The Rosses Fishery is located amongst beautiful scenery on the West Coast of County Donegal and comprises around 130 loughs and associated rivers. Dungloe town lies in the centre of the fishery and has plentiful accommodation and all the fishing is within a 5-mile radius. The fishery is made up of six salmon/sea/brown trout systems with isolated loughs interspersed throughout the whole fishery. The Rosses Fishery is closed to salmon angling in 2013.
Sea Trout: 2nd February to 12th October.
Brown Trout: 15th February to 12th October
The six main systems are
The Dungloe system
There are eight lakes in this system and the four most popular are mentioned below.
Dungloe Lough is some 120 acres and situated 1-mile east of Dungloe town. Access is very good and there is a fine boat jetty where boats are available to hire. The lough holds a good stock of small wild brown trout and is stocked early in the season with larger brown trout. In July the sea trout arrive and from then on the fishing can be really good. The favoured areas are along the west shore and at the mouth of the river, to the east of the lough. The most productive time of day is often early in the morning and late in the evening.
A 6lb sea trout was taken on a daddy during the 2000 season Tully Lake (Craghy Lough) is a beautiful lough of around 110 acres. It is an interesting lough with several islands, headlands and bays. Tully is best known for sea trout. It only fishes in July if there has been a wet season. August and September are the most favourable. The majority of the sea trout are Finnock and average ¾ lb but the lake can produce fish up to and over 4lb. (A 4.5lb brown trout was taken on a Loch Ordie fly during the 2000 season) Sea trout spend considerable time in Tully and can be free rising. Bank fishing is permitted but access and angling in this area can prove difficult.
Meenleknalore Lough is a long narrow lough and lies 3 miles to the Southeast of Dungloe Town. It is known for its sea trout fishing and fishes from August on. The banks are very difficult to fish so boat fishing is recommended but beware; there are many rocks. Sallagh Lough is a small lough ¼ mile east of Meenleknalore. The sea trout fishing can be excellent late in the season. The bigger sea trout congregate in this lough. As it is difficult to fish from the bank boats are the preferred option for Sallagh.
Dungloe River has a fair run of sea trout throughout the summer. The section of river from Dungloe Lough to the sea has some good holding pools. Fishing can be good on a flooding tide during a spate, below the town. The section above the town from the hospital to Mulhern’s pool has some good holding pools and can produce fish at night or on a breezy day when the surface has a good ripple. The section of river between Dungloe Lough and Tully Lake (Craghy Lough) is narrow but deep. It can be fished downstream. The river between Lough Fad and the bridge upstream has some small deep pools that can be fished for sea trout. The CFB have recently installed a fish counter at the Hospital run.
The Meela system
Meela is a fine lough located between Dungloe and Burtonport. It is 90 acres in size. It holds a stock of small brown trout and is stocked with brown trout. Meela is best known however, for its sea trout fishing. From late July on, the fishing can be superb with the sea trout rising freely. The favoured spots are the north bank, below the school and where the rivers enter and leave the lough. Bank fishing is permitted but the banks are not ideal. On a cautious note, the lough is shallow and rocky and can blow up a storm, so care should be taken in a big wave.
The Alec Mor system
This system comprises the Loughs Aleck More and Aleck Beg and the Owenalek River. The river has some fishable water at the bridge at Meenacross. Sea trout can be caught at full tide in July and August. Aleck More is the most fished. This lough is 90 acres in size with good access and has a boat jetty and car park. It has a resident stock of small brown trout and is stocked with takeable brown trout. Development work on the out-flowing river has encouraged a run of sea trout from early August. The angler rarely comes away empty handed from Aleck More, especially in August when heavy falls of ants bring up the better fish. The lough does not fish well in stormy weather.
Bank fishing is permitted but care should be taken because of deep rock fissures hidden under heather.
The Waskel System
This system comprises the Loughs Nacloghmore, Aschuller and Waskel, with Waskel being the one that is fished. It is a long deep narrow lough of 85 acres with a good stock of brown trout. Fly hatches are scarce and the fish prey heavily on sticklebacks. This means the trout are larger than average.
Daily permits are available from Charlie Bonner’s Tackle Shop, The Bridge, Dungloe, Co. Donegal. Tel: (074) 9521163 at a cost of €20 per person which includes boat hire.
The club also caters for disabled anglers on the lake with specifically designed boat and angler lowering harness.
This is a fly fishing only lough with no bait or spinner fishing allowed. It is recommended that all those fishing the lough and all Rosses waters wear a lifejacket and take due care and attention. Flies for catching these fish are varied but the most consistent are the Blue Daddy, Sedge, Silver Invicta and Golden Olive. There is a catch limit of 3 fish per session with catch and release after that and it’s recommended that barbless hooks are employed.
The Lough Anure system
Lough Anure drains into the sea through the River Crolly (Gweedore River). The Rosses Anglers and the Lough Anure Anglers/ESB control fishing on the Lough. Lough Anure is a big shallow lough of 360 acres. This beautiful lough has a good head of free rising brown trout which average ½lb with many up to 1lb. It also gets a good run of sea trout and salmon from mid-July. The whole lough is fishable and there are hatches of Chironomids, Olives and Sedges. The lough is shallow and rocky and care should be taken especially in a big wave. Boats are available to hire. Engines are allowed but not supplied.
