Home Irish Fishing Regulations

Irish Fishing Regulations

Do I need a licence to fish in Ireland?

While no licence is needed for trout, pike and coarse fishing in the Republic of Ireland, a rod licence is required in  Northern Ireland. In both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, licences are required for salmon and sea trout fishing.

Sea fishing for marine sport fish does not require a licence in either country.

In the Republic of Ireland State Salmon and Sea Trout Licences are available as a National licence or a District Licence. A National Licence covers all Fishery Board Districts while a District Licence covers only the Fishery District in which the licence is purchased. A list of fishing tackle shops where licences may be bought is available on this site. Alternatively you can buy a licence online. It should be noted that a licence does not confer the right to fish for salmon or sea trout and that permission or permits are required to fish most waters.

Anglers in the Shannon Region must have a Permit (ticket charge) to fish for trout, pike or coarse fish in the Midland Fisheries Group of controlled waters. This area comprises the following river catchments; RIVER SUCK, RIVER INNY, RIVER BROSNA, LITTLE BROSNA RIVER and CAMLIN RIVER. This permit is not required to fish the main River Shannon or other fisheries whose fishing rights are NOT under the control of the Inland Fisheries Ireland.

For up-to-date information on all licence and permit regulations in Northern Ireland visit the Northern Ireland Tourist Board website.


Republic of Ireland Angling Regulations

When measuring fish you need to be aware of the difference beteen total length and fork length.

Fork Length - Total Length

On the spot fines

An on the spot fine of €150 can be issued for a range of fisheries offences eg fishing in a closed season, taking fish smaller than allowed for in a bye-law, taking more fish than a bag limit allows etc.
S.I. No. 363 of 2014  Inland Fisheries (Fixed Charge Notice) Regulations 2014 

GENERAL FRESHWATER

  • The only legal method to catch freshwater fish is by rod and line (Control of Fishing for Coarse Fish in Fresh Water Bye-law No. 595, 1977.).
  • A person may fish with not more than two rods at any time (Control of Fishing for Coarse Fish in Fresh Water Bye-law No. 595, 1977.).
  • It is illegal to have or to use live fish as bait (Use of Live Fish as Bait in Fresh Water Bye-law No. 592, 1977).
  • It is illegal to transfer live roach from one water to any other waters (Transfer of Live Roach, Bye-Law No. 561, 1973).
  • ANGLING BYE-LAW NO. 955, 2017 This Bye-law prohibits the use of any fish hooks, other than single barbless hooks, and also prohibits the use of worms as bait in angling for all species of fish in the waters specified in the Bye-law. Angling Bye law No 955, 2017 (144 KB)

Foul Hooking

This bye-law prohibits the killing and possession of foul hooked fish (i.e fish not hooked in the mouth) in any fishery district in any year.


SALMON and SEA TROUT

A State Licence is required to fish for salmon and sea trout, but does not entitle you to fish. Permits or permission from fisheries owners must be obtained.

General salmon and sea trout angling regulations

  • A State Licence is required to fish for salmon and sea trout
  • All salmon (and sea trout over 40cm) kept must be tagged, and the logbook filled out accordingly.
  • All salmon and sea trout caught and released (including kelts and baggots) must be recorded in the logbook accordingly.
  • It is an offence to kill any sea trout in the Galway, Connemara or Ballinakill Fisheries Districts including at sea from Hags Head in County Clare to Clew Bay (and in any waters flowing into Clew Bay) in the Bangor Fishery District south of a line drawn due east and west through Achill Head.
  • It is prohibited sell rod caught salmon or sea trout over 40cm between January 1st and October 31st
  • National bag limit for sea trout – anglers can catch 3 sea trout in a 24 hour period (in open rivers).

Bag Limits, Closed Rivers, Catch and Release

Open Rivers, Closed Rivers, Catch and Release Rivers, Tagging Scheme, more information

Salmon fishing opens on January 1 on a handful of rivers and after that the remainder of rivers open on various dates in February, March, April and May. The majority of rivers close on September 30th but some rivers remain open for sea trout fishing to October 12.

Please follow this link for Salmon Angling Regulations.


