COVID-19 angling restrictions

Irish angling restrictions during COVID-19

  3rd May 2020 (updated 6th May)


So many anglers are asking questions about when or where they can or can’t go fishing during the lockdown, so we’ve compiled a summary of the guidance on angling restrictions issued to date by the Irish Government and various authorities.

The 5-Phase ‘Roadmap for Reopening Society & Business’ plan , as published on May 1st, has clarified that recreational angling will be allowed again in a normal manner as of May 18th, i.e. you can go for as long as you want within your distance limit, whilst abiding by social distancing guidelines. Until then, angling will continue to be permitted as part of your daily exercise, with a recommended period of 1-1.5 hours per day within 5km of your home. This distance limit will increase to 20km from June 8th (see below).

Despite the relaxation of angling restrictions and restrictions on other recreational activities such as golf, angling will still be classed as non-essential travel. As for all other non-essential travel, you will not be permitted to travel further than these distances to go fishing. If you do not have fishing opportunities within the 5km or 20km distance of your home then you will, unfortunately, not be allowed to go fishing until July 20th at the earliest.

  • From Tuesday May 5th – angling permitted as part of your ‘daily exercise’ (recommended 1-1.5 hours a day ) within 5km of your home, following social distancing guidelines. Vehicular travel permitted (according to IFI).
  • From Monday 18th May – normal angling will again be allowed (no recommended time restrictions) but only within 5km of your home, following social distancing guidelines. Vehicular travel permitted (according to IFI).
  • From Monday 8th June – angling allowed but only within 20km of your home, following social distancing guidelines. Vehicular travel permitted (according to IFI).
  • From Monday July 20th – angling allowed as normal, with no distance restrictions, following social distancing guidelines.

As of May 6th, Irish angling licence and permits are available again online and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has reopened all state managed fisheries . The ESB have also reopened their managed waters for recreational angling (e.g. water reservoirs, the River Shannon system). Currently, all waters managed by Waterways Ireland (e.g. canals) remain closed for recreational activities, including angling. Angling is also not permitted inside large parks or reserves. We await clarification on angling restrictions at these venues and when they will re-open but it may be from May 18th onwards.

According to Inland Fisheries Ireland , as of May 6th, private fisheries and club waters are allowed to reopen at the discretion of management, but customers must follow the distance-from-home guidelines relevant to them (cannot visit if outside your 5/20km limit) and owners must ensure social distancing guidelines are adhered to. Reopening of Irish fisheries will likely be on a case-by-case basis and angling restrictions will be at the discretion of the owners so please contact them for clarification.

Angling competitions are likely to be severely disrupted for the coming months and the latest guidance suggests that it could be July 20th onwards before competitive ‘sporting activities’ are allowed again (soccer, GAA, fishing etc.). We await further clarification on this. For the Republic of Ireland please see the latest guidance issued by the National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland (NCFFI) .

Some tackle shops (non-essential retail outlets) are likely to be allowed to reopen their doors to the general public as of Monday June 8th whilst following strict social distancing guidelines. Please support your local tackle shop if you can during these difficult times. Several Irish stores and bait producers are operating as normal online.

Angling restrictions and restrictions on other recreational activities in Northern Ireland are stricter to that of the Republic, with no angling permitted as part of ‘daily exercise’. All forms of angling are effectively not permitted under current restrictions in Northern Ireland, with rod licence sales suspended and with all waters falling under Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the Loughs Agency and NI Water closed to angling. No specific plan similar to the Irish Government’s ‘Roadmap’ has been issued to date for the UK and NI. Please consult with the NI Direct, Loughs Agency, DAERA and the Angling Trust for up to date guidance and restrictions on recreational angling in UK and NI waters.

Please remember that, as with all COVID-19 guidance, these dates and guidelines as part of the Irish Government’s Roadmap plan are subject to review and change over the coming weeks and months. We will help clarify any guidance on angling restrictions from Inland Fisheries Ireland or other relevant bodies in due course. Hopefully you can go fishing soon. Either way, stay safe.

The Irish Government’s ‘Roadmap’ is available to read, here