As we‘re based in Co Meath, a lot of our clients travel from the capital to join us for fly casting lessons or guided boat fishing trips. A question I get asked all the time is “where can I go fishing near Dublin?”. My answer often surprises them. In reality, you don’t have to drive across the country to find good fishing. There are loads of really good fishing locations less than an hour’s drive from the M50. Our new motorway system provides quick access to counties Meath, Cavan and Westmeath where there are plenty of wild and beautiful places to fish.
Here’s a few suggestions for places to visit on your next fishing trip. In general, these venues are suitable for beginners as well as experienced anglers. In other words, you have a good chance of catching! I’ve deliberately focussed on fisheries that have good bank access with parking. Boat launches are available on some venues, especially the larger lakes. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive list but should give you a few ideas for your next outing.
The canals for fishing near Dublin
I’m not exaggerating when I say that the canals near Dublin have given me some of the best fishing days throughout my entire career. They can be fished all year round and are a wonderful resource, right on Dublin’s doorstep.
The Royal Canal (Dublin | Meath | Kildare | Westmeath)
The Royal Canal can provide fantastic sport for all species of coarse fish. It runs from Dublin city all the way to the River Shannon.
From Barberstown past Confey in Leixlip and on towards Maynooth there are some great stretches for coarse fishing. Float fishing or pole fishing will catch roach, perch and some tench, even the odd carp. Bring a light dropshot or casting outfit to chase perch and jack pike with small lures. The road sometimes runs along the canal and there are a few nice parking spots.
Further on, one of my favourite stretches is from Fern’s lock near Kilcock all the way to Thomastown harbour. It’s approximately 30kms long, so that’s a lot of water to fish. In the summer, float fishing in the morning or evening will produce roach, rudd, bream, tench and perch. There are some massive shoals of large bream which you can spot by sight if walking the towpath on a bright day. Specimen sized fish turn up here quite often, particularly rudd and perch. Just outside Longwood in Co Meath, at the canoe club, there is a decent car park and easy access to miles of fishing. Near Fureys Bar at Moyvally there is more good access and the option for a pint and a nice bite to eat as well! My best catch on this stretch of the Royal Canal was 84lbs of bream and tench in a single sitting. Don’t forget the pike rod. Some large fish have been recorded here. My best fish to date was a fine fish of 16lbs caught near the Hill of Down. When the canal weed dies back in wintertime, I love to roam the towpath on a frosty morning, casting pike flies or lures into likely looking spots. The wider turning bays are always worth a few casts.
The Grand Canal
This canal runs right though the city centre from the Ringsend basin, passing Baggot Street, Leeson Street, Rathmines and Dolphins barn. Fancy an early morning session before work? Bring your dropshot rod or a light spinning outfit and walk the towpath before the commuter rush starts. You’ll catch perch and pike and some nice ones too. Roach and other coarse fish are found here to and can be caught by float fishing with light tackle and using maggots as bait.
Outside the city, the canal can be easily accessed at Sallins and multiple other points as it makes its way towards Prosperous in Co. Kildare, then further on to Edenderry. There are plenty of comfortable locations along the towpath for float fishing for roach, larger bream and some fine tench. Carp can be targeted in the Edenderry basin. Certain stretches of towpath are driveable. Look for weedy cover near deeper water. Also look out for discoloured or muddied water in an otherwise crystal-clear environment. It might betray the presence of a big shoal of feeding fish. In the summer months, early mornings and evenings are best. Bring maggots, worms and sweetcorn. Loose feed regularly “little and often” and use groundbait sparingly during your fishing session.
Rivers for fishing near Dublin
The rivers of Dublin and Kildare
The Liffey, the Dodder, the Tolka, Ryewater and others provide some interesting and at times challenging trout fishing in, or close to, the capital.
For more information about locations, clubs and day tickets – https://fishinginireland.info/trout/east/dublin/liffey/
Not far from Tallaght, there is lake fishing for trout at Bohernabreena reservoir. Near Blessington in north Wicklow, you have the large expanse of the Blessington lakes and Pollaphuca reservoir. Trout fishing can be quite good. There are some very large pike here as well as roach and perch fishing. https://fishinginireland.info/trout/east/dublin/blessington/
Coarse fishing is available at limited locations on the lower reaches of the Liffey near the city. The stretch at Islandbridge can produce reasonable fishing for roach and hybrids. Leixlip reservoir holds many fish to specimen size, but access is not easy. And finally, if you really want to experience the ultimate in “urban fishing”, you could try fishing for mullet in the city centre. Shoals of large fish can be seen cruising along the quays. Ok, it’s not for everyone, but could be a useful distraction while your other half goes shopping.
