How to Fish in the Kenmare River

Updated April 17, 2017

The small County Kerry town of Kenmare sits on the west coast of Ireland, south of Kilarney. Anglers visit the region for excellent shore, boat and river fishing. Despite its name, the Kenmare River is in fact a bay estuary where the Roughty River meets the Atlantic Ocean. Because of this many ocean species, such as flounder and sea bass, are caught in Kenmare. Trout are found in the inner regions of the river, with salmon available in the estuary and the river at certain times of the year.

Visit the John O'Hare fishing tackle shop on Main Street in Kenmare. Pick up some bait and ask for advice and suggestions about good marks and target species. Speak to local anglers to find out what they've caught recently.

Purchase a salmon license from the Fishing in Ireland website if you want to fish for salmon and sea trout anywhere in Ireland. You don't need a general license for coarse, trout or sea fishing.

Bring a sturdy sea-fishing rod, or fly-fishing rod for salmon and trout fishing. A selection of lures, such as silver Dexter wedges and poppers work well in the estuary for predatory species such as sea bass.

Buy a salmon fishing permit to fish the stretch of the Roughty River near Ardtully Castle anytime from March to June. The area is owned by Kenmare Salmon Angling Ltd and licenses can be bought via the fishing tackle shop in Kenmare. Try fly fishing, or trotting a float-fished prawn or worm with the river current. Ask the tackle shop attendant about other local river permit requirements. Most stretches of water in Ireland are privately or State owned.

Try fishing the Gleesk Harbour, which faces out to the bay and is sheltered from brisk northern winds. Target wrasse, pollack and mackerel on float-fished baits such as worm and fish strips. Use spinners to catch mackerel and pollack, or set up some hooked feather lures to reel in lines of mackerel.

Fish for conger eel at the Oysterbed Pier using large fish baits, big hooks and heavy line weights. Keep an eye on your gear--conger are strong and can easily yank your rod into the water.

Consider chartering a fishing boat to reach deeper fishing areas in the estuary, or to head further out to sea. Fishing trips target mackerel, mullet, plaice and conger eel, among other species. Kenmare Angling and Sightseeing offers charter boats and guides for hire.


Take care when fishing from rocks. A strong wave can easily wash you into the water. Fish with a friend and stand well back from the edge.

Things You'll Need

  • Fishing gear
  • Charter boat
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