Fishing in Northern Ireland
Official Site of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board
You can enjoy coarse fishing all year round in Northern Ireland which has long been recognized as one of Europe's best regions for the coarse angler.Two particularly notable venues for big matches are Lough Erne in Fermanagh and the Upper Bann river which flows into the vast inland sea of Lough Neagh. Both have held innumerable match fishing world records.
In Northern Ireland, anyone fishing for salmonids (game fishing) or coarse fishing must have a rod licence issued by the Dept. Of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and/or the Loughs Agency.
Further details can be obtained from:
The Department of Agriculture controls half the fisheries listed. The others are variously owned as indicated. You may find that some stretches are closed for a few days, when a competition is under way, but information to this effect is posted on the river bank. Any visiting angler who would like to enter competitions should contact the Ulster Coarse Fishing Federation. Hon secretary: Victor Refausse'. 29 Georgian Villas, Omagh BT79 OAT. Tel (01662) 245363(evg), 245433(day).
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Location: 2-l/4 mile stretch upstream from Stranmillis weir, at the Belfast Boat Club, to Shaw's Bridge. Fishing from towpath only on west side of river. This is a developing fishery, responding best in the evening to a light tackle approach (summer only).
Variety of fish: gudgeon, perch, pike, roach, rudd and some bream Permit: Belfast tackle shops (see list on reverse) and Tourist Information Centre, 59 North St, Belfast.
Bann River (Lower) Navigational Canals
Location: three popular canal stretches. Bankside fishing only on all stretches.
Toome: half-mile stretch. Lower part noted for perch. A6 to Toome from Randalstown, then first street to left in village.
Portna: quarter-mile stretch. A54 1/4 mile south-east of Kilrea, left, left again. No fishing above the canal locks.
Movanagher: l-mile stretch. B64 north-east of Kilrea for 1-1/2 miles to McLaughlin's corner, left and immediately left again for 2-1/4 miles. Anglers should use carparks provided - no parking along canal bank road. Fishing is not permitted from west or middle bank between canal and river. Best areas are the low numbered pegs.
Variety of fish: bream, eel, perch, pike, roach.
Permit: Albert Atkins, 67
Coleraine Rd. Garvagh. Cassells, 43 Main St, Ballymoney. J Hamilton,
c/o O'Rourke, McDonald & Tweed, 37 Church
Bann River (Lower)
Location: 14-mile stretch downstream from the eel weir at Toome, including Lough Beg and Newferry, to Portna lock gates. Gilmore's shore, 1-1/2 mile stretch upstream of Portna lock gates, has 100 pegs and carpark. Access across the Bann bridge at Kilrea, taking first road on right and next on left. Regulations posted on gate. A 3-mile stretch from Agivey bridge downstream to Drumaheglis marina. Bankside fishing only from both sides of the river except at Gilmore's shore. Fishing is good all year round.
Variety of fish: bream, hybrids, perch, pike, roach.
Bann River (Lower)
Location: half-mile stretch north of the Bann bridge at Portglenone, downstream of the community centre below the bridge. Self-catering accommodation for groups of four, touring caravan site.
Variety of fish: bream, hybrids, perch, pike, roach.
Location: 10-mile stretch downstream from Portadown. Fishing areas centred
at or near Portadown. Bankside fishing only. Permission from the landowner
is required if you want to fish outside these five areas:
Variety of fish: bream, perch, pike, roach.
Location: B3, 1-1/2 miles south of Keady on east side of Castleblaney road. 120 acres. All legal coarse fishing methods except ground bait and maggots. Shore fishing only. Stiles and footsticks give easy access along shore which is stony and safe for wading. Be careful not to pollute this public reservoir.
Variety of fish: perch, pike and rudd.
Location: Kinnego marina. Ml exit 10 (signposted Oxford Island). All legal methods including ground bait and maggots. Best months May-July. Shore and boat fishing, but bring your own boat. Please note Sunday is a busy boating day at the marina so weekdays are best for fishermen.
Variety of fish: bream, hybrids, perch, roach, rudd.
Lurgan Park Lake
Location: centre of Lurgan. 50 acres. Path round lake gives easy access to fishing stands Shore fishing only.
