Freshwater fish species

Compared to the rest of Europe Ireland has relatively few species of freshwater fish. This is primarily due to the isolation of Ireland's rivers and lakes during the last ice age.

It has been argued that the only true native freshwater species are arctic char, pollan, eel, brown trout, and salmon. Most of the coarse species were introduced by man in the Middle Ages. More recent introductions include roach and dace in the 50's and 60's. Fish stocking and introductions (legal and illegal) have extended the range of many coarse species and now roach and bream are found all over the country. Rudd is quite widespread but tench and carp have a more patchy distribution.

Of the 20 freshwater species known to inhabit this island the ISFC only recognises 11. Two hybrids are also recognised, although three are know to occur. Char, pollan and lamprey are so rarely caught (and to some degree under threat) that they are excluded and the other species are of little angling value as they are so small (e.g. minnow, gudgeon, stickleback, stoneloach).

Currently salmon and pike are Ireland's biggest freshwater fish. The salmon record is virtually unassailable but the pike record will regularly be broken if anglers' tales are to be believed...

In freshwater, the majority of records date from the 1990’s. Others including perch, river brown trout and river pike were established in the 1940’s, 1950’s and the 1960’s respectively.

Although the salmon and lake trout records date from the late 1800’s, the ISFC satisified itself as to the veracity of these claims.

Species Weight Date of Capture Place of Capture Captor

lbs oz
Bream 12 3 22.5.1997 Bolganard Lake Paul Mathers
Carp 29 13 5.7.1998 The Lough, Cork Sidney Kennedy
Dace 1 2 8. 8.1966 River Blackwater, Cappoquin John T. Henry
Eel 6 15 12. 6.1979 L. Droumenisa, Bantry J. Murnane
Perch 5 8 1946 Lough Erne S. Drum
Pike (Lake) 42 12 25.09.2005 White Lake Larry Kelly
Pike (River) 42 0 22. 3.1964 River Barrow M. Watkins
Roach 1.425 kg 6.10.2002 Drumacritten Lake Terry Jackson
Roach/Bream Hybrid 7 0 24.4.2002 River Bann, Toome Roy Gretton
Rudd 4 8 5.9.1996 Coney Lake Hugh Gough
Rudd/Bream Hybrid 7 10 19.10.1996 Monalty Lake Brendan Doran
Tench 8.15 lbs 20.6.1995 Ballyeighter Lake Nick Parry
Salmon 57 0 1874 River Suir M. Maher
Brown Trout (Lake) 26 2 15. 7.1894 Lough Ennell Wm. Mears
Brown Trout (River) 20 0 22. 2.1957 River Shannon,
Major Hugh Place
Sea Trout 16 6 29.10.1983 Shimna River,
Co. Down
Thomas McManus