River Moy Guide
The River Moy is the most famous of Ireland’s many Salmon Rivers. Anglers come from all parts of the globe to fish this 60 mile plus, stretch of water. The River and its tributaries touch the Ox mountains in the East, Castlebar in the South and Nephin Beg range of mountains in North Mayo. The system also includes Lough Conn and Lough Cullin.
The lower and middle parts of the river are very wide (40 metres plus) and deep in some parts. The upper river has more spate-like qualities and looks more like some of the smaller Salmon Rivers in the country. The Upper River is especially good for the fly fisherman, but there is plenty of fly water throughout the course of the river.
The Sea Trout fishing is best in the estuary, and runs from April right through until September. You can get Sea Trout throughout the river but the further up you go the later the run.
The Moy Fishery
When anglers think of the famous River Moy, this is the area that first springs to mind. It is probably one of the most prolific fisheries in Europe. These beats are affected by the tides and can be out of action for up to 2 hours either side of high tides.
The Ridge Pool
The Ridge Pool on the Moy must be the most famous beat in Irish Salmon Angling. It runs from the head of the tidal waters at the fish traps down to Ham Bridge; a grand total of 300 yards. There are two sessions per day, one from sunrise to 2 p.m. and the other from 2 to sunset. Each session takes 5 rods, which must continually move through the pool on a rotating fashion. If you’re not lucky enough to get fishing it, watching comes a close second.
The Cathedral Beat
The Cathedral beat, is next to the Ridge Pool. It starts immediately downstream of West’s Bridge and runs for about 250 yards. It is almost as sought after as the Ridge Pool itself. It takes 8 rods, with the sessions lasting from sunrise until 6 pm. After 6, it is reserved for local anglers. The water here is fairly shallow and streamy, making it excellent fly water.
Polnamonagh (The Monks Pool) and Spring Wells
Known as beats one and two these sections lie immediately downstream of the Cathedral beat. Polnamonagh is more suited to bait fishing as the water here is deep and slow. Springwells is much faster moving (and shallower) which makes it more suited to fly fishing.
These sections are not as sought after as the Ridge Pool or Cathedral Beat but you still need to book them in advance. You’ll have less of a gallery here, so if you’re shy these might be best for you! They operate on a single session basis and can be fished from sunrise to sunset. They can accommodate up to 8 rods each per session.
The Ash Tree Pool
Known as beat 3, this is a beautiful tree lined section, which runs alongside the town park, just above the confluence of the Brusna (Bunree) River. This beat is more suited to bait fishing as it is deepish, slack water. It can take 2 rods in the boat and 2 from the bank. The boat and a Ghillie are provided. Like those before it, this beat is also influenced by the tide, so you would be advised to check conditions with the Ghillie, ahead of time.
This one is also known as beat 4, and it extends from the confluence of the Brusna River to the end of the Island (about 300 yards). This is a public beat so there is no restriction on the number of anglers so it can get very over-crowded at times. The best fishing is at the top of the beat. The Sea Trout fishing can also be good in this stretch, especially in July.
The Freshwater Beat
This beat has recently been developed to provide better facilities and access, to about 400 yards of single bank fishing. It includes access for disabled anglers.
The Moy estuary is a large area of tidal waters, with an abundant supply of Sea Trout. They feed on the plentiful supply of sand eels, shrimp and sprat. You can fish from the shore but the area is so vast and the tides so variable, that the visiting angler would be better to book a spot on one of the charter boats, where the skippers are vey knowledgeable about the area.
The Ballina Salmon Anglers Association
The Ballina Salmon Anglers Association water stretches for the best part of 3 miles, from the weir in Ballina to the confluence with the Corroy River. It is all double bank fishing, which the club leases from the state and the Verscoyle family.
