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Tuesday, 2022-08-09

Erne-Shannon Explored

Erne-Shannon on DVD

Pike Fishing Lough Derg – a Diary (German)

Fishing for a Lifetime

Fishing Trial Bay, Upper lough Erne, for pike and perch

The Erne-Shannon complex, including rivers, canals, lakes and the big Loughs, of course would take a lifetime to fish and explore.   That means we can only just scratch the surface here.  There are literally thousands of places to fish en route from Ballyshannon to Limerick and beyond.

Most of the waters under this heading would not attract the game angler, pike, perch, rudd, roach and bream are the dominant species here.  And not to forget, the eel.


Big shoals of perch in Upper Lough Erne

Fishing can be exceptionally good

In recent years the fishing has suffered somewhat, due to the usual pollution modern societies produce.

But there are still places where the fishing can be exceptionally good.

Almost everywhere are slips to launch a boat from, angling-platforms and stiles.  Coarse fishing is generally free in Ireland, but always ask locally for permission.

Perch for dinner

Do not open gates or cross farmland without permission.

Fishermen should always take care to see that the necessary permissions are obtained from the land - or fishery owners. The normal access to waters is over stiles.

Do not open gates and park cars in fields.

At all times respect landowners' property. Keep the waterside clean and bring your litter home.


Ballyshannon at the Erne, Ireland's oldest town

On the Banks of the Erne River

Ballyshannon, regarded as Ireland's oldest town, lies directly at the banks of the Erne River.

There is good fishing for sea and slob trout right in the middle of Ballyshannon, at the Mall Quay.  Here the long estuary of the Erne begins and is fishable right down to the Atlantic.

Wolfgang Mensching with a pike from the Erne system

Pike fishing

Assaroe Reservoir lies just above the Hydro Power dam.  Though there is a head of biggish brown trout in here, the water is better known for it's pike fishing.  Specimen of over 35 lbs have been caught.

In autumn a lot of big eels are caught here, when they are on their way back to the sea.  The entire Erne estuary, by the way, can be regarded as good eel-water.

Water levels can fluctuate and make the fishing unpredictable.

Around Ballyshannon you will find about 30 lakes with a good stock of pike.  Some hold also perch.  Most of these water are easily fished from the banks.






The Bet, Part 1


Bridge across the Erne at Belleek

Directly on the Erne River

Lying directly on the Erne River in County Fermanagh, Belleek is the most westerly village in Northern Ireland. The town is bordered by Co. Donegal in the Rep. of Ireland.

Belleek's main attraction is its picturesque location. This, combined with many areas of historical and natural interest, attract tourists from far and wide every year.



Erne River at Belleek

Erne River, Assaroe Reservoir and Lower Lough Erne

Erne River, Assaroe Reservoir and Lower Lough Erne are very close, as well as numerous smaller lakes.  Most freshwater-species found in Ireland can be caught in and around Belleek.

Particularly pike and eel fishing in river and reservoir attracts many anglers.



The Bet, Part 2. Lower Lough Erne and the encounter.

Lower Lough Erne

Dietrich Bohnhorst with a nice brown trout from Lower Lough Erne

Famous for Brown Trout fishing

Not far from Belleek is Lower Lough Erne. It is famous for Brown Trout fishing, especially when the mayfly is up, from late May to the middle of June.
The lake is huge, 20 miles or so long and very deep in places, but most of the trout are caught in the shallow regions.

A paradise for birds, wild flowers and fishermen, Lough Erne is a magnificent waterway for cruising and boating.

In many places there are stiles and angling platforms for easy access to the waters.

In general: the best trout fishing is at the lower (Belleek) end of the Lough.  Closer to Enniskillen the coarse fishing takes over.


Enniskillen Castle

Built on an island

Approaching the ancient town of Enniskillen from the water, makes you aware of the fact, that it is built on an island, separating Upper and Lower Lough Erne.

The strategic importance of Enniskillen becomes obvious, when you come through the bridges and there is the Castle right in front of you, almost like a fortress.


The Bridges at Enniskillen Castle

Good fishing

Good fishing can be found right in the middle of Enniskillen, either directly from the banks or from jetties.

The town is known for great catches of bream and rudd and regularly hosts international competitions.

There are tackle shops here and besides the right gear you can obtain all relevant information.


The Bet, Part 3. Hungry on Upper Lough Erne and a feast in Fermanagh.

Upper Lough Erne

On the Upper Erne

A maze of islands

Once on Upper Lough Erne, the straightforward layout of the river is pretty soon gone, there is nothing but , channels and water around you.

All of a sudden one island looks like the other and you have at least three different routes to choose from.




The Bet, Part 4. Getting lost somewhere and getting pissed in Ballyconnell.

Seppi Höhna with an Erne pike

An amazing waterway

Upper Lough Erne is an amazing waterway. In some places it is just a narrow channel, in others it is five miles wide. There are 154 islands on Upper Lough Erne, or so they say.

There are angling platforms at many places and fishing for perch with a small spinner can be great fun here.  Most people come for the pike though, that's what Upper Lough Erne is famous for.



The Bet, Part 5. Through the locks and a pike for Mr. Linus.


A mooring at Leitrim

Good coarse fish waters

Just outside of Leitrim Village is the place where we met the mighty Shannon.

There are some good coarse fish waters around Leitrim, some even hold tench.  But the most common species would be roach and bream.

Of course perch and pike are in these waters also.



The Bet, Part 6. A nosh in Ballinamore and fake tenting.

View down to Lough Scur, County Leitrim

Necessary permissions

Fishermen should always take care to see that the necessary permissions are obtained from the land - or fishery owners. The normal access to waters is over stiles.

Do not open gates and park cars in fields.

