The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and the Loughs Agency of the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission (FCILC) are conservation bodies responsible for protecting fish stocks in Northern Ireland.
Both bodies issue angling licences in their respective jurisdictions and, on payment of a supplement, licence holders are allowed to fish in the other jurisdiction.
Licences and permits are also split into categories (Game or Coarse). Game species include brown trout, sea trout, salmon, and arctic char. Coarse species include pike, bream, roach, perch, carp, tench and rudd.
A rod licence is required by law for each fishing rod used by anyone aged 12 years and over in the DAERA area and for all ages in the FCILC area, to fish anywhere in Northern Ireland.
Please note for salmon fishing from opening day of the season until 31 May there is catch and release only.
Game Angling Licences
A game licence is required by law for each game fishing rod used by anyone over 12 years of age in the DAERA area and for all ages in the FCILC area. A licence is required by law for using a fishing rod when angling for freshwater fish. There is no requirement to have a licence for sea angling, except when fishing for salmon or sea trout.
A DAERA game licence entitles the holder to fish for either game or coarse, but with only one rod at any one time. A separate game licence is required for a second and subsequent rod being used for game or coarse.
Coarse Angling Licences
A coarse licence is required by law for each coarse fishing rod used by anyone over 12 years of age in the DAERA area and for all ages in the FCILC area. Licences are issued by either the DAERA or the FCILC depending on which area you are fishing in.
A DAERA coarse rod licence entitles the holder to use two coarse rods. A separate coarse licence is required for a third and subsequent coarse rod being used.
For further information visit nidirect.gov.uk/angling.
A permit or day-ticket is a document issued by the owner of a fishery which allows the angler the right to fish in that fishery. A fishery owner can be a private individual or a company, an angling club or in the case of the Public Angling Estate, a Government Department.
DAERA provides a Public Angling Estate of Fisheries available to tourist and local anglers on payment of a small permit fee.
A DAERA game permit entitles the holder to fish the Public Angling Estate for either game or coarse, but with only ONE rod at any ONE time. A separate game permit is required for a second and subsequent rod being used for game or coarse.
A DAERA coarse rod permit entitles the holder to use two coarse rods. A separate coarse permit is required for a third and subsequent coarse rod being used.
Holders of Concessionary permits using more than one game rod require a full adult game rod licence and game permit for his/her second and every subsequent game rod.
DAERA permits and licences can be purchased online at nidirect.gov.uk/angling or for a list of locally appointed distributors contact Fermanagh Tourist Information Centre on 028 66 32 3110.
Bag Limits & Opening Times
The bag limit for stocked fisheries is 4 trout per rod per day.
Minimum size – 25.4 cm
Salmon – from the opening day to 31st May is catch and release only. 1st June to the end of season – 2 salmon per day.
Wild Brown Trout – See individual fisheries for details of where there is a bag limit.
A minimum size of 25.4 cm applies unless otherwise stated.
From the opening day to 31st May 1 salmonid per day. After this a total of 4 salmonids per day (Salmonid means Salmon, Sea Trout and Wild Brown Trout), until 31st October.
A minimum size of 25.4 cm applies to all Salmonids. Coarse Fisheries
A daily bag limit of four coarse fish applies.
A minimum size of 25cm applies (measured from the tip of its snout to the fork or cleft of its tail).
All pike weighing 4kg (approx. 8.8lb) or more must be returned alive unharmed to the water and no more than one pike per day may be retained.
Further information available on: www.nidirect.gov.uk/angling
Angling Code of Conduct
The Public Angling Estate waters are open to everyone and it is important that people using the fisheries show sportsmanship, care for fish stocks, the environment, wildlife and fellow anglers. The purpose of this code is to encourage good standards of behaviour and discourage behaviour which may interfere with the enjoyment of all those using the water.
Rules and regulations
Anglers must ensure they have the appropriate licence and permit for the particular water. These should be carried on your person and shown to an authorised Fishery Protection Officer when requested. All anglers should obey the rules as outlined in this guide and on signs at each of the fisheries. You should also refer to the back of your licence and permit.
Protection Officers carry a warrant card which can be shown on request.
Conduct at the waterside
Please show consideration for other anglers and water users at all times and respect their right to enjoy the peace and quiet of the fishery.
Be safe, particularly when fishing near deep, fast flowing water or fishing from a slippery bank.
You should wear appropriate safety gear, be aware of all overhead power lines, and notify someone of where you intend to fish and what time you are expected to return.
You should also be aware of changing weather conditions, which affect the water you are fishing in, and always wear a life jacket when fishing from a boat. Never walk on ice-covered water. Anglers should also be aware of the dangers of Weil’s disease (an acute form of leptospirosis) which is transmitted through contact with rat’s urine in the water or on the bank side.
Fish to be returned should be handled as little as possible and placed gently back in the water. Fish to be retained should be promptly and efficiently dispatched, with a single accurate blow to the head using an appropriate priest/cosh.
Care for the environment
You should follow the countryside code at all times.
Leave no litter, do not damage fences, hedges, walls or leave gates open. You should avoid fire risk, drive carefully on country roads and always park your vehicle considerately and safely. Do not pollute waterways or reservoirs.
As an angler you should be aware that fish diseases such as the salmon parasite Gyrodactylus or invasive species such as Zebra mussels can be spread inadvertently through fishing equipment which has been in contact with infected fish, water or sediment. You should clean and disinfect all your fishing equipment regularly and particularly if it has been used overseas.