Variety of fish: bream, perch, roach and a few carp.
Shark Lough / Acton Lake
Location: off A27, I mile north of Poyntzpass. 50 acres. No cars beyond the level crossing, pedestrian access across wooden bridge.
Variety of fish: bream, perch, pike, roach, rudd. Irish specimen roach/bream
hybrid and quality rudd have been recorded on this large, shallow, balancing
Location: 1-mile stretch of bankside fishing in pleasant woodland. A32 north from Enniskillen for 5m towards Irvinestown, entrance at Kilgortnaleague bridge.
Variety of fish: pike and roach.
Cam River / Cladagh River
Location: 80-yard stretch. A4 and A509, 8m south of Enniskillen (signposted Cam river). Bankside fishing only. The river banks, upstream and downstream, have good access and are available with riparian owners' permission.
Variety of fish: bream, eel, perch, pike, roach, rudd.
Location: 2-mile stretch. A34 and B154 north-west of Lisnaskea (signposted). Excellent coarse fish water. Bankside fishing only.
Variety of fish: bream, eel, perch, occasional pike, roach, rudd.
Location: two islands at Newtownbutler, Upper Lough Erne. Sixteen pegs on Inisherk Island and four pegs on Derryvore. Bankside fishing only. Day ticket 2.50(pounds) in advance: Sharon Sey, Gate Lodge, Crom Estate, Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh BT92 8AP. Tel: (0136 57) 38825. Anglers fishing Derryvore will have to hire a boat from the estate - 3(pounds) per day. Estate open weekdays from 8 am, weekend from 9 am.
Variety of fish: bream and roach.
Killyfole Lough / Mill Lough
Location: A34 south-east of Lisnaskea for 3-l/2 miles, then B36 due east for 6 miles. Reservoir close to road. 56 acres. Fishing from shore only. North and south sides of reservoir safe for wading but north-west comer has a waming notice posted. Fishing near the treatment plant is not permitted.
Variety of fish: perch and pike.
Lough Erne (Upper And Lower)
Location: 50 miles long and up to 12 miles wide, the lough has held two 5-hour world match records.
Variety of fish: bream, eel, perch, pike, roach, rudd.
Other outlets: The Carlton, Belleek.
Macnean Loughs (Upper And Lower)
Location: east and west of Belcoo. The south-western tip of the lower lough is in the South, and the Fermanagh side of the upper lough, to the west of Belcoo, is privately owned and in the North! However, access is readily available to both loughs.
Variety of fish: pike, eels, hybrids, perch and roach. Notable for pike
Other outlets: Erne Marine, Bellanaleck.
Location: A47, 3 miles east of Belleek (signposted) 171 acres. Main quarry pike (up to 20 lb) and an abundance of perch and roach. You can fish from a motorboat. Shallow areas in the lough are unmarked so be careful. Any game fish taken should be retumed unharmed to the water, unless you hold a game rod licence and permit.
Variety of fish: eel, bream, perch, pike, roach, rudd.
Location: B1, 2-1/2 miles directly east of Downpatrick (signposted). 53 acres. All legal coarse fishing methods except for ground bait and maggots. Fishing from shore only. Rocky shores firm for wading, east bank best. No fishing in fenced-off area at pump house. Be careful not to pollute this public reservoir
Vanety of fish: eel, perch and pike.
Location: 3-mile stretch from Newry to the Victoria lock gates on Omeath road, south of town. In winter the Albert basin is a good area for pike, and in summer the Omeath road stretch is highly recommended for other species. Bankside fishing only.
Variety of fish: bream, perch, pike and roach.
Location: Downpatrick, from old barrier at Quoile bridge downstream to the new barrier at head of Strangford Lough. Easy access from road. 100 acres. Fishing from south bank except from Steamboat quay to Castle Island. Path and fishing stands. No digging for bait. This is an important nature reserve so do not leave bits of line around to harm the waterfowl.
Variety of fish: eel, perch, pike, roach, rudd.
Location: southern outskirts of Dungannon via B45, close to road. Best fishing area is at the deep end close to the sluice gates.
Variety offsh: bream, eels, perch, pike, roach, rudd, tench possible.
Location: Lake Catherine and Lake Fanny in the Baronscourt estate.