At all times respect landowners' property. Keep the waterside clean and bring your litter home.


Shannon-Erne Waterway

Shannon-Erne Waterway, Lock 1

A series of canals, rivers and lakes

The Shannon-Erne Waterway is actually a series of canals, rivers and lakes. They link the two rivers.

There are 34 stone bridges and 16 locks at the waterway. It is 63 kilometres long; that would be about 40 miles in real measurements.



Towards Haughton's Shore

The Shannon-Erne Waterway was first built in the 1840s, but only very few boats used it then. Steam engine and railroad brought the transport of goods on Irish waterways practically to a halt.
The banks of the canal soon caved in and grew over, making big stretches unship able.
When my memory serves me right, the channels were renewed in the 1980s and 90s, then reopened in the mid nineties for recreational use only.



The Bet, Part 7. Leaving the "Black Pigs" behind and rough tenting.

Mr. Rüdiger Trautmann fishing the waterway for pike

Practically coarse fish water

The entire complex of the Shannon-Erne Waterway is practically coarse fish water, the canal itself can produce good fishing for bream, rudd and roach, but carries usually a lot of traffic and the many lakes seem to be the better option.  Lough Garadice, Lough Scur, Ballymagauran Lough are all worth a try.

For detailed information enquire locally.  Angling centres are Ballyconnell and Ballynamore.







Carrick on Shannon

Carrick on Shannon Bridge

One of Ireland's top coarse angling centres

Carrick-on-Shannon is regarded as one of Ireland's coarse angling centres.
Apart from the River Shannon itself, there are 41 lakes.  The river is stocked with bream, rudd, roach, tench and pike.

Fishing can be pretty good right in the middle of town.



A marina at Carrick on Shannon

It is an ideal centre for the visiting angler with good fishing, entertainment, forest walks and boating readily available.

On the Shannon big bags of roach can be caught at Battlebridge, Hartley, Jamestown and Drumsna, not to forget downtown Carrick itself. Lough Aduff and Tully are noted for large tench up to 7 lbs. Carrickport Lake, Lough Bran and Bog Lake boast big shoals of bream.


The Bet, Part 8. Sore behinds on the Shannon and pints in Roosky.


Roosky, a coarse fish centre at the Shannon

Village on the river Shannon

Roosky is a village on the river Shannon and a well known angling and boating centre.

The River Shannon and its tributaries, the Rynn and Eslin rivers together with Pigeon Island Bay (on the Shannon) Bog, Gortinty, Cloonboniagh, Rynn and Aduff lakes are the most popular waters in the locality.

The main species to be caught are bream, pike, roach, perch, rudd, eels and tench as well as brown trout. Bream catches of 800 lbs, 300 lbs, 160 lbs and 100 lbs have been recorded in the locality.


Mighty Lough Ree

Mixed fishery with good stocks of trout

Lanesborough is located at the head of Lough Ree. According to legend Queen Maeve was killed on an island here, before she was buried on Knocknarea near Sligo.
And, Lough Ree has it's own monster. Not as famous as Nessie, but all the same. When my memory serves me right, it was spotted last in spring of 1960. There you are.




The Bet, Part 9. Stormy weather on Lough Ree and a culture evening in Athlone.

Lough Ree and our bathtub

Lough Ree is the second largest lake on the River Shannon system. It is a large limestone water of 10,500 hectares.  It is classed as a mixed fishery with good stocks of trout, pike and coarse fish.  The trout average between 1lb to 2lbs.





Historic Athlone

At the southern End of Lough Ree

Straddling the Shannon at the southern end of Lough Ree lays the thriving town of Athlone, where old and new tries to find a harmonious blend.

Below Athlone the Shannon widens and soon has broad reed margins on both sides.



Hodson Bay at night

The pike fishing is excellent along the marina stretch of the river.  There can be some good trout fishing right under the bridge in the town, particularly when the mayfly is up.

Well worth a visit are the Castle and St Peter and Paul's church on the west bank of the Shannon.




The Bet, Part 10. A bit of lilting and raw sausages in Clonmacnoise.


Clonmacnoise at the Shannon

Oozing history

The entire area is oozing history. It is an ancient site right in the centre of Ireland, was something like a crossroads or junction of river and road travel to the Old Celts.
Saint Cierán built the first church here in the 6th century.




In the centre of Ireland

Clonmacnoise developed into a very important centre of religion, learning and trade.
Missionaries went from here to Europe and founded monasteries there. They must have been pretty hardy people.

All the usual corse fish the Shannon produces can be caught here, pike, perch, bream.




The Bet Part 11. A farewell at Bannagher and an unforgettable birthday.


The wide Shannon at Bannagher

Occasionally salmon

Banagher, located right in the heart of Ireland, has a lot of fishing to offer.

River Shannon, River Brosna, Lough Derg, Lough Allen and the Grand Canal.





The jetty at Bannagher

The relatively unpolluted waters are home to all types of fish-even the occasional salmon, but perch, pike, brown trout, bream, eels, roach and rudd are regularly caught.






A place every coarse fish angler wants to be

Portumna is located on the River Shannon at the Northern end of Lough Derg in Co Galway. There are several angling hotspots, a good few of them are official match stretches.  They are on the river Shannon itself and the famous Northern Shores of Lough Derg.






The Bet, Part 12. It has been a long way to Tipperary.

The Shannon above Portumna

Spring fishing can be brilliant when shoals of Roach and Hybrids leave the vast waters of Lough Derg and move upstream into the river around Portumna.

Lough Derg was once a great trout fishery, but has declined somewhat in recent years, the fishing is not what it used to be.

For more information on the Erne-Shannon complex use the search facility and have a look at our Diary section.