Fly-Fishing for Salmon on the River Blackwater
The Cork Blackwater is Ireland’s finest Salmon River and one of the most important salmon rivers in Europe, stretching for over 150 kilometres from its source in Kerry to the sea at Youghal. The season for salmon opens on 1st February and continues until 30th September. Due to the size of its catchment area the Blackwater maintains a good flow so that fishing is possible in a wide range of weather conditions.
Ballyvolane House was recently was awarded “Fishing Hotel of the Year” by the Good Hotel Guide in 2016 & 2017.
Private fly-fishing beats
The Blackwater is almost entirely privately owned and we are fortunate to be able to offer some of the best beats on the river, spread over a 40 kilometre stretch from Killavullen and Ballyhooly down to Ballyduff and Fort William.
We have a number of beats available at all times, and can also arrange other beats as required, so that we can offer a wide variety of spring, summer and early autumn fishing. Some beats are restricted to fly and spinning only. While some pools can be fished from the bank, as a general rule wading (depending on water conditions) is necessary, and chest waders are required. We can supply maps of the various beats.
The Salmon Season on the Blackwater
Cork Salmon fishing on the River Blackwater below Fermoy
February / March
Early spring run, with fish averaging 7-10lb. As water conditions are generally high and the water is cold, spinning is more likely to be successful, using spoons, large devons, or Flying Cs, with a rod 10-12’. Fly fishing is possible with a 14-15’ rod, sinking line, and fairly large flies, including tubes and waddingtons up to 3”. We do not allow use of worms or natural baits in an effort to preserve stocks.
April / May
Spring run, with fish averaging 7-12lb. Depending on water conditions, fly fishing comes into its own, with 14-15’ rods and sink-tip or intermediate lines, and flies from size 10 to 3” depending on conditions. Spinning is with 10-12’ rods, and devons or flying Cs.
June / July / Early August
Grilse run, with fish averaging 2-5lb, and some larger summer salmon. For fly fishing, rods 12-14’ are used, with floating or sink-tip lines, and flies from size 8 to 14 depending on water conditions. Spinning with lighter rods and lures.
Late August / September
Late summer salmon and grilse, and early autumn salmon, with fish from 3 to 20lb. Tackle is dependent on water conditions. In low water, fly fishing with 12-14’ rods and floating or sink-tip lines with flies from size 10-14, in higher water 14-15’ rods and sink-tip or intermediate lines with flies size 6-10. Spinning in low water with light rods Flying Cs and devons, and in high water with heavier rods and larger lures and spoons.
Please click here to see how salmon can be recognised at the different stages of their life in fresh water.
Salmon Fishing Requirements
We have a limited range of tackle for hire from our rod room, and should you to avail of this facility please let us know well in advance. Damage to hired tackle will be charged at the estimated cost of repair or replacement
Flies, Lures & Accessories
Flies and Flying Cs suitable for the river, as well as nylon, swivels, etc, can be purchased at Ballyvolane. Unused flies, lures & nylon cannot be returned.
Fishing guides are available and should be booked in advance. We recommend guides for those new to the Blackwater as well as for beginners and less experienced fishermen, as they can provide detailed knowledge of the river and the best methods of catching salmon in prevailing conditions. Individual tuition in all styles of fly casting can be arranged for beginners and those who wish to improve their skills.
We can arrange 1-on-1 guided fishing tuition with one of the world’s leading fly casting instructors, Glenda Powell. Glenda became World Champion in 2006 when she won the Overhead Salmon Distance Casting Competition for women at Carton House. She fished in the Scottish Ladies International Flyfishing team and went on to manage the Irish Ladies Team. Justin’s late mother Merrie was also a mad keen angler of some renown in her own right and there is a very long tradition of salmon fishing at Ballyvolane House. We can accommodate small groups too. A State fishing licence is also mandatory and can be purchased from us.
What to do with your catch: Salmon Quotas on the River Blackwater
Anglers should be aware that State restrictions on daily and total catches may apply and also to methods of fishing. No commercial catch. Total Quota 4,463 salmon. Anglers must notify us of all salmon caught for our own records and must also report all fish caught on the River Blackwater by completing the Fish Capture Card and returning it to the Southern Regional Fisheries Board.
February 01 to May 12 (inclusive): 1 fish only per angler.
May 13 to August 31 (inclusive): 3 fish per day.
September: 1 fish per day.
Total season bag limit: 10 fish per angler.
Once bag limit is reached, catch and release methods apply - using single barbless hooks, no worms.
Disposal of Salmon
Salmon can be smoked locally (generally available within 3 days of delivery to the smokery). Freezing facilities are available at Ballyvolane.