Saturday, 24 December 2011

Salmon Regulations for 2012

The Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme regulates salmon and sea trout fishing in Ireland and is administered by Inland Fisheries Ireland.  Please note that the regulations and bye-laws are subject to change.  Contact your local Inland Fisheries Ireland office for information on individual rivers.

All salmon rod licence holders must affix a gill tag to all retained salmon (any size), or sea trout (over 40 cm).
Notwithstanding the restrictions in place for salmon (any size) and sea trout (over 40cm), there are also further restrictions prohibiting the use of worms, prawn and shrimp as bait in angling for all other fish species in certain closed and catch and release rivers. Anglers may only use single barbless hooks where these restrictions apply. Please refer to bye-law No. 888, 2011 or check with your local IFI office for details.

There is an angling bag limit of 10 salmon (any size) or sea trout (over 40 cm) on rivers where you may catch and retain salmon (Table 1).  The bag limits are subject to any quota allocated to a river and its tributaries.
Subject to the maximum annual bag limit of ten fish an angler may take:
  • A total of one salmon (any size) or sea trout (over 40cm) per day for the period beginning January 1st to May 11th (three fish in total may be retained for this period),
  • Daily Bag Limit: Three salmon (any size) or sea trout (over 40cm) per day from May 12th to August 31st (except where a salmon rod (one-day) ordinary licence is held, 1 fish),
  • Daily Bag Limit: One salmon (any size) or sea trout (over 40cm) per day from 1st September to the close of the season,
  • There is an angling bag limit of three sea trout (under 40cm) per angler per day (bye-law no. 887, 2011).
Please note that 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.
After the daily bag limit has been taken, anglers are permitted to fish catch and release, using single, barbless hooks and anglers may not use worms.  The killing and possession of foul hooked fish is prohibited.
On rivers where catch and release is permitted (Table 2):
  • anglers may not use worms,
  • anglers must use single, barbless hooks,
  • the fish must be handled carefully and should not be removed from the water prior to release.
On all other rivers (Table 3) angling for salmon (any size) and sea trout (over 40cm) is prohibited.
The River Slaney provides for catch and release using single barbless hook from 17th March to 30th Sept with artificial fly only upstream of the old bridge, Enniscorthy and prohibits the use of worms, prawn and shrimp downstream of the old bridge, Enniscorthy. (bye-law no. 893, 2011).
The River Blackwater season is extended from 1st -12th October on a catch and release basis using artifical fly only (bye-law no. 310, 2011).
The River Suir provides for catch and release up to 11th May and is open for angling from 12th May with a bag limt of 1 fish per angler per day and no more than 3 fish for the season (bye-law no. 889, 2011).
The River Tor and its tributaries are closed for angling for all species of fish (bye-law no. 311, 2011).
The River Avoca prohibits the taking of any sea trout (under 40cm) as well as prohibiting the use of worms as bait and any fish hooks other than single barbless hooks in angling for sea trout (under 40cm) (bye-law no. 890, 2011).
The River Nore provides for catch and release up to 11th May and is open for angling from 12th May.


Anglers can obtain their licence from Inland Fisheries Ireland, any rod licence distributor or online at  On payment of the rod licence fee, the angler will be given:
  • The relevant rod licence.
  • A logbook.
  • 3 gill tags where a salmon rod (annual) ordinary, juvenile, district or 21-day ordinary licence is issued up until 11th May and a further 7 gill tags (issued in lots of 3 or 4) from the period 12th May to 30th Sept up to a maximum of 10 gill tags in total provided they demonstrate that they have completed their logbook appropriately.
  • 1 gill tag where a one day ordinary licence is issued up until the close of the season.
  • A business reply envelope for return of the logbook and unused tags to the relevant Inland Fisheries Ireland office.
  • A plastic wallet for the logbook.