In the past few years work has been done to create some fly water in the first ½ mile after the weir. The rest of the fishery consists mainly of deep, slow flowing water and is suitable for bait and the spinner, although the bubble and fly method can also be very effective here. It’s also quite a good stretch for Sea Trout. There are no restrictions on the number of rods on this water so it does get a little over crowed during the peak season through June and July.
The Ballintemple fishery consists of 2 miles of single bank fishing on the Moy, extending downstream from Cloongullaun Bridge. (on the N26), to the angling club car park at Oldcastle. This part of the river used to be rather shallow and streamy, and while it was good looking fly water, it only fished well in a spate. New pools have since been created to hold fish even in low water conditions, but much of the streamy characteristics of the stretch have been retained.
East Mayo Anglers Association
The East Mayo Anglers Association has over six miles of double bank fishing making it the most extensive fishery on the River Moy. The upper section of the fishery is home to some lovely fly water and one section, from the Gub to 2.5 miles upstream at Geraghty’s Pool, is fly only. Here, the streams and glides can be fished with body waders and a single handed rod.
The East Mayo water has the very best spring salmon fly water and holding pools on the Moy, and is one of the main stopovers for springers on the river. It fishes best for spring fish during April and May. Prawn and Shrimp are not allowed on this fishery.
Mount Falcon was always a great fishery but since they bought over the right bank of the Wall Pool, it has just become a fabulous fishery. It has one of the finest fishing lodges in Ireland at Mount Falcon castle. The castle is available for charter on a weekly or daily basis offering full accommodation including salmon fishing on the residents beat for parties of up to twelve persons per night.
If fly fishing is your method of choice then you’ll want to visit the Wall Pool and Connor’s Gap (both on the residents beat). The Wall Pool is perhaps one of the best pools on the Moy, outside of the beats at Ballina. Connor’s Gap is just upstream from the Wall Pool on a bend. You can tell when you’re there by the large rock in the middle of the pool. This pool can be fished from the bank. Both pools can be fished with a single hander in low water, and a double hander in higher water.
If worming or spinning is you bag, then The Straight will often provide some payback. You can’t fish the Shrimp but worming is fine. The Flying C is hard to pass up when spinning.
On the lower part of the Mount Falcon water, where daily permits are issued, Cunninghams is probably the most productive for spinning and worming. Next to that The Ledges is a long stretch of water that offers good spinning and bait fishing regardless of conditions.
The Attymass Fishery
The Attymass Angling Club leases this water from the Scott Knox-Gore family. It consists of about 2.5 miles of single bank fishing, just over 2.5 miles from Ballina on the east bank of the River Moy. The Attymass water is divided up into three distinct sections, which include well known pools such as, the Wood Pool, Padden’s Pool, and Cunningham’s Pool.
Cunninghams fishes really well later in the season through August and September. Padden’s Pool is an excellent spring fishery, which extends for over 900 yards. There is a very deep holding pool (18 ft deep) just downstream from where the Bunnafinglas River flows into the Moy and this is always a likely spot to catch a salmon. The Wood Pool is another large one, which is situated upstream of Padden’s and it shares the opposite bank with the Knockmore Salmon Anglers Fishery.
Coolcronan Fishery (Scott-Knox-Gore)
The Coolcronan Fishery consists of just over 1 mile of double bank fishing. Rods are restricted to 12 per day, and there is a rota on the water to ensure that each angler gets to cover the whole fishery.
You can fly fish the Rock pool in decent water, but you’ll need to roll cast to fish it from the banks. You can use a single hander from a boat when water levels and conditions are favourable.
High Bank and Coolcronan Straight lie above the Rock pool and both are deeper waters. Further down from the Rock pool, where the river turns towards Coolcronan House, you will find the Bridge Pool, and then the Ladders, the Ice House Pool, and the Cable Pool (near the car park). The Bridge Pool is an excellent spot for bait fishing, as the fish lie there waiting at the head of the lower waters that run up to the Rock Pool. The Ladders, has had some of the trees cleared making it more accessible The Ice House Pool is one of the best pools for bait fishing.
