Quick Overview of fishing in County Fermanagh
County Fermanagh has 16 beautiful bodies of water to fish, on the western side of County Fermanagh from Keenaghan Lough near Belleek, Ballinamallard River to Upper Lough Erne near Derrrylin.
These picturesque fishing spots all offer a variety of species to catch and seasons in which to partake. This includes over 11,500 hectares of loughs and almost 5 km of rivers.
The most commonly found species to fish for in County Fermanagh are brown trout and salmon, wild trout and you can also find perch, bream, rudd, tench, rainbow trout, pike, roach, eels, and sea trout in these various fishing spots.
Some of the loughs and rivers permit the use of fishing from boats while others do not. The most popular methods for fishing are angling or fly fishing although you should check local regulations to ensure that you are using the correctly permitted rod.
Lower Lough Erne is easily the largest body of water in which to fish, comprising over 10,000 hectares. The Blessingbourne Lakes hold a variety of species, however, they do require the landowner’s permission to fish since they are located on private properties.
Permits and Bag Limits
Fishing licenses for game or coarse fishing rods are required for anyone over the age of 12 and are distributed by the Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
DAERA also provides permits for Public Angling Estates including:
- Game rod permit: fishing with one of either a coarse or game rod
- Coarse rod permit: fishing with two coarse rods
The bag limits for certain species are as follows:
- Stocked fisheries: 4 fish per rod per day with a minimum size of 25.4 cm
- Wild fisheries: dependent upon the fishery
- Wild fisheries
- Opening Day – May 31: catch and release only
- June 1 – Season Close: 2 fish per day
- Wild fisheries
- Areas of the Foyle, Carlingford, and Irish Lights Commission (FCILC)
- Opening Day – May 31: 1 fish (salmon or trout) per day
- June 1 – October 31: 4 fish (salmon or trout) per day
- Minimum size requirement of 25 cm
- Pike: 1 per day as long as it doesn’t exceed 4 kg
Fermanagh Classic Fishing Festival
The Fermanagh Classic Fishing Festival is a 5 day fishing event with a cash prize of 5,000 pounds and a crystal chalice for the fisherman who catches the heaviest fish. The competition takes place on the shores of Lough Erne in Enniskillen.
In addition to the Classic Fishing Festival, there is a Bobby Smithers Memorial Erne Open Championship on the first day with a top prize of 500 pounds and trophy, two days of “King of the Erne” competition, and a Masters competition in which you can sign up with some of your buddies as a team.
The festival ends with the prize ceremonies and gala complete with finger food buffet.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the 2021 Fermanagh Classic Fishing Festival was cancelled, but the committee is planning for the competition to return May 9-13 in 2022.