Freshwater Fishing Information
All freshwater anglers must hold an angling licence issued by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture and must purchase a licence before they fish anywhere on the Island's inland waters. Licences are available for periods of a season, a week or a day (season only for coarse fish).
With numerous small, clear, fast flowing streams, the Isle of Man offers a unique opportunity to fish for wild brown trout across the Island. You may fish the fly, worm or spin in streams cascading down from the mountains, through the rolling countryside and in tree-lined valleys. Many anglers choose to spin rather than fly fish these streams due to the dense cover, however excellent results will come to the practised and patient fly fisherman.
Salmon and sea trout are both native to the Island and Manx rivers hold surprisingly good stocks of migratory fish. Given enough water, there should be sea trout in the major rivers by June, with salmon arriving later in the year, usually by September. The main rivers frequented by migratory fish are the Sulby River in the northern half of the Island, the Neb which flows into the sea at Peel on the west coast and the rivers Dhoo and Glass which enter the sea at Douglas. However, sea trout can also be found in some of the larger pools in the smaller streams.
Access to watercourses is at the discretion of the landowner and anglers are responsible for ensuring that they do not commit trespass. Please respect ‘No Fishing’ and ‘Private Fishing’ signs.
Unless requested not to by an IoM Government Officer, licensed anglers may assume they have permission to fish at the following locations:
- National Glens: mostly brown trout. Salmon also run Laxey Glen, Glen Helen and, to a lesser extent, Silverdale Glen. Sea trout, and occasionally salmon, run several of the other glens accessible to migratory fish.
- Garey ny Cloie (Foxdale River): brown trout, sea trout, salmon.
- Right bank of Sulby Claddagh Recreational Area (Sulby River): brown trout, sea trout, salmon.
- The Raggatt (River Neb): brown trout, sea trout, salmon.
- Right bank of River Neb from Glenfaba Road to West Marine Footbridge, Peel: brown trout, sea trout, salmon.
- Within the grounds of the National Sports Centre between Quarterbridge and Pulrose Power Station, Douglas (Rivers Glass, Dhoo and Douglas):brown trout, sea trout, salmon. Please note that access may be restricted during some NSC events and anglers must cease fishing if requested to do so by NSC staff.
- Steam Heritage Trail bank, River Dhoo, between Braddan Bridge and Main Road Bridge, Union Mills: brown trout, sea trout, salmon.
- Streams within Public Land Open to Ramblageas defined in the Isle of Man Outdoor Leisure Map 1:25,000: brown trout. Please note that anglers need to take great care April-July (inc) to avoid disturbing ground-nesting birds e.g. hen harriers, as to do so is an offence under the Wildlife Act 1990.
The wide range of reservoir fishing available on the Island provides some challenging stillwater trout fishing and offers a great contrast, varying from sheltered lowland reservoirs to exposed upland waters in the central hills. Whilst wild brown trout can be found in all of these reservoirs, 6 of them (Ballure, Clypse, Kerrowdhoo, Cringle, Sulby and West Baldwin) are also stocked on a regular basis throughout the angling season with rainbow trout reared by Troutlodge at their fish hatchery at Cornaa, Maughold.
The reservoirs vary in size from the deep, clear Sulby Reservoir (154 acres) located directly under Snaefell to the lowest-lying Ballure (3.5 acres) just on the outskirts of Ramsey. The Clypse and Kerrowdhoo reservoirs just north of Douglas are restricted to traditional fly fishing only, whilst fly fishing and spinning methods can be used on all the other reservoirs. Bait fishing is prohibited.
For safety reasons no boats are available on any of the reservoirs.
Please note that, due to a landslip on the far side of the Ballure reservoir, Manx Utilities have restricted access. For health and safety reasons, Ballure reservoir is now closed to angling and we ask anglers to kindly respect this. Ballure stocking of rainbow trout have been diverted to Sulby reservoir until further notice. For further information on this restriction, please contact Manx Utilities.
Seasons are different for the reservoirs and rivers on the Island.
