Ireland and Scotland are recognised as being two of the world’s top destinations for freshwater and sea angling, with world-class fishing available across both countries throughout the year.
In terms of sea angling, Ireland’s 3000km coastline on the edge of the European continental shelf, where the inshore waters are warmed by the North Atlantic Drift (an offshoot of the Gulf Stream) means that the coastal waters around Ireland are teeming with fish. Visiting anglers can expect to fish for about 80 species.
Scotland’s long and rugged coast also provides fabulous angling opportunities for both boat and shore anglers. There are many quality charters available and numerous species offshore but the skate, cod and beagle shark fishing off the west coast are a favourite with visitors to Scottish shores.
Many anglers dream of catching salmon or trout and if that is your dream, then Ireland and Scotland are the places to visit.
Scotland is a great destination for salmon fishing and Atlantic salmon. The salmon season varies from river to river with the earliest starting in mid January and the latest closing at the end of November. Scotland's big four salmon rivers are the Spey, Dee, Tay and Tweed and there is also salmon fishing in lochs as well. The friendly ghillies and guides in Scotland are very knowledgeable and always happy to advise on the prime fishing spots. Scotland also has some excellent sea trout fishing.
With a huge network of rivers and loughs, anglers come back to Ireland year after year, to fish for wild salmon and sea trout. Salmon and sea trout anglers can use a wide range of methods including, bait, spinning and fly fishing to pursue their quarry.
Salmon fishing opens on January 1 on a few rivers and the rest of the rivers open in February, March, April and May. The majority of rivers close on September 30th but some rivers remain open for sea trout fishing to October 12.
The brown trout Breac Donn in Gaelic) is a native Irish species and the most widely distributed freshwater fish in Ireland. It thrives in all types of water, from small mountain streams to big rivers and loughs.
Ireland has 16,000 km of main river channel and 10,000 km of tributary which are unspoilt and relatively unpolluted. They provide an ideal habitat for trout. In addition, there are in excess of 500,000 acres (200,000 ha) of loughs.
The habitat of the wild brown trout is diminishing all over Europe so Ireland is one of the few destinations where anglers can fish for this species. And what’s more, Irish trout can be large! Every year trout over 10 lbs are caught with an occasional one weighing up to 20 lbs. The trout angler can also use a wide range of methods including bait, spinning and fly fishing.
In general a licence is not required to fish for trout in the Republic of Ireland. The majority of waters are owned either privately or by the State and many are leased to angling clubs or associations.