Updated - 03/06/2020
In accordance with Minister Poots’ statement on the 14th May 2020, all Public Angling Estate fisheries have reopened from Monday 18th May 2020, with the exception of the fisheries at Loughgall Country Park, Portavoe and Lower Conlig. All carparks re-opened on Wednesday 27th May.
Private fisheries, including clubs may also be open and trade. This allows outdoor activities and does not imply the opening of indoor facilities which are not included. Private fisheries are reminded that the Regulations do not permit them to sell or hire goods or equipment.
The Department of Health has advised both public sector and private angling bodies that they should signpost anglers to the public health advice about social distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and environmental hygiene. Updates on advice can be found on the websites of the Northern Ireland Department of Health and the Public Health Agency for Northern Ireland.
Waterways Ireland have confirmed a phased re-opening of Lough Erne and the Lower Bann Navigation from 29th May as navigations, with locks and service blocks remaining closed. Waterways Ireland has advised that currently boaters should proceed with caution as navigation and associated facilities may require attention. Further information can be found at
Social distancing and other measures should still be observed to ensure that everyone can enjoy their return to the outdoors safely.
A list of Questions and Answers regarding angling, compiled on 21st May and updated on 3rd June 2020, can be found below:
Angling questions and answers
Has all angling re-opened?
All angling locations can now be open. There are still Department of Health Regulations and restrictions that mean some forms of angling such as competition angling and charter boats, where groups are involved or social distancing cannot be maintained, will have to wait for further stages in the Executive’s ‘Pathway to Recovery’ plan.
Is the DAERA Public Angling Estate open for angling?
All of the DAERA Public Angling Estate re-opened on Monday 18th May, with the exception of Loughgall Country Park, Portavoe and Lower Conlig which remain closed. Social distancing must be observed. Most car parks re-opened on Wednesday 27th May.
When will disabled car parks re-open?
DAERA car parks are open. Disabled parking is also open.
Can I travel to get to a DAERA angling water to fish?
You are advised only to travel locally to get to DAERA Public Angling Estate waters. Car parks plan to re-open on the 27th May but many toilet facilities and other services in the area may be closed for longer.
Can I travel with other anglers in the car to a fishery?
You can only travel with family members who reside in the one household.
Can I meet with other anglers, not from my own household?
You may meet up to 5 other anglers out of doors, so long as social distancing can be maintained.
Have the Public Angling Estate waters been stocked?
The Department has continued to stock Public Angling Estate waters while the fisheries were closed and details can be found at:
Can I fish from a boat at the Public Angling Estate Waters?
Yes where boating is permitted. Anglers who have been isolating within 1 household can use a small boat together. Please bear in mind that many carparks are still closed, so access to the boat launch sites may not be possible.
However, larger commercial operations using boats are not permitted at this time. This is to ensure compliance with the guidance on social distancing and shared contact with hard surfaces.
Can I use a boat on Lough Erne?
Waterways Ireland have confirmed a phased re-opening of Lough Erne and the Lower Bann Navigation which re-opening navigations on 29th May, with locks and service blocks remaining closed. It has advised that those using boats should proceed with caution as navigation and associated facilities may require attention. Further information can be found at www.waterwaysireland.org.
Can I buy a DAERA angling licence and permit?
The on-line system for purchasing DAERA angling licence and permits re-opened on Monday 18th May and can be accessed through:
Where can DAERA angling licences and permits be purchased?
Currently this can only be done on-line www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/buy-rod-licences-and-permits-including-river-bush-day-tickets. The DAERA Fisheries offices and most Distributors are currently closed to the public due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place.
How can I contact DAERA Inland Fisheries if the public offices are closed?
You can only contact DAERA Inland Fisheries by e mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can I get advice on the current COVID-19 restrictions?
Advice on the COVID-19 restrictions can be found on the Department of Health website and the Public Health Agency website. The Northern Ireland Executive have also launched a “Pathway to Recovery” plan which can be viewed at www.executiveoffice-ni.gov.uk
Can I get a refund for the period the fisheries were closed?
The Department has assessed the issue of refunds. Given the time still available to fish throughout the rest of the year and the small sums of money involved, no refunds will be provided in respect of the restrictions imposed on angling due to Covid 19.