Fresh water -
Connemara is a truly world class destination for coarse fishing, particularly pike. Lough Corrib and the lakes around Moycullen have a reputation for catches of hard-fighting specimens. Bank fishing is easily available and you can readily hire a boat or launch your own. There is a one fish per day per rod rule on the Corrib.
Roach and bream predominate on the lower Corrib and fishing can be arranged by Connemara Wild Escapes.
Wild Brown trout are native to Connemara and the Mayfly on the Corrib is of world renown. Ferox trout on the Corrib are record breakers! Gillaroo offer a third variety of Corrib brown trout. No matter whether you prefer lough or river fishing, this sport is simply world class. If you want to get more remote then the Connemara Mountains hold numerous little treasures containing wily Brownies. Beware the midges; the trout pay them to keep away unprepared fisher folk! Connemara Wild Escapes can lay it on for you whatever your preferences.
The Atlantic salmon are quite rightly Connemara’s most famous fish. The white trout have been in decline since the advent of salmon farming in the late 1980’s. All fishing for white trout is on a catch and release basis. Every year both species run rivers throughout Connemara as they return from the sea to spawn and at the same time attract anglers from all over the world. The Galway Fishery at the Salmon Weir in the city as well as Erriff, Delphi, Ballynahinch, Costelloe, Screebe, Gowla and Inver systems are especially famous for their fishing. The season runs from the 11th February until the 30th September every year and a State salmon licence is required by all.
There is a perception that fishing for salmon is an expensive hobby but it has to be remembered that some of the fisheries and accommodation on our books are world class. Connemara Wild Escapes offer excellent alternatives and provide a real chance of catching a salmon or white trout.
Salt water -
Connemara is the home to some fantastic sea angling from both boat and shore. Hard as it may seem to many visitors, there are many parts of the coastline that hardly, if at all, see an angler from one year to the next. Some of the islands off the Connemara coast have not seen humans live there for decades or longer, so fishermen are even rarer.
Connemara has many boat charters with great waters to cover. All tastes can be catered for, everything from the specimen hunter who is looking a life time or a family looking for a memorable fun day out. If you want to take your own boat, no problem and launching is relatively straight forward if you know where to go. Connemara Wild Escapes will be able to assist.
Boat – Deep Sea Angling:
Connemara Wild Escapes partner’s are of the highest standards and as such your boat will be fully equipped with all the usual safety equipment such as life jackets, communications equipment and a seasoned Skipper to lead you straight to the fish. The weather in Connemara can change quickly so always keep your eye on it. If the weather gets bad or you think it is about to turn for the worst – head for shore; you can go fishing again tomorrow. Let people know when and where you are going out and when to expect you back. Then stick to the plan.
Boat – small:
There are many slipways around the Connemara coast but the vast majority are only viable around high water. Slipways are available at Cleggan, Clifden (Boat Club permission required), Kilkieran, Killary, Rossaveal and Roundstone to mention a few.
For those who prefer dry land the boulder strewn coastline has hundreds of islands to explore and many shallow bays carved out by the last ice age to explore. It extends from the southern shore of Killary Harbour to Rossaveel in Cashla Bay. The diverse character of the coastline has many and varied habitats for a wide range of marine species. The warming influence of the North Atlantic Drift, an off shoot of the Gulf Stream, encourages fish of southern climes, such as blue shark, to migrate along the coast in summer, usually between July and September.
Connemara is also home to some of Ireland’s finest beaches, with wide stretches of pure white sands lapped by a turquoise ocean. Wonderful shore and boat sea fishing is available everywhere around Connemara’s magnificent coast line and islands. Connemara Wild Escapes has everything from serious giant skate and shark fishing to family fun fishing from the shoreline. Reasonably priced boat hire and charters are available and Connemara Wild Escapes will help you to reach the prime spots. Like all fishing local knowledge is the secret to success and Connemara Wild Escapes can assist with guides.