Jack’s Pool (named after football legend Jack Charlton) is the next pool down from the Cable. It has a pattern of rocks running parallel to the bank, which provide great lies for the large spring salmon. Below Coolcronan House, lies David’s Den, which is well known as a Grilse pool. Further downstream, from the last corner on the Coolcronan Fishery down to the Bonnifinglass River, you will find the Graveyard Pool, followed by the Bonnifinglass Straight. The Graveyard Pool is an excellent bait and spinning pool, which is better in the middle and later parts of the season.
Byrne’s Fishery is situated about 3 miles north of Foxford just off the N26. It has about 2 miles of single bank fishing, with the better known pools being, the Yellow River Pool, Slippy Clay, The Fort, The Ledges, The Weeds, The Branches and The End Pool.
Byrnes is mostly suited to bait fishing but there are a number of decent fly fishing stretches. Any legal bait is allowed, including prawns. The number of rods is restricted as it is a private fishery, so over-crowding is not a problem.
The Yellow River Pool is particularly good for spring fish from March through to May. The Slippy Clay pool is situated between two deep bends on the river, and being deeper water at around 11 feet, worms and spinning being the best methods. The Ledges Pool is also very good for spring fish, but is real excellence comes when the Grilse arrive during June and July. This pool fishes best in low water conditions.
The Knockmore Angling Club Water
Knockmore Angling club has two separate stretches on the west bank of the Moy, about three miles north of Foxford (just off the N26). These beats are about 1 mile apart with private fisheries on either ends. You need to choose which one you want to fish as you’ll be on it for the day. Again these two beats are mostly bait fishing and spinning
The lower of the two fisheries has many excellent holding pools, such as Padden’s Pool, The Flag Pool and the Ditches Pool. Paddens pool has a sandy rocky bed, which produces plenty of fish on the worm and spinning, but in low water the bubble and fly is generally better. The Flag Pool is similar to Paddens, but in high water bait fishing is excellent due to fish lying closer to the banks. The Ditches is predominantly a spinning pool, as the water is really deep and slow.
The upper fishery contains the Yellow River pool, The Alders, The Wood Pool and The Rake. The Yellow River pool consists of a sandy bed which is best fished using the bubble and fly. The Alders is a slow deep pool, ideal for bait and lures. The Wood Pool is one of the better known pools on the River Moy and is again great for bait fishermen, as is the Rake Pool.
Rinnaney Fishery (Scott-Knowx-Gore)
The Rinnaney Fishery begins at a point about 1 mile downstream of Foxford (which is known as the Brook), and stretches for 3.5 miles to the confluence with the Yellow River. It is all right bank fishing, with 26 named pools
The Shralura is a wide pool, where the fish run close to the far bank. Covering them with the spinner is the most productive ploy. Scott’s Corner, further downstream, has lots of deep holding pools, where fish congregate throughout the season (it’s a good spring pool as well). The Channel Pool is also quite wide and deep in places. It lies on a bend, where fishing the worm close to the bottom will often yield results.
Johnsons Straight is a nice stretch of fast water, where spinning or bubble and fly in lower water are best. The Ledges is a good spot to take youngsters as it’s a good clean area for the spinner. From here further downstream to the Joinings pool, the fishing is better late in the season.
Armstrongs fishery is lies about 1.5 miles north of Foxford town (on the N26). It consists of 1.5 miles of single bank fishing and again it’s predominately a bait fishery. However as the season progresses many fish are taken on the bubble and fly.
The first pool is the Boat Pool, which is normally good for spinning and worming in high water, with shrimp and fly being better in lower water (approximately two feet under the pier). Directly downstream is Carraigeen which is very deep, and the Nib, which is very good for spinning in medium and high water, when casting to the opposite bank in the current.
