Fishing licences and permits
Fishing for sport or recreation is known as angling. In Ireland, angling is regulated by the government agency Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). The main function of IFI is to advise the Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications, about the conservation, protection, management, development and improvement of inland fisheries and sea angling. The IFI also 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 is divided into the following categories:
Some species of fish are protected in Ireland including salmon, sea trout, sea bass, molluscs, eels and all freshwater fish. You must get a state licence to fish for salmon or sea trout in Ireland.
Fish populations in inland waterways can be negatively affected by water pollution, fish kills and other problems. The IFI has a fish stock management programme that restores fish populations in affected areas. Fish stock management has also been used to enhance the status of fisheries and to protect and conserve species. Read more about fish farms in Ireland.
Protection of resources
Inland Fisheries Ireland, the Irish Naval Service, the Aer Corps and An Garda Síochána are all involved in protecting Ireland’s inland and sea fishery resources. These agencies have a national patrol plan that coordinates protection and surveillance operations. They have a visible presence in waters and powers to prosecute offenders (and confiscate illegal nets, equipment, tackle and catch).
Tagging and recording salmon catches
There is a system of tagging and recording the details of all commercial and recreational salmon catches. Similar systems are used by Canada, France, Spain and the US. Tagging provides valuable catch statistics and an estimate of salmon stocks.
All salmon (and sea trout over 40cm) that are kept must be tagged and logged in a logbook. You must return your completed logbook and any unused tags to the IFI by 19 October each year. You should use the pre-printed envelope supplied at the time of purchase. You must return your logbook and tags, even if you did not catch any fish. Further information on the Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme is available on IFI's angling website fishinginireland.info.
- The majority of waters in Ireland are owned either privately or by the State. A fishing permit issued by the owner of the waterway gives you the right to fish for a fixed period of time ranging from a day to a season.
- The only legal way to catch freshwater fish 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 get a State fishing licence, tags and a separate fishing permit in order to fish for salmon and sea trout. The cost and duration of permits will vary. (See ‘How to apply’).
- Most fisheries close on 30 September each year (though some 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 or the Ballinakill district, including at sea from Hags Head in County Clare to Clew Bay (and in any waters flowing into Clew Bay) in the Bangor fishery district south of a line drawn due east and west through Achill Head.
- On some waters, "fly-only" regulations or other restrictions may be in place. Check with the owner of the waterway or your local Fisheries District Office for more information.
Find further information on fishing regulations.
You need a state licence to fish for salmon or sea trout. You can purchase a licence for a period of one day or up to a year. Information on licences and their cost is available on the Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) angling website, where you can also purchase the licence online.
Having a licence to fish for salmon and sea trout does not entitle you to fish. You may also need to get a fishing permit or permission from the fisheries owner. In general, a fishing permit costs from €20 to €50 a day. Some of the more exclusive fisheries can be more expensive.
How to apply
Contact your local fishing tackle shop, your local Fisheries District Office or Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) for more information about fishing licences, permits and angling in your area.
Where to apply