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Fishing: everything you ever wanted to know

Photo of Arctic grayling at the Gulkana River, Paxson, Alaska. Photo by Phil Coleman, US FWS

Last updated: 5 January 2011.

Please note that this page is now archived. A number of the links are broken and we are very unlikely to revisit or update them. However, you can always track down an old page by copying its name into a search engine and looking for its new location.

Fishing is one of our top sports and pastimes. There are over 4 million anglers in the UK and some 34 million people fish in the United States each year. Anglers don't just enjoy themselves: they are at the front-line of river conservation. They have an interest in keeping rivers clean, well-stocked, and non-polluted.

If you don't know anything about fishing, you might wonder where to start: fishing can seem like a mysterious, priestly art that you need years to master. Nothing is further from the truth: you can start fishing in a weekend—this weekend, next weekend, or any weekend. It's simple! Start here with our comprehensive list of web pages covering every aspect of fishing. Get yourself outside and enjoy your rivers—give them another reason to stay fantastic!

Photo of Arctic grayling at the Gulkana River, Paxson, Alaska. Photo by Phil Coleman courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Contents: what's on this page?

Start here: Introductions and beginners' guides

General introductions and overviews from online encyclopedias

Practical beginners' guides

Get hooked on fishing logo

Fishing for kids and families

For younger children

For older children

For parents

Official information

Where to go fishing in your area?


Fishing in England

Fishing in Wales

Fishing in Scotland

Fishing in Northern Ireland

Fishing in Ireland

Fishing in North America


Fly fishing

Magazines and newspapers



Organizations and groups you can join

The best place to start is the regularly updated ODP section Recreation: Outdoors: Fishing: Associations and Clubs, which currently lists 163 groups worldwide (though a bit of a mish-mash at the moment).



Fishing controversies

Opponents of fishing

We like to include a balance of information on our website, so here are some links to pages and websites by people who find fishing objectionable, offensive, pointless, and cruel. We're not expressing a view here, one way or the other: you can read both sides and make up your own mind.

Commercial overfishing

Rivers and seas can be a sustainable resource—but in too many places they're not at the moment. According to the MSC: "52% of fish stocks are fully exploited, which means that they are being fished at their maximum biological capacity. 24% are over exploited, depleted or recovering from depletion. 21% are moderately exploited. Only 3% of the world's fish stocks are underexploited."

More lighthearted

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