Recreational fishing and hunting

Hunting and fishing have become a popular pastime activity in Estonia and many people are interested in hunting tourism in Estonia as well.


Recreational fishing is allowed for everybody on public waterbodies or publicly owned waterbodies. In terms of privately owned waterbodies, which have not been designated for public use, it is permitted to fish with a single simple hand line and up to three fishing tackles only if the owner of the immovable property has provided their permission.

Line fishing Everyone may fish for free and without applying for an authorisation on public waterbodies and publicly owned waterbodies with a single simple hand line. However, they must take into account closed seasons, areas, and restrictions imposed on fish species. A simple hand line consists of a rod, a fishing-line that is up to 1.5 of the rod’s length, a single hook, a weight, and a floater. Only natural bait may be used.

Recreational fishing with up to three fishing tackles After paying for the right to recreationally fish i.e. the fishing right, everyone can fish with a fishing tackle on publicly owned waterbodies. However, they must take into account closed seasons, areas, and restrictions imposed on fish species. Fishing tackles include: Spinning reels, trolling lines, pulling devices, fly hooks, bottom lines (krunda, bottom lines), unanchored trimmers, hand lines and more than a single simple hand line, harpoon guns, harpoons, and hooks.

Generally, a fee must be paid for recreational fishing. The following people do not have to pay the fee for the fishing right:

  • pre-school children
  • students under the age of 16
  • pensioners
  • unlawfully repressed or people treated as repressed
  • disabled persons
  • people with a partial or no work ability.

The privileged persons, except pre-school children, must carry a document certifying the right for the favourable conditions with them while at recreational fishing. These documents include a student card, a pension certificate, a repressed person’s certificate, a document certifying the degree and duration of their disability, and a document certifying their partial or no work ability.

The privileged person may fish with recreational fishing gear without paying for the fishing right, unless they are fishing on the basis of a fishing card.

It is possible to pay for the right to recreationally fish online on the webpage of

Fishing card A fishing card is necessary if:

  • the fisher’s fishing gear includes a gillnet, a longline consisting of up to 100 hooks, a fyke net kadiska, a hoopnet, a dip-net and a fyke net, and a dragnet;
  • the fisher is fishing with spinning and a fly-hook on the trout rivers in Central Estonia or the salmon and sea trout rivers in North-Estonia
  • the fisher is fishing at the Endla Nature Reserve, Matsalu National Park, or the Silma Nature Reserve.

The number of fishing cards is restricted for fishing with gillnets and longlines, for catching crayfish, and at the Silma Nature Reserve.

A single licence shall be issued for each applicant for the same fishing gear, same body of water, and the same period. Thus, one cannot purchase another licence by going to the Environmental Board after they have already purchased a licence online, and vice versa.

Applying online Fishing card can be applied in the environment. The fishing card presents the allowed fishing gear and area, but the fisher must also comply with other restrictions imposed on that fishing option. The fishing card shall be issued only to the person applying for it and it cannot be changed or declared invalid later. Neither can another person be authorised to use it.

Applying at the Environmental Board It is possible to submit the application for a fishing card (doc, 40,5 kB) on paper at the office of the Environmental Board. If the application is submitted for another person, the application must include a signed authorisation document (in free form) by the applicant, which authorises the other person to hand over the application on behalf of the applicant. A decision of granting or not grating the licence shall be made within ten working days and it shall be forwarded to the applicant via mail or e-mail.

The application may also be sent

  • via mail to Paala tee 4, 71014, Viljandi
  • via e-mail to An application sent via e-mail must be digitally signed. An application cannot be signed on behalf of another person.

Applying by mobile It is possible to purchase a fishing card by mobile to only those areas where the number of issued licences is not limited (trout rivers, salmon rivers, the Endla and Silma nature reserves, etc.). For a mobile payment, one must enter the respective number combination to their phone (1322code of the fishing areapersonal identification code) and call the number (NB! Do not send the number combination as a message). The codes are available on the webpage of the Estonian fishing information.


Hunting limits are established each year as a result of surveillance separately in each county. If the population of an animal species has significantly increased, more hunting permits shall be issued. Local hunting associations shall issue the permits and determine the price for hunting each animal.

Hunting right means the right of a physical person to hunt if they have the documents certifying their right to hunt (these must be brought along for the hunt) and they have paid a fee for the hunting right (possible to pay only for one year, i.e. 365 days).

Documents certifying hunting right include:

  • hunting certificate
  • hunting permit
  • a list of persons participating in a hunt (only required during collective hunts)
  • a shooting test certificate for big game
  • a shooting test certificate for bowhunting.

All hunters, including citizens of foreign countries, must pay the fee for a hunting right if they wish to go hunting in Estonia. Payments can be made online, by phone, or at points of sale. Information and instructions regarding the payment are available of the webpage of

A hunting dog may be used for hunting if it has a hunting dog’s passport or other document certifying the breed of a hunting dog (these documents must be taken along for the hunt), and the dog is microchipped or tattoo marked. When moving in the nature with a dog, the dog must be leashed, except during hunting. When moving in an off-road area, the hunters must not disturb wild animals and birds, especially at their breeding and nesting grounds. It is also forbidden to ride on waterbodies to areas where fish spawn or birds nest in numbers.

Last amended: 15-12-2016 00:00 | Compiled by: The Environmental Board