The tag to be used by anglers is a blue plastic self-locking device (an additional brown tag is also required for certain rivers – (refer to Table 1 – Open Fisheries 2012) to ensure angling quotas are not exceeded.  Contact the relevant IFI office for details on how to obtain brown tags).  Each blue tag is embossed with a code identifying where the tag was issued, the year in which the tag can be used, a security code and a tag serial number.
  • Anglers should carefully note the following concerning the use of these tags:
  • Each rod licence holder will be issued tags for his/her use only.  Tags are not transferable between licence holders.
  • These tags shall not be re-used.
  • One tag shall be attached to each salmon (any size) and sea trout (over 40 cm) caught and retained.
  • Tags must be attached immediately on landing the fish.
  • Tags shall be attached through the gill opening and mouth of the fish and securely double locked around the gill cover.
  • Additional tags shall be issued on presentation of logbook information showing that the licence holder has used the gill tags issued to him or her, subject to bag limits.
  • Lost and accidentally destroyed tags may be replaced upon presentation of a signed declaration completed by the angler and signed by an Authorised Officer of Inland Fisheries Ireland.
  • Gill tags shall only be removed from the fish at the time of processing in accordance with the Tagging Scheme Regulations.  For the purposes of this scheme processing includes: smoking, marinating or cooking the fish, gutting and freezing the fish or cutting any steaks, cutlets or portions of the fish.

On receipt of tags the angler will also receive a logbook.  Details of the gill tags issued to an angler will be entered into the angler’s logbook by the issuing agent.
Each angler shall:
  • Have the logbook in his/her possession while fishing for salmon or sea trout.
  • Record all details of their catch in their logbook immediately after tagging the fish.
  • Make a catch record even if the fish is released.
  • Record details of any lost or damaged tags.
  • Declare lost or damaged logbooks to Inland Fisheries Ireland.

In accordance with the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Regulations anglers are required by law to return their completed logbook (even if there is no catch recorded) and all unused tags to the issuing office of Inland Fisheries Ireland by the 19th October 2012. A business reply envelope is provided for this purpose.  Anglers are required to obtain proof of postage and to retain such proof for 12 months.


Anglers are prohibited from selling salmon (any size) or sea trout (any size) caught by rod and line. These guidelines have been prepared for information purposes only and do not purport to be a legal interpretation.  The holder of a rod licence should familiarise himself or herself with section 69 of the Inland Fisheries Act, 2010 (No. 10 of 2010), the current Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme Regulations and the Salmon and Sea Trout Conservation Bye-laws.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Ardaire Springs Fishery Kilkenny

Ardaire Springs Fishery

Having found the website for Ardaire Springs and looked through the content I was immediately curious. I called the owner Ned and arranged a days fishing. On arrival I could see a lot of work, thought and effort had been put into the design and development of this fishery. Ned arrived on site and we chatted about the lake and the fishing over a coffee in the fishery lodge.

Ned recommended buzzers and cats whiskers for the rainbow trout. The weather conditions for the day were awful with high winds and rain, making the fly fishing challenging however I still managed to catch fish. During the course of the day I successfully got into 5 energetic and fit rainbow trout averaging 2.5 pounds. 

All caught on Neds fly recommendations. I also had a lot of fish come after the fly, bite and come off, with a bigger fish of about 7 pounds showing interest but not taking. The trout I did land were in immaculate condition, strong fighting and healthy in appearance. I found the resident duck on the lake amusing. I asked Ned why there was only one duck on the lake, Ned explained there were up to five or six ducks on the lake until Mr Fox came and took them!

To round off my opinion on, Adaire Springs Fishery I'd give it a thumbs up for onsite facilities, quality of fish and friendly staff. It’s a modern man made lake, developed By a fisherman and built For fishermen so I can see it growing from strength to strength in the future. Perfect place for beginners. For the experienced fly fisherman, the lake is stocked with bigger fish of up to 20 pounds in weight.
Contact Ned Maher on 086 812 8937

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A “New” Salmon River in Ireland

A recent review of fish stocks in the River Tolka in north Dublin, by Inland Fisheries Ireland has indicated the presence of numbers of juvenile wild Atlantic salmon in the river in three locations in the Glasnevin and Finglas areas. This is the first record of wild salmon reproducing in the Tolka for at least 100 years.

