Magnet Fishing Laws and Regulations in UK and US – Latest Info

Magnet fishing trophies

We all enjoy magnet fishing but this hobby has received its adequate share of criticism. The news and press always concentrate on magnet fishing when something bad happens. Some of the waterways boards have prohibited it but what does magnet fishing means? Is it illegal or legal? Do there exist magnet fishing laws? We will cover everything in this article, so keep on reading.

Magnet fishing involves securing a high-powered magnet (preferably neodymium) to a fishing rope or line and throwing it out into the water to search for magnetic objects. As you reel in your line, the magnet scrapped across the base of the body of water and picks up any magnetic object that it meets. When you reel in the magnet, everything that was discovered can then be removed from the magnet and you throw it out again in another spot.

Magnet Fishing Laws and Regulations in UK and US

This reflects fishing in the sense that you will require a rod and a line, and at the extreme of that line, instead of a hook, you have a magnet, and when you “catch” something, you bring it in and land your price. This sport is starting to trend, so it does not come as a surprise that in some countries, there are  laws that have been put in place to reduce this act or sport. With the aid of any baitcasting reel, probably a Pflueger president reel, you can reel in a bunch of amazing things like guns, knives, bombs, coins, or even safes.

It is thought that this act was initially initiated by boaters utilizing magnets to retrieve fallen keys from the water bed. Today magnet retrieval equipment is precisely made to recover lost items from the bottom of water bodies. There exist two major types of magnet used in this act: single-sided and double-sided.

Best place to go magnet fishing:

Not all water bodies are made equal. Magnet fishing is a game of perseverance and patience, but a bit of research before selecting a spot can raise your odds of success.

Highly visited urban lakes, rivers and ponds are great areas to try your luck. Several years of use results in an accumulation of all kinds of materials. Local swimming holes are also perfect for locating little treasures.

Also, search for places with historical importance when you are in search of old relics and artifacts from old eras. City canals and ditches are known to offer some captivating finds.

Ultimately, note that, rivers with high tides are no go areas for magnet fishing, as the tides would hinder the success of your magnet fishing.

What is magnet fishing

Is magnet fishing legal?

Of course, magnet fishing is legal. However, that does not denote that you can magnet fish wherever you like. There exist some things we must perform to stay within the law and avoid sanctions.

Currently, there exist no single law that states that magnet fishing is illegal. It is a piece of grey area because all land in the UK is owned by a person, including streams, rivers, canals, and lakes.

Magnetic fishing in the UK is somewhat controversial. Some individuals say that magnet fishing is legal because the act does not disturb, harm people, or land. On the contrary, there exist the argument that all canals and rivers have owners, and those owners own whatever lies underneath the riverbed.

To be safe, it is recommended that before you go magnet fishing you should always make inquiries, ask the owner of the ground area which may be the country you are residing in, your environment agency, the government, a private person or a company. In some cases, there exist no problem; you can magnet fish without any hindrance. While sometimes if you reel in something with a huge value, you will have to share a percentage of the value with whosoever owns the ground area.

Laws in the USA:

For individuals living in the USA, there are currently no restrictions and laws placed on magnet fishing.

Laws in the UK:

In the UK, you can magnet fish if you have authorization from the canal and river trust, or if you intend to carry out the act on a private property. Magnet fishing is not allowed on property controlled by Canal and River trust. Authorization is not always easy to obtain, but most individuals who have private properties do not find it hard to gain access.

If you don’t have a land where you can magnet fish or you were unable to obtain permission, you can magnet fish on the private property of a friend with an authorization. However, you will be required to get permission from that person first, and perfectly set up a written agreement about how you will share the items you reel in. Usually, you should share the value of the items in a reasonable and fair manner.

This high level may appear unfair to you, but the person owns the land on which you magnet fished and should get some compensation for offering you permission. Few individuals, though, may ask for higher rates for making use of their property, which can be quite unfair if you cannot find anywhere else to magnet fish. Ensure you work with someone you trust well enough in order to avoid complications.

Do You Require A License To Magnet Fish?

Unlike the usual fishing, magnet fishing doesn’t actually require a license as of this writing. It is always the best idea to check with your state wildlife agency to determine if they have any recent regulations that may influence the legality of magnet fishing in your country or state of residence.

Best place to go magnet fishing

Is Magnet Fishing Dangerous?

There is a possibility that magnet fishing causes dangerous scenarios that can threaten the safety of yourself and others. A strong magnet affixed to a rope pose as a serious threat to boaters, particularly if you are fishing from a bridge in high boat traffic spots. You may not be attempting to catch fish, but dangling a great magnet from a rope to catch huge metal materials is still fishing.

