River Lee

Inland Fisheries Ireland(IFI) has today opened a new draw for anglers who wish to catch and keep wild salmon and sea trout greater than 40cm from the Lower River Lee in Cork this year.

The pool system allocates brown labels to anglers who are successful in the lottery system.  The tags are placed on fish along with a blue tag as proof it was lawfully caught and may be retained for private use.

These essential indentification rules for salmon angling are in force until the season closes on September 30th, 2023.

On Monday 22nd May, 45 ‘brown tags’ will be allocated for salmon on the Lower River Lee.

Up to a quarter of the available number of tags can be issued at one time, under the Wild Salmon and Seatrout Tagging Scheme Regulations.

A total of 180 brown tags will be available for the season, and are being distributed to anglers with a 2023 rod licence through a series of online lotteries.

Anglers with a 2023 rod licence not allocated a brown tag are only permitted to fish for salmon and sea trout greater than 40cm on a ‘catch and release’ basis on the Lower River Lee, where the salmon is returned safely to the same waterbody.

A previous online draw took place in March, and a total of 90 brown tags have been issued to anglers to date.

The brown tag measures are included in the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme (Amendment) Regulations, signed into law by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD.

Application details for brown fish tags for Cork’s River Lee

Full application details are available via www.fisheriesireland.ie/2023-online-draw-for-brown-tags-on-lower-river-lee-in-cork?referral=1353 , by phoning IFI’s Macroom office on (026) 41221, or by emailing [email protected].

Anglers must provide their Name, Contact Address, Telephone Number and 2023 Salmon Licence number. This is the only method to apply for a brown tag.

Anglers may only fish one brown tag over the full season. Multiple applications will disqualify. Salmon Licences are available online at: https://store.fishinginireland.info

Salmon anglers not in possession of a brown tag must fish using catch and release methods using single or double barbless hooks. Use of worms is not permitted.

A salmon cannot be taken unless the angler is in possession of a brown tag. If a salmon is taken both a blue and brown tag must be affixed to the fish. Failure to do so may result in penalties.  Catch details must be recorded on the Anglers Logbook promptly.

IFI will email all applicants their entry number for the lottery by close of business on 19th May 2023 for the draw which will take place on Monday 22nd May 2023. No personal information will be shared.

A total of 10 reserve licence numbers will be drawn in case the initial offer of a brown tag is not taken up. Tags will be issued to successful applicants by post and late or early applications will be instantly excluded.

Information about angling quotas

Quotas for how many fish an angler can catch and keep (harvested) are set by Fisheries Managers every year, on the basis of scientific advice.

These quotas reflect the ‘exploitable surplus’ in any river, as follows:

  1. In cases where the exploitable surplus cannot sustain angling, that particular fishery is closed for the season.
  1. Where it can sustain angling, but not exploitation (harvesting the fish), the river is opened on a ‘catch and release only’ basis where the fish is returned safely to the same waterbody.
  1. Where there is a modest harvestable surplus with a risk of over exploitation, a brown gill tag system is introduced where it is considered necessary in the interests of conserving stocks to closely monitor the angling quotas.
  2. This is to ensure that river-based quotas are not exceeded.  Where these restrictions apply, anglers must be in possession of a brown tag specific to that river to harvest salmon, to be used in conjunction with a blue tag.  Similar to blue tags, brown tags issued contain a unique serial number specific to that licence holder and are not transferable between licence holders.
  1. Where there is an adequate exploitable surplus, the river is opened with the standard 10 tag allocation issued in lots of three or four.