The reestablishment of a wild salmon population in the Tolka is due to the coordinated efforts of a number of State Agencies. Earlier this century the Office of Public Works, working closely with three County Councils (Dublin, Meath and Fingal) carried out a flood relief scheme in the Tolka. Inland Fisheries Ireland worked closely with these groups advising on fishery aspects of this scheme. This involved either the removal or modification of a significant number of man-made weirs to “open up” this system to migratory fish .On completion of this scheme adult sea trout immediately ran the system all the way upstream to its headwaters in Dunboyne for the first time in, at least, 150 years.

Now we are seeing the recolonisation of the river by the “King of Fish” – the Atlantic Salmon. There is no doubt that the presence of juvenile salmon, a species that only survives in clean water, also reflects the hard work of the County Councils in reducing pollution levels in this largely urbanized river.
In a further development, Dublin City Council is in the process of implementing an Inland Fisheries Ireland fisheries enhancement plan in the Carrdiffsbridge Park area. Once complete, there will be a linear park along the Tolka River at the Pelletstown area which will include the improvement of fish habitat and the eradication of Giant Hogweed.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said today ‘Up to the year 2000 Dublin and Reykjavik were the only two capital cities in Europe which had a wild Atlantic salmon stock in a river within city boundaries. Now Dublin can boast about having three salmon rivers within its boundaries – the Liffey, Dodder and now the Tolka! In environmental terms this is an important step forward’.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Pike on the Bandon River

Yesterday I ventured onto the Bandon River to grab a quick and relaxing hour of fishing with the hope of catching a salmon. The wind seemed to strong to comfortably fish with fly so I decided to fish with spinner on my 9 foot spin rod and vintage mitchell reel. I started fishing the river and making my way down covering the parts that may hold a fish, but no take.

Then out of nowhere a take. I started reeling in and could see the body of a fish with my poleroids. It wasn't big but it was fighting with strength, could it be a sea trout.... I got the fish in closer. Now I could see it was no brown trout, sea trout or salmon but a very hungry jack pike!

For some time there has been talk of pike in the river bandon but nobody has ever actually taken a photo of a rod caught pike. So here it is...

Pike are not a naturally occuring species to the Bandon River. Locals beleive that this species entered the river from Chapel Lake Dunmanway a couple of years ago during a flood.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Man convicted for illegally using spear and lamp to take spawning salmon

At a sitting of Nenagh District Court last week Mr Ilgonis Kuziks of Ballysheedy, Co. Limerick was successfully prosecuted by Inland Fisheries Ireland for poaching salmon on spawning grounds in the Newport River, which is part of the Mulkear catchment. Mr Kuziks was taking fish illegally by spearing salmon as they were on gravel beds attempting to lay their eggs at night last December. The judge imposed a fine of €1750.

Photograph shows the seized fish and custom made equipment
Photograph attached shows the seized fish

Last winter on the Newport River near Newport, Co. Tipperary, Fisheries Officers on a night patrol encountered a group of individuals who were armed with spears and lamps. After a thorough search of the area officers uncovered 3 wild hen salmon, spears and lamps. While two of the individuals escaped, officers successfully apprehended Mr Kuziks and he was convicted of illegal salmon fishing.

Wild Atlantic salmon are under severe threat nationally and internationally with numbers declining annually. The Mulkear river is one of only two rivers which meets its salmon Conservation Limit in the Shannon River Basin District. Currently the river holds excellent stocks of wild salmon but incidents such as these are extremely detrimental and will threaten its status and may ultimately result in the river being closed to angling. The river is managed by the Mulkear River Fishery Partnership.