If per adventure, you get a magnet permanently snagged on the bottom, ensure you do your best to drop or remove the rope. A coil of unsunk rope can easily destroy a boat motor if run over. Avoid leaving such a mess by being responsible. Just like all sports, risk is a sure aspect of magnet fishing. By being careful, you are unlikely to come across dangerous situations.

What Are Fishing Magnets?

Fishing magnets are known to be high strength magnets that are made to pull 750 pounds or excess magnetic objects. These magnets are capable of lifting bicycles and even little safes from the water without letting go, so they are not your usual refrigerator magnets. They are usually inset into a housing that comes with a loop on the extreme for you to affix a rope or high strength fishing line to. Immediately the magnet is sunk in the water, it is pulled across the depth until you feel it has clinged to something, and at that moment, you can always begin the pulling process.

Magnet Fishing Tips:

  1. Magnet fishing can be quite thrilling, so here is a list of tips for individuals who are keen to go magnet fishing:
  2. Select the right area: Find a spot with high foot traffic. Select a place that has a lot of boating, swimming, and fishing, and is easily accessible by the public.
  3. Always make use of your gloves: you will be reeling in metal, which can be quite rusty, and very sharp, so ensure you are always with a pair of gloves.
  4. Make use of a neodymium magnet: Rusted metals and metals covered with debris are difficult to pick up with magnets. Obtain a strong one with a minimum of 150 pounds of full force to compliment for this fact. The magnet you select also needs an eyelet to affix a rope onto it.
  5. Request for permission: If you have never gone to an area, ensure you request for permission first.
  6. Double check your knot- Ensure you double check your knot, or it could slip off. You will be reeling in big objects, and you don’t want your knot to loosen.
  7. Adopt high strength line: Use very durable rope, or make use of a very high strength braided line or fishing line if you are making use of a fishing rod. A Shimano reel is a good pick.

Adopting these effective tips will ensure that you are protected from breaking the law and also getting injuries from whatever you bring up. Your chances of making a good finding depends on the popularity of the area.

Is magnet fishing legal

Magnet Fishing Techniques:

There exist few diverse strategies you can adopt when you are magnet fishing, depending on your location and what you are looking for:

  • The first is to obtain a heavy-duty nylon rope with magnet affixed to the extreme of it. You then hurl the rope out and ensure that you secure the other end so it does not go out with it, and then you gradually retract the rope, and when you notice a hit, you can then start reeling in the object to the surface.
  • The other strategy is to utilize a heavy-duty fishing rod, with some high strength line and a magnet affixed to the extreme end. You can then proceed to cast out your line like an angler would do, and start reeling in gradually. Immediately you observe the magnet cling onto something, you can then reel the entire line in to pull the object to the shore. Irrespective of what you choose to magnet fish with, you have to be extremely careful that you don’t drop the item from the magnet, and when you arrive at the shoreline, carefully take the magnet off because it could be affixed to a rusty artifact, and could injure you, or shatter the item.

What Can A Magnet Pick Up?

Clearly, only magnetic objects are attracted to a magnet and not all metal consists of so-called ferrous materials such as iron and steel. Most times, the stuff you discover will be worthless, but sometimes you will pull something thrilling and interesting out of the water. 

Ways to stay within the law when magnet fishing: 

Magnet fishing law exists in some states, while in some it doesn’t. The best thing to do if you really need to stay within the law when magnet fishing is to request for permission. If you are preparing to magnet fish in a lake in the centre of a farmer’s field, then it is very important you request for permission.

Without a go-ahead, you could find yourself charged with trespassing and theft. At times, a knock on the door or a quick call is all that is required. However, you may have to make an agreement to share the value of anything good with the landlord.

Regarding magnet fishing in a canal, it is best to put a call across to the waterways board of that region. Most will not have an issue with you magnet fishing there provided you don’t cause any sort of problems or trouble boat users. But, recently with few of the bad stories that are being reported in the press, some waterways are looking for ways to prohibit magnet fishing.

Things You Should Know Before Magnet Fishing:

  • On public land ask for permission if possible
  • Be on the lookout for signs and notice relating to magnet fishing
  • Do not pose as an obstruction to other waterway users
  • If told to stop by someone in authority, stop
  • Lastly, apply your common sense. If something doesn’t appear right, steer clear


Hopefully, this post has clarified some misconceptions about magnet-fishing laws. As stated, magnet fishing is not illegal. Generally, you will discover most individual are ok with it but a bit inquisitive. Some individuals object to it but provided we perform the hobby in a safe way, then – all is ok.

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