ESB Fishery Information
At ESB, we have the statutory responsibility of managing, conducting and preserving the fisheries throughout the Shannon, Erne, Lee and Liffey catchments. We are committed to putting significant resources into the conservation of the fisheries to ensure their accessibility and enhancing their amenity value.
ESB fisheries’ role is part of our organisation’s larger, strategic goal: our commitment to Ireland’s environment and natural landscape; and engaging sustainability as our core value; with particular focus on waterways and fish stocks.
While every angling permit issued by ESB, or approved permit agents, clearly sets out the angling regulations applying to ESB-controlled fisheries, it should be noted that these fisheries are also subject to regulations and bye-laws issued by Inland Fisheries Ireland and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
All angling permits issued by ESB or ESB-approved agents must be available for inspection by ESB and Inland Fisheries Ireland staff. Any angler found to be in breach of angling regulations on ESB-controlled fisheries may have their ESB permit withdrawn without notice. Inland Fisheries Ireland staff are authorised to withdraw ESB angling permits from any angler found to be in breach of angling regulations.
ESB Fisheries controls angling rights in the following catchments;
- Lower Shannon
- Mulcair River
- Assaroe Lake
ESB Permit Information
Stand Up Paddleboards (SUPs)
The use of stand up paddleboards (SUPs) is not permitted at this time on ESB Reservoirs. ESB recognises the growing interest in this activity in recent years and continues to liaise with the appropriate governing bodies in relation to the governance of this emerging sport. It is understood that further safety guidelines and online training programmes will be finalised by the relevant government bodies during 2022 . Due to the particular risks such as potential underwater hazards and rocks on our reservoirs, ESB is reluctant to permit the sport at this time on our reservoirs. ESB will continue to monitor developments in relation to the management of safety with the governing bodies and will review its’ position as further details emerge.
Eel Trap and Transport activities
ESB is committed to Ireland's environment and natural landscape, with sustainability our core value. We operate a trap and transport programme for migrating silver eel. Juvenile eel (elvers) coming from the Atlantic Ocean are captured in elver boxes and released into freshwater habitats upstream of the stations. When fully grown, the adult eels move downstream and are captured in large river nets. They are released downstream of the stations where they continue their ocean migration. In recent years, ESB's Trap and Transport programme has accounted for the majority of eels transported in this manner across Europe.
In the first video, ESB fisheries biologist Dr Dennis Doherty describes how upstream-migrating juvenile eels are captured downstream of Ardnacrusha before they are transported and released above the station to continue their migration up the Shannon catchment.
In our second video, Tom O’Brien of ESB describes how downstream-migrating adult silver eels are captured in Athlone by traditional fishermen, to be then transported by road and released downstream of the Parteen Weir
Contact ESB Fisheries
ESB Fisheries Office, Ardnacrusha, Co Clare
M: 087 - 0525103
ESB does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred to any person or property on ESB property unless caused intentionally or recklessly by ESB. All persons permitted onto ESB property must take care for their own safety and well-being and must supervise those accompanying them.
Anglers must respect the rights of property and land owners whose land or property they may have to cross or whose land they occupy while fishing. Lighting fires or any other damage caused by a permit holder will be considered a breach of the permit conditions and the permit will be withdrawn.
Permits must be available at all times for inspection by ESB personnel or Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) Officers. ESB reserve the right to refuse to furnish further annual, weekly or daily permits to any person found to be in breach of IFI or ESB angling egulations.
ESB or IFI Officers may withdraw permits without notice upon breach of any of the IFI or ESB angling conditions therein. ESB reserves the right to close all or any part of the listed fisheries, at any time, if doing so is considered necessary to conserve fish stocks.
The River Shannon
Note: Salmon angling is prohibited for the Upper Shannon with only the Lower Shannon open for the 'catch and Release' of Salmon.
The River Shannon is the longest river in Ireland and has a total main channel length of almost 400 km. Its catchment area covers approximately 17% of the country (approximately 6,060 sq. miles). The river rises in the mountains of West Cavan and flows south for 257.5 km to the tide at Limerick. The largest of its lakes are: Lough Allen (35 sq.km), Lough Ree (105 sq.km) and Lough Derg (117 sq.km) With the most important tributaries of the Shannon being:
|To the West||To the East|
The River Shannon is home to some excellent coarse, trout and pike fishing. ESB controls the fishing rights of the entire River Shannon under the Shannon Fisheries Act (1935). The role of maintenance and preservation of the entire fishery resources is undertaken by ESB Fisheries Conservation. The River Shannon fisheries are managed in co-operation with:
Shannon Catchment Areas for Angling
Note: Salmon angling is prohibited for the Upper Shannon.
The Mid-Shannon catchment lies between Lough Ree and Derg, along with many quiet backwaters and the River Suck joining the Shannon at Shannonbridge.
Lough Derg is the largest of the Shannon lakes at over 30 km in length. It is considered a mixed fishery with excellent trout fishing. The lower end of the lake towards Killaloe tends to be the best part of the lake for brown trout fishing.
The Portumna catchment has a steady population of quality bream. Shoals of roach and hybrids feed all year round, and many more move out of Lough Derg and into the river in spring and summer. There are quality roach to 2 lbs, and some large hybrids.
Best fishing times are from March to October, when the river is in full flow; warm and overcast summer days in Lough Derg provide good fishing conditions, especially for bream.
15th March to 30th September
Access is generally good, especially around the towns of Athlone, Shannonbridge, Banagher and Portumna. Salmon fishing is available on the following rivers:
- Big Brosna
- Little Bosna
Note: The Lower Shannon is open for the 'Catch and Release' of salmon.
Castleconnell Salmon Fishery is located on the River Shannon, approximately 11 km up river of Limerick City and about a 45 minute drive from Shannon Airport. It is one of the most prestigious Salmon Fisheries in Ireland, well known for its angling.
