River Fishing in West Cork
After rainfall the Ilen River upstream from Skibbereen (and The West Cork Hotel) often holds plentiful sea trout and salmon. Much of the fishing is controlled by the River Ilen Anglers Club who issue daily and weekly permits to visitors: These permits are for sale at reception at The West Cork Hotel where we can also advise on membership of the Ilen Anglers Club. We can also, by prior arrangement, organise escorted fishing trips, or arrange "phone-advice sessions’’ with members of the Angler’s Club, in particular with Jerome van Ryt, whose local expertise is invaluable.
It is worth pointing out that the Ilen is not like the Tweed in Scotland where fish are plentiful all year round. The Ilen is a spate river – therefore runs of salmon, especially, are dependent on adequate water levels. You need rain, and luck, on the Ilen.
For intending anglers, it is worth remembering that a state license is also required. The season for salmon and sea trout begins on 15th February and closes 30th September. A few spring salmon start to enter the river in April and May. They average about 10 lbs 4.5 kg, though larger fish have been recorded. The run of peal grilse begins in June and continues through July and August.
Fly fishing, spinning and worming are the usual methods. Prawn and shrimp are not permitted.
In April and May, with sufficient rainfall, there is usually a small run of good sea trout up to 5 lbs 2.3 kg , followed in July and August by an excellent run of smaller fish of about lb 230 g , known as ‘’juniors’’ . During daylight hours, sea trout may be taken on light tackle with worms and small spinners. Worming, however, is not permitted before 1st March . However, the cream of the fishing is with the fly from dusk onwards. Shepperton Lakes on the Cork Road, 3 miles beyond Skibbereen are regularly stocked with rainbow trout during the season (1st April to 30th September) . The lakes also hold wild brown trout and pike, as well as small rudd. Successful methods for trout are fly, worm with a float, and, of course, spinning. Fly fishing is best from a boat – The West Cork Hotel can arrange boat hire. For pike, spinning and deadbait are most effective. Permits and boat hire are available from the waterkeeper whose house is signposted off the Cork Road opposite the lake (and whose contact details can be supplied by The West Cork Hotel) . No license is required.
Other stocked lakes in the immediate area include Schull Reservoir Schull, Driminidy Lake and Garranes Lake both Drimoleague. Rivers and lakes near Baltimore have fishing for salmon, sea trout, brown trout, rainbow trout and pike.
For further information, or for advice on fishing on the Ilen, please visit http://www.riverilenanglersclub.ie/