Lough Melvin is a beautiful unspoilt lough famous for the diversity and number of salmonids that inhabit it. The lough has salmon, char as well as gillaroo, ferox and sonaghan strains of trout.

    The sonaghan is a sub species of brown trout that only occurs in Melvin. This little fish, although only growing to around 2½lb, puts up a great fight.

    The gillaroo is a lovely golden coloured trout that grows a bit larger and is similar to the gillaroo found in loughs around the midlands.

    The ferox is little fished for in Melvin although fish of up to 15lb are often caught by accident (rather than design) while trolling and sometimes on the fly. Salmon are caught right throughout the season. Spring fish can be caught all season, with grilse being caught from May onwards.

    Trout fishing can be patchy early in the season, but Kinlough Bay can fish extremely well in March and April with the sonaghan concentrated in the top of the lough early in the year. The fish then start to spread down the lough and through the rest of the year productive areas include the sunken islands, Farell’s Bay, the shores along Inishmean Island and Church Island, Rossinver and long drifts down towards Garrison. The sonaghan however, can be caught anywhere in any depth of water (140ft in the middle!). Since their staple diet consists of mainly daphnia, the sonaghan occur where the daphnia are concentrated. The gillaroo are found close in to the rocky shores and around the sunken islands. Their staple diet is mainly the molluscs that live on these shores. A good wave is normally needed before the gillaroo will come to the fly.

    The most popular early season flies for the trout (especially during the Duck fly hatch) are a Doobry, Teal and Black, Coachman, Bibbio & Hot orange, Black Pennell and a Connemara Black, though any black fly seems to work well especially if it has a touch of orange and/or white. A Sooty Olive, Fiery Brown, and Golden Olive also produce good results. From mid May the most popular patterns are the Bibbio, Green Peter, Goslings, Green Olive, green and yellow mayflies (dry & wet). From July onwards Green Peter, Bibbio, and Claret, Fiery Brown, Bumbles (especially Claret), Dabblers, Invicta and late in the season wet and dry Daddy’s.

    Rossinver fishery

    The Southeastern quarter of the lough i.e. Rossinver Bay and the Roosky shore constitute the Rossinver fishery (see below for permit details). Rossinver Bay, which comprises the red buoy on the eastern side of Ross Point to the similar buoy at the Southern end of Roosky shore, is strictly fly only. The area inshore of the marker buoys from Ross point to the Border is fly only from the 15th May to the end of the season.

    Trout fishing starts in earnest around early June with the deep lying sonaghan usually targeted using standard wet fly methods or dapping with daddy long-legs. Gillaroo can be caught along the rocky shores. Preferred trout flies are Gosling, Claret bumble, Invicta, Black Pennell, French Partridge Mayfly and the Green Peter. Trout less than 11 inches must be returned. The Rossinver fishery can arrange accommodation and Ghillies if required.


    The salmon season is from 1st February to 30th September inclusive.
    The brown trout season is from 15th February to 30th September (inclusive of the Rossinver Fishery).


    Southern Ireland

    A permit is required for the Rossinver Fishery as listed below:

    • Boat and engine hire with 2 rods fishing costs €70.
    • Boat, engine and one rod fishing costs €60.
    • Boat only and two rods fishing €60.
    • Two rods in own boat €30.
    • One rod in own boat €20 (per person).

    Permits are available from:

    • David Stinson, Dreenan Cottage, 512 Boa Island Road, Kesh, Co Fermanagh BT93 8AA.
      Tel: 044 (0)7793559640
      Email: [email protected]

    Salmon licences are available from

    • IFI Ballyshannon, Station road, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal.
      Tel: (071) 9851435.
    • David Stinson, Dreenan Cottage, 512 Boa Island Road, Kesh, Co Fermanagh BT93 8AA.
      Tel: 044 (0)7793559640
      Email: [email protected]

    Local guides.

    Home » Zones » Wild Atlantic Way

    Jackie Mahon Flies and Guiding

    Address Barnadearg Grange Sligo F91HW68 Ireland Mobile Phone: +353 87 9222458 Website: jackiemahonfliesandguiding.com

    Boat Hire

    • Fishery Office, Lareen Park, Kinlough, Co. Leitrim.
      Tel: (071) 9841055.

    Northern Ireland

    The North East corner of the Lough lies in Northern Ireland and as such requires Northern Ireland licences and a Garrison Angler’s permit to fish.

    Permit: A permit from the Garrison Anglers is required which costs £80 per season or £10 for a day salmon fishing permit,£10 per day for a day trout fishing permit. Juvenile permit £5 per season. These are available at Sean Maguire’s, Main Street, Garrison, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.
    Tel: (048) 686 58194.

    Licence:You will require one of the following game rod licences:
    Full year – £17 Stg, 14 Day – £9 Stg, 3 Day – £3.50 Stg, Juvenile (full season) £2.00 Stg, Senior Citizens (60 years and over) £5.00 Stg. These are available from Sean Maguire’s Tackle Shop (see below).

    Lough Melvin Garrison Salmon Tags are issued on a Garrison Permit. Anglers are allowed to kill 2 salmon per year on the Garrison Waters of Lough Melvin. 2 tags per angler are issued annually. 3 salmon only can be killed between the 1st February and the 1st March.

    Boat Hire

    • Rossinver Fishery – contact: David Stinson, Dreenan Cottage, 512 Boa Island Road, Kesh, Co Fermanagh BT93 8AA.
      Tel: 044 (0)7793559640
      Email: [email protected]
    • Mr Sean Maguire, Tackle Shop, Main Street, Garrison, Co. Fermanagh.
      Tel: +44 787 1443 304

    Local guides.

    • Sean Maguire, Main St., Garrison, Co. Fermanagh.
      Tel:+44 787 1443 304
    • Jim Hoy, P.A.G.I. 9 Mill Green, Derrygonnelly, Co. Fermanagh.
      Tel: +44 777 3200 662