At the heart of Ireland’s midlands, resting serenely along the River Shannon in Co Westmeath, lies the bustling angling hub of Athlone. Positioned just south of the expansive Lough Ree, which stretches for 26 kms in length and 10 kms at its widest, it’s a haven for fishing enthusiasts. The lake, with depths plunging to 120 feet but averaging around 20 feet, is a mere 135 kms from both Dublin and Shannon Airports, making it a conveniently accessible angling destination.
As the season turns, excitement bubbles up amongst the angling community in Athlone. It’s the onset of the Pike fishing season, and for those new to the area or to the sport, here’s a guide to ensure you make the most of this time of year.
Where to Fish
River Shannon, Lough Ree and Lower Stretches of River Inny:
Athlone proves to be an ideal base for fishing in these areas. Especially Lough Ree, with its selection of fishing bays, serves as a dream location. However, anglers must tread carefully along its rocky and uneven shoreline. Equip yourself with levelling platforms for a smooth fishing experience, and avoid the shores during bad weather. Accessibility can be an issue in certain areas, making a boat indispensable. Fortunately, local arrangements can be made.
Meadows and Burgess Park River Shannon
The Meadows, on the west bank of River Shannon downstream of Athlone Docks, offers depth that ranges from 10 feet at the Weir end to 25 feet at the Canal end. On the east bank is Burgess Park, with similar species and depths ranging from 8-12 feet. However, come high summer, and the stretch gets weedy, especially the upper and middle sections.
Facilities and Access: Recent developments include a roadway, car park, and a metal footbridge over the Canal. Thanks to the IFI’s initiative in 1999, this stretch now meets international angling standards, accommodating up to 100 anglers.
To Get There: Directions to Meadows and Halligan’s Field are well-marked. For Meadows, cross the Shannon bridge in Athlone and follow signs. For Halligan’s Field, it’s located about 1 km from the new road.
Nally’s Farm and Long Island River Shannon
These stretches, opposite each other, are revered by anglers. Long Island offers a mix of large bream, roach, and hybrids. Nally’s Farm on the east bank is a haven for ‘Shannon’ bream, roach, and hybrids. To Get There: Both stretches have specific routes and access guidelines to follow, with some locations needing permission due to private property.
Lough Ree’s Hidden Gems
Seasonal Tips for Pike Fishing
As we welcome the Pike fishing season, remember:
Safety First: Lough Ree’s shoreline can be tricky. Ensure you’re equipped with the right gear and avoid fishing during adverse conditions.
Local Knowledge: Engage with the local angling community. They often have insights on the best spots and times to fish.
Be Respectful: Some fishing areas are on private property. Always seek permission where required.
Catch and Release: Pike is a prized catch, but ensure you handle them with care and consider practising catch and release to conserve the species.
The coming months promise to be exhilarating for anglers in Athlone. So, grab your fishing gear and delve into the Pike fishing season’s delights. Here’s to hoping you land a memorable catch!