Lough Fern


Co. Donegal, Ireland

Fishery Information

Lough Fern is a freshwater lake located in the northwest of Ireland, in north County Donegal near the town of Milford. The lake is situated approximately 2 km south of Milford on the R246 road, and 10 km north of Letterkenny. Covering an area of about 2 km long and 0.8 km wide, the lake is fed mainly by the River Leannan and drains eastwards into the continuation of the Leannan, ultimately flowing into Lough Swilly at Rathmelton.

Within Lough Fern, you’ll find species such as brown trout, salmon, three-spined stickleback, perch, and the critically endangered European eel. It is part of the Leannan River Special Area of Conservation, marking it as a key habitat for preserving biodiversity. The lake is also known for its once thriving spring salmon population, which is slowly making a comeback after being impacted by an ulcerative dermal necrosis (UDN) outbreak. The brown trout population is quite healthy, with common catches around 1lb to 2lb, and occasional catches over 5lb.

What size do the fish go to?

While the exact sizes of all fish in Lough Fern are not given, some details are available. Brown trout in the lake are often caught around 1lb to 2lb, with occasional catches over 5lb. Brown trout ranged in length from 8.2 cm to 27.2 cm, while perch ranged in length from 5.0 cm to 36.5 cm. The resurgence of the salmon population has seen individual salmon weighing an average of 4kg, with the largest reported to weigh 15kg.

What tactics work well?

Given the diverse range of fish species found in Lough Fern, several tactics could prove successful. Fly and spinning methods are recommended for catching salmon, sea trout, and brown trout. When fishing for brown trout, recommended flies include the Connemara Black, Black Pennell, Bibbio, and any Sedge pattern. Bank fishing is favored on the western shore, but boat fishing is recommended for the most effective coverage.

What facilities are on site?

Boat hire is available at Lough Fern, making it easier for anglers to access different areas of the lake. No specific information is provided about other facilities, such as restrooms or food services, at Lough Fern. It’s recommended to contact local authorities or the Letterkenny and District Anglers Association for more detailed information about on-site facilities.

Is parking available?

Given its proximity to the R246 road and the nearby town of Milford, it’s likely that some parking options are available. For precise parking information, it is recommended to contact local authorities or visit the location.

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