Fly Fishing Tips for the Angler in Ireland
The starting point is a good set of waterproofs!
If going afloat it is a legal requirement to wear a lifejacket or buoyancy aid and for safety (particularly if fly fishing) a hat and glasses. Consider a good net and if planning to kill fish, a priest. Taking fish for the table is fine in moderation and provided it is consistent with set bag limits, but please consider ‘catch and release’ to ensure healthy stocks for the future.
In general for fly-fishing from a boat on loughs a rod of (10 or 11 feet) rated AFTM 6–7 will cover most eventualities. On rivers an 8 or 9 ft AFTM 5 - 6 rod is required.
It is important to bear in mind that trout fishermen may come across sea trout, pike or salmon when fishing for trout. They will all readily take a trout fly, lure or bait. As such it may be worth considering the level of tackle being used.
For spinning, a light spinning rod (of about 8-10ft) with 8–10lb monofilament line on a fixed spool reel will suffice for most conditions.
Most towns have tackle shops where leaders and flies may be bought – and advice sought. The Irish fly patterns for trout have long been famous and the visiting angler may wish to collect a selection to try in their traditional setting. Fishing tackle shops can be excellent centres for local information and usually also sell fishing permits for local waters.
Climate & Weather Forecasts
Ireland has a temperate climate, with rain falling throughout the year. As a rule of thumb, the further west one goes the wetter it gets. This rainfall leads to excellent conditions for salmon and sea trout but also means that the angler should pay close attention to local weather forecasts prior to fishing.
At all times the fishing will depend to some extent on prevailing weather, water levels, barometric pressure and temperature. Most Irish rivers and loughs are subject to seasonal rhythms of high and low water. The high winds of spring and autumn can render boat fishing on the bigger loughs unsafe for short periods. If going afloat on one of the large Irish loughs it is essential to get a weather forecast and plan the day accordingly.
Weather Forecast Resources Republic of Ireland
Met Eireann Weatherdial Service:
(local numbers, premium rates apply)
- South West (Munster) 1550 123 850
- North (Ulster) 1550 123 853
- East and midlands (Leinster) 1550 123 851
- West and northwest (Connacht) 1550 123 852
- Dublin 1550 123 854.
Weather Forecast Resources Northern Ireland
- BBC Radio & Television www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland
- UTV television www.utvlive.com
- The Met Office www.metoffice.gov.uk
Access and Country Code
Irish waters are usually reached by passing through farmland and anglers are generally allowed this access by courtesy of local farmers. If in doubt please ask the farmer for permission to enter onto the land to fish the water.
- Respect farmland and the rural environment.
- Do not interfere with livestock, crops, machinery or other property.
- Guard against all risks of fire, especially near forests and during dry spells.
- Leave all farm gates as you find them.
- Always keep children under close control and supervision.
- Avoid entering farmland containing livestock. Your presence can cause stress to the livestock & even endanger your own safety.
- Do not enter farmland with dogs, even if on a leash, unless permission has been obtained from the landowner.
- Always use gates, stiles or other recognised access points and avoid damage to fences, hedges and walls.
- Take all litter home.
- Take special care on country roads.
- Avoid making unnecessary noise.
- Protect wildlife, plants and trees.
- Take heed of warning signs – they are there for your protection.
Some Irish inland waters are very large and become dangerous in high winds; they may have reefs or rocky shoals which can be hazardous even on a calm day. When intending to use a boat, anglers should notify someone about where they are fishing and what time they are due to return. It is essential to be familiar with such waters and their hazards before going afloat unaided; a ghillie or guide should be hired for the first few days of the trip.
Please note the law requires that a suitable Personal Flotation Device must be worn in the following situations:
- By anyone on board an open craft that is under 7 meters in length.
- By anyone on deck on a craft that is under 7 meters length.
- By anyone under the age of 16 on board an open craft or on deck of any other type of craft.
Anglers should wear suitable protective waterproof clothing whether fishing from shore or boat. Suitable and appropriate footwear should be worn at all times. When fly fishing, the angler should wear a protective set of sunglasses as eye protection and a hat. Midge repellent is essential for fishing on many of the small lakes & streams in the summer months.
Boats enable the angler to gain access to water that may not be fishable from the bank. They also allow the angler to cover a greater area of water than bank fishing. Boats may be hired at all the main angling centres. Trolling is a favoured way of fishing the bigger waters because so much ground may be covered in the course of a day. Either artificial or natural baits may be used. When fly fishing, drifting broadside down wind is the standard way to fish. There are rules to follow; some are etiquette but some legal. If unfamiliar on a lough or with boat handling we recommend the use of an angling guide or ghillie.
An echo sounder may be a useful aid on our bigger loughs. The equipment is used primarily to ascertain depth, to locate fish and the depth they are feeding at.
Trout Angling Associations
There are two main representative bodies for trout anglers in Ireland. The Trout Anglers Federation of Ireland (TAFI) has a large network of clubs and individual anglers. It’s aim is to develop and preserve freshwater angling, angling tourism and angling for young people. TAFI can be contacted by writing to Simon O’Meara at 178 Kirwin Park, Mountmellick, Co. Laois, Ireland.
The National Anglers Representative Association (NARA) represents game anglers in dealings with local and National Government, State Agencies and Inland Fisheries Ireland on legislation, control and development of fisheries and access. NARA can be contacted through their website at www.nara.ie