From 2012 onwards, fishing for trout and rainbow trout on the 6 stocked reservoirs opens on 10 March and goes through to the end of January of the following year.
Reservoir licences are required to fish these 6 reservoirs, and concessionary licences (season only) are available for OAPs and disabled anglers.
The season on the rivers begins on 1 April and for brown trout and eels continues until 30 September. After this, there is another month's fishing for migratory fish (salmon and sea trout) only, until 31 October.
An Other Waters Licence is required to fish for salmon, migratory trout, trout, rainbow trout and eels in any waters other than the specified reservoirs.
The coarse fish season operates from 1 January to 31 December each year, although private or commercial coarse fisheries may operate a close season at their discretion. Anglers wishing to fish for coarse fish must be in possession of a Coarse Fish Licence, available via Online Services only.
The fishing licence system on the Isle of Man differs from that of the UK in that one licence is required to fish all of the reservoirs and a separate Other Waters Licence must be purchased should you wish to fish elsewhere (for example, rivers or other stillwaters). Coarse fish licences (season only) are available from March onwards.
Licences are available for a day, a week or a season. However, for the month of October, which is the most productive for migratory fish, anglers can only fish the rivers if they are in possession of a season Other Waters Licence.
Licences are available to purchase from the outlets listed below.
- Other waters and Reservoir licences are available online (Government Online Services), at DEFA headquarters, St Johns and at the Welcome Centre (Sea Terminal Building, Douglas).
- Concessionary Season Reservoir licences (65+ or disabled) are available at DEFA headquarters (St Johns), The Welcome Centre (Sea Terminal Building, Douglas) and most Island Post Offices, but are not available online. Proof of eligibility is required.
- Coarse fish licences are only available online.
The Welcome Centre opening hours are: 8am – 6pm Mon to Sat (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day & Civil Service privilege day). Plus 9am – 2pm Sunday during summer season.
DEFA headquarters is open during office hours (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm exc Bank Holidays).
Senior citizens (aged 65 and over) and eligible disabled persons may choose to purchase a reservoir adult season licence with a reduced daily bag limit at a concessionary price.
There are also licence duty reductions for students (a person who has not turned 19 years of age by 31 December). For children under 14 years on 31 December in the year the licence is issued, licences are required but are issued free of charge.
Full details of the eligibility criteria are provided in the Inland Fisheries Regulations 2011.
Inland fisheries regulations
From March to the end of October on the reservoirs, no more than 4 rainbow trout can be caught and killed on any one day, and anglers must not continue to catch and release after a fourth fish has been caught and killed. There is a smaller bag limit of 2 rainbow trout for senior citizens and eligible disabled persons fishing with a concessionary season licence. However, please note that for the period 1 November to 31 January inclusive there is an overall bag limit of 2 fish for all reservoir anglers.
From April 2012, anglers in possession of an Other Waters Licence are permitted to catch and kill a maximum of 3 fish each day, of which no more than 1 may be a salmon or a sea trout. Anglers are not permitted to continue to fish after capturing and killing the daily bag limit and must cease fishing immediately once a salmon or migratory trout has been caught and retained.
All eels must be returned alive immediately.
The Inland Fisheries Regulations 2017 provide full details of the rules and regulations for freshwater angling. Anglers are encouraged to read and understand these new regulations before going fishing.
Please note that it is an offence under the regulations to sell, offer or expose for sale any salmon, migratory trout, trout, rainbow trout or coarse fish species taken by rod and line.
River anglers are encouraged to submit catch returns at the end of the season, whether or not they have succeeded in catching any fish. Catch return forms are incorporated as part of the Other Waters Licence and should be returned to the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture via the freepost address. Alternatively the downloadable return form can be emailed direct to Fisheries, contact details below.
These returns will be used to monitor trends in the Island's fisheries, will act as useful indicators as to the status of our native fish stocks and will assist in directing resources to the areas most in need.
Details of the current record weights for freshwater species (as well as rod caught marine species from shore and boat), and an application form to claim a record weight may be downloaded from the downloadable documents section of this page.