An ancient town, dominated by the round tower which has stood there for a thousand years. Its harbour gives access to the sheltered and very productive waters of Killala Bay. The area is famous in history as the place where French troops landed to take part in the republican uprising of 1798, still known locally as ‘the year of the French’. A charter boat is available and the town makes a good centre for the wealth of shore-angling marks extending northwards and westwards. Tackle shops are in Ballina, 8 miles (13 km) to the south.
Spinning and fly-fishing for sea trout provides good sport in the channels close to Killala from the Ross Beacon and in the Palmerstown Channel which also yield flounder and occasional conger. Flood tide is best. Farellstown Strand offers small turbot as well as flounder. For the adventurous and energetic The Flags, just inside Kilcummin Head, is reached by a rough track to the north of Kilcummin. This formation of gently shelving rocks gives excellent spinning for pollack, mackerel and coalfish and float fishing for wrasse, especially in the weedy gullies. Lackan Strand, to the north, offers beach fishing on either side of the channel for flounder and dab, with spinning for sea trout and the nearby Lackan Pier gives access to a rich fishery. Pollack, mackerel and coalfish are caught by spinning, wrasse by float fishing and flounder and conger on the bottom. The great areas of sand flats at Killala yield lugworm and clam and crab can be collected at the outer end of the harbour. Lugworm are plentiful in Lackan Bay and sandeel may be caught in banks in the channel.
Cannalickada marks the northern end of Killala Bay and the entrance to the marvellous cliff-bound North Mayo coast, extending all the way to Broadhaven. This point and the east side of Downpatrick Head, 3 miles (5 km) to the west, provide rock fishing for coalfish, pollack, wrasse and conger. The magnificent, lonely headland of Downpatrick is recommended for fair weather only: access is difficult and its slippery rocks can be treacherous. Ballycastle Strand nearby gives safe and sheltered shore fishing for flounder and dogfish, best at low water and for two hours on the rising tide. The best spot is below the car park between the freshwater stream and the reef. Farther west are the Port Rocks, close to the Céide Fields visitor centre, where there is deep water close to the shore offering spinning for pollack and float and bottom fishing for wrasse. Access demands a long walk from the road. An easier mark is Belderg Harbour – approached by an extremely narrow road. Spinning and float fishing from the pier, or from the rocks to its west, yield coalfish, pollack, conger and occasional sea trout – best at high water. Lugworm and crab are available at Ballycastle.
Specimen fish from Killala Bay since the year 2000 were two John Dory, two tub gurnard, a ling and a pollack. The Irish Record John Dory was established there in August 1984. Other Specimens have been blue shark, grey gurnard and red gurnard. Other species available in the Bay include coalfish, cod, conger, pollack, ray, skate, tope and turbot.
The nearest tackle dealers are in Ballina:
Ballina Angling Centre. tel 096 21850 fax 096 21850,
Ridge Pool Tackle Shop. tel 096 72656
John Walkin’s Fishing Tackle Shop. tel 096 22442,
mobile 087 2959225, fax 096 22442
Sea Angling Clubs
Killala Boat Club: Josie Barrett. tel 096 34145