The River Esk is the principal salmon and sea trout fishery in Yorkshire, the water around Whitby supporting the third largest commercial salmon net fishery in the country. Please remember that inland waters are not public property and permission must be obtained from the owner before fishing. You need a rod licence to fish in any water and a permit to fish in a particular water is also required.

You need a valid Environment Agency Rod Licence if you are aged 12 or over and fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel in England (except the River Tweed), Wales, and the Border Esk and its tributaries in Scotland.

Please note: If you are fishing with three or four rods (four is the maximum allowed) then you will need to purchase a second licence.

Apply for your rod licence over the phone by calling the Post Office on 0844 800 5386. Phone lines are open from 8.30am - 8pm daily from March to September, and 8.30am - 6pm daily from October to February.

Buy your rod licence online here.

Important: Pay no service charge when you buy your rod licence directly from the Post Office or the Environment Agency. Some websites will charge you an additional rod licence application processing fee.

Rod licence prices 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012. Salmon and migratory (sea) trout AND non-migratory trout, char, freshwater (coarse) fish, smelt and eels

  • Full Season April - October £72
  • Senior concession (aged 65 or over) £48
  • Disability concession £48
  • Junior concession (aged 12 to 16) £5
  • Children under 12 Free
  • 8 day £23
  • 1 day £8

Full and concessionary rod licences expire on 31 March each year.

One day rod licences are valid for 24 consecutive hours.

Eight day rod licences are valid for 192 consecutive hours from the start time and date.


It is an offence to fish for freshwater fish and eels without a valid rod licence. If you are caught you may be fined up to £2,500. If you fish without a rod licence you are cheating other anglers. Money raised through rod licence sales is invested in fisheries work to benefit all anglers.

The Stonehouse Emporium The Stonehouse Emporium