Fishing in Ireland

Forget beer and riverdance, there’s wild brown trout, giant pike, and sea bass! With a long coastline and numerous rivers and lakes, Ireland is one of the best places to fish in Europe.
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About Ireland

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Celtic Sea and the North Sea, “The Green Eyre” has fishing everywhere, both freshwater in rivers and lakes, and saltwater, nearshore and deep sea. The best time for a fishing trip to Ireland depends on the species you target (for instance, salmon runs begin around April, and peak in June-July), and may be dictated by fishing regulations. You need a license and a permit from the owner of the fisheries to fish for salmon and sea trout; other kinds of recreational angling do not require a state license, but a permit from the fisheries owners may be necessary, and in some waters angling may be restricted. When planning a visit to Ireland, do not forget that the island is divided into Northern Ireland, which is a part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, a EU member state. Entry requirements may differ for citizens of some countries, so double-check the location of your fishing trip and whether you’re entitled to visit this particular part of Ireland.

Fishing Types

Backcountry fishing sounds a bit oxymoronic when we’re talking about a relatively small European country, but in Ireland a long hike to a remote stream or lake, surrounded by wild, desolate green hills, with an occasional ruin of a medieval castle, is a special treat. Speaking of castles, many of them now function as hotels and make a great base for river or lake fishing trips. For nearshore and offshore fishing head for one of the traditional fishing villages on Ireland’s coasts, while deep sea fishing charters typically operate out of big harbor cities such as Cork.

Targeted Fish Species

Hundreds of fish species would call Ireland home if fish could talk, but there are a few that promise a special treat for an angler. One of them is brown trout, which in Ireland grows to impressive sizes, especially in the lakes, where the biggest specimen switch from insects and minnows to preying on other trout, and can be as heavy as 20 lb. Rainbow trout and salmon are also worthy of mentioning, and yet another freshwater special of Ireland is the pike. Such species as carp, roach, bream, perch, and rudd are collectively known in Ireland as the “coarse fish”, and in spite of the somewhat derogatory moniker, offer excellent fishing fun. Offshore, most sports anglers target the seabass, and the clients of deep sea fishing charters can go after the biggest fish of the Atlantic, including tuna, marlin, and various species of shark.

Fishing Techniques

Fly fishing is the way to go in Ireland. If you have no experience with casting flies, numerous excellent guides offer fly-fishing days for beginners. The 20-lb brown trout mentioned above, however, stick to the deeper corners of the lakes, and are hard to land on a fly - you’ll have to resort to trolling or spinning to hook them. The same two methods are typically used to catch the famous Irish pike. Bottom fishing from the shore is the accepted way to target the seabass, although saltwater fly-fishing is becoming more and more popular, while cod, ling and flounder are caught by handlining, jigging, or trolling from smaller boats.