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Angling on Lough Erne

The Erne system of County Fermanagh comprises two characteristically distinct loughs; together they form what is surely one of Ireland's most diverse fishing waters.

Upper Lough Erne is further 'up' the River Erne, stretching to the south of the county town of Enniskillen and joined to the River Shannon via the Shannon-Erne Waterway. It is a maze of channels and islands with vast reed beds - an ideal habitat for Pike.

Lower Lough Erne flows to the north of Enniskillen and is a much wider expanse of water that reaches depths of over 200 feet in places. This makes it and ideal habitat for Brown Trout and large numbers of coarse fish species.

Brown trout fishing on Lower Lough Erne

With its vast shallows and rocky areas, Lough Erne provides ideal conditions for trout. 

During late March and April there is a Duckfly hatch but the Mayfly season is, without doubt, the most important fly fishing period on the Lough.  The Mayfly makes its appearance in mid May and continues for three to four weeks.  Fish are normally taken during this period on both wet and dry flies. Wet flies such as French Partridge, Golden Olive Bumble, Rogan's Extractor and Dry Flies such as Green Wulff, Erne Special, O'Connors and Mosely to name but a few are widely used.

Dapping, whilst a popular method of fishing in the West of Ireland, is practised to a lesser degree on Lough Erne. This is a very relaxing fishing style that normally attracts larger fish.

Pike fishing on Upper Lough Erne

The Pike on the Upper Lough have provided great sport for fishermen from all over the world.  Normally caught on dead bait or by trolling lures, fly fishing for Pike has proved to be a great hit with fly anglers looking for sport during the closed trout fishing season.  Although not a new method by any means, fly fishing for Pike has remained virtually unchanged for years but is now receiving the attention it deserves.

Here fishing from a boat may prove much more successful than bank fishing; with access to Pike hot-spots more readily available.  Any area where the water suddenly drops off to deeper levels is likely to hold good sized Pike.  Pike are especially prolific in waters holding shoals of fodder fish like Bream, Roach, hybrids etc. with mature pike eating approximately five times its own weight of fodder fish per year.

Other species to be found on the Upper Lough are Perch, Rudd, Bream, Roach, Brown Trout and Eels.

Angling around Enniskillen Town

Lough Erne around the town of Enniskillen is one of the finest coarse fishing waters in Europe and has become popular as a competition venue for local and British anglers.  Roach are everywhere with Bream, Pike, Perch and Eels in abundance.

Seasons and limits

The fishing season for Brown Trout, Sea Trout and Salmon runs from March to September with a six-trout bag limit and 12 inch size limit.  There is no closed season for Pike and other coarse fish but there is a bag limit of 2 fish per angler per day and all those over 4kg weight must be returned to the water, alive.

Licences and Permits

A Fisheries Conservancy Board Game Fishing Licence is required when fishing for trout and salmon.  A Fisheries Conservancy Board Coarse Fishing Licence is required when fishing for Pike and the other fish.  A DCAL Game Fishing Permit is required when fishing for trout and salmon.  A DCAL Coarse fishing permit is required when fishing for Pike and the other fish.

Disabled Facilities

A disabled hoist is available for boat angling at Garvary and Innishclare to enable wheelchair users or other disabled anglers to fish from boats (telephone 028 6634 3136 for details).  Access is generally good elsewhere around the Loughs for anglers with walking difficulties although there are no special wheelchair facilities.  There are a number of areas with level paths close to car parks.  These are at Cornagrade, Trory, Ely Lodge and Dolands ring.  There are also six stands suitable for wheelchairs at Queen Elizabeth Road, Enniskillen.

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