Killarney Lakes fly fishing Ireland

Fly Fishing Ireland: Best Spots, Time & Tips (2024)

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Have you been dreaming of a big fly fishing Ireland trip? Maybe you’re an avid fisherman looking for your next adventure. Or maybe you’ve never tried it and are looking for something different to do on your great Ireland trip.

Well look no further. I’ve got you covered. 

Keep reading for all kinds of tips and info for the best fishing trip you can imagine 😄🐟

Top Spots for Fly Fishing in Ireland

Lakes:

📍Great Western Lakes 

You’ll find Lough Mask in Counties Mayo and Galway. It’s the middle one of three lakes (the other two being Lough Carra and Lough Corrib) that flow into the Corrib River. Together (among others, I believe) these are known as the Great Western Lakes.

The Great Western Lakes are well known for incredible fly fishing, specifically for trout. But there is also plenty of pike and salmon to be caught as well. 

The nearest city is Galway. So you can stay there and make a day trip out of your fishing adventure. If you’re a die-hard, there’s also camping nearer to the fishing sites.

The fishing season starts in March and runs through to the end of September, providing plenty of opportunity for anglers to take full advantage of this place.

📍Lough Currane

fly fishing in county Kerry Ireland
Courtesy Finola White

This lake is widely regarded as a top spot for fishing in Ireland. It’s in Waterville, Co. Kerry on the Iveragh Peninsula (very close to Ballinskelligs Bay – so just stunning views no matter which way you’re looking!)

Lough Currane is well known for its bounty of salmon and sea trout. You may even find some trout running over 10 lbs, which will make any fly fisherman happy. It covers a 2500 acre area and is about 3.5 mi long and, at its widest, about 2 mi wide. 

This lake is a gem and highly worth a visit! 

To be totally honest, Co. Kerry might just be the best county in Ireland (in my humble opinion anyway 😌). It’s really a nature lover’s paradise. So if you’re interested in fly fishing in Ireland, don’t count this beautiful area out. 

Another great Co. Kerry spot for fly fishing in Ireland is Killarney. Read on for info about the beautiful Killarney Lakes…

📍Killarney Lakes & River Laune

fly fishing in Killarney Ireland
Courtesy Tourism Ireland

The Killarney Lakes are all connected and located in the Killarney National Park, right in Killarney. So you’ll want to stay in Killarney for this trip. And there are loads of hotels and B&B’s for all budgets.

The lakes are Lough Leane (the lower lake), Muckross Lake (the middle lake), and the Upper Lake. You can catch some decent salmon from about April to September. Muckross Lake is particularly good for fly fishing and it’s full of salmon and brown trout. 

The River Laune stems from the Killarney Lakes, making its way northwest toward Dingle and eventually out to sea at Dingle Bay and is great for salmon as well as trout.

Besides the Laune River, Ireland has some great rivers for fly fishing. Keep reading for more…

Rivers:

📍River Moy

fly fishing at the River Moy Ireland
Courtesy Anne-Marie Flynn

If you are crazy about salmon fishing, the River Moy, in Counties Mayo and Sligo, is where you’ll want to be.

With a length of 68 miles and at some points 130 feet wide, the River Moy offers some of the best quality fishing in the country. Other than being one of the most abundant salmon fishing rivers in Europe, there’s also plenty of sea and brown trout to be found.

The best fly fishing season at the River Moy is from February to September, but they say salmon can be found throughout every month of the year.

Along with great catches, there are plenty of accommodation options available nearby so that you can make a proper vacation out of your fishing trip!

📍River Boyne 

fly fishing at the Boyne River Ireland
Courtesy Tourism Ireland

The River Boyne offers some of the best fly fishing in Ireland, both on public and private waters. 

Parts of the waterway are controlled by fishing clubs and private property owners, but you can get a permit for most of the sections. It runs through Counties Kildare, Offaly, Louth, and Meath (shown above alongside Trim Castle). 

Anglers searching for salmon will have the best success around Navan and Drogheda, where the average size of these species is typically between 7-10 lbs.

To access prime fishing grounds and increase your chance of catching trout or salmon, consider booking a guide.

The season for this body of water is roughly from March through to the end of September.

📍Rivers Nire & Suir

The Nire River is a tributary of the River Suir and located in Co. Waterford. They’re both good rivers for trout fishing, particularly brown trout, and salmon.

The River Nire is ideal for dry and nymph fly fishing and is conveniently located near the crystal-clear River Suir. These rivers provide excellent views and are perfect for beginners to the sport.

Even if you’re a more experienced angler, check out Clonanav Fly Fishing to hire a guide. They have intimate knowledge of the area and are life long anglers with a passion. There’s also a school if you’re brand new to the sport and just want to try it out on your epic Ireland vacation. There’s a shop as well, if you need to pick up some supplies for your outing.

For the best season, you’re looking at March through September.

You’ll also be near the Comeragh Mountains (where the River Nire flows from) if you and your troop fancy some hiking in Ireland.

Coastal Areas:

📍Cork Harbor

For saltwater species such as sea trout and mackerel, head to one of Ireland’s coastal areas like Cork Harbor which is renowned among anglers worldwide as prime locations for these types of fish. 

There’s nothing quite like casting your line into crystal-clear waters surrounded by stunning scenery while waiting patiently for that big catch. There are a ton of Cork Harbor hotspots for fly fishing depending on what you’re looking for.

Cork Harbor itself is stunning and is believed to be the second largest natural harbor in the world. You can stay in Cobh right near the harbor, or stay in Cork if you plan on doing a variety of activities.