Welcoming the successful outcome of the case which was due to the commitment of Inland Fisheries Ireland staff , Ms Amanda Mooney, Director at Inland Fisheries Ireland, Limerick stated today that “this is the second case taken in recent times for this illegal activity in the Mulkear catchment. Poaching of spawning salmon is unacceptable and an environmental crime. These fish are the future survival of the species and the means why which the Newport area can improve its tourism offering and add value to the local economy. As we are now entering a new spawning season on our rivers, I would urge the general public with any information to pass it onto us for investigation.”
Help protect your wild salmon stocks by reporting illegal activity to IFI on 1890 34 74 24 day or night.



Last Friday 16th September Inland Fisheries Ireland Macroom was alerted by the public that a fish kill had taken place on the Curragheen River, a tributary of the River Lee, in Cork city. It was reported that there were numerous dead fish in the river in the Bishopstown area. Inland Fisheries Ireland responded immediately and a Senior Environmental Officer was on site within an hour.

Approximately 240 dead brown trout were recorded over a 500m stretch of river channel upstream from Carrigrohane Bridge. A preliminary examination of the dead fish, the plentiful supply of oxygen in the water and lack of discolouration in downstream pools would suggest that a chemical pollutant was the likely cause of this fish kill. At the time of the investigation there was no discharge taking place but investigations are ongoing to pinpoint the source of the pollution.

Inland Fisheries Ireland would like to thank those members of the public who contacted the Macroom office and those who used the 24 hour hotline for their vigilance. Anyone who sees pollution or poaching is encouraged to report it to our lo-call number - 1890 34 74 24.

Salmon & Sea Trout Catch 2

7.5 pound male Salmon caught on the Bandon River

1.5pound Sea Trout caught the night before on the Bandon River

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Brown Trout on the Bandon

Yesterday we fished the Bandon River with the intention of catching some salmon. After two hours of hard fishing and no sign of our friend Salmo Salar we decided to switch to fishing for brown trout. No sooner had we cast the fly's into the water we were surprised to be hooking into lively brownies that took with aggressision and snatched the fly's like handbag robbers! On almost every cast you would feel a bite, nip, grab or tug... It was great..

The weather patterns we experianced on the day were most strange with bright sunshine, heavy showers, wind, cold and warm, all mixed into different intervals of the day. At lunch time we stopped at the new chipper between Bandon and Innishannon called "Happy Chappy's", they served a delicious feed of burgers, chips and coke (not the healthiest but what the heck!).

After lunch we decided to try again for salmon on a different beat. I changed the fly to an Irish shrimp pattern on my second cast a fish turned on the fly. Great their showing some interest... A few more casts in the same spot and a fish came straight up to the surface and boiled at the fly. I tried some more but the fish were'nt showing anymore interest.

We decided to move beat again and this time fished up river to a location that's great for the brown trout. The trout were actively taking fly's. 

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Argideen River: What lies beneath

Damien Enright on a search for bars of silver.

Newly-arrived visitors to Ireland, passing Inchy Bridge on the Argideen River at midnight, could be forgiven for drawing the wrong conclusions upon seeing a huddle of men in polaroid glasses standing about, hands deep in pockets or leaning on the parapet looking into the water below.

Might it be a Timoleague family of the Sopranos sending an associate to "sleep with the fishes"?
In reality, the shadowy figures are not menacing at all but a companionable society of dedicated sea trout anglers, decidedly non-threatening unless you happen to be a fish. Nightly, during the season, they leave the comfort of their firesides and set off into the dark, there to try, by subtle wrist-flicking and lure-dangling, to seduce clever fish to take their bait and join them on the bank. Sea trout are shy and anglers fish at night, casting flies over the murmuring waters by the light of the moon or, on moonless nights, in total darkness but for the river’s silvery glow. The Argideen is one of Munster’s premier sea trout rivers. It issues into Courtmacsherry Bay. Those living by the sea tend to forget the sweet tranquillity of inland waters. This was brought home to me when, one afternoon during our first week of summer in late July, a friend, Peter Wolstenholme, led us along the Argideen banks above Timoleague. A dedicated sea trout and salmon angler, he has fished the river by day and night for 20 years.