The Straight is a stretch best fished when salmon are running. Upstream from the Boat Pool in the water between the car park and the Meadow Pool you can find a fish anywhere. At the bend at the start of the Meadow Pool can be excellent in medium and low water, where the Salmon hover in the eddies, towards the middle. In high water, worms fished close to the bank can often yield a good fish. The Meadow Pool can be fished with the fly in summer, as the current is fast enough to move the flies. The Flag, with is large boulders, is good in high water.
The Foxford Fishery
This is one of the most famous fisheries on the River Moy. It consists of 14 miles of double bank fishing, which extends from a couple of miles below Foxford Bridge, to a point downstream about 14 miles away. The fishing is restricted to 7 rods per day, which can fish from the bank or from the boat, with Ghillie services available.
The fishing is good in spring and excellent during the Grilse run. It also gets a good run of autumn fish. The character of the main pools on the fishery varies from shallow riffles to sweeping bends, deep holding pools and classic glides. The spring and autumn season tend not to be fully booked, which nonetheless offer excellent prospects of a big fish. Most of these are hauled in on bait or spinners, although a few can be enticed by the fly on a sunk-line, in low water.
The Grilse run starts in late May and extends through, June and July. Many of these fish are taken on the fly. The water holds lots of resident fish through August and September, when you’ll need to switch towards more stealth-like tactics, such as bubble and fly.
The New pool is a shallow gravely run at the head of Jacks Pool, and is best fished from the East bank or by wading along the gravel on either side of the stream. It fishes best in low water with the fly. Jack’s Pool also consists of a shallow, gravely run flowing into streamy water, making it perfect for the floating-line fly. Wade along the shallow gravel bar below Black Rock.
The Alders is a straight pool of around 50 yards in length. It is better fished from the west bank as wading is difficult. The Nib is the fisheries most productive pool. It is around 300 yards and can be fished from either bank or from a boat. The tail of the pool is good for the fly.
There is a stretch of single bank fishing on the fishery, with two pools, known as Moran’s Rocks and the Point. It is pretty deep water here and is better suited for bait fishing.
Gannon’s Fishery (Beal Easa Fishery)
Gannons Fishery is located about a mile from Foxford on the main Ballina road (N26). The fishery consists of 1 1/4 miles of single bank fishing. The river here is deep and slow moving, so it’s more suited to spinning and bait fishing, although you can fly fish (or use bubble and fly) around Moran’s Rock in low water. The fishery is run by Gannon’s guesthouse in Foxford.
Baker’s Fishery (The Foxford Salmon Anglers)
The Bakers Fishery begins a few hundred yards upstream of Foxford Bridge and runs for just over a mile up to the boundaries of the Cloongee fishery. It actually overlaps Cloongee on the West bank where both fisheries share the Carrigeen pool. The Carrigeen is an excellent pool and fishes well from late March until June. It’s pretty rocky with a medium fast flow, which make it more suitable for spinning.
As you move downstream the river gets deeper. At the lower end of the fishery, starting at Carson’s Field on the east bank, and Johnny Henry’s on the west bank, you’ll find good fly fishing water (known as Jossies). From June onwards, this fishes well. Just upstream from Jossies is another good spinning pool known as the Alders Pool, which must be fished from the East bank.
The Cloongee Fishery
The Cloongee is another prolific Salmon and grilse private fishery, comprising 2 miles of right bank and approximately 1 mile of left bank, and 17 named pools. The best pool is the Joinings, located at the confluence of the Cross River. The upper end of this pool is excellent for the fly. The fishery actually includes the better part of the Cross River, which is really more like a lake, which flows out of Lough Cullin.
On the lower end of the fishery it’s much better for spinning and worming. Some of the main pools are Cool Raw, Matha’s Rocks the Hillodine Pool (located on a bend at the Cloongee Fishery), and Com Pool.
River Moy Tributaries
River Moy Neighbouring Rivers
River Cloonaghmore (Palmerstown)
River Manulla (Bellyvary)