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The Best Rivers and Lakes for Fishing in Ireland

Ireland is one of the best countries in Europe for fishing, from river and lake fishing to sea fishing. It's renowned for its variety and quality of fish species and the scenic destinations they can be caught in. This guide features some of the best Irish rivers and lakes for pike, salmon and trout fishing.
Fishing in Ireland - River Shannon

Ireland has over 70,000 km of river channels and over 12,000 lakes. And with such a mild climate it’s easy to understand why it’s an excellent country for fishing. Fish species depends on your choice of fishing. Cod, Ray and Bass are examples of sea fishing catches. Course fishing, so called because these species of fish were seen as secondary species to the likes of Salmon, are freshwater fish and they include species such as Bream, Roach and Perch.

However out of all the species available to anglers, Salmon, Trout and Pike are the most renowned when it comes to fishing in Ireland. And this guide is here to inspire you on where to go for your next fishing trip.

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Fishing in Ireland

Best Rivers and Lakes for Salmon Fishing

The leaps or schools of Wild Irish Salmon keep anglers returning to Ireland year after year. From bait and spinning fishing to fly fishing, anglers can use their favourite method when it comes to reeling in a catch. When it comes to the body of water you’re fishing on it’s important to know who is in charge.

Salmons in a river

Some rivers are managed by Inland Fisheries Ireland, while others by private fisheries or local angling clubs. You’ll need a State Licence to fish for salmon in Ireland and permits and day memberships may be required on certain bodies of waters. This information is usually very well highlighted, but if you are unsure contact the local tourist information centre, or angling club, or association for full details.

River Nore

Best Locations: Kilkenny, Thomastown and Inistioge in County Kilkenny.

Open Date: March 17th to September 30th.

Need to Know: Salmon fishing on the River Nore is open on a catch and release basis for 2019.

River Boyne

Best Locations: Navan and Slane in County Meath and Drogheda in County Louth.

Open Dates: March 1st to September 30th.

Need to Know: Salmon fishing on the River Boyne is open on a catch and release basis.

River Corrib

Best Locations: From the Weir in Galway City to Lough Corrib.

Open Dates: February 1st to September 30th.

Need to Know: Salmon fishing on the River Corrib requires State Salmon Angling Licence that can be purchased from the Fishery Office.

River Munster Blackwater

Best Locations: Mallow and Fermoy in County Cork and Lismore and Cappoquin in County Waterford.

Open Dates: February 1st to September 30th.

Need to Know: The waters along the River Blackwater are managed by a number of private and club fisheries, however these are easily accessible.

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Fisherman in a boat surrounded by lush countryside

Best Rivers and Lakes for Trout Fishing

Ireland‘s rivers, tributaries and loughs are the perfect freshwater habitat for the Brown Trout, a species native to Ireland. Ranging in size, with a decent size of 10lb, the Brown Trout can reach a size of 20lbs. Normally a fishing licence isn’t required to fish Brown Trout in Ireland, however permits may be required depending on where you decide to fish. Methods of fishing used to catch Brown Trout include bait fishing, spinning and fly-fishing the loughs.

River Boyne and Tributaries

Locations: Slane, Navan, Trim and Kells in County Meath.

Open Dates: March 1st to September 30th.

Need to Know: The best Trout fishing is April to June, and the month of September. A number of fisheries are fly only, some are catch and release only.

River Fane

Locations: Dundalk in County Louth and Inniskeen in County Monaghan.

Open Dates: March 1st to October 12th.

Need to Know: The best months to fish are April to June and September. You will require a permit but they are easy to secure from local tackle shops.

River Suir

Best Locations: Thurles, Cahir, Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir in County Tipperary.

Open Dates: March 17th to September 30th.

Need to Know: The River Suir includes its tributaries and it is one of the best trout fishing rivers in Ireland. Permits are required but available from local tackle shops.

Lough Derg

Best Locations: Killaloe and Scarriff in County Clare, and Garrykennedy and Dromineer in County Tipperary.

Open Dates: March 15th – September 30th.

Need to Know: Ireland’s third largest lake, Lough Derg has shores on County Clare, Tipperary and Galway. Brown Trout fishing is free, but Brown Trout below 14 inches must be returned to the waters.

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Best Rivers and Lakes for Pike Fishing

Pike is one of the largest species of freshwater fish to be found in Ireland’s rivers and lakes, 10 to 20kg is quite common. They’re a predatory fish that feed on smaller fish, such as roach and eel. And in return they are currently one of the most sought-after sport fish species throughout Europe and North America. This surge of interest from those who visit Ireland as a fishing destination has influenced the popularity of Pike fishing amongst local anglers too.

Lough Muckno

Best Location: Castleblayney in County Monaghan.

Open Dates: Pike can be fished all year, however weather conditions will dictate.

Need to Know: Black and White Island, Toome Point and South Lodge are all recommended spots for Pike Fishing on Lough Muckno. Using a boat hire company is also recommended. There is a catch and release Bye-law in place for the lake.

Blessington Lake

Best Location: Blessington in County Wicklow

Open Dates: All Year but closed for the month of October

Need to Know: The largest reservoir in Ireland, Blessington Lake offers great pike fishing but only on catch and release. An ESB Permit is a requirement.

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River Barrow

Bests Locations: Athy in County Kildare, Leighlinbridge and Bagenalstown in County Carlow, and Graiguenamanagh in County Kilkenny.

Open Dates: All year and fine in flood conditions

Need to Know: The River Pike record of 42lbs came from the River Barrow. No permit or licence is required, but you can become a member of the local fishing clubs to show support and gain local knowledge.

River Suck

Best Locations: Hollygrove on the border of County Roscommon and Galway, Stoneham’s Lakes in County Roscommon and Lough Loung in County Galway

Open Dates: All year round, weather depending

Need to Know: A permit is required to fish, and it can be purchased online from the Fishing in Ireland website Bank fishing and boat fishing on the three adjoining lakes is possible.

The Best Rivers and Lakes for Fishing in Ireland

Best Rivers and Lakes for Salmon FishingRiver Nore
River Boyne
River Corrib
River Munster Blackwater
Best Rivers and Lakes for Trout FishingRiver Boyne and Tributaries
River Fane
River Suir
Lough Derg
 Best Rivers and Lakes for Pike FishingLough Muckno
Blessington Lake
River Barrow
River Suck

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