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.