From the start, we were amazed at the large number and diversity of the fish we saw. Firstly, in the lower reaches, mullet, dense shoals of large fish facing into the brown current, healthy and shining, singularly unlike the slow, grey mullet one sees cruising limpidly in the murky waters of the Lee below Morrison’s Island, in Cork. These Argideen mullet swim into the shallow river waters in June and sit there for months, no one knows why. Walking upstream via dappled paths, we paused at pools and gravel beds created by the Argideen Anglers Association. Jewel-like damsel flies and dragon flies danced over the water. The banks were a-buzz with bees and a-flutter with butterflies, and the waters were awash with fish. I had no idea the river held so many and that they could be so easily seen.
But then, I had never before searched its deep pools with the aid of polaroid sunglasses.
In the deep pools, adult sea-trout could be glimpsed, lying on the bottom, their dark shapes and white fins visible when the polaroids cut the glare on the water. Closer to the surface, juvenile sea-trout swam in shoals. Sea-trout spawn in November, digging a depression in the gravel and depositing their eggs which are then fertilised by the male fish ejecting their milt over them. The eggs are covered and hatch into ‘elvins’, like tiny tadpoles. After two or three years in the river, these move into sea for feeding. Some return after a few months, weighing about half a pound. Others, "one-sea-winter fish", feed for longer and return weighing two to three pounds. The adult sea trout go to sea in winter and the females return in May. They sit on the bottom until November, moving little and feeding not at all.

Our guide told us the fascinating story of how spawn is made inside the female; he cut open a fish he’d caught the night before to demonstrate. Bright red roe spilled forth.

From May onward, the females’ body fat transforms into roe so that, as the spawning time comes, they have pendulous bellies and hardly a pick of meat on their bones. The juveniles, with a mere teaspoonful of roe, also attempt spawning, lying between larger females whose potent and abundant eggs attract the milt of the males. While roughly 50% of Atlantic salmon die after spawning, and 100% of some Pacific salmon varieties, female sea trout spawn year after year. There were brown trout in the river too, and silvery minnows and salmon parr with thumb-print markings on their flanks. A kingfisher shot by, a bolt of iridescence through the shadows. We saw the dipper’s nest, but not the dipper: previously, I’ve seen these remarkable birds walk along the bed of the Argideen. Above all, we enjoyed the cool and dappled peace, and the river’s murmuring and twinkling in the sunlight. It must be other-worldly to stand silently on the bank at night, half-hypnotised by the flow, one’s mind lost in the arcane strategies of fish-luring.

Article: Monday, August 20, 2007 Read more:

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Bandon River Update

We had some rain fall 2 days ago and the Bandon River started to rise rapidly yesterday afternoon. It rose a foot and half in an hour. This was enough to encourage the fish to run and while fly fishing at the time of water rising I caught a 5 pound and 7.5 pound salmon. Lots of fish jumping the weir in Bandon all today, many of them coloured. With only 26 days left of the season, many anglers are eager to try their luck and catch a salmon before season closes!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Chris McCully fishes the Bandon, Argideen and Ilen Rivers

Last month I had the pleasure of fishing with Chris McCully, fly fisher, author and writer. Chris has written several books and has published many interesting articles for Trout & Salmon magazine over the years. When Chris first made contact with me he mentioned he was in the process of writing a new book on Sea Trout called "Nomads of the Tides" and asked if I would show him along the Bandon and Argideen rivers. Chris loved the sea trout fishing in the estuary pools and up stream beats. The new book will examine Irish sea-trout fishing past and present.


Low Water Conditions on the Bandon River

I fished the Bandon River this morning for salmon with no luck. Water levels are very low on the river due to one of our driest summers on record. The river is down to its bones now and badly needs some rain. The weekend forecast is set for heavy rain. With only a month left before the season closes everyone is hoping for more rain to encourage the salmon into a taking mood!