Anglers face fine for using worms and barbed hooks


Anglers hoping to cast a worm or use a barbed hook in some of Ireland’s leading fishing rivers will face an on-the-spot fine of €150.

It follows the passing of new bylaws by Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Fergus O’Dowd prohibiting the use of worms and barbed hooks in more than 80 rivers in the State.

The bylaw states: “It is prohibited for a person to use or attempt to use worms as bait or any fish hooks other than single barbless hooks in angling for any kind of fish in waters of a river mentioned.”

Measures to protect salmon

Myles Kelly of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) said the measures were introduced to protect salmon stocks in rivers where their numbers were depleted.

While anglers using worms and barbed hooks may not be fishing for salmon, there is a chance they could be caught.

“It’s just to remove any additional unwanted risk to salmon survival in these rivers,” Mr Kelly said.

He said the use of worms often led to salmon becoming “deeply hooked”, lessening the chance of a healthy release. Similar bylaws were introduced last year, he said.

According to Mr Kelly, the bylaw is in effect in a “mix of rivers that are closed to salmon fishing and are open under catch-and-release”.

Popular coarse fishing rivers such as the Shannon were excluded because of the potential negative impact on tourism and fishing.

The bylaws came into effect on February 26th and are due to be reviewed next year. A statutory 30-day consultation period will take place before any rivers are selected.

Among the well-known rivers affected are the Liffey (excluding upstream of Poulaphouca dam and the Dodder), the Slaney in Wexford, the Avoca in Wicklow and the Boyne at Drogheda (the main channel downstream of Leinster Bridge).

A list of the rivers and lakes is available on the IFI website: