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Fishing in Europe/Germany

Fishing in German and surrounding European countries can be an exciting way to spend time with your family or friends.  Generally, the fishing license and foundational course are going to be cheaper than the hunting course and accessible to more people.  The US Forces Fishing Course is offered by the MWR HFSS branch and runs all through the year on most bases.  Most of the times we’ll have dates posted but it’s best to check directly with your local MWR to get the latest dates on class times and prices. 


There are a couple things that are useful to know that are quite different than fishing back in the United States.  Firstly, according to the German Animal Welfare Act, catch and release fishing is not practiced in Germany.  If a fish is caught it must be dispatched immediately.  There are a few caveats to this law, and the fishing course itself will explain specifics.  Secondly, live bait is not allowed.  Insects like crickets, worms, maggots etc…are ok, but live fish can’t be used for bait.  However, people seem to have good success with artificial lures.


Finally, fishing rights are much different than what most Americans are used to.  In Germany, there aren’t any public bodies of water to fish on legally.  Each body of water will have a “fishing rights holder” in which the potential angler must obtain a permit to fish on that particular body of water.  Generally, there will be angling clubs with a membership fee/permit fee.  The permit will designate what fish are in season and legal to catch.  The MWR for Grafenwöhr and Vilseck sell permits for the bodies of water than are on base and the prices are reasonable, making it a good option to dip your toe in the water if you’re new to angling.  Again, much of this will be covered in the fishing course, but these are some of the things that surprised me when I first got involved with fishing in Germany. 


On a parting note, the course material can be found at this link :

Under “Fishing Instructional Materials”.  This will allow you to get a jump on the material before class and learn about the customs/culture of German fishing. The link also contains contact info for all the MWR HFSS offices across Germany.  Best of luck and Petriheil! (DG)

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