The Owennamarve system
This system comprises the Owennamarve River, which drains 14 loughs. The more important loughs are listed below.
The river itself is narrow and runs through an unspoilt landscape to enter the sea at Trawenagh bay, south of Dungloe. Although it is a small unimportant looking river it can actually provide good sport for salmon and sea trout. Spring salmon start to enter the river in March and it gets a good run of grilse from mid June onwards. Fishing is by all legal methods. Favourite flies include shrimp flies, Badger and Teal & Black. There is a good run of larger sea trout in May with fish in the 2 – 4lb bracket. The summer run peaks in mid July. The river can be fished from the estuary right up and is best at night, but will fish by day if a westerly wind is rippling the surface. There are some good pools for salmon and one of the favourites is a long pool, which lies ½ mile below the main road bridge. Another is 500 yards above the same bridge at the waterfalls. The river is best accessed at the bridges.
Namurrig Lough is the first lough up from the sea. It can be fished for sea trout and the odd salmon. Access is via a bog road and a walk of about 300yds.
Gannivegil Lough lies near the middle of the system. Access is via a bog road and a walk of about 300yds. The brown trout fishing is of little consequence but the sea trout rest longest in this lough and the occasional salmon is caught here also. Bank fishing is fairly difficult.
Anillanowennamarve Lough lies just north of the main Dungloe-Doochary road, upstream of Gannivegil. The brown trout are fairly small but it gets a fair run of sea trout from late July and a few salmon. There is a jetty and boats can be hired.
These are the six main systems of the Rosses Fishery but there are many other loughs and some of the more important ones are listed below.
Mullaghderg Lough is 2 miles west of Annagry village. This is a big shallow lough with brown trout averaging ½ lb. The best access is at the football field and indeed this shore in the south-east corner is one of the best locations to fish either from shore or by boat. A bog fly can work well in the summer. Ideally, the lough needs to be fished from a boat but no boats are available for hire at present. Anglers may, of course, use their own boats.
Kincaslough Lough lies ½ mile west of Mullaghderg in the village of Kincaslough. It is a small lough but holds slob trout up to 7lb. These fish are bottom feeders and hard to catch but are by far the biggest trout in the Rosses.
Carnbeg Lough and Nanuarragh Lough are the major loughs of a group of four. They are located 5 miles south of Dungloe on high bog. Access is by parking at the bridge on the Dungloe-Lettermacaward road and walking 1-1½ miles across the bog and up the hill. The banks are fairly good and these loughs can fish well with plenty of brown trout over ½lb and fish up to 2lb.
Nagreagh Lough lies 1 mile south of Mullaghderg, by the roadside. It is a small lough with difficult high banks but holds brown trout up to 1½ lb.
Nafullanrany Lough, ½ mile southeast of Nagreagh holds small brown trout, which though small provide plenty of entertainment, being very free-rising.
Nawaugh Lough can be accessed via the ‘Country Inn’. There is a short uphill walk and the lough is difficult to access. Consequently, it is rarely fished. However, it is worth the effort because although the brown trout are small it gets a good run of sea trout in August. Once there you will find some nice shore fishing.
Atercan Lough is a small lough with very good access with roads running along the east and north shores. It is 2 miles east of Burtonport. It has a rocky shoreline and hatches of sedges and corixae are present. The brown trout are not numerous but average around 1lb.
Linn Lough, ½ mile to the south can provide the odd nice brown trout and fish over 2lb have been caught. The lough is fairly close to the road making access relatively easy.
Nageeragh Lough (Diamond Lake) is around 1 mile south of Dungloe Town. It has a good stock of brown trout which average ½ lb but is worth a visit since the trout grow to 3lb and are free-rising. The north and east shores are the favoured areas.
Illion Lough lies 1½ miles southwest of Dungloe Town and access is across a field. The lough is 40 acres in size and has a very large stock of brown trout in the ¼lb to ½lb bracket. It gets a small run of sea trout and is popular with local anglers.
Popular flies for the Rosses Fishery.
Black Pennell, Donegal Blue, both Claret and Olive Bumbles, Bibbio, Ke-He, Hares Ear, Sooty Olive, Green Peter, Teal Blue & Silver, Wickham’s Fancy, Connemara Black, Blue Zulu, Butcher, Invicta, Watson’s Fancy, Peter Ross.
Rosses Fishery Rules
- The fishery is fly-fishing only. Trolling, spinning and bait fishing are prohibited.
- No fires are allowed on islands or lakeshores.
- Fishing season opens on February 11th and runs until October 14th.
- All those fishing the Rosses Fishery do so at their own risk.
- Payment of fishing tariff is taken as acceptance of the above regulations.
- Anglers must have a Rosses Anglers Association Permit before fishing on the association waters.
The Secretary, Rosses Angling Association, Dungloe, Co. Donegal.
- A Visitor Season Permit costs €35. A Day Permit costs €10..
Permits and salmon licences are available from:
- Charlie Bonner’s Tackle Shop, The Bridge, Dungloe, Co. Donegal. Tel: (074) 9521163.
Boat hire – €15 per boat per day, available through:
- Charlie Bonner’s Tackle Shop, The Bridge, Dungloe, Co. Donegal. Tel: (074) 9521163
- Charlie Bonner’s Tackle Shop, The Bridge, Dungloe, Co. Donegal. Tel: (074) 9521163.