The sea fishing to be enjoyed off the Connemara coast: from the rocks on the southern side of Killary Harbour small Pollack, codling and mackerel can be taken while float fishing. Going towards the mouth of the bay, just to the east of the youth hostel shore fishing can produce ray, dogfish, bullhuss, flounder and small codling. June to early September, especially during the first few hours of a rising tide is the best time.
On the southern shore of Little Killary there is some rock fishing for Pollack, wrasse, conger, ray, dabs and coal fish. The bottom is weedy. The beach behind the rocks is Glassillaun Strand and it produces flounder, dabs and dogfish. Travelling east of Glassillaun Strand is Lettergesh Beach which has two distinct angling positions. To the south lies the 1.2 kilometre main beach bordered at each end by rocky outcrops, and to the north a small river estuary is bordered by rocks. Near the top of the estuary there are large concentrations of lugworm which can be dug easily. Cockles are also plentiful over the clean sand and can be used as flatfish bait.
Fishing in or near the mouth can produce numerous flounder averaging 0.3 kilos. Large flounder have been taken on the beach between the two small streams at the extreme southern end. During the summer months ray and dogfish are regulars on the night tides. There are several fishing positions along the north side of Ballinakill Harbour, where dog fish, flounder and ray can be caught. At Cleggan Pier fishing at high tide will produce mullet and small Pollack. Pre-baiting is necessary. Specimen conger, of over 18 kilograms, have been caught here. Fishing close to the pier with large mackerel baits during night tides seems to be the most productive.
There is excellent deep sea fishing for a wide range of species around Inishboffin and Inishshark Islands. No serious sea fishing was carried out in the area until recent excursions uncovered a wealth of quality fish, especially flatfish. Boat fishing around Inishboffin offers ray, turbot and occasional plaice. Specimen dab are also a possibility. The reefs to the west of Inishbofin offer Pollack, ling, conger, coal fish and cod, especially south west of “The Stags” in the deep water off “Ship Sound” between Inishboffin and Inishshark.
There is very good ray fishing at the mouth of Cleggan Bay, at about 20 meters with conger, dogfish and bullhuss a possibility. Along the road west of Cleggan, near Aughrus Point and on the northern shore, just to the west of Aughrusbeg Lake, offers float fishing for wrasse. Spinning for Pollack and mackerel during the summer months is good sport. Specimen fresh water eel have also been recorded from the outflow of the lake.
From the south western point Omey Island, Pollack can be taken while spinning and wrasse and conger while bottom fishing. The “island” is joined to the mainland by a sand bar which is covered at high tide. At low tide on the southern side of the bar excellent bait in the forms of lugworm, sand eel, occasional clam and white rag worm can be found. Spring tide strips which expose a greater part of the beach are particularly fruitful.
The rocks on the northern shore of Streamstown Bay are home to conger eel, mackerel and Pollack. At the western point of the southern shore at Coolacloy spinning produces mackerel and Pollack in the summer, while float fishing with lugworm or peeler crab may take wrasse.
The coastline between Coolacloy and Clifden is quite treacherous, but with due care, the rocks at Slopers Cliff and Belleek offer excellent ray fishing. Ray to over 4.5 kilograms have been recorded while dabs and dog fish are available to bottom fishers. Spinning for mackerel and pollack, while float fished baits near the kelp beds will catch wrasse.
About 1.5kms west of Clifden is a small sheltered beach which provides lug worm and sand eel. On low spring tides razor fish (spouts) can be collected. Clifden Bay offers ray, dogfish, bullhuss, pollack, dabs and mackerel when fished off a boat. Outside the bay, off Cruagh and High Islands, many different species can be caught over the reefs and sandbanks. Specimen cod and Pollack have been recorded here. July, August and September bring blue shark to over 45kgs with the occasional porbeagle.
On the south western shore of Clifden Bay are two excellent rock angling marks: Hawks Nest and White Lady. Autumn ray fishing here is spectacular. Fillets or strips of mackerel or herring are the most successful baits and the fish run from 1.4kgs to 6.4kgs. Dog fish and dabs can also be caught by spinning. Conger and wrasse can also be caught using fish and worm baits. Low tide and the first two hours of tide flood give the best results.
