River Feale System - salmon & brown trout
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Shannon Region Fishery Board, Ashbourne Business ParkDock Road, Limerick, Limerick,
The Feale rises in the mountain district of North Cork and flows westerly through the rural towns of Abbeyfeale, County Limerick and Listowel, County Kerry to enter the sea south of Ballybunion. It is great for salmon and sea trout fishing.
Throughout its journey to the sea, the River Feale flows through picturesque landscape of heathered bogland, fertile valleys and rolling hills. The main river and its tributaries combine to form in excess of 160km (100 miles) of fishing water, which is among the outstanding salmon and sea trout fisheries in Ireland.
The Feale is a fast flowing spate river subject to flooding in persistent rainfall. Large deep fish-holding pools dominate the lower section. An important feature of the upper river and its tributaries is the frequency with which deep holding pools occur. In times of low flow, the water runs clear but takes on a dark peat stained appearance in spate. This is a big river, with gravel bed and overgrown, steep banks on many stretches.
The river gets equally good runs of salmon and sea trout and in a good season it is estimated to produce at least 1,500 salmon and grilse, and well over 2,000 sea trout to rod and line. There are fish in the river from the opening day on 1st March, with the best of the spring salmon fishing up to mid-April depending on water levels. Grilse begin showing about mid-June and there is always a dramatic improvement by mid-July, with good fishing for bigger fish from mid-August to the end of September. The best of the salmon fishing is from the tide up to Abbeyfeale. Sea trout enter the system from early May and tend to run quickly through the middle stretches. The best fishing is considered to be either below Listowel or above Abbeyfeale in the Brosna/Mountcollins Club water.
About 50% of the main River Feale and its biggest tributary the Smearlagh is controlled by local angling clubs. These club stretches are some of the best angling waters, and each club offers day tickets for visiting anglers.