Blackwater Fly Fishing

Ghillie Cottage

For the Warmest of Welcomes by the Mightiest of Rivers

Salmon Fly Fishing
at one of
The Great Fishing Houses of Ireland

John Gray  with Springer caught on the Fly


The Munster Blackwater, which rises in Co. Kerry, is 120 kilometers long, flowing  from West to East, through Co.Cork and Co. Waterford and joining the sea at Youghal. There are great fly fishing beats above and below Fermoy. The fishing season starts 1st February and ends on 30th September. A Fisheries Board Rod & Line Licence is required, which is available from Ghillie Cottage.

The Blackwater is a spring fed river and tends to have a higher water temperature than spate rivers. The river bottom is of gravel and good to wade. We advise our guests to wear chest waders with studded soles. Neoprene Waders are best for Spring Fly Fishing and Breathable Waders for Summer & Autumn. Many of the fly beats have high banks, so Spey casting with a mid action 12', 13' or 15' Double Handed Fly Rod (size according to water height) and Double Taper Line is required. A Sink Tip line or Sink Tip Add-on is a useful accessory.

Salmon and Grilse will readily take a well presented, lightly dressed fly. Recommended patterns :- Kilbarry Stud, Kilbarry Silver Stud, Kilbarry Summer or Autumn Shrimp Flies, and Kilbarry Charlie's Charm.

If the river is too high to fly fish, owing to a flood, spinning with a Bait Rod and Fixed Spool Reel, using a Yellow Flying Condom or Toby bait, will provide sport. 

We have access to many of the best fly fishing beats on the Munster Blackwater and will be pleased to arrange your Salmon Fly Fishing Holiday for you. Salmon Fishing costs vary according to the location of the beat and the month of the year.

Please email  Doug for any further information you may require.

Please Note:-

Other methods such as Worming & Shrimp Fishing are permitted on some of the Blackwater Beats.  Here at Ghillie Cottage, we do not use these methods and therefore can give no advice on these techniques.
Doug with Arthur Cove

         Blackwater Salmon Conservation Fund

We are delighted to inform you that agreement has been reached with the Draft net owners and operators in The Munster Blackwater for a set aside of their nets for a 5 year period with immediate effect. Included in this agreement is the one remaining Fixed engine (stake weir).

NB (The Lismore Estate net has accepted the 5-year set aside but with the option first to catch up to 200 salmon or grilse in any one year and with the average annual catch over five years not to exceed 125 fish.)

This agreement will allow free passage for several thousand more fish into the Blackwater resulting in an enormous opportunity for both conservation and tourism, but with the emphasis on conservation. To this end we would ask anglers to keep to a maximum of 4 fish per rod per day limit and return all coloured cock and hen salmon.

Unfortunately these things all cost money. This set aside fund will receive 50% grant aid from the Government (Department of Marine), and 50% will be raised by Riparian owners and rod anglers operating the Blackwater Salmon Conservation Fund, seeking donations from the rod angling sector.

All rod anglers are requested to make a voluntary donation of £5 per Salmon rod licence and £5 for the first fish of their visit. Any further donations will of course be gratefully received.

Donations can be made with all the official licence distributors in the Blackwater valley. An official receipt will be issued for every donation.

For most visiting anglers this means a contribution of £10 – a small gesture to support this unique initiative to help ensure the future of our Blackwater salmon, and in particular to restore ‘Springers’ to the Blackwater.

A great deal of time and effort has gone into this very worthwhile scheme, but we do need your support. We will be very grateful for all you can do to preserve our salmon and secure their future.

  Thanking you in anticipation


Trout fishing is available via local Angling Clubs on Tributaries of the Blackwater. (Chest Waders are not permitted on these rivers). Excellent Dry-Fly Fishing can be arranged on the River Suir (40 mins). Loch Style fishing is available at Lough Leane, Killarney (90 mins).


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