In the small harbour inside Erislannan Point wrasse are plentiful while float fishing. Conger is also in residence. To the south of Erislannan Point at Ballinga wrasse can be caught close to the rocks. Distance casting will enable anglers to put baits on sandbanks where ray, dogfish and dabs congregate. This area is best fished on a flooding tide. Flounder, plaice, small turbot, dabs, dogfish and the occasional ray can be encountered over sand in sheltered Candoolin Bay, by distance casting with fish or worm.
Mannin Bay holds good possibilities for the inshore small boat angler. Boats can be launched from the beach north of Ballyconneely and expected species include ray, bullhuss, dogfish, dabs, plaice and the occasional turbot and tope. Shore fishing from the south western corner of Mannin Bay, just inside Knock Point can be very good for ray, dogfish and flatfish. On the western side of Knock Point, at False Bay and Dooloughan shore fishing is mainly for flounder, plaice, dabs and small turbot. Lugworm and mackerel strips are the most commonly used baits.
The coastline around Slyne Head is very broken and offers little scope for the shore angler, but anglers using small boats in Ballyconneely Bay can expect tope, ray, dogfish, and pollack to 4.5kgs as well as big plaice. There is a slipway at Bunabhan.
At Roundstone boat fishing is recommended for Bertraghboy Bay where tope, ray, and dogfish are the main target species. Outside the bay, there is good reef fishing for pollack, codling and conger. Lugworm can be dug among the rocks and on the strand at Roundstone Bay. About a mile west on Glinsk, on the southern shore of Bertraghboy Bay dogfish and ray are caught. South of Bertraghboy Bay small boats can be launched beside Moyrus Pier.
The sandy bottom between Mace Head and Croaghnakeela Island holds a fair stock of plaice. The most effective way to catch these fish is by using a “flasher” spoon on a running ledger, baited with rag worm. Dogfish and ray are also common in this area. South of Moyrus pier lugworm and occasional white rag worm can be collected by digging in the firm sand. On the south eastern corner of Mace Head there is rock fishing for wrasse and pollack although retrieving fish over the weedy bottom can be a challenge.
Lug worm are plentiful and the occasional white rag worm can be found in the sand to the south of the road which runs from Carna to Mweenish Island while crab are quite common around the rocky outcrops in the middle of the beach. On the south eastern point of Mweenish dog fish, wrasse and pollack can be caught in the sandy channel to the north. Plaice, dabs, bullhuss and flounder have also been recorded.
Ray and dogfish with the occasional monkfish are caught. Off Ardmore point, there is a good position in 10 meters of water for plaice and dabs, while tope have been taken east of Birmore Island. Mackerel are caught with spinners and feathers in autumn. Immediately north of Kilkieran lies a small inlet where lug worm are plentiful in the mud.
The upper reaches of Kilkieran and Camus Bays are for the most part shallow and weedy and afford little opportunity for shore or boat anglers. However, shoals of pollack come to the bay in early spring and can be caught over clear patches. Some bass are also found in the bay.
There are several good shore angling locations situated along the southern shores of Lettermullen and Gorumna Island. The shore line between Golam Head and Dog Island offers possibilities for dog fish, bullhuss, wrasse, pollack and mackerel. Near the abbey on Kiggaul Bay plaice, dabs and flounders are caught over sand. Lug worm can be found in the mud in the inner bay at Kiggaul.
On the south eastern corner of Gorumna Island on Greatman’s Bay there is a small quay at Trawbaun and bottom fishing is best in the harbour at high water when flounder and plaice can be expected. Spinning also produces pollack to 1.5kgs. From the Old Pier at Glenmore dogfish, bullhuss, flounders and occasional ray can be caught while bottom fishing. Spinning is best for mackerel.
From the pier at the fishing port of Rossaveel conger can be taken at night. Specimens to 18kgs have been recorded. Mullet to specimen size and flounder are also caught in the harbour.
When to fish
Blue shark: July – September
Pollack: April – October
Ray: May – October