Fishing in Sligo-Leitrim

The best way to tackle fishing in Sligo/Leitrim is to start at the coastline for beach, coastal and sea-fishing, then work down the counties by lake and river.

Before we begin let it be known, that fish find my attempts to catch them highly amusing so I have to rely on fishy tales when I try fishing in Sligo and talking about it in the pub later. The relating of fishy tales is an important part of fishing but does not mean that sound advice cannot be separated from the imagination of the young man who caught the last mackerel of the season from the Corrib last Christmas Eve and who would not tell a word of a lie.

There is a plentiful amount of information on fishing in Sligo-Leitrim from books, magasines and indeed the net but marks and venues can, by times, only be good for within the last 18mths.  The best thing to do is ask a local angler who will only be too happy to share his/her knowledge.

Coastline and rock fishing.

Care must be taken when fishing on shore or off the rocks, in an unfamiliar area, because quite often, large waves can appear from nowhere having deadly results for the anglers. I say it once again, best practice is to ask locals for advice before heading out for the days fun.

One last thing. The location picked may be on private property so it could be expedient to ask permission first and then leave the property as you found it, closing gates behind you and lighting no fires.

The best places to try your fishing skills are from:

Aughris Head.

The best advice you can possibly get regarding fishing in this area will come from Darren or any of the staff in the Beach Bar. They can also tell you about currents and rogue waves and after catching something worth while, like flounder and sometimes tope shark or ray, the Beach Bar is a good place to go back and brag about it….Oh and not tell a word of a lie.

Strandhill Beach.

This beach is popular with swimmers and surfers so during the daylight of high season, and at the weekends, it makes sense to keep away until the evening anyway. Culleenamore beach, beside Strandhill, on Ballysadare Bay, is the choice of the locals and again they are the ones to best advise you. The tackle shop in the town is the where the best fishing begins.

Rosses point.

Perhaps more associated with golf, Rosses Point is also very popular for families swimming and spending time on the beach. It is, however, a big attraction for battling against the wits of pollack, ray and coalfish in summer and for scooping up mackerel in season. Codling turn up for winter teasing off the deeper marks.

Mullaghmore Harbour.

This is a fishing village with a small harbour and big mullet that once again has anglers contesting with the  popularity it weaves over summer families and winter surfers. The pier’s sheltered side is where specimen size mullet can be found while the harbour entrance is the congregation centre for plaice and flounder. Milk Haven Estuary to the south of Mullaghmore, ask locals for direction, dares you tackle sea trout, mullet and flounder. Streedagh village near Grange and Cloonagh Bay, nearby are also good spots for casting the rod.

Failing a catch in all these areas there are many fish and chip shops in Mullaghmore.

Sea-Fishing addresses for boat charter:

Aughris Pier,

Aughris, Co. Sligo: See Darren, Beach Bar, Aughris.

Ewings Sea Angling and Boat Charter,

Harry Ewing Pier,    Rosses Point, Sligo. +353 (0) 86 891 3618. Email:

Deep Sea Angling Charters

Kilkilloge, Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo.  F91 RW25. +353 (0) 87 257 6268. email:

Donal Kennedy Angling

Cliff Road,  Carrowhubbuck South, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo. +353 (0) 86 817 4509.

Lake fishing and river fishing.

There are that many fishing lakes  and rivers in the Sligo/ Leitrim area, that it would take a month, preferably in May or June, to find the most enjoyable and best to suit your own abilities.

Laws and regulations concerning licences, permits and permission, conservation, environment and safety, catch and release, closed fisheries, bag limits, relating to:

The Moy River.

The Moy’s abundance of grilse between June and mid-July  and the resident brown trout, not to mention the run of sea trout it receives from Killala Bay’s feeding waters would have made this area reason enough for Ireland’s early settlers of fishing and hunters not to want to take up farming. Nothing’s changed. For further details contact: Moy Fishery Office, +353 (0) 96 21332. Email: or or Inland Fisheries Ireland-Ballina,  +353 (0) 96 22788 or from

The Easkey River and Lough.

This river is best fished from Mid-June until the end of season, getting a good run of grilse and salmon and sea trout. Some parts of the river can be fished without permit but it is preferable to get permission from local landowners for river access. Easkey River Angling Association control some sections. For further information contact, Inland Fisheries Ireland- Ballina at +353 (0) 96 22788 or

Lough Talt.

From mid Feb. to 10th Oct. no permit is necessary to pit your wits with resident brown trout. The lake lies about halfway between Tubbercurry and Ballina on the R294 at the foot of the Ox Mountains. The western side of the lake is a good access point. Bring the sandwiches.

Ballysadare River.

Salmon and sea trout can be fished from 1st. Feb. to 30th. Sept. and brown trout from 15th Feb. to end Sept. subject to permission from Ballysadare Fishing club. +353 (0) 71 9130513 or +353 (0) 86 251 5064 for salmon and Ballysadare and Cluainin Trout Angling Association (Eddie Harte) +353 (0) 87 4035735 for trout fishing.

Ballysadare Estuary.

1st. Feb. to 30th. Sept. can be fished with no permit usually required. It is a good feeding area for sea trout but be aware that some places have very strong currents and tides. Local Knowledge should be sought. Boat angling can be acquired from Ace Angling Adventures +353 (0) 87 973 4754.

Lough na Leibe.

The season here is from Mar 1st. to end Sept.,  for rainbow and brown trout although open season can change. Angling conditions available at Ballymote angling club Facebook page or from Ballymote and District Angling Club. Permits are available from McDermott’s Bar and Restaurant, Castlebaldwin. +353 (0) 71 9165132 , Tighe’s Newsagents, Ballymote, +353 (0) 71 9189665 or Henry’s Gala Service Station, Ballymote +353 (0) 71 9183343.

