in point 9 of the online Hamburg Fishing Law (in German).

Fishing Around Hamburg

There are fishing opportunities around Hamburg in Niedersachsen, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is of particular interest for holiday fishers who don't want to take courses for a full fishing licence.


The minimum age to obtain a fishing licence in Niedersachsen is 14 and it is valid for life. Tourist permits are not available.

  • For more information about obtaining a fishing licence in Niedersachsen: Click here (in German)
  • For information about fishing in Niedersachsen: Click here (in German)


  • For information about obtaining a fishing licence in Schleswig-Holstein: Click here (in German)
  • For information from the National Fishing Association Schleswig-Holstein: Click here (in German)
  • For information from the Sportfishing Association of Schleswig-Holstein: Click here (in German)


The minimum age to obtain a fishing licence in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is 10 years. Everybody (residents and non-residents) can purchase a 28-day tourist fishing licence without first taking a fishing examination. The tourist licence is available at all local administration offices.

  • For a list of all where to get a tourist fishing licence: Click here (in German)