Variety of fish: pike exceeding 20 lb live in the lakes.
Location: half-mile stretch downstream of bridge in Blackwatertown. Bankside fishing only. Any game fish taken must be returned to the water.
Variety of fish: eel, bream. perch, pike, roach.
Location: 3-mile stretch - upstream from Bond's bridge on west bank (60 pegs); downstream from Bond's bridge on east bank (30 pegs); Verner's bridge at catpark (16 pegs). Ml exit 14. No fishing at Saltmarine garage. Bankside fishing only.
Variety of fish: bream, gudgeon, hybrids, perch, roach and occasional
Location: Blessingbourne estate, on B172.
Variety of fish: pike and perch. All pike must be returned to the water.
Location: B128, 6 miles west of Benburb, left at Holland's crossroads to lough. 45 acres. No motorboats. Path surrounds lake giving easy access to fishing stands. Touring caravan site, carparks.
Variety of fish: eel, perch, pike and some roach.
Location: 1 mile north of Caledon on right-hand side of B45. 13 acres.Shore fishing only. Path, fishing stands, carpark.
Variety of fish: eel, bream, perch, pike and some roach and tench. Notable
Fairy Water River
Location: 1 mile north of Omagh at the Nestle' factory on A5. Fishing from river bank opposite factory.
Variety of fish: roach.
Location: Murley Rd, Fivemiletown. B122, 1/2 mile outside town signposted. 9 acres. Path round lake gives easy access to 10 fishing stands and firm bank fishing. Carpark, picnic site, camping and caravan park.
Variety of fish: bream, roach and rudd.
Location: off A4, 3 miles north-east of Fivemiletown. Weedy. Fishing from boats. Private fishery controlled by Lisnaskea Angling Club.
Variety of fish: Northern Ireland's only tench fishery with fish to
6-1/2 lb. Also eels and pike.
Location: 1-1/2-mile stretch downstream on the east bank from confluence with the Fairy Water river at Poe bridge, 1 mile north-west of Omagh on A5. No fishing from 1 July-20 Oct because of organized competitions. Line breaking strain 2 kg (4.41 lb) maximum, hook size 12 maximum. Any game fish taken please return unharmed to the water. Bankside fishing only. Carpark (downstream) near Cappagh parish church.
Variety of fish: eel and roach.
Location: B128, 2 miles east of Aughnacloy, right at second crossroads (signposted). 23 acres. Fishing permitted from small rowing boats. Path from road runs right round the shore. Fishing stands.
Variety of fish: Eel, perch, pike and roach.
Licenses And Permits
Anglers over 18 must obtain a coarse fishing rod license from the Fisheries Conservancy Board plus a permit from the owner of the fishery. A combined 15-day rod license and Department of Agriculture permit costs 10.65(pounds) for 15 days and 4.35(pounds) for 3 days. An annual general coarse fishing permit costs 12.60(pounds).
A Bann System season permit costs 5(pounds), and licenses 4.30(pounds) for 15 days or 6.25(pounds) for the season.
Disabled anglers can obtain an annual permit, cost 25.90(pounds), from the Department of Agriculture - address on back of leaflet. It entitles them to fish all Department coarse fisheries and specified game fishing waters.
Where To Buy Tackle And Bait
Facilities For Wheelchair
Movanagher canal - three fishing stands with sloping ramps and protective
barriers. Hoy's meadow, Portadown - fishing stands. Quoile basin (downstream
of the old barrier)-section of bank has level surface, protective barrier,
carpark (key from Department of Agriculture) Stormont, Belfast BT4 3PW.
Tel (01232) 76393. Upper Lough Erne (Broadmeadow stretch) and Toome canal
- both accessible but there are no protective barriers.
Fisheries Conservancy Board,
Ulster Coarse Fishing Federation
Merit badges and certificates are awarded by the Irish Specimen Fish
Committee (ISFC) to anglers catching fish of, or over, the specimen weights.
You need a special claim form, available from the ISFC, and the fish
must be caught by fair angling and weighed on properly certified weigh-scales.
Queries should be addressed to the ISFC at Dublin Tel-379206, or contact
the Aquatic Science Research Division at Coleraine Tel (01265)
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