Salmon and sea trout fishing in the West

  1. Ballinakill District
  2. Connemara District
  3. Galway District

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Lough Corrib and its Tributaries

Lough Corrib

Lough Corrib is justly famous for its wild brown trout fishing, however a lot of salmon are also taken every year on the lake. Trolling and flyfishing account for most fish, and fish hold in certain areas prior to ascending spawning tributaries, or to rest after running the main river. The Narrows, the Glann shore and the Carrick shore are noted holding lies for salmon. Most local anglers troll when targeting salmon, although quite a few fish are taken on fly, including on trout flies by trout anglers.

Please note that you must have a salmon licence to fish for salmon, and that trout anglers who catch a salmon must by law release the fish if they do not hold a valid salmon licence in their possession.

Cong River

The Cong River is a short river that flows from Cong Village, about 1km north of Lough Corrib, to meet the lake at Ashford Castle. Inland Fisheries Ireland maintain a salmon hatchery in Cong, and consequently there is a large run of salmon returning to the hatchery. The fishing is controlled at Ashford by Ashford Castle, while the top end of the river is regarded as free. Ashford castle issue permits for their fishing beat. All legal methods are allowed, although shrimp and spinning are most successful. Flyfishing is possible in summer when water levels drop, and can produce some good fish. The season closes early here, on the 31st of August, in order to protect ferox trout that spawn in the river.

Owenriff River

The Owenriff River is a large tributary of Lough Corrib that flows through Oughterard and enters the lake on its western shore. The fishing through the town up as far as the waterfall is regarded as free. Upstream of this riparian owners control the fishing rights.

Fishing can be very good during and following a flood from late June, when salmon and lake trout begin to run the river.

Maam River

The Maam River, also known as Joyce’s River, drains a large scenic valley at the northwestern end of Lough Corrib, and enters the lake downstream of Maam Village. It is a very spatey river, which gets very shallow in low water. The fishing is generally regarded as free, although anglers should obtain landowners permission before entering their land. It gets good runs of salmon and trout on floods from July on, and fishes well after a flood. All legal methods are allowed for most of the season, but for the month of September flyfishing only is allowed by law. Anglers are asked to consider releasing fish caught later in the season.

Clare River

The Clare River is a very extensive tributary draining a huge area from Co. Roscommon and east Galway and meeting the lake on its south eastern shore, downstream of Claregalway. It gets a very large run of salmon and trout, and is the most important spawning tributary in the Corrib catchment.

The river was arterially drained in the 1950s, which deepened and straightened the channel. Large spoil heaps alongside the river testify to the amount of material removed during this operation. The river has largely recovered in the interim, and natural holding pools and riffles have re-established.

Much of the Clare River is controlled by angling clubs, including the Tuam Anglers Association, the Corofin Angling Association, St. Colemans Angling Club and the Cregmore Athenry Angling Club. These clubs all issue visitor permits, and membership may be available also. Inland Fisheries Ireland controls the fishing from Claregalway downstream, and currently this stretch may be fished without the need for a permit, although this may change in the future.

All legal methods are allowed, with different methods more suited to different stretches of river. On the slower stretches, trotting a worm down on light tackle can be very effective, as well as spinning. On stretches with a bit of current, flyfishing and spinning are both successful methods. Shrimp fishing is not practiced much on the river.

The stretch of river from 300m upstream of the footbridge downstream of Corofin, in the townlands of Anbally and Turloughmartin, to Daly’s Bridge in the townland of Corrandrum is reserved for flyfishing only by byelaw. (River Clare Bye-Law No. 841, 2008)


Inland Fisheries Ireland, Weir Lodge, Earl’s Island, Galway
Tel: +353 (0)91 563118
Fax: +353 (0)91 566335