Fishing licences and permits
Angling is regulated by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), a State body established in July 2010 following the amalgamation of the Central Fisheries Board and the seven former Regional Fisheries Boards into a single agency. The main function of Inland Fisheries Ireland is to advise the Minister on policy relating to the conservation, protection, management, development and improvement of inland fisheries and sea angling. It ensures that national and local fisheries laws are observed in both inland waterways and out to the 12 mile fishing limit off the coast. It also ensures that Ireland's fisheries resources are protected and conserved.
Angling in Ireland is divided into the following categories: coarse, game, sea, pike, and river trout. Protected fisheries species in Ireland include salmon, sea trout, sea bass, molluscs, eels and all freshwater fish. State licences are required in order to fish for salmon or sea trout in any part of Ireland.
One of the effects of water pollution, fish kills and other problems is that fish populations in inland waterways can be affected. The IFI has a fish stock management programme in place to restore fish populations in affected areas. Fish stock mangement has also been used to enhance the status of fisheries and to address issues such as protection and conservation of species. Read more about fish farms in Ireland here.
Protection of resources
Inland Fisheries Ireland, the Irish Naval Service, the Aer Corps and an Garda Siochana are all involved in the protection of Irish inland and sea fishery resources. Under a national patrol plan all protection and surveillance operations are co-ordinated.
The aim of the patrol and surveillance services is to create a deterrant to illegal activity by ensuring maximum visible presence in waters and to prosecute offencers and confiscate illegal nets, equipment, tackle and catch.
Tagging and logging salmon catches
A system of tagging and recording details of all commercial and recreational salmon catches in Ireland was introduced in 2000. This system of tagging and recording details of salmon caught is similar to systems in place in Canada, France, Spain and in the US. The tagging scheme provides valuable catch statistics and estimations of stocks on rivers.
All salmon (and sea trout over 40cm) kept must be tagged and the logbook filled out accordingly. You are required to return your completed logbook and any unused tags by the 19th October of the relevant year. Even if you did not fish or catch any fish, you must return your logbook and tags. Further information on the Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme is available on Inland Fisheries Ireland's angling website fishinginireland.info.
- The majority of waters in Ireland are owned either privately or are owned by the State. A fishing permit issued by the owner of the waterway gives you the right to fish for varying periods ranging from a day to a season.
- The only legal way to catch freshwater fish in Ireland is by rod and line. It is illegal for one person to use more than two rods at a time.
- It is illegal to use live fish as bait.
- You must obtain a State Fishing licence, tags and a separate fishing permit in order to fish for salmon and sea trout. Prices and duration of permits will vary. (See how to apply).
- Most fisheries close on 30 September each year (with a few exceptions that close on various dates between 15 September and 12 October). Check with your local IFI office for further information.
- It is illegal to keep or kill any sea trout in Connemara (western Ireland) or the Ballinakill district (above Connemara).
- It is illegal to sell rod-caught salmon or sea trout over 40cm between 1 January and 31 October in any year.
- On some waters, "fly-only" regulations or other restrictions may in place. Check with the owner of the waterway or your local Fisheries District Office for more information.
More information on fishing regulations is available here.
A State Licence is required to fish for salmon and sea trout. You can purchase a licence for a period of one day up to a licence for a year. Information on the range of licences available and their cost is available on Inland Fisheries Ireland's angling website where you can also purchase the licence online.
While a licence is required to fish for salmon and sea trout it does not entitle you to fish. Fishing permits or permission from fisheries owners is also usually required and must be obtained separately. In general, a fishing permit costs from €20 to €50 a day.
How to apply
Contact your local fishing tackle shop, your local Fisheries District Office or Inland Fisheries Ireland for more information about fishing licences, permits and angling in your area.