7th May 2020
We have compiled and answered a list of the most frequently asked questions fishing during COVID-19 lockdown in Ireland. All of the below information has been taken from official guidance issued by relevant authorities.
Can I go fishing during COVID-19 lockdown?
Yes, anglers in the Republic of Ireland are permitted to go fishing during COVID-19 lockdown provided they stick to social distancing guidelines and only travel within 5km of their home (see below for more details). Unfortunately, anglers in Northern Ireland or the UK are not currently permitted to go fishing during COVID-19 restrictions.
Where can I go fishing?
You are permitted to fish at any public or private venue in the Republic of Ireland, in freshwater or saltwater, provided the fishery has been reopened (see below) and is within 5km of your home. Unfortunately, angling in Northern Ireland or the UK is not currently permitted at public or private fisheries during COVID-19 restrictions.
How far can I travel to go fishing?
You can fish within less than or equal to (≤) 5km from your home. After June 8th, this distance is set to be increased to ≤20km from home. As of July 20th, all distance restrictions are set to be lifted.
How can I measure 5km from home? Is it 5km by road or a radius from my house?
For ease of measurement, your permitted distance is a radius from your home. You can measure your distance radius easily and accurately here https://2kmfromhome.com/
Can I go fishing for as long as I want?
Until May 18th there is a recommendation to fish for 1-1.5 hours per day (‘a brief period’), but this is only a recommendation not a requirement. After May 18th you can fish for as long as you want without any recommended time limit.
Can I go night fishing?
Yes, there are no restrictions on what time of day you fish.
Can I go fishing with my friend/friends?
Yes, provided you maintain social distancing guidelines (keep a 2m distance at all times). This is especially important at car parks, access points and boat launch sites. Groups of up to 4 people are permitted to meet for recreation/social reasons from May 18th provided they maintain social distancing guidelines. Anglers should not share transport e.g. car/van when travelling to fish if they are from different households.
Are any waters in Ireland still closed due to COVID-19 restrictions?
Currently, all waters managed by Waterways Ireland (e.g. navigation canals) are closed to recreational water-based activities, including angling. Angling is also not currently allowed in large parks and natural reserves. However, as of May 6th, all IFI and ESB-managed waters are reopened for angling with the exception of the Galway Fishery & Moy Fishery or those fisheries requiring a boat. Private fisheries and club waters are permitted to reopen at their own discretion, so please check locally.
Can I travel to fish by vehicle?
Yes, vehicular travel to your chosen fishing spot is permitted, provided you stick to the 5km distance from home limit and maintain social distancing.
Can I go boat fishing?
Yes, boat fishing during COVID-19 is permitted inshore (around the coast) and inland. Some freshwater state-managed fisheries are not yet reopened for boat-based angling (check locally). Inland Fisheries Ireland recommends a maximum of 2* people on board a boat at any one time (*if people are from different households).
Does travel by boat count towards my 5km from home distance?
Yes, it counts towards your total 5km distance. For example, if you travel 4km from home to get to your boat or boat launch, then you are permitted to travel an additional 1km (total distance of 5km) by boat.
Can I fish in competitions?
Competition fishing during COVID-19 is currently not recommended due to the difficulty in maintaining social distancing. All competitions are actively discouraged at this time.
Can I go charter fishing?
Yes, charter skippers may operate under strict social distancing guidelines but charter customers are not permitted to travel more than 5km to get to the launch site. It is envisaged that more ‘normal’ charter boat operation will commence later in the summer (after June 8th when distance from home increases to ≤20km or after July 20th when distance restrictions set to be lifted).
Can I buy a national or regional salmon and sea trout licence or other permits?
Yes, Irish angling licence and permit sales were suspended due to COVID-19 but these are now available again to purchase online here https://store.fishinginireland.info/
Where can I buy bait and tackle during COVID-19 restrictions?
Angling businesses/suppliers/tackle shops may only open once classified as an essential service and should only operate if they can provide online/contactless services. In reality, many Irish tackle shops may not be able to reopen their doors to customers until at least June 8th (Phase 2 of the ‘Roadmap’ plan). Numerous Irish tackle shops and bait suppliers are operating online and fulfilling home deliveries during COVID-19 restrictions.
Where can I get more information?
Inland Fisheries Ireland official guidance – https://www.fisheriesireland.ie/Notices/covid-19-statement.html
Off the Scale magazine’s summary of COVID-19 angling restrictions – https://www.offthescaleangling.ie/news/covid19-angling-restrictions-ireland/
National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland (NCFFI) Angling Roadmap – https://www.ncffi.ie/phased-return-to-angling/
Irish Government’s ‘Roadmap for reopening society and business’ – Roadmap for Reopening Society & Business’ plan