Salmon Fishing on the River Mourne

Salmon Fishing

We have one private beat to let on the River Mourne for spring salmon, summer grilse and autumn salmon fishing.  The season starts on 1st April and closes on 20th October each year.  The beat holds two rods and a friendly ghillie / guide can be arranged to be on hand to provide expert local advice and give you the best chance to catch a salmon.

Accommodation can be provided on the Estate, 10 minutes away, this is let on a self catered basis, a cook can be supplied upon request.  The 5 year average is 131 fish, which is lightly fished (not fully rodded every day).

There is direct access to the Estate water which comprises of four beats with over 24 named pools. The most renowned and famous pool is the Snaa, it is similar in its appearance to “the Junction pool” on the River Tweed, the other pools such as “Carnaquin”, “The Half Water”, and “Blackstone” are every bit as good, each beat offers exciting and varied sport. This high quality fishery also enjoys excellent access to the river with two fishing huts and car parking, expert advice can be sought from the Estate’s ghillie.  The Snaa is a very long and deep pool which fishes in all heights of water and yields a good amount of fish each season.  Fishermen who like to cast a long line will enjoy the Snaa and Carniquin which offer alot of water to cover.  The Half Water is more streamy and tight with a number of pools that require skill and correct placement of the fly.  The Blackstone is where larger fish lie wait for their journey upstream.  This fishery is suited for an all round fishermen who likes varied pools and fishing conditions and is competent at wading.  If the river goes into flood and is unfishable (sometimes happens!) we can provide world-class fly fishing for pike on the private lakes in the Estate, as well as the opportunity to find fishing on nearby water.

The River Mourne, flowing from the Derg Junction to Strabane, is part of the Foyle Fishery System. It is believed to be one of the best salmon rivers in Northern Europe, it is on a par with the Rivers Moy and Blackwater in Ireland and River Tweed, Scotland.

The Foyle System comprises of approximately 900 miles of salmon, sea trout and brown trout water. It covers the North West region of the north of Ireland. It is also one of Ireland’s most prolific grilse and summer salmon fisheries. The peak period is usually during June and July. If there is a mild and wet August good fishing can be had. September and October can also perform very well. Scientific estimations put the annual Foyle system salmon run at approximately 80,000 fish in 2007.

The recent legislation banning drift net fishing around Ireland’s coast is expected to lead to a significant increase in the numbers of fish returning to the rivers, especially in the North West.

The Estate operates a “beat system” with water divided into 4 beats. Two beats are fished each day, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon, the next day this changes to other two beats. The fishing is let by the beat, with a maximum of 2 rods per beat. This is one of the very few “fly only” private beat based fisheries in Ireland. Fishing is allowed on Sundays unlike in Scotland. All lettings are subject to our terms and conditions.

Please note that in line with general practice, we cannot give refunds for fishing spoilt by inclement weather or poor water conditions. Should fishing not be possible on the River Mourne arrangements can be made to fly fish for pike on the lakes or (at an additional cost) with other local fisheries such as Glenmore Rivers, River Finn,

For Prices and Availability please enquire.

Please note if the fishing is let as a package with the estate accommodation, this is subject to availability of both the fishing and the accommodation. The maximum number of rods per beat is 2, the estate has one beat to let at any one time.

Terms & Conditions of booking fishing
A deposit of 50% of the full rental is required before a booking can be confirmed. This deposit is non-refundable unless we are able to relet the fishing which we do not guarantee to be able to do. Please take out adequate travel insurance to cover your holiday. VAT is included in the quoted price.  A customary tip to the ghillie of £20 per rod per day is recommended.

The balance of the rental is due 30 days before arrival, unless this is a late booking.  Full Terms and Conditions please click here.

Changeover day for the accommodation / weekly rentals is Friday unless agreed otherwise. Possession of the apartment is from 16.00hrs on the day of arrival to 10.00hrs on the day of departure. Late arrivals must telephone the Estate Office in advance +44 (0)28 8166 1683.

Fly Fishing Guides and Instructors:

Russell M Whiteman, Guided Fly Fishing,

Jerry McAleer, Instructor, +44 (0) 7785958680

Tom Woods, APGAI, +44 (0) 28 8554 8659

Stevie Munn, APGAI,

Professional Angling Guides and Instructors Network,


Foyle Association of Salmon and Trout Anglers (FASTA),

Ulster Angling Federation,

Angling Trust,

Loughs Agency,

North Atlantic Salmon Fund,

Atlantic Salmon Trust,

Other Fisheries:

Glenmore Estate,

River Bann,

Sion Mills Angling Club,

For Salmon to be Smoked:

Donegal Prime Fish Limited, Beraghmore Road, Skeogh Industrial Park, Galliah, City of Derry, BT48 8SE tel 028 7135 0059

The development and construction of the access steps, stiles and pathways at the fishery was made possible by the financial contribution of the Loughs Agency as part of the Sustainable Development Fund 2008 programme.

