The beautiful River Bann provides the perfect experience for every angler. It rises in the Mourne mountains and flows into and then out of Lough Neagh - the largest freshwater lake in the Europe.
The Upper Bann is a medium-sized river noted for its brown trout fishing, which can be good throughout the season, but especially so when there are hatches of black gnats or blue winged olives. Salmon and dollaghan may be present in June, but it is generally later in the season before there are significant numbers.
The 38 mile long Lower Bann flows in a northerly direction from Lough Neagh to the sea, draining the mainly agricultural 4,500 square kilometre Lough Neagh catchment area. This includes almost half of the land area of Northern Ireland as well as part of the Republic of Ireland. As a result of the catchment size, the Lower Bann is a large river in a UK/Irish context, being almost 200 feet wide along most of its length. Consequently, a winter flood can produce a flow of around 300 cubic metres per second (66,000 gallons) - one of the largest known in these islands.
There are four major tributaries, all of which are ideal game fish habitat; the Clady, Agivey, Macosquin, and Ballymoney rivers, all but the latter joining from the west, having risen in the Sperrin Mountains. The Moyola river enters Lough Neagh only a mile or two from the entrance to the Lower Bann and, for angling purposes, can be considered as part of the Lower Bann catchment.
Another important feature of the Lower Bann is that is a controlled river, to the extent that it contains five sets of locks and three sets of sluice gates along its length. These are part of a scheme started 160 years ago which also included blasting out rocky outcrops to control flows coming out of Lough Neagh.
Fishing the Bann estuary
Both features were implemented to help remove excess water levels as quickly as possible during flood conditions and to maintain navigable flows during drier periods. As a result a large proportion of the river is deep with slow flows and is ideal for coarse fish and pike. The tributaries and the parts of the main channel circumvented by canals and locks still have ideal game fishing stretches, with fast flows and a good mixture of pools and riffles.