The rivers of County Meath
The river Boyne and its tributaries offer some of the country’s finest river trout fishing. Most of the popular stretches are either privately owned or managed by fishing clubs but day tickets are easily available for the various club stretches and usually work out at about €15.00 for a full day’s fishing.
It’s a beautiful river, steeped in history, with many attractive towns and historical attractions along its length. At the age of seven, I caught my very first fish in the Boyne and have fished it regularly and enthusiastically over the years. It has given me many trout, occasional salmon, pike perch and eels.
All of the angling clubs have their own rules and can give advice on parking and access points. Fly fishing is the order of the day and dry fly in particular during the summer months. Good trout fishing locations can be found around Slane, Navan, Trim and Longwood. Salmon fishing is also available at certain locations, most often downstream of Navan. Many of these good fishing stretches are near enough to Dublin to squeeze in a few hours prime time fishing during the long summer evenings.
For more information about locations, clubs and day tickets – https://fishinginireland.info/trout/east/meath/boyne1/
Some lakes for fishing near Dublin
Annamoe lake in Annamoe, Co. Wicklow is a popular lake for fly fishing for stocked rainbow trout. It’s approximately 4 acres in size with parking and good access. – http://www.annamoetroutfishery.com/
Derrymore Springs – This is a recently converted gravel pit near Kinnegad. Co Westmeath. It’s stocked with rainbow trout and offers comfortable bank fishing with a nice pathway all around the lake. An unusual feature is that you can hire pedalos to explore the lake and fish from them as well ! http://www.derrymoresprings.ie/
Wavin lake, North Dublin – managed by the Gormanston anglers. A nice lake with stocked trout.
Laois Angling Centre, Coolrain (near Portlaoise) – four lakes stocked with rainbow trout and coarse fish http://www.laoisanglingcentre.ie/
Lough Ramor – this is a large lake of over 800 hectares just beside the town of Virgina in Co. Cavan. Mostly shallow, it offers decent bank fishing at various locations including the lakeside Manor Hotel, the marina in Virginia and on the opposite bank at Knocknagartern The lake is full of roach and hybrids, but there are quality bream as well. As the margins are mostly shallow, distance casting and ledgering tactics will score well. Float fishing is possible at certain spots too. Pike fishing can be good from a boat, but lots of pike anglers fish from the bank as well. The river Blackwater flows from the lake through the nine eyed bridge and then on to join the river Boyne in Navan. Along its length there is great trout fishing and the occasional salmon. Club membership or day tickets are required for the river. Fishing in the lake is considered free. Parking and slipways are available at the lakeside Manor Hotel and beside the school in the town of Virginia.
Lough Lene – this lake is a real gem and offers brilliant fishing for stocked rainbow trout and wild browns. There is excellent perch and pike fishing too. Day tickets are available from the village shop in Collinstown, Co. Westmeath. €15.00 per day. It can be fished from the bank, but boat fishing is best. The quality of fishing is very good with plenty of hard fighting trout to test your fly fishing skills. This lake has crystal clear water and a blue flag beach with good car parking, making it an ideal venue for a family day trip.
Hollow Farm pond (near the village of Maghera in Cavan) – this is a small man-made fishery stocked with carp and other coarse fish species https://www.facebook.com/people/Hollow-Farm-Fisheries/100063541902250/
Lakes of North Leinster – Around the towns of Drumconrath (Meath), Carrickmacross (Monaghan) and Kingscourt (Cavan) there are plenty of smaller lakes that offer good fishing for pike and coarse fish. They usually have good parking facilities and good bank fishing opportunities. Some of them hold large specimens of various species. Most of these lakes offer free fishing, but some may be under club management so check locally.
Whitewood Lake, Lough Brackan, Mentrim Lakes, Corstown Lake and Ballyhoe Lakes are located quite close together. All offer parking and good bank fishing. Other options nearby include Ervey lake near Kingscourt and Castle, Drumkeary and Skeagh lakes near Balieborough. Castle lake is a scenic spot with a good car park and nice lakeside walk. All of these lakes can offer reasonably good coarse fishing in the summer and pike fishing year-round. Most have good, solid fishing platforms and decent parking.
There are plenty of other lakes in this vicinity, but not all have easy access and may require landowners permission to gain entry. A polite enquiry to a local farmer can often work wonders.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a fishing day trip near Dublin and are interested in fishing any of these waters, drop me a line and I can offer tips and advice. Tight lines!
For more information on great fishing venues near Dublin, check out this link to fishing in Ireland’s Ancient East: https://fishinginireland.info/become-part-of-angling-history-in-irelands-ancient-east/