The River Foyle flows from the confluence of the rivers Finn and Mourne at the towns of Lifford in County Donegal, Republic of Ireland, and Strabane in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. From here it continues to the City of Derry, where it discharges into Lough Foyle and, ultimately, the Atlantic Ocean. The River Foyle and its tributaries have a drainage catchment area of some 1,130 square miles.
The River Foyle is also notable for the physical diversity and natural condition of the banks and channels, especially in the upper reaches, and the richness of its plant and animal communities.
Fishing on the the River Foyle
The river is primarily renowned as a salmon and sea trout river and the fishing season runs from 1st April to 20th October. There is a variety of ownerships wherein some waters are in public ownership, some are private and others are leased to clubs.
The River Foyle is one of the top salmon producing rivers in Ireland. Salmon fishing is most effective when the tide is out and with low water conditions upstream in the tributaries. River levels can directly affect the fising, for example a rise of six inches in the River Finn can put the River Foyle out of order.
The River Foyle has the largest population of Atlantic salmon in Northern Ireland, with around 15% of the estimated spawning numbers. The majority of the salmon returning are grilse (single wintering salmon), with a smaller but important number of spring salmon (multi-wintering salmon) also occurring. Research has indicated that individual sub-catchments within the system support genetically distinct salmon populations.
The Foyle Bridge crosses the river just north of Derry.