The construction of the fishing hut was made possible by the financial contribution made by the EU Programme for Peace & Reconciliation, Peace II, and the Department of Culture, Arts
& Leisure.

Salmon & Grilse

Time of Year:

Spring Salmon are best from April to mid May. Traditionaly the bulk of the Grilse and summer Salmon arrive with us from June to July. If the weather is relatively cool and wet in August great fishing can be had. September through to the end of the season in October has shown excellent results in recent years. Sea Trout runs are at their peak in June and July.

Local Climate:

Spring daytime temperatures can range from 4°C to 12° and warm clothing and waterproofs are always necessary. Summer daytime temperatures vary from 10°C to 25°C and again some warm clothing and waterproofs are usually necessary!

Reel, Rod and Lines:

14-15ft double handed rods rated for 10/11 lines are the norm with 10-11ft rods rated for 7-9 line for low water conditions. Good pair of felt soled waders are also essential when fishing the River Mourne.

Recommended Fly Patterns:

Salmon fishing:-

Shrimp flies – Silver Wilkinson, Red Shrimp, Gold Shrimp, Wye Bug, Apache Shrimp, Alleys Shrimp, Bann Special.

Hairwings – Silver Rat, Willie Gunn, Yellow Dog, Blue Charm, Silver Stoat, Stoats Tail.

Sea Trout fishing:-

The Mourne sea trout are not the largest of fish with a 3 lb being a good specimen, although the majority being caught are around 3/4 lb – 1.5 lb. The larger trout arrive first in early to mid June with the bulk of smaller fish arriving from July onwards to the end of the season. Rods 9-10ft are rated for 6-7 weight lines are perfect for the job with floating and sink tip lines. Flies in sizes 12 – 8. Patterns – Peter Ross, Zulu, Teal Blue and Silver, Butchers, Silver Doctors, Black Pennals will all catch fish.

Tackle Sales:

There is a fully equipped Tackle shop near Newtownstewart, David Campbell 12 Killymore Road. Newtownstewart. Tel: 028 8166 1543, stocks reel, rod, line and a large selection of flies. In Sion Mills try N M Tackle, – 131 Melmount Road, Sion Mills, Strabane, County Tyrone, BT82 9PY, Tel: 028 81659501. Else in Strabane, River Mourne Guns and Tackle, 38 Main Street, Strabane, BT82 8AS, Tel: 028 7188 6218 – very friendly and knowledgable.


July started off in cracking fashion with 12 fish caught in the first three days, then heavy rain came. In the second week of July, with water levels dropping, 14 fish were caught, the largest being 12lb in the Snaa pool, using a cone head “flamethrower”.  A visiting angler, C Lodge, from the Bahamas, caught a lovely 10lb salmon using another cone head, this salmon provided a very lengthy battle. After low water in the middle of the month (18th ) a few days rain left the water coloured and unfishable.  Water conditions settled with 8 fish being caught in the following couple of days  (21st – 23rd). Consistently showery weather last week has left the water very high, coloured and unfishable on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  Water was coming back into order on Saturday with a total of 10 fish caught on Saturday and Sunday including the largest fish this month being a 15lb salmon caught on on the Top Beat (Lisnagirk pool).  The preferred fly  is a conehead,  on which 8 of these fish were caught.  Fish were caught over all four beats but mostly on the Snaa and Top Beats.

A total of 58 fish were caught for the month of July.


On the Upper Mourne there were a total of 15 fish landed in the month of June with several more lost. Three of the largest in size were between 11-14lbs.  A very good number of fish have been showing in most pools during the month.

Water levels remained low for most of the month except for the second weekend when they were high due to heavy rainfall the previous couple of days.

15 fish were caught between Friday 30th and Sunday 2nd July, one lucky angler landed 4 to his rod on Saturday. The two largest fish were around 11lbs to J. Irvine in Doaks using a Bann Special, and J. Hamilton Stubber in the Snaa using a Park Shrimp conehead.

Fish size ranged from small grilse 2.5lbs through to 11lbs. Early this week has seen little fishing due to rain and coloured water. When the Mourne clears good catches should be expected. Derg water is running clear.


The upgrade to infrastructure to the fishery was generously sponsored by the Loughs Agency as part of the Sustainable Development Grant Scheme in 2012 and 2008.

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