Lanesborough's Warm water

LANESBOROUGH on the River Shannon is Ireland’s busiest angling location.

Dismiss all thoughts of having a lake to yourself, the need to pre-bait for two days to gather a shoal of bream or trekking across a meadow before pushing aside the reeds to make your first cast. There certainly would have been such a time on this famous stretch of the Upper Shannon, which runs through the busy market town of Lanesborough, but it is a long time gone. And what made the difference was the commissioning of the ESB Power Station in 1958.

It wasn’t too long before the bream, rudd, hybrids, perch and tench, (there were no roach in the Shannon 50 years ago!), discovered the benefits of having a power station discharging warm water into a specially dredged 300 metre long channel. Basically it became a fish spa, attracting great shoals of fish – especially in spring prior to spawning – and of course the anglers cashed in.

Lanesborough’s popularity boomed and to this day it remains the most popular single venue during April and May.

The fishery’s biggest fan must be Paul Waghorn from Tunbridge Wells who has already booked his 2010 ticket for what will be his 20th consecutive angling holiday in the town. Paul even introduced and edits a dedicated website - – telling the facts the way they are, with the addition of Paul’s humorous comments on a daily basis.

It’s an unusual arrangement because he stays for about eight weeks, fishes in the morning and again late evening, and during the day helps out in Bridie’s Tackle shop alongside Lanesborough Bridge. A great bonus for everyone is Paul’s willingness to help visitors with sound advice of where, when and how to fish.

The fishing
Target fish today include everything that swims and besides the original species, you can now expect to catch specimen size roach, roach/bream hybrids, an increasing number of very big pike, an occasional dace and there have even been unconfirmed stories of small chub.

70-year-old Arnie Williams, formerly from Ellesmere Port, but now living in the Irish village of Roosky, is a big fan of the hot-water channel and during spring is on the bank at least three times a week from March until mid-May.

“Floatfishing with a running line gives me flexibility when presenting a bait on this particular stretch of the river and is suitable for every swim upstream of the bridge – and that’s where the best catches are made”, he explained.

“Fish move into the channel enmasse when conditions and the temperature of the water discharged into the channel are right. At such times it doesn’t really matter what you have on the hook or whether the actual fishing is done with a pole or swim feeder”.

His tackle was straightforward enough; a 13ft match rod, 4BB balsa float, size 14 Kamasan B532 red coloured hook and his favourite bait, two red maggots.

There was a large shoal of roach and hybrids sheltering from the bright sunshine under the road bridge and the way he eased the tackle down the swim and under the second arch, was masterful. The same can’t be said of his groundbait mix! In comparison to today’s exotic ingredients mixed so carefully by specialist manufacturers, Arnie was dealing with this “Irish style”.

He pays €7 for a sack of molasses flavoured cattle pellets and for a days fishing he does nothing more than tip half-a-gallon into a bucket, cover them with water and leave them to soak overnight. Arnie says that it works a treat in conjunction with about two pints of maggots loose fed every couple of casts, to such an extent that on what was a difficult enough day, he most certainly had the best haul of fish along the whole bank.

“If the fish are here, all you need are red maggots”, he confided. “But it is wise to come along with corn, worm and caster, but be careful to start with and build the swim gradually. Some days there are only a few resident fish about and they need coaxing. At busy times the late arrivals will find themselves fishing downstream of the bridge towards Lough Ree. It demands a normal approach with tackle and bait but this is also where the biggest tench congregate and seven pounders are commonplace".

“I love fishing at Lanesborough and the banter from anglers who have arrived on the bank from across Britain and Ireland to cause quite a buzz and catch a few decent fish”.

Anglers planning a holiday in the area will find accommodation in Lanesborough and the nearby villages of Tarmonbarry or Clondra. Together they offer a good mix of waters including Lough Ree, several sections of the River Shannon, the Feorish and Camlin rivers plus the renovated Royal Canal.

Published by Angling Times 2009 & Improve Your Coarse Fishing 2011

By Dave Houghton

For somewhere to stay and fish call Dave on 0151 324 4744