Cork itself is one of Ireland’s largest cities. So there will be plenty to do near Cork beyond great fishing if you decide to base yourselves there.

📍Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Harbor Ireland

Dingle is also a wonderful spot to pursue a fishing adventure! You’ll find sea bass, pollock, sea trout, and mackerel to name a few. 

Head to Dingle Bay Marina for a fishing charter and rentals. Dingle Boat Tours is a popular one. They have tons of experience and will give great guidance to those looking for a fly fishing in Ireland adventure.

The Dingle Peninsula is great for many eco adventures beyond fishing. So this would be a good place to base yourselves at if you’ve got other activities in mind beyond fly fishing.

Key Takeaway: Best Spots for Fly Fishing in Ireland

No matter where you choose to cast your line in Ireland – whether it’s a riverbank or lake shoreline – you can guarantee yourself an unforgettable experience filled with plenty of healthy catches. 

Knowing what to do and being prepared can lead you to some of the prime spots for fishing in Ireland.

When is the Best Time for Fly Fishing in Ireland

Timing is everything. Knowing when the best time of year to fish can make or break your trip. 

To maximize your experience, it’s important to factor in a couple considerations (namely, weather and the seasons) when deciding the best time of year to take your trip.

Weather:

The weather in Ireland changes drastically throughout the year (throughout the day, really). Generally, the summer season is usually milder and a little bit drier than spring. But rain is an inevitability in Ireland no matter the time of year.   

It’s a good idea to assume you’ll get rained on at some point. Experienced anglers will already be prepared for this. But if you’re new to fly fishing in Ireland, keep that in mind.

Seasons:

Overall, the season for fly fishing in Ireland tends to be March through September. So you have a wide time frame for when you can go. You just need to think about when you want to go and what works for your schedules.

It really depends on the type of fish you’re fishing for (if you haven’t noticed yet, trout fisheries are common for fly fishing in Ireland) and what you’re looking to get out of the experience.

Early in the season many fish will be feeding hard from spawning and lack of food supply in the winter months. So it will most likely be an easier catch for any angler.

Later in the season fishermen will find larger fish that have lasted throughout the season and benefitted from the copious food supplies. These might be a harder catch though, as they have successfully evaded anglers all season long. 

While summer may offer some warm days with plenty of sunshine, autumn tends to be a better choice if you’re hoping to snag some larger catches. But keep in mind most fisheries will close by the end of September. 

Before setting out on your angling expedition, make sure to familiarize yourself with the necessary licenses and permits needed for fishing in Ireland.

Licenses and Permits Required for Fishing in Ireland

To legally fish in Irish waters, all anglers must have a valid rod license from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). Also, don’t forget Northern Ireland is different. So if you’re traveling there too, it’s a different set of rules and licensing.

Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits for fishing in Ireland is essential before beginning your trip. Visit this link for the latest information: https://fishinginireland.info/regulations 

Tips for a Successful Fly Fishing Trip to Ireland

When it comes to planning a successful fly fishing trip to Ireland, the right gear and preparation are key. 

Gear:

✔️Make sure your tackle box is well-stocked with quality lures and flies that will attract fish in Irish waters. Choose rods that are lightweight but strong enough to handle larger catches, as well as reels with good drag systems. 

✔️Dress in multiple layers so you can adapt your apparel to the climate. 

✔️You should also wear polarized sunglasses to reduce glare from the sun reflecting off of the   water’s surface. Wearing a hat or cap with a wide brim will shield your face from the sun’s rays and keep any insects away from your eyes and ears. 

✔️Don’t forget about waders – they can help keep you dry while out on the water.

Safety:

✔️ Always check local regulations before heading out on any body of water. Check the weather and tide tables ahead of time as well.

✔️ Wear a life jacket at all times when fishing in open waters; this could save your life if something unexpected happens. 

✔️ Keep your fully charged cell phone in a waterproof bag/container. 

✔️ Don’t go alone. Or at the very least, let someone know exactly where you plan to be and for how long.

✔️ Also remember to bring along sunscreen, bug spray, first aid supplies, food and plenty of drinking water – these items could come in handy during an emergency situation or long day spent out on the lake or riverbank.

FAQs: Fly Fishing Ireland

Does Ireland have good fly fishing?

Yes, Ireland is renowned for its excellent fishing. From its renowned rivers and lakes to the various species of fish, Ireland is home to some of Europe’s best fly fishing opportunities. 

The country also boasts an abundance of experienced guides who can help you find the perfect spot to cast your line. 

What time of year is best for fly fishing in Ireland?

For many people the best time to fish in Ireland is typically during the spring and summer months, when the temperatures are warmer. See above (under the subsection “seasons” for a more detailed explanation). 

Why is fishing so popular in Ireland?

In Ireland, fishing is widely enjoyed due to the abundance of rivers, lakes and coastal waters offering anglers a wealth of species such as salmon, trout, bass, pollock and cod.

The country also has an extensive network of fishing charters available that can take fishermen out on the open sea or along the coastline for deep-sea fishing experiences. 

Furthermore, many parts of Ireland have unspoiled natural beauty which makes it an ideal place for people who enjoy being outdoors while enjoying their favorite hobby.

And Ireland is just plain gorgeous. Anytime spent outdoors is time well spent.

Conclusion: Fly Fishing Ireland Trip

This is a world-class experience that should not be missed by any angler. 

From the wild and scenic rivers to the serene and peaceful lakes, there is a fishing destination for every preference and level of expertise. It’s easy to see why Ireland is such a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts from all around the world.