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VISpas Hotspots: Maas-Waal Canal (Gelderland)

VISpas Hotspots: Maas-Waal Canal (Gelderland)

Although it is only 13.5 kilometres long, the canal connecting the Maas and Waal rivers is a popular water among anglers due in part to its wide variety of fish stocks. And you don’t need a local fishing permit, because the entire water is covered by the VISpas.

The Maas-Waal Canal ‘starts’ at the locks near Heumen. These locks are almost always open, so they offer the fish an open door to the canal. From the locks, the canal curves slightly northwards through Nijmegen, where the water reaches the Waal river via the locks at Weurt. The canal varies in width from 82 meters to 145, with an average depth of around five meters. The banks are mostly made of basalt blocks. The water is generally easy to reach, but a bit of orientation before you get there will probably come in handy. The current can flow in either direction, depending on the lock operation by Rijkswaterstaat and the relative levels of the Maas and Waal rivers.

Coarse fish

All species of coarse fish are well-represented in the Maas-Waal Canal, but the stock of roach is probably the most remarkable. The canal was once a popular water for fishing contests, but fewer contests have been held here in recent years. Nevertheless, anglers make some impressive catches here using both a pole or a feeder rod.


The stock of carp in the Maas-Waal Canal has improved dramatically over the past 10 years, thanks in part to the annual releases by angling club SKP Nijmegen, in collaboration with Fishing Federation Central Netherlands (Hengelsport Federatie Midden Nederland). The locks on the Maas end of the canal are almost always open, so it seemed obvious that some of the released carp would swim into the Maas. But catch records show that at least some of them regularly return to the canal. Carp weighing around 20 kilos are far from exceptional.

If you have a VISpas with a NachtVistoestemming, you can also fish at night in the Maas-Waal Canal – but only with a maximum of two rods. Tents are not permitted. For more rules and provisions, check the water in the VISplanner.

Predatory fish

The canal is an excellent place to catch predatory fish, either from the banks or from a boat. Coarse fish anglers were not pleased with the arrival of various species of exotic gobys, but the sudden increase in perch and pikeperch show that the predators were definitely benefitting from their presence. The water also holds some large pike, and asp and wels catfish have been thriving over the past few years. That makes the Maas-Waal Canal an ideal place for catching predatory fish in general, using almost any technique.
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