The best trout fishing in Northern Ireland
Game licences are required by law for each game fishing rod used by anyone over 12 years of age in the DAERA area. A permit may also be required depending on the rules for the fishery. The Northern Ireland Government provides a Public Angling Estate of Fisheries available to tourist and local anglers on payment of a small permit fee.
These permits are available at www.nidirect.gov.uk/angling.
Permits for private fisheries can be bought as day tickets etc on site or at nominated outlets.
Lower Lough Erne
Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh
Lough Erne is Northern Ireland’s only large limestone water body. This type of lough is unique and very productive offering some of the best trout angling in Europe. During the second or third week in May, Lough Erne has a prolific mayfly hatch. It is at this time that fly- fishing is most productive. At many of the most popular locations fishing stands have been erected to aid access for fishing. However trout fishing on the lough is best carried out from a 17ft (5.1m) angling boat with at least a 4hp engine. Shallow areas around islands and shallow bays and drop offs into deep water provide the best fly fishing opportunities. Brown trout, naturally recruited, are the main quarry of the lough. In addition an annual stocking of native young fish in to the feeder streams is carried out. Anglers visiting this fishery can capture trout up to 5 kg in weight regularly and the occasional trout between 5 – 9kg. The average size of trout taken on the fly is between 0.5kg – 2kg. Trolling is also a popular method of fishing and offers the best chance of a big trout. Large trout have been taken on lures such as Tasmanian Devils, Rapalas and Silver Spoons. Mayfly hatches are good and excellent sport can be had using flies such as Gosling, Green Dabblers, Grey Wulff and other mayfly patterns. The usual wet fly patterns such as Fiery Brown, Extractor, Green Peter and Bumbles will take fish from March – June and again in August/September. Olive hatches occur in July and with the right conditions trout fishing can be productive. A guide map of Lower Lough Erne is available from DAERA and Tourist Offices or by following the link. The map gives comprehensive information for game fishing on the lough. It is designed for tourist anglers and was funded from the EU Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation. Anglers fishing on the lough should be prepared for rough water conditions. Weather can change very quickly. www.dcal-fishingni.gov.uk
Area/Length: 15,303 hectares
Species: Brown trout.
Season: 1 March–30 September for brown trout.
Methods: Fly fishing, spinning and worm fishing for trout. When trolling, fishing rods and lines or hand lines are only a maximum of:-
- four are allowed in a boat occupied by two, three or more people.
- two in a boat occupied by one person.
Daily Bag Limit: 6 trout per rod per day.
Size Limit: Minimum takeable size for trout 30 cm
Boats: Fishing from boats is permitted.
Permit: A DAERA Game Fishing Permit for trout and salmon.
Lower Bann and Tributaries
The thirty-eight mile long Lower Bann flows in a northerly direction from Lough Neagh to the sea, draining the mainly agricultural 4,500 square kilometre Lough Neagh catchment area. There are four major tributaries, all of which are ideal habitat for trout; the Clady, Agivey, Macosquin, and Ballymoney rivers. The Moyola river enters Lough Neagh only a mile or two from the entrance to the Lower Bann and, for angling purposes, can be considered as part of the Lower Bann catchment.
Bann system Ltd has sub let to local angling clubs all of the tributary rivers, as local management provides the best method of preserving and enhancing the fisheries.
There are brown trout in parts of the main channel and in all the tributary rivers. In the tributary rivers, such as the Moyola, the dollaghan, a unique species of trout exists, which migrates to and from Lough Neagh.
Agivey 1st March – 30th September
Ballymoney Burn 1st March -20th October
Lower Bann: Kilrea & District A.C 1st May-30th September
Lower Bann: Movanagher A.C.
Estuary, Cutts, Carnroe, Betts, Culiff Rock, Portna
Lower Bann: Portneal Lodge
Game Licence is required for ALL game beats above in ADDITION to the club/fishery owners’ permit
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)
Inland Fisheries Group, Causeway Exchange, 1-7 Bedford Street, Belfast BT2 7EG
Tel: 0300 200 7860