The River Finn and its tributaries have for generations held an enviable position as one of the most prolific salmon fisheries in Europe.
While other rivers build their reputations on either their spring salmon run or their summer grilse run, the Finn is almost unique in hosting a steady run of fish from before opening day on March 1st until well after the last day of the season on September 15th.
The medium-sized, grade 1 listed spate salmon river runs east through central Donegal from the Blue Stack Mountains, joining the tidal River Foyle at the border town of Lifford.
Scientific estimations put the annual Foyle system salmon run at approximately 60,000 fish, with the Finn claiming almost 20% of the total. Recent legislation banning drift net fishing around Ireland’s coast is expected to lead to a significant increase in the numbers of fish returning to the rivers.
Glenmore Estate controls the fishing on the top 38km of the River Finn and its primary tributary, the River Reelan. Both rivers, and several key feeder streams, abound with exceptional spawning habitat and allow for fully natural, unassisted restocking.
A 12-13ft double-handed rod is most commonly used in high water conditions in the spring, while a single-handed 9ft rod is usually adequate through the summer months.
The streamy, rocky pools, relatively shallow water and free rising nature of our fish allow for the use of floating lines, with the option of sinking tips, throughout the entire season.
Spring fishing through March and April usually calls for light tube flies, while shrimp-pattern flies in sizes 8-12 are favoured by most rods fishing for grilse. The Finn Gold, Cascade, Curry’s Red, Silver Wilkinson and Ally’s Shrimps are all hugely productive flies and can be bought, along with many others, at the Lodge.
In the event of the water level being too high or too low and in association with neighbouring estates, we are able to offer guests fishing on other classic rivers which are less spate-dependant. The Sna beat on the River Mourne and Carnroe and Movanagher on the River Bann are available to us, as are the famous Galway Weir and River Moy’s Ridge Pool.
Conservation-based bag limits introduced this season allow for the keeping of one fish per day until May 31st, with two per-day allowed thereafter, up to a maximum of twenty-five for the season. Outside these restrictions, catch and release is actively encouraged.
Tuition on all aspects of salmon fishing and casting is available, as is the rental or purchase of clothing and equipment. Please see relevant pages for details.
In the event of the water level being too high or too low and in association with neighbouring estates, we are able to offer guests fishing on other classic rivers which are less spate-dependant. The Abercorn Estates private fishery on the River Mourne: www.barons-court.com and Carnroe and Movanagher on the River Bann are available to us, as are the famous Galway Weir and River Moy’s Ridge Pool.
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