Lough Gara.

Located in the most Southern tip of Sligo ( near Boyle, Roscommon) lough Gara has a small stock of brown trout, to be fished between 1st March and end of Sept. More information can be got from Inland Fisheries Ireland, (Limerick) +353 (0) 61 300238. Email:

Lough Bo.

Lough Bo is managed by Inland Fisheries Ireland and a permit is needed to fish here. This can be got from Mrs. Mary McDonagh at +353 (0) 71 9165126. The lake is stocked yearly with brown trout but has its own residents also.

Lough Arrow.

If it is not the most renowned brown trout fisheries in Ireland, Lough Arrow comes damned close.   The lake is situated in the south of Sligo between Boyle (Roscommon) and Ballymote and permission to fish is not required. The season begins on the 1st. April (2nd perhaps – just in case!!) and finishes end of Sept. Boats are available for hire where invaluable local knowledge can be gleaned like the best months, best bait and best pier on what shore and what should be caught for local bragging rights.

Contact: Lough Arrow Boat Hire,  Annaghloy Peninsula, Ballindoon, Co. Sligo.  +353 (0) 87 2404387 or +353 (0) 85 1740956   Email:   Web. lougharrowboathire

For further information see the fishing in Ireland website or Email:

Lough Gill.

Unusually, the fishing season on Lough Gill starts on New Years day until end of Sept. for salmon and sea trout, and the 1st Mar. to end Sept. for brown trout. Permits are not usually required. Fishing may be controlled though by ‘catch and release’ and/or quota, so it’s best to check with Inland fisheries Ireland- Ballina before showing your fishing rod any water.

Lough Gill occupies part of Sligo and Leitrim so if you pick the spot carefully it’s possible, while fishing in Sligo/Leitrim to catch a salmon in both counties at the one time having one foot in Sligo and one in Leitrim. There’s one for the pub afterwards.

If a really big fish was caught on the Sligo fishing side of Lough Gill it would be expedient to lie and say it was caught on the Leitrim side if, you were telling the story in Dromahair.

The lake holds a stock of brown trout but in the season is good for a decent run of sea trout.

There are lots of access points with parking around the lake, nearly everyone asked firstly suggests Inisfree, which, on a nice summer day could be thronged with poetry readers wishing to buy small wattle and clay made cabins. That could be detrimental to an angler’s concentration or a poetry lovers health. Other popular access points are Aughamore, Sriff Bay and Hazelwood Bay and even if nothing is caught the surrounding scenery makes up for it.

River Unshin.

The season here starts 1st. March to the end Sept. and the only permit needed is from the land owners of the river banks. Draining Lough Arrow and meeting the river Owenmore it becomes the River Ballisodare.

Some 1kg. trout and some larger are present but generally the river is home to a small amount of fish, which live among deep weed beds and mixed fauna. April, May and June are the best fishing months, the earlier the better, before the weeds flourish.

Co. Leitrim.

River Bonet.

The season here begins 1st Feb. to end Sept. for salmon and sea trout, with brown trout fished 15th.Feb. to end Sept. The river is populated by privately owned fisheries and club waters (the Dromahair Anglers Association,  Dromahair and Cluainin anglers Club and Breffini Holiday Cottages) so a permit would be required here.

If you are not intimidated by that contact the Inland Fisheries Ireland-Ballina for required fishing permits and further details.

Glencar Lough.

This lough’s fishing season for salmon 1st Feb. to 30th. Sept. sea trout 1st Feb. to 12th Oct. brown trout 15th Feb. to 12th. Oct.              Glencar stocks small brown trout but in spring their relations and friends, the salmon and grilse come for a good run. Sligo Anglers Association control fishing, permits and area details.

Contact nos. +353 (0)87 9077795 or +353 (0)86 6062073. Email:

Permits: Barton Smith, Sligo, Tel.: +353 (0) 71 9142356. House of Value, Sligo, Tel: +353 (0) 71 9171900. Glencar Water Company, Glencar.

Colgagh Lough.

Fishing commences 15th. Feb to end Sept. To get there take the R286 from Sligo for about 5km and stop at the scenic view car park. Access to the lake is limited and permission to fish should be sought from the land owner. It is best fished in the early season for brown trout.

Doon Lough.

This Lough lies about 6km west of Colgagh Lough, continue along the R286, pass Parkes Castle and take the next left to a T junction. turn right. Voilà.

The season starts 1st Mar. to end Sept. and needs a permit to fish for brown trout. It is well endowed with trout and it’s hatch is a  smaller cousin of the may fly, the olive.

Permits can be got from the Blue Haven, Dromahair, Co. Leitrim.  Tel. +353 (0) 71 916 4134. Day permits and boats are available and at a lower rate, shore fishing permits are also available.

Drumcliff River.

The season runs from 1st, Feb. to End Sept. for salmon. 1st Feb. to 12th Oct. for sea trout. 15th Feb. to 12th. Oct for brown trout.

A permit is not usually required but on some parts of the river Sligo Anglers Association have the fishing rights.

Check with the Inland Fisheries Ireland.


Grange River/Estuary.

Sea trout can be fished from 1st. Feb. to 12th. Oct. with a small salmon run.

Check with the Inland Fisheries Ireland.















Glencar Lough

Recommended Place To Stay

Aughris House B&B

Other Activities in Co. Sligo-Leitrim

Glencar Cycle Route
Horse Riding in Sligo
Golf in Sligo.
Lough Gill Cycling Loop
Fishing in Sligo-Leitrim
Benbulbin and Kings Mountain Walk