Discover Amsterdam: the street fishing capital of the world

Get ready to catch huge zander, lots of perch and even massive pike in the most extraordinary surroundings you have ever fished. We warmly welcome you to visit Amsterdam and have an unforgettable street fishing experience. In this article, we will show you what you can expect during a fishing holiday in Amsterdam. If you want to get the best out of your fishing trip, make sure to book a fishing guide in Amsterdam


Amsterdam is not only the capital of The Netherlands, but we would also like to call it the street fishing capital of the world. Over the last few years more and more anglers from all over Europe, and even the United States and Australia, have discovered the great potential of this city. They go fishing in the canals, discover the city and of course sleep on the ultimate fishing cabin: a houseboat.


History of fishing in Amsterdam

The city has always been closely connected to water and fish. The first settlements were founded along the banks of the Amstel River centuries ago, and in the golden age, the handmade canals shaped the city as we still know it today. Fish has been landed, traded and sold In Amsterdam for hundreds of years already, from herring to cod, sole and even freshwater fish like carp and perch. These fish were caught by commercial fishermen of course. But surprisingly there have been reports of anglers who fish for fun as early as in the 17th century when Rembrandt painted anglers with a rod in Amsterdam. Around 1890 the city counted as much as 25 fishing clubs, all fishing for perch - and all starting and ending in a nearby pub. So you can imagine that fishing was not the only purpose of those anglers...


Perch has been a very popular target fish for hundreds of years in Amsterdam - and it still is. (Photo: Juul Steyn/Bookafishingcabin)


Times have changed

Over the last 100 years, all those fishing clubs have seized to exist, made place for one large sportfishing club: the Amsterdamse Hengelsport Vereniging with over 10.000 members. And all those members are so lucky to live in the most challenging city when it comes to fishing. The wonderful historic inner city is without a doubt one of the most picturesque places where you will ever cast a lure. 


Perch is still one of the favorite species for many, but also zander and pike are well appreciated. Actually the fishing stocks are that good, that you don’t need a pub anymore. Most anglers who visit Amsterdam want only one thing: fishing as much as possible. 


In the old days almost all anglers in Amsterdam fished for perch only, but nowadays zander and pike are more abundant than ever. (photo: Juul Steyn/

A fish under every bridge

The cool thing is that you can fish literally in almost every water you find. As always, bridges attract predator fish that use these structures as an ambush to surprise their prey. Basically you can expect at least one perch, zander or pike under every bridge - and often (much) more. With a total of 252 bridges in the city center (and even 1539 in the whole city!), it offers more hotspots than you can ever visit during your fishing holiday in Amsterdam. 


Recommended tackle to go street fishing in Amsterdam

You don’t need much for a successful fishing holiday in Amsterdam. Especially if you target predator fish only, you can travel light. This makes you flexible, a huge advantage when walking through the city and taking public transport or ride a bike to discover new water throughout the day. Here is our suggested packing list:

  • 7 - 8 ft (210 - 240 cm) spinning rod with a medium to fast action and a casting weight of 1 - 10 grams. 
  • Light spinning reel (model 1000 - 2500) spooled with 6- 8 lb braided line
  • 0,20 - 0,25 mm fluorocarbon leader
  • Selection of soft baits of 6 - 12 cm
  • Selection of jig heads of 7 - 17 gram
  • Selection of hard baits of 4 - 15 cm (diving 1 - 2 m)
  • Landing net with a long handle
  • Pliers

Softbaits on a jig head of 7 - 17 grams are superb to catch zander in Amsterdam. And the great thing is that you can catch these fish in every canal! (Photo: Juul Steyn / Bookafishingcabin)


Be as flexible as possible

Wherever you start your street fishing session, it is always nice to be as flexible as possible. A car is simply useless since it is hard to park in the city center and you have to pay at least 5 euros per hour for a parking ticket. The easiest way to get around through Amsterdam is simply on foot, by bike or by tram. A 3-day public transport pass can be purchased at Central Station and any Albert Heijn supermarket. 


Let’s go fishing on the IJ-River

Now that we have packed our stuff and know how to get around it’s time to go fishing. A nice venue to start your fishing day is the IJ-River behind Central Station. There are no obstacles so you can safely cast your jig and fish it back with short twitches. Always make sure your bait is close to the bottom since that is where the zander (and most perch) are found. React swiftly if you feel a bite because zander, in general, doesn’t give you a second chance. The lighter the jig head, the easier it will be for the fish to swallow your soft bait. Basically you have to fish as light as possible and as heavy as required. In general, you should be able to use a jig head of 7 - 14 grams, depending on wind and current. 


Note that you can take any free ferry departing from the backside of the station. They all go to a different part of Amsterdam North, and all of them offer great fishing from the shore!


Zander fishing on the IJ River

Zander of this size are very common and can be caught in large numbers on the IJ River. (Photo: Juul Steyn/Bookafishingcabin)


Fun fishing on the canals

After fishing the long shoreline of the IJ - that can keep you busy for quite a few hours for sure - we suggest getting into town. Here you can cast your line under every bridge you hit. But be careful: there are many obstacles and we don’t want you to lose too many lures and soft baits. 

Not only bridges are true hotspots. You will find many houseboats docked along the canals where you can drop your plastic. But always show respect to the people living here and never step on a houseboat.


Fishing the Amsterdam canals is just so much fun. Not only because of the amazing surroundings where you will be fishing, but also because of the many surprises the waters have to offer. It’s very likely that you will find a ‘mountain of perch’, consisting of dozens of perch. Most of these fish are 20 - 30 centimeters in length, but a monster perch of over 50 centimeters is absolutely possible. Zander range from 25 to as long as 90 centimeters in length. And you will notice that the ‘city center zander’ are surprisingly dark colored because of the murky water they swim in. 


Zander fishing in Amsterdam

Also bigger fish, like this good-sized specimen, are swimming on the Amsterdam fishing waters. (photo: Juul Steyn/


Big bang on the Amstel

Now it is time to go to the source of the city: the Amstel River. This is not only the place where the first settlements of the city were made, but it’s also the place where you can expect a ‘big bang’ every time you cast your lure. 

The water here is significantly wider and offers more living space to fish than in the canals. And as you know larger water produces larger fish. Not only perch and zander grow to more than decent sizes, but especially pike is known to grow over 1 meter frequently here. This required a different approach. You will need a heavier spinning or baitcasting rod, as well as bigger hard- and soft baits. And don’t forget a steel or thick fluorocarbon leader because pike will most certainly bite through any regular nylon or braided line.


Make it perfect: sleep on a houseboat

As an angler, there is basically no better place to sleep than on a houseboat. On you will find various floating homes that warmly welcome fishermen. These boats are owned by hosts that love to welcome you aboard and show you around in their neighborhood. There are various houseboats in moored on the Eastern Docks, a famous area with superb street fishing options.

The Eastern Docks have countless amazing hotspots, waiting for you to discover them. (Photo: Juul Steyn/Bookafishingcabin)


By renting a houseboat during your fishing holiday in Amsterdam, you are assured to make your stay just perfect from the start to the end. Contact us if you have any questions about the fishing opportunities in Amsterdam - we look forward to answering any questions you may have!


Always buy a VISpas, the Dutch Fishing License

To fish in The Netherlands, you need a fishing license, called ‘VISpas’. You can purchase a VISpas online here