Angling methods

Each fishery in Northern Ireland will have rules on the types of fishing methods they allow. The fishing methods that are allowed in the fisheries that are part of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Public Angling Estate (PAE) are listed below.

Fishing methods on DAERA PAE

There are rules about fishing methods and using bait in the Public Angling Estate fisheries, some of these are listed below. You can be prosecuted and fined if you don't follow the rules. 

Method Illegal? The rules 
All legal methods   This means any method of angling with rod and line. As DAERA is responsible for managing fish stocks, there are times when certain rod and line methods might be illegal for a period of time.

Fly fishing


  Means the use of a single rod, reel (including a fixed spool reel), fly line or blow line and a single cast carrying not more than three artificial or winged natural flies, but does not include the use of a bubble float together with artificial or winged natural flies.

Ground bait

   Means any material used other than on a hook and designed to attract fish to natural or artificial bait. Is allowed in most coarse fisheries in Northern Ireland.  
Maggots   Means any larvae of the housefly of the Genus Musca and the bluebottle or blowfly of the Genus Calliphora and any other insect larvae.
Ground bait or maggots In some rivers

These fishing methods are not allowed in the following DAERA PAE rivers:

Agivey; Ballinamallard upstream from Ballycassidy Bridge on the B3 Road; Ballinderry (County Tyrone and County Londonderry) upstream from the footbridge over the River in the Townland of Lower Mullan; Ballymoney; Blackwater (County Armagh and County Tyrone) upstream from the bridge over the B128 Road at Blackwatertown; Callan; Clady (County Londonderry);

Colebrooke upstream from Ballindarragh Bridge on the B514 Road; Comber; Crumlin; Garvary; Glenavy; Kesh upstream from Kesh Bridge on the A35 Road; Maine; Moyola; Quoile upstream from the disused Railway Bridge near Inch Abbey; Ravarnette; Six Mile Water upstream from the Antrim Forum in Antrim Town on the A26 Road; Torrent upstream from the B28 road bridge; Upper Bann upstream from the B2 road crossing.

Spinning   Means the use of a single rod, reel (including a fixed spool reel) and line to cast or throw an artificial or natural bait and then  rewinding the line onto the drum of the reel with the bait kept in motion throughout.
Trolling   Means the drawing of a fishing line, with one or more hooks attached, through the water from a moving boat.
Worm fishing   Means the use of a single hook baited with one or more earthworms.
Dead baiting  

For pike fishing, this is only allowed on Lough Cowey, Lough Money, Craigavon North and White Lough using one rod only and you'll need to buy a game rod licence and game permit:

Game rod licence prices from DAERA 
Game angling permit prices from DAERA 

​Float tubes  Yes A float tube, also known as a belly boat or kick boat, is a small, lightweight inflatable fishing craft which anglers use to fish from.
Gaffs Yes

It is illegal to use gaffs in the DAERA PAE waters and in fisheries that are part of  'Loughs Agency of the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission' (FCILC) .

A gaff is a pole with a sharp hook on the end that is used to stab a large fish and then lift the fish. 

Fishing from boats   

Is only allowed on: Lough Achork, Brantry Lough, Castlewellan Lake, Lough Corry, Craigavon (North) Lake, Craigavon (South) Lake, Lough Creeve, Upper and Lower Lough Erne, Lough Glencreawan, Lough Keenaghan, Lough Meenameen, Mill Lough (Bellanaleck), Lough Scolban, and White Lough. 

Mechanically propelled boats, other than electrically powered boats, cannot be used for angling except on Upper and Lower Lough Erne and Craigavon (North) Lake.

The above is not the full list of fishing methods allowed on the DAERA PAE.  These can be found at the link below:

Types of fishing allowed

There are also rules about  types of fishing allowed in Northern Ireland, hook sizes and so on.  This information is available:

You should ask about specific rules which apply to the fishery when you are buying your rod licence and permit or day ticket.

Where you can fish

For a list of fisheries, go to the link below.   Includes 70 'Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs' (DAERA) fisheries also known as the Public Angling Estate (PAE)  plus the private fisheries that are open to the public. Information about each fishery can also be found here:

Everything you need to go fishing

Everything you need to go fishing in Northern Ireland: 

  • Angling -  including where to buy rod licences and permits, fish stocking figures, contact details and more

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