Gone fishing in Clare - an angler's paradise

21 July, 2021

Medieval, magical and musical, the little town of Ennis is beautifully nestled into the curves of the River Fergus, north of its entry to the majestic Shannon Estuary. But along with the history and culture offered by Ennis and Clare, the area also has an impressive reputation for fishing that goes back some 200 years: through the ages, anglers have tested their prowess and luck against the wild Atlantic salmon, brown trout and pike that call these waters home. Now this beautiful fishing heaven is waiting to welcome you… 

Fishing in Clare
Fishing in Clare

Where goodness flows  

The ancient heart of the nutrient-rich Burren landscape is where the River Fergus rises, going on to flow through seven lakes before it reaches Ennis and the Shannon Estuary. It’s a freshwater journey rich with nutrients, ensuring fish enjoy the best of waters and, unsurprisingly, a large angling district has developed – spanning both the river and the many lakes in the catchment area. 

The Burren’s limestone base is the secret to the wealth of beautiful brown trout offered up by the Fergus and caught every year - many weighing over 2lbs and larger. As an angler, you’ll do best choosing the dry fly-fishing method which is most commonly used, as these flies are associated with limestone-rich rivers. You’ll find the best trout waters upriver of Ennis on the lower stretches of the water, especially around the area of Knox’s Bridge. Just bear in mind that the river can weed-up in midsummer – limiting fishing at this time.  

For lazy lake days  

There are many lakes in the area that are well worth a visit for a family day out, or to treat yourself to a little calm and tranquillity. The lakes themselves are generally brown trout fisheries and promise some rewarding expeditions.  

Dramatic Dromore Lakes (Black and Ballyline Lakes) 

Linked together, Black and Ballyline Lakes are located on the Fergus near the quaint village of Ruan, just north of Ennis. The River Fergus and the Millbrook River both flow into Ballyline Lake. Here is home to a small stock of good-sized trout, and both lakes are good spawning waters. Your chances of landing a wild brown trout are good, with trout ranging from 1lb to 3lbs or occasionally larger. Again, the lakes fish better earlier in the year - from open season up to the end of May or early June. 

Dromore Woods lake
Dromore Woods

Lovely Lough Inchiquin  

Inchiquin is located about one kilometre outside the village of Corofin and just 10 kilometres from Ennis. The lake is currently being developed by the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board as a trout fishery. Primarily an early season lake, it offers the best fishing open season from mid-February to May and again in September. This is a deep lake and you’ll find its most productive areas along the shoreline or adjacent to the islands. Some of the popular stretches include Bog Bay (opposite the carpark), as well as the bay where the River Fergus enters the lake.  

Lough Inchquin in Co.Clare
Lough Inchquin

The right stuff  

For boat hire, tackle and ghillies, head to O’Callaghan’s (Day Break) in Corofin Village. You can reach them on +353 65 6827047. A colourful and traditional family business, Tierney’s in Ennis is also well worth a visit, offering an extensive range of tackle suited to local fishing along with friendly advice and tips. They can be contacted on +353 656829433