Game and coarse fishing seasons

In Northern Ireland, fishing seasons vary for different fish species and for fishery locations. Below are the fishing seasons for fisheries within the ‘Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Public Angling Estate (PAE)’ and private fisheries.

DAERA game open seasons for rod and line 

Salmon, sea trout, brown trout, rainbow trout fishing seasons:

  •  1 February to 30 September - Lough Melvin including tributaries    
  • 1 March to 30 September - Lough Erne System including tributaries
  • 1 March to 20 October – River Bush including tributaries
  • 1 March to 31 October – All other loughs and lakes 

During the closed fishing season there's no fishing in DAERA Public Angling Estate waters containing salmon, sea trout or brown trout except where DAERA has publicised particular waters as pike or coarse fisheries:

Any salmon and sea trout caught in the DAERA rod licensing area must be returned to the water unharmed so that it survives and continues its existence in its natural environment. This is known as 'catch and release':

Rainbow trout fisheries open all year

On the link below you'll find rainbow trout fisheries that you can fish throughout the year in Northern Ireland:

In the Bann catchment and County Antrim rivers, the rainbow trout season is from 1 March to 31 October (except the River Bush where the season ends on 21 October).

For a list of all the DAERA PAE waters that includes details of each waters fishing season and more, follow the link below:

You'll need a rod licence and permit 

To fish legally in Northern Ireland you will need to buy the following two items:

  • a rod licence plus
  • a permit or day ticket


Buy online:

Private fisheries game open seasons rod and line

In fisheries which aren’t in the DAERA PAE, salmon and wild brown trout fishing seasons vary:

  • in the Foyle catchment, the salmon fishing season is from 1 April to 20 October
  • in the Carlingford catchment, the season is from 1 April to 31 October

Coarse fishing season for rod and line

For pike, bream, roach, perch, tench, rudd, carp and rainbow trout fishing, there is generally no close season. However, game fisheries open seasons must be followed when fishing for coarse.

Everything you need to go fishing

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