Fresh-run salmon showing signs of red skin disease in the river Deel

Affected salmon have a red-spotted rash on their underbelly and may appear lethargic

Salmon from the river Corrib showing early signs of the disease in 2019.

For the second successive year, small numbers of fresh-run salmon have been encountered showing signs of red skin disease (RSD) in the river Deel in Co Mayo and the Boyne, according to Inland Fisheries Ireland.

While low incidences of the disease were documented last year in several European stocks, Ireland’s tally amounted to 113 salmon from 12 rivers. The majority of these occurred in June and July with occasional cases outside of this time line.

Affected salmon have a characteristic red-spotted rash on their underbelly and may appear lethargic or moribund. The rash can either be localised or extend along some or most of the length of the fish.

As the disease progresses, skin lesions, signs of bleeding and skins ulcers can develop primarily along the belly area and extend to the head and tail. Secondary fungal infection can further develop which may ultimately result in death.


Fisheries staff are continuing to liaise with the fish health unit in the Marine Institute and international colleagues to monitor and respond to the situation.

Anglers and fishery owners are asked to report any salmon with RSD to help determine occurrence of the disease nationally. Those who capture such salmon are advised to follow biosecurity procedures and disinfect tackle, waders and equipment.

Until the cause of the disease is determined and the risk of further spreading established, affected salmon should not be removed from the water.

Anglers are asked to forward any signs of RSD along with photographs and an estimate of fish weight to or call the 24-hour confidential hotline on 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.

Effects of altering river channels

Illegal work taking place on watercourses in and around Welsh rivers and streams continues to have a negative impact on fish and plants. More than 50 per cent of river gravel shoals has been lost over the last century which are a key feature of a healthy river ecosystem, Natural Resources Wales has said.

Altering river channels can destroy fish habitat, disturb protected species and cause the spread of invasive species, such as Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam.

Hilary Foster, adviser for freshwater habitats, said: “Alterations to watercourses should be limited to situations where there is a clear justification such as alleviating flood risk to nearby buildings.”

*The overall winner and five runners up have been selected in the My Favourite Fishing Place national photo competition, which took place during Go Fishing Week 2021. Entries received from across Ireland and UK showed where people love to fish in some of the beautiful scenic fishing locations in Ireland.

Michael Brazendale from England took top prize for his favourite fishing location, Derrynane Beach, Co Kerry, and will receive €100 worth of angling tackle. The five runners-up prizes of goody bags went to Christin Breuker, Danijel Kucan, Enda Fields, Lukasz Ryz and Maurice Neill.

Go Fishing Week took place from April 25th to May 3rd with a packed nine days of webinars, videos, social media content and competitions.

Suzanne Campion at Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “The photos showcase our natural fisheries resource and the abundance of beautiful locations we have on our doorsteps to explore and fish.”

*Annamoe Trout Fishery in Co Wicklow continues to turn out the big ‘uns. Local angler Eric Murnane (15) from Laragh caught a good-sized rainbow trout of 1.85kg last week on a dry Black Knat.

Eric Murnane (15) with a rainbow trout of 1.85kg from Annamoe Trout Fishery in Co Wicklow.

The fishery is open every day (except Wednesday). Call Brian at 086-259 8563 for details.