Brown tag conservation regulations in force on Lower River Lee

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has today opened the second draw for anglers wishing to catch and keep salmon from Cork’s Lower River Lee.

‘Brown tag’ regulations came into force on the river from February 1st 2024, and will remain in place until September 30th 2024, when the salmon fishing season ends.

Commenting on the requirements, Sean Long South-Western River Basin District Director at IFI, stated:

“The numbers of wild Atlantic salmon returning to our rivers is declining. The risk of over-fishing puts stocks in further jeopardy. Brown tag measures for salmon and sea trout are required on the Lower River Lee to conserve stocks and avoid accidental over-harvesting. Where there is a modest harvestable surplus with a risk of over exploitation, this brown gill tag system is introduced to closely monitor the angling quotas.”

A total of 218 brown tags will be available. They will be distributed to anglers with a rod licence via four draws through the 2024 angling season.

Up to a quarter of the available number of brown tags can be issued at one time. Therefore, a second issue of 55 brown tags will be selected through the online lottery on April 4th 2024.

The measures are part of the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2023, recently signed into law by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, TD.

Interested anglers in entering the April 4th draw can apply through IFI’s online link between today, March 12th, and midnight March 31st 2024 only.

Successful anglers who receive the tags, via the lottery system, place them on the fish – along with a blue tag as proof it was lawfully caught and may be retained for private use.

Anglers not allocated a brown tag are permitted to fish for salmon on a catch-and-release basis on the Lower River Lee, where the salmon is returned safely to the same waterbody.

Anglers must use catch-and-release methods only, involving single or double barbless hooks. Use of worms as bait is not permitted.

Full application details are available through, by phoning IFI’s Macroom office on (026) 41221, or by mailing [email protected]

Salmon Anglers – Lower River Lee, No. 5 or Cork District: Brown Tags Required

Salmon anglers are advised that from 1st February 2024 to midnight of 30th September 2023, Brown Tag regulations are in force on the Lower River Lee.

218 Brown Tags are available for the season and distribution of these brown tags will be by four electronic lotteries throughout the 2024 angling season.

The Wild Salmon and Seatrout Tagging Scheme Regulations permit a maximum of 25% of the available tags to be issued at one time. IFI selected 55 anglers to receive a brown tag on 26th January 2024.

Anglers may enter the April 4th draw by applying through IFI’s online link between today, March 12th, and midnight March 31st 2024 only.

Anglers must provide their Name, Contact Address, Telephone Number and 2024 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:

Salmon anglers not in possession of a Brown Tag must fish using Catch and Release methods i.e., 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 send all applicants an entry number for the lottery by email on 3rd April, before the draw which will take place at 09:30 on 4th April 2024. No personal information will be shared.  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.

Late or early applications will be instantly excluded.

For further information contact Inland Fisheries Ireland, Macroom on 026 41221.

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.
  2. Where it can sustain angling, but not exploitation (harvesting the fish for consumption), the river is opened on a ‘catch and release only’ basis where the fish is returned safely to the same waterbody.
  3. 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. This is to ensure that river-based quotas are not exceeded.  Where these restrictions apply, you 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.
  4. And finally, where there is an adequate exploitable surplus, the river is opened with the standard 10 tag allocation issued in lots of 3 or 4.