The River Barrow rises in the Slieve Bloom Mountains and from Monasterevan flows directly south. It is a big river, draining a large area, and after heavy rain it can flood quickly. The flow is moderate to fast in places.
Many specimen fish are recorded from the Barrow each year, indeed the Irish river record for Pike is held by the Barrow. This fish was recorded in 1964 and weighed in at (42 lbs.). This record still stands today. In 2001 the Levitstown Canal cut section of the Barrow recorded the heaviest river pike weighing (35.30 lbs.)
The year 2003 was no exception with the River Barrow recording no less than thirty one (31) specimens from the Bream, Dace, Perch, Pike, Roach/Bream Hybrid, and Rudd /Bream species and 18 specimen Twaite Shad.
The River Barrow is navigable from Athy, Co. Kildare to St. Mullins, Co. Carlow. The main coarse angling species found on the Barrow are Bream, Dace, Hybrids, Perch, Pike, Roach, Rudd, Tench and Twaite Shad.
Special note: The River Barrow is a mixed fishery with Salmon and Trout. Anglers should note the game fishing stretches and observe local club regulations.
From Monasterevan, the river is excellent for coarse fish. Anglers will find some shoals of good-quality Perch. The river is weedy and has some deep holes which hold good stocks of Bream and Rudd. Rudd fishing is particularly good around Dunrally Bridge. The shallow waters upriver of Athy hold Bream, Rudd and an abundance of Perch. Between the town bridge in Athy and Ardleigh Lock, large shoals of big Bream congregate in May/June, when catches of over 100 lbs (45 kg) are taken.
The Barrow branch of the Grand Canal runs parallel to the River Barrow and provides good sport. The canal beside the angling centre of Vicarstown has Bream and Rudd. Further down towards Athy, there are some Tench to 6 lbs (2.7 kg). The canal joins with the River Barrow in Athy town.
Athy, on the River Barrow, is situated about 12 miles (10 kin) north of Carlow on the Dublin-Kilkenny road. It is south of Monasterevan and Vicarstown. The Barrow branch of the Grand Canal joins the river at the town. Bream feed mid April to October and Rudd give good sport during summer months. Tench in the canal also provide good sport in the summer. Pike fishing in the river is good throughout the year, with the best fishing coming during the colder months. There are some good Perch in the river.
Graiguenamanagh is situated in the Barrow Valley on the Carlow-New Ross road, 74 miles (120 kin) from Dublin. Graiguenamanagh is along the west side of the River Barrow in scenic countryside. Bream fishing is good from May to late September, while Rudd give excellent sport in summer. Perch and Pike fishing is also good in summer, but the best Pike are taken in the winter. Tench feed freely in May and June. Fishing in this area is on the River Barrow.
Flowing through a picturesque and fertile valley, the River Barrow in this area has a moderate-to-fast flow. There are several weirs and locks, with short, quiet canal stretches. Good Pike are found from Bagnaistown all the way down to the tidal waters at St Mullins.
Below Borris at Clashganny weir, 3 miles (4.8 kin) north of Graiguenainanagh, there is good Bream fishing just at the fast water. 400 in downriver there is a first-class stretch for specimen fish, i.e. Bream, Tench, Rudd, Hybrids, Perch and Pike.
At Tinnahinch in the town, there is a big stock of small Rudd and Perch. From here to Bahana, 2 miles (3.2 kin) downriver, the river holds Bream to 7 lbs (3 kg). The quiet canal waters always hold Rudd, with some Tench. Good fishing is to be had at the St Mullin’s lock canal section.