Coarse Fish

CONSERVATION OF AND PROHIBITION ON SALE OF COARSE FISH BYE-LAW NO. 806, 2006 provides for the following conservation measures:

  • A person shall not take and kill by any means more than 4 coarse fish on any one day.
  • A person shall not take and kill by any means any coarse fish greater than 25 cm in length measured in a straight line from the tip of the snout to the fork of the tail.
  • Any coarse fish taken inadvertently in contravention of this Bye-law must be handled carefully and returned without avoidable injury to the waters from which they have been taken
  • It is prohibited for any person, other than in the Louth Area or Moville Area, to sell or offer for sale any coarse fish caught by any means.
  • “Louth Area” has the meaning assigned to it by section 31 of the British –Irish Agreement Act 1999 (No.1 of 1999);
  • “Moville Area” has the meaning assigned to it by section 2 of the Foyle Fisheries Act 1952 (No.5 of 1952).
  • It is prohibited to use or attempt to use live fish as bait in fishing in fresh water.
  • It is prohibited to transfer for any purpose live roach (Rutilus rutilus) from any waters to any other waters.
  • It is prohibited to fish for pike or coarse fish by any means whatsoever other than by rod and line.
  • A person may not attempt to fish for pike or coarse fish in freshwater with more than two (2) rods at any one time.

LOUGH RAMOR CONSERVATION OF COARSE FISH (CATCH AND RELEASE) BYE-LAW NO. 862, 2009: This Bye-law provides for catch and release in respect of coarse fish in the harbour area of Lough Ramor. The Byelaw also prohibits the possession of any coarse fish or keep net in, or on the banks of, the harbour area and provides for the use of single barbless hooks only in angling for coarse fish.

Importation of Bait

  • To minimise the risk of accidental transmission of Foot and Mouth Disease and other infectious diseases, visitors are advised to use local sources in Ireland.
  • If you must bring worms or maggots ensure they are not packed in soil or vegetable material, the importation of which is strictly prohibited by law.

Eels

Eel fishing is closed.

  • Conservation of Eel Fishing Bye-Law No. C.S. 319, 2015 prohibits the taking, or attempting to take, fishing for or attempting to fish for, aiding or assisting the taking of or fishing for, eel in any fishery district in the State. It also prohibits being in possession of, selling or offering for sale or reward, or purchasing eel caught or taken by any means in any fishery district in the State.

PIKE

The CONSERVATION OF PIKE BYE-LAW NO. 809, 2006 provides for the following conservation measures:

  • It is prohibited to kill more than 1 pike in any one day,
  • It is prohibited to kill any pike greater than 50 cm in length,
  • It is prohibited for any person to have in their possession more than 1 whole pike less than 50 cm or more than 0.75 kgs of pike flesh.
  • (i) It is prohibited for a person to have in his or her possession more than 12 coarse fish for use as bait in fishing for pike
  • Where a person has more than 4 coarse fish in his or her possession for use as bait in fishing for pike, the person, in respect of fish in excess of that number and subject to the paragraph (i) above must have –
    • (a) Obtained the fish from a fish tackle dealer or fish bait supplier registered with the Regional Board in whose fisheries Region the dealer or supplier carries on business,
      And
    • (b) Obtained and retained a receipt of their purchase.

Please Note


SEA ANGLING

BASS 2019

  • Catch and release from 01 January to 31 March 2019
  • 1 fish in any 24 hour period 01 April to 31 October 2019
  • Catch and release from 01 November – 31 December 2019.
  • A minimum size limit of 42cm applies.
  • It is prohibited to retain on board, relocate, tranship or land European seabass caught in Irish waters.

Bluefin tuna

  • Bluefin tuna fishing wil be open in 2019 on a restricted basis.
  • Fishing is only possible on authorised charter boats
  • Season: 15th of August 2019 until the 15th of October 2019 on a pilot basis.
  • Any bluefin tuna inadvertantly hooked by any other anglres must be unhooked safely and released unharmed.

BROWN TROUT

Most brown trout fisheries open between February 15th and March 1st. Most close on September 30th with some exceptions which close on various dates between September 15th and October 12th. Clubs may have their own regulations on opening and closing dates.

Size limits and bag limits

Almost every river and lake has defined size limits for brown trout. These vary from water to water and details are available on this site in the Brown Trout fishing section. While many of these fisheries also have bag limits many more don’t and Inland Fisheries Ireland advises anglers to fish sustainably and practice Catch and Release.

FLY ONLY BYE LAWS AND SIMILAR REGULATIONS

On some waters fly only regulations or other method restrictions may be in place. Please check with the fishery owner or local IFI office for further information.