February 1st to September 30th - Castleconnell Salmon Fishery operates seven days a week, during daytime hours only.
Castleconnell Salmon Fishery is about 7.2 km long, comprising of six beats (a stretch of water fished by an angler) of 800 metres each. Each beat permits four rods per beat and each beat has up to six pools. Please see below regarding the accessibility of each beat.
|1||Located on the Limerick side of the fishery, adjacent to Castleconnell Village.||Pass through the village of Castleconnell and the beat is upstream of the village.|
|2||Located on the Limerick side of the fishery, adjacent to Castleconnell Village.||Opposite the sign for Scanlan Park Housing Estate. There is a public right of way to this beat by Island House.|
|3||Located on the Limerick side of the fishery, adjacent to Castleconnell Village.||Via the Castleconnell car park.|
|4||Located on the Clare side of the fishery, adjacent to Clonlara Village.||Crossing the Footbridge at Beat 3. Access from the Co. Clare side through the village of Clonlara to the Anglers Rest Pub at Doonass.|
|5+6||Located at the back road from Castleconnell to Limerick.||Turn right at the sign for Ahane GAA Club/ Clareville Waterworks.|
Note: The Lower Shannon is open for the 'Catch and Release' of salmon.
The principal salmon areas in Limerick city and its surroundings are:
- Longshore Fishery
- Corbally Falls
- The Falls
- The Cut
February 1st to September 30th
The Mulcair River is a tributary of the River Shannon, joining the Shannon near Annacotty. It is a spate river, comprising of approximately 32 kms of fishable water and subject to sudden variations in water levels. This fishery is an important salmon and trout angling water. It is popular both as a fly and spinning fishing river.
Note: The Mulcair is open for the 'Catch and Release' of salmon. All salmon must be carefully handled and immediately returned to the wild. It is prohibited to use or attempt to use worms as bait or any fish hook other than a single barbless hook.
The best times for salmon fishing at Mulcair River are from late spring, through summer to September. Optimum grilse fishing is from mid-June through to September, when water levels permit and especially during wet summers as the grilse can move more quickly. In drier conditions, salmon angling is dependent on the occasional flood. Noted optimum salmon fishing spots have been found below Annacotty weir; below Annacotty Bridge at Lanes Weir; and upstream of Annacotty at Ballyclough.
The fishery holds very good stock of small brown trout on the upper stretches of the river up to the Bilboa River, Cappaghmore. On the main river, trout of 25 cm to 35 cm can be frequently caught.
1st March to 30th September
There is good access to Mulcair river with roads running parallel to both banks. Recognised entrances along the left bank and at the bridges from Annacotty include: Abbington, Brittas, Kileenagarriff, Dromkeen and Cappamore Bridges. Car parking available at Longfield and Abbington.
This fishing area is located on Blessington Lake on the River Liffey catchment. It is managed as a mixed fishery (trout and coarse), and it is approximately 600 metres above sea level, surrounded by 56 km of shoreline. The lake offers excellent coarse and pike fishing.
- Coarse Fishing: November 1 – September 30
- Trout Fishing: March 1 – September 30
Inniscarra and Carrigadrohid Reservoirs
Inniscarra and Carrigadrohid Reservoirs are located on the River Lee, upstream of the two hydro power stations. The lakes are predominantly associated with coarse fishing for bream, rudd, roach, pike and perch. Inniscarra and Carrigadrohid Reservoirs are located approximately 12 km from Cork City and 6 km from Blarney Village.
Pike are particularly in abundance downstream of Carrigadrohid generating station and pike fishing at Macloneigh Bridge and the area known locally as the Gearagh on the main Macroom-Cork Road has proven popular.
Fishing hotspots include: Innisleena, Dripsey Arms, Rooves Bridge, The Caumruad, Carrigadrohid, Dunisky, Farranvarrigane and New Bridge.
The River Erne has a catchment area of 4,374 sq. km, rises in Co. Cavan and flows for almost 100 km through Loughs Gowna and Oughter and Upper and Lower Lough Erne before entering the sea at Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal
ESB owns fishing rights in the Lower River Erne, Assaroe Reservoir and some tributaries in Co. Donegal. The remaining catchment area of the Erne is under control of Northern Ireland’s Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). The Joint Erne Protection Committee (JEPC) administers the entire Erne catchment. There is good trout and coarse fishing available on the River Erne.
The Ballyshannon hatchery has been operating since 1983 and is located immediately downstream of Cathaleen’s Fall generating station. It is a salmon conservation hatchery with no commercial remit. The water intake for the hatchery is taken at 4.2m depth from Assaroe Reservoir.
The northern shore is accessed via the Knader Road out of Ballyshannon. The Lakeside Centre is located just outside Ballyshannon to the left on the Belleek Road (R230).
At the Ballyshannon hatchery, the River Erne salmon breeding programme takes place. This initiative, which is supervised by NUI Galway, involves dividing up the Erne ranched salmon into two groups: Grilse and multi-sea winter (MSW) salmon. The two lines are held separately and mating is on a one to one basis to ensure genetic diversity.
Designated characteristics for returning adult salmon:
- Female salmon up to 71 cm and male salmon up to 84 cm are considered to be sea-winter salmon (1SW) or grilse.
- Salmon larger than this are considered to be multi sea-winter (MSW) salmon.
Erne Fishery – Assaroe Lake
Assaroe Lake is located east of Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal. It is a 234 hectare artificial lake created by the Cathleen's Fall and Cliff Hydro schemes. The lake is controlled by ESB. Assaroe is home to large shoals of bream, perch and roach and some pike. The pike range in size from small jacks to fish well in excess of 40 lb. Fly fishing for the pike is also becoming more popular each season.