If you are looking for the perfect holiday destination for fishing
Ireland is a fantastic place. We are surrounded by water and the whole
country is criss-crossed by a network of rivers and lakes. Ireland has
two out of the three largest brown trout lakes in Western Europe, right
on my door step as it happens.
I live about five minutes from the shores of Lough Corrib (above) and about a half an hour’s drive from Lough Mask. Corrib , seen below after a day's fishing, and Lough Mask, the two great western lakes, are the best wild brown trout fisheries in Western Europe.
But no matter which type of fishing you prefer, game fishing, sea fishing, or coarse fishing Ireland has it all!
Visitors from all over the world travel to Ireland for fishing every year to experience unrivaled wild brown trout in the beautiful west of Ireland, particularly during the legendary mayfly hatch. We refer to trout and salmon fishing as ‘game fishing’ and this is the most popular type of fishing in Ireland. When you overhear the guys in the tackle shop make statements like “Yer man had a good fish.", you can be sure they mean a salmon, or maybe a trout. See the eleven pound beauty below that my friend Derek caught in Lough Mask.
In recent years I’ve become hooked almost exclusively on fly fishing for brown trout, but at the end of the summer I get a craving for a taste of fresh mackerel and pollock. At that time of year they can be easily caught from off the rocks in great numbers. I need only drive ten miles to the sea shore.
My friend Kevin holding a golden brown trout from Lough Mask.
Mackerel fishing is easy and it is fun. It's often quite a community event. It people who hardly ever fish, but this annual tradition brings them out in droves and usually everyone arrives home with enough fish for their neighbours, if not their cats. In coastal villages and towns, like Spiddal, when, around August time, you hear someone ask: “Are they in yet?”, you can assume they mean the mackerel.
Galway Bay offers great sea fishing, from the beaches or off the rocks or if you are feeling more adventurous you can easily charter a boat, and fish out in the bay.
There is also excellent coarse fishing in Ireland. The term 'coarse fishing' refers to all the other fresh which are not game fish, i.e. anything but salmon and trout and sea trout. The big advantage of coarse fishing is that there’s no close season, so the more robust or crazy can fish all year round. Personally, I really like fishing for pike.
Virtually every county in Ireland boasts top notch coarse fishing on our network of numerous rivers and lakes. Ireland has some of the biggest and hardest fighting pike in Western Europe, with fish in excess of thirty pounds landed regularly.
Peter holding a huge male brown trout, recognizable by his kype, the hook-jaw.
As a boy while fishing on Lough Gara, I used to meet English men with a dazzling array of fishing tackle, with bait boxes of sweet corn, breadcrumbs and squirming maggots encamped on the lake shore. They would sit there all day catching endless roach, rudd and bream, which they would pop into their keep nets. At the end of the day after they’d weigh their catch, they'd let them all go. How odd!
Before too long I was at it too. It’s a fun and relaxing way to pass a day, and an excellent way to get kids used to catching fish. My Eastern European friends love to eat these fish, which they assure me are delicious. I like to eat pike, thanks to my German wife, but for now I’ll stick with my pan-fried trout and salmon.
Hi there, hope you enjoyed my article on fishing in Ireland!
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Tight lines! Colm
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