The Irish loughs are famous for their mayfly hatches that start as early as April and go through to July. Warm summer evenings herald the arrival of sedges. Toward the end of season, trout may be given a final feast of daddy long legs and olives that can produce great surface water sport. To get the best of the fishing on the loughs, you really need a boat to cover them properly and the services of an angling guide are invaluable. For example Lough Corrib is 27 miles long and 6.3 miles wide at it's widest point, with a surface area of some 70 sq miles. It would take several life times to fully familiarise yourself with this area of water, therefore a guide and boat hire are invaluable. There is no close season for coarse fishing in Ireland. Fish feeding throughout the year, particularly roach and perch, can be fished all year round. Species such as tench, bream and rudd, which are most active in warmer weather, have a natural season extending from April to October.
Most trout fisheries open between February 15th and March 17th and close on September 30th with some exceptions that close on various dates between September 15th and October 12th. Some clubs may have their own regulations on opening and closing dates. On the majority of loughs all legitimate angling methods are allowed but fly fishing is usually the method employed. It is important to check what methods are permitted on individual fisheries. It must be noted that trolling is a method that accounts for a great number of large fish from Irish loughs every year.
Many Irish rivers also have large runs of salmon with the first rains of the autumn. This autumn run often makes up the bulk of the adult salmon returning to any catchment. These fish continue to come into the systems after the season closes and so ensure productive salmon fishing on many waters right to the end of the season. All salmon rod licence holders must affix a gill tag to all retained salmon (any size), or sea trout (over 40 cm).
Salmon fishing opens on January 1 on a handful of rivers and after that the remainder of rivers open on various dates in February, March, April and May. The majority of rivers close on September 30th but some rivers remain open for sea trout fishing to October 12. The biggest run of salmon comprise of grilse or summer salmon. These are the most sporting of game fish, swift, acrobatic and ready takers of a well presented fly or lure and typically weigh from up to six pounds. The timing of the main runs varies between river systems but most begin in June.