Fishing in Zeeland

The Fisher’s Friend, that’s Zeeland, with so much on offer. And the feeling is mutual, with fishing waters everywhere for you to enjoy. As well as the North Sea coast, the freshwater resources inland are inviting too: the lakes of Veerse Meer, Grevelingenmeer, and the Oosterschelde and Westerschelde estuaries. The options range from the beach, to the dikes, up the creek, from the back of a boat. You’re a sport fisher, an angler? Fish away to your heart’s content – and enjoy the splendid nature all around.

Fishing conditions are good in Zeeland. You’ll hear birds, the soft winds, and the lapping water. Maybe a few lapping race cyclists on the other side of the water. Peace and quiet. Even if your catch is low, you’ll have had a good time.

Most – but not all – locations require a fishing permit. Whether you’re a Dutch resident, or a visitor from abroad (explained below), you’ll need a ‘VISpas’ permit to fish in the mainly freshwater areas landside of the sea dikes. These are also required for canals, such as the ‘Kanaals’ from Gent to Terneuzen and through Walcheren, and the freshwater lakes of Veerse Meer and Grevelingenmeer. 

Sport fishers can fish in the coastal sea waters from the shoreline, right from the beach or a dike. Rules apply, but no permit is required. No more than two rods, maximum three hooks. A small part of the beaches on Walcheren are open for fishing, to the north and south of Domburg – with no limits to the numbers of rods or hooks. When you do have a ‘VISpas’, a ‘zeeVISpas’ (for the open sea) or a worm-digging permit (‘wormenspitvergunning‘) you can dig for bait – in the designated areas around the Oosterschelde- and Westerschelde estuaries.

To get your permit: If you are a short-stay visitor from abroad, you can get a temporary permit instantly from any local angling club or shop where you are staying. Look for the word ‘hengelsport’. Residents of the Netherlands must join a local club to get your annual ‘VISpas’. See also: www.sportvisserijnederland.nl.

The piers on many of our beaches are superb places to fish from, jutting out into the North Sea. We say ‘Prima!’ This, and beach fishing, is the most popular form of sea fishing. Domburg and Zoutelande are great favourites, especially for lovers of sea bass and sea-pike (garfish).


Other good fishing spots are along the dikes around the freshwater inland areas. They include the Breedsendijk in Yerseke, the Strekdam Cauwers inlet near Zierikzee, the moorings at Kamperland and the sea dike at Westkapelle.

In the winter, the fish head off to deeper waters and so should you, on a boat. The Oosterschelde estuary has good catches, near the Zeelandbrug bridge, as do Stavenisse and the Goese Sas. If you came without your boat, get a place on a charter. They have rods, bait, and food and drink already on board, and the skipper knows the best spots on the Oosterschelde. The rest is up to you.

If you’re after whitefish and carp, good spots include the canals near Goes, Middelburg and Zierikzee, and the Stelleplas near Heinkenszand, the Goese Meer at Goes and its freshwater neighbours. On the Damse Vaart heading from the centre of Sluis towards Belgium, you’ll find carp and other freshwater sorts like pike, tench, roach and bream. Heading up the many creeks will also be worth your while.

Now, about the very best bait. The most popular bait on the coast are lugworms and clam worms – they catch everything. You’ll find them, and all the equipment accessories you need in local angling shops. And some nice cafés for fellow fishers and anglers, and some very credible tales.

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