In recent years, the Irish government has intensively invested time and money to improve the salmon population. And that has worked out well. Commercial fishing has been banned and the rivers have also been reshaped to stimulate the migration of salmon. As a result, the salmon population in Ireland has improved structurally over the past 10 years. In the Donegal region we offer a beautiful location directly on the River Drowes where all salmon fishing is concentrated. Lareen Estate is one of Ireland's best locations for salmon fishing. There is a healthy run of 'grilse' in the summer months of June and July but the 'brown trout' is also well represented from the beginning of the summer. The spring run of salmon takes place in the months March and April. The river is very accessible and over long distances wooden jetties have been placed along the river for optimal accessibility.
The Drowes is about 7 kilometres and has 70 different pools that flow from Lough Melvin to Lareen Bay near Tullaghan into the sea just past Bundoran. The river offers a variety of pools and currents to suit all types of fishing. There are several miles of perfect shallow-water fly-fishing, but there are also plenty of deeper and slower-flowing pools for lure or bait fishing.
This river has been in the top 3 salmon rivers in Ireland for years. It's there for that this river has been producing Ireland's first salmon 22 times in the past 25 years on 1 January. In addition to the Drowes River, you can also fish on Lake Melvin where, in addition to salmon, no less than 4 (!) different species of trout are caught. This is the only lake in Ireland that contains 4 species of trout. The species are brown trout, Gilaroo, Sonaghan and Ferox.
On the lake you'll also find the traditional Irish fishing boat of approximately 6 metres with a 5 HP outboard motor. Here you can catch sea trout and salmon while drifting and trolling in addition to the trout species. The lake is 11 kilometres long and 3 kilometres wide and covers 2000 hectares. All in all, here you have a rich assortment and a large amount of possibilities for fishing. For the enthusiast we can also arrange one or more days of sea fishing on a charter boat from the nearby Bundoran.
The river has no less than 70 pools and has different possibilities for every type of angler. Shallow and slow flowing but also deep and fast and so on. Fishing usually takes place from the shore. There are little to no problems because all places are easily accessible and gravel and small stone beds were used in the reconstruction of the river. This gives the salmon the opportunity to lay their eggs so wading is not stimulated. You can fish with the fly, lures, worms and shrimp. The last two are available in the small but specialized angling shop. Shrimp can be bought fresh from the market or from the supermarket the frozen ones do their job.
The salmon season runs from 1 January to 30 September and the trout season from 15 February to 30 September. If you want to take your fish with you, you have to follow the following rules.
The minimum length for brown trout is 28 cm and a maximum of 3 per angler per day.
In order to be able to freeze the caught fish neatly, a large freezer is available for all guests. But catch & release is also highly appreciated.
If you would like to combine one or more days with sea fishing we are happy to arrange that because there is a charter boat from Bundoran. This is only a few kilometres away and is definitely worth a day of fishing for pollack, gurnard, sea bass, sharks, conger etc.
The Lareen Estate has 11 holiday homes in different sizes. The houses are suitable for 2 to 8 persons and are spread out over the estate. The houses all have central heating and a fireplace to drink your well-deserved whisky in the evening. Furthermore, there is a fully equipped kitchen with stove, refrigerator, dishwasher and kettle and a living room with TV. Furthermore, towels and bed linen as well as final cleaning are included.
The houses are in general rented from Saturday to Saturday with the exception of the beginning of the season where midweek and long weekends are also possible.
There are traditional Irish fishing boats available of 6 meters with a 5 HP outboard engine available with each house. Very nice to change the type of fishing and scenery and go fishing for trout and ferox.
For lure fishing it is recommended to use a rod of 3 to 3.6 meters and a casting weight of 10 to 40 grams. Use a reel with dyneema of 7 to 10 kilos breaking force and a fluo carbon leader of a slightly lower breaking force than your main line. It is recommended to have a net present to land the salmon and furthermore a lot of rapalas, tobies, silver and golden devon minnows, spoons and flying C's of 10 to 40 gram depending on current and depth are used. There is a small stock of all these materials available in the small fish shop on site.
