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Coarse fishing in the Northwest

Bounded on the east by the broad waters of the Lower River Bann and the west by the famed Foyle System draining into its wide Estuary, the Northwest has all the ingredients for good coarse fishing and merits serious attention from anglers seeking new territories.

The Sperrin Mountains in Londonderry and Tyrone, provide a majestic backdrop to some of the best game and coarse fishing in Europe. However, because of the long-standing international status of the Foyle salmon and wild brown trout fishery, the potential for coarse angling has yet to be fully recognised by visitors. But that is about to change. So seize this opportunity to enjoy this undiscovered gem now!

The exception is the Lower Bann River, boundary between the North West and North East Angling Regions. Both share the river's deserved reputaton for producing big fish , and big catches of more species, than almost anywhere else in Europe.

In 2000, the Irish Specimen Fish Committee recorded: big bream of 7lb 12oz (3.4kg), roach of 2lb (0.9kg); seven river pike up to 251b (1lkg), and an almost incredible 25 specimen roach/bream hybrids, two-thirds of all specimen hybrid captures in Ireland! Five of these Lower Bann hybrids tipped the scales close to the Irish Record of 5lb 14.5oz (2.6kg). Publications such as Ireland's Premier Fishery have full details of the best places to take fish in the Lower Bann River Catchment.

However, tempting opportunities are offered by a whole spectrum of waters throughout this region, all within casting distance of a friendly village where you can acquire the right tackle and seek advice. Best spots include Lower Ballinderry River, Roughan Lough and Lough Bracken in the east and the Fairy Water and River Strule in the west.
The Ballinderry, renowned for trout, is a mixed fishery in its Lower reaches, with bream, roach, pike, perch, hybrids and eels. The river flows into the vast inland sea of Lough Neagh, location of one of Europe's biggest commercial eel fisheries, so it's no surprise that one of the two biggest eels recently captured in Ireland was landed at the Lower Ballinderry. Weighing 4lb 4.5oz. (1.9kg) this hefty eel succumbed to a cocktail of mackerel strip and worm!

Roughan Lough and Lough Bracken attract local pleasure anglers for bream and roach. Or venture west towards Omagh and beyond, where the combination of stunning scenery, a warm welcome and super fishing all come together.

Idyllic Baronscourt Estate near Newtownstewart has two fine pike lakes. This privately owned estate devoted to country leisure pursuits provides a ghillie and boat hire service, giving you the perfect opportunity to snag a fish exceeding 20lb (9kg)!

Anglers are drawn to the Fairy Water because of its intriguing name, and quickly fall under its spell. "Remarkably good roach fishing” is how one reliable angling website describes the stretch just north of Omagh. The Strule River is another roach fishing treasure, a delightful amenity for Omagh town. Downstream on the east bank from its confluence with the Fairy Water near Poe Bridge, a great stretch is reserved in the summer as a match venue, attracting roach specialists from far and wide to fill their nets…a common enough prospect!

For complete North West Region fishing details, and descriptions of other waters contact Derry Visitor & Convention Bureau.

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