Fish size and catch limits

You’re only allowed to keep a certain amount of the fish you catch. This is known as a ‘bag limit’. These fish must also be of a certain size. Guidelines for Northern Ireland are below.

Brown trout

In the ‘Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ (DAERA) public fisheries there’s no minimum size for brown trout. In general, a daily bag limit of four brown or four rainbow trout (or a combination of both) may be taken from the DAERA stocked fisheries. 

Map showing DAERA and Loughs Agency fisheries in Northern Ireland.
Map showing DAERA and Loughs Agency fishing areas in Northern Ireland

In the Loughs Agency managed  fisheries, the above DAERA bag limits apply.

Salmon & sea trout

DAERA fisheries

‘Catch and release*’ applies to all salmon and sea trout caught at any time in:

  1. DAERA Public Angling Estate fisheries 
  2. the following DAERA fisheries within Loughs Agency fishing areas - 
  • Loughbrickland
  • Binevenagh
  • River Roe (DAERA stretch)
  • Lough Ash
  • Moor Lough
  • Lough Braden
  • Lough Lee

There are three waters where catch and release does not apply. They are:

  •  Lough Melvin
  • Glenarm river
  • Clady river

For these waters, you can get two salmon tags for the season (dates below) from local angling clubs and this allows you to keep two salmon. Anglers can continue to fish after reaching their bag limit but all fish must be returned immediately alive and unharmed to the water.

  • 1 February until 30 September on Lough Melvin
  • 1 June to 31 October on Glenarm river and Clady river

*Catch and release fishing guidelines

Loughs Agency fisheries:

From 1 March to 31 May, one salmon or one sea trout (over 40cm) may be kept on any one day and no more than two such fish on any other day (up to 25 such fish in any calendar year).  A bag limit of four sea trout (under 40cm) applies throughout the fishing season.

Other private fishery owners: 

They have their own bag limits and minimum sizes. Check the information provided on the permit/ day ticket you buy from the fishery owner:

It is illegal to sell rod caught salmon in the DAERA area.

Pike

In DAERA fisheries all pike weighing 4kg or more must be returned alive and unharmed to the water. You can keep one pike per day under 4kg.

In Loughs Agency fisheries a bag limit of two pike under 4kg applies. However, anglers can also keep one pike per day as follows: 

  • a pike over 9kg in a river and over 13.6kg in a lake

Other coarse species

Other coarse species of fish include bream, roach, perch, carp, tench and rudd. There is a daily bag limit of four coarse fish (except pike). If you catch more than four coarse fish (except pike) in a day you must return the fish to the water from which it was taken, alive and unharmed.

Anyone who catches a coarse fish (except pike) which is greater than 25cm - measured from the tip of its snout to the fork or cleft of it tail, must return it to the water from which it was taken alive and unharmed.

It is illegal for anyone to have more than four coarse fish at any one time caught by rod and line or hand line for use as bait in fishing for pike.

Everything you need to go fishing

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.