For fly fishing for salmon on the river, a 10 foot 6" one-handed hanger with a 7 line is recommended as an allround rod which can be used for a wide variety of conditions. This rod is also the right choice for Lake Melvin. However, with a bit more wind, a 14 foot two-handed version with an 8 or 9 line is a good choice. The Drowes is a rather narrow and shallow river so wading is not considered necessary. However a wading suit is very handy in wet conditions so it is always useful to have one with you.
Recommended salmon flies are: Silver Rat, Lady Etna, Silver Doctor, Ally Shrimp, Bann Special, Foxford Shrimp, Apache Shrimp, Hairy Mary, Thunder & Lightning, Peter Ross and Curry's Red Shrimp. In terms of hook sizes we recommend for spring salmon 8 - 12 and for the Grilse 12 - 16. Fly fishing for trout on the river can best be done with an 8′ 6″ to 10′ and with a 5 or 6 line. Small flies in size 22 such as the Duster, the Badger & Black, Olives Blae Black etc. are used.
For salmon fishing on the lake a 10 to 12 foot rod (3 to 3.6 meters) with a casting weight of 10 - 40 grams and a reel with dyneema of around 8 to 10 kilos. As a leader a fluocarbon line is good and as terminal tackle a Toby spoon of 18 to 24 grams in silver or dark colours or a Rapala crankbait up to about 8 centimetres long also in natural colours. When you go trout fishing on the lake is a 10 foot6″ fly rod with a 6 line. Frequently used flies on the lake are:
Early season: Sooty Olive, Blae Black, Peter Ross, Golden Olive, Fiery Brown, Connemara Black, March Brown, Black Pennel.
From May: Gosling, Green Olive, Yellow Mayfly, Green Peter and Grey Wulff.
As of July: Watson's Fancy, Green Peter, Mallard & Claret, Claret Bumble, Fiery Brown, Invicta and Kingsmill.
To target trout when fishing on the lake, 3 or 4 wet flies are often mounted in a row. This is an extremely effective and traditional way of chasing trout. The favorite flies are: Bibio, Sooty Olive, Claret Bumble, Golden Olive Bumble, Gorgeous George and Green Peter. To catch salmon and large ferox on the lake, trolls are most effective with Rapalas, tasmanians and Toby spoons.
It is also possible to fish with worm and shrimp. This is usually done with a float and if you want to do this kind of fishing you can buy worms and shrimp on the spot but it is also allowed to bring your own worms. On the Estate there is a small but very specialized material shop that can provide you with information and material to a large extent. Spinners, wobblers, flies and therefore also worms and shrimps. You can't make it up or they have it here. But be sure to drop by every day to discuss the latest tips, water levels, altitudes, expected rainfall and fishing possibilities.
There are also rods (fly rod and lures) for rent. The costs are 50 euros per week. Also a landing net can be rented for 25 euros per week. This can be done on the spot but it is advisable to book in advance. Wading suits are not for rent so you should take care of that yourself. However, there are a few available in combination with Wellington boots that can be borrowed. There is no guarantee that wading suits will fit or are available. If you definitely want to use a wading suit, it is wise to bring your own wading suit. Any additional costs on the spot can be paid by (credit) card.
Salmon fishing is not an easy fishery and certainly something for go-getters. But the river provides nice numbers of fish throughout the season and is more than worth it if you want to fish for salmon. Of course the catches in all cases also depend on the water level and previous period of weather and so there are still a few things to be mentioned that play a role. Spring fish can be caught from January to June, after which the Grilse will swim up the river and they will be caught more often and more often in this period. The weather is also an important factor here. The Irish saying 'four seasons in one day' is also valid here. The raincoat certainly has to part of your equipment, as are the cap, sun lotion and sunglasses to protect from the summer sun.
You fly to Dublin and there the rental car is waiting for you. You drive in about 2 hours straight through Ireland to the west coast and then you're already at your destination. For a long weekend or midweek in the low season the average price is 650,- euro per person based on 2 persons including rental car, holiday home and permit on the spot where you also have a fishing boat available on Lough Melvin.
For 4 people for a whole week you can count on approximately the same amount per person. The final price depends on the period when you want to go and the time until booking. Additional costs are self-catering and fuel for the rental car and boat. If you want to have the best start on this river it makes sense to hire a fishing guide who will show you the tricks of the trade and the river. The costs are € 175,- for one day. This way you get the most out of your fishing trip on this beautiful location.