Welcome to Feale System

The Feale at the N69 bridge Listowel. ©Stewart Stephens At Listowel Town. ©Stewart Stephens

River Feale/Cashen system

Information and Permits: Landers Outdoor World, Mile Height, Tralee 066 7126644. Jim Halpin Shooting Supplies, William Street, Listowel 068 22392.

The Feale rises in the mountains near Rockchapel, where the borders of Kerry, Cork and Limerick meet. It flows for 74km through Abbeyfeale and Listowel and enters the sea near Ballybunion. The bottom 10km or so is called the Cashen river. The Feale is a spate river and fishes best after a flood. There is a lot of fishing available on the Feale and permits are available through a number of clubs. In the past the Feale had huge runs of salmon and sea trout but both have declined drastically.

The Feale is joined by the Clydagh River near Brosna,  the Owveg at Bateman’s Bridge near Knocknagoshel, the Allughaun at Abbeyfeale, the Oolagh just downstream, the Smearlagh upstream of Listowel and the Galley and the Brick near Ballyduff. 

The Smearlagh River

Location: East of Listowel towards Abbeyfeale, Co. Kerry

The Experience:

A short spate river that is a tributary of the River Feale, this river runs for around 10km from its rising in the Stacks Mountains to where it joins with the Feale around 3 miles outside of the town of Listowel. A fast flowing mountain spate river, the Smearlagh boasts good opportunities for both salmon and seatrout for the angler that is willing to make the effort to fish it.

Along with good fishing, you are sure to enjoy the surroundings of this river which change as you move along its relatively short length. Skill is required to read the river and find the lies but once you start to catch fish, you are hooked and as sure as night follows day, you will return again and again to fish these clear fresh waters as they gurgle they way from their mountain spring source, cascading over rocks as they flow.

The spinning rod and a single handed fly rod are the best tools to deploy on the river given that you will need to negotiate a number of obstacles along the bank as well as in the river itself in the form of rocks. 

 

Species & Fishing:

Salmon and seatrout are the main targets on this river with fish running the system from opening day on the first of March right through to the end of the season in September. The main run of salmon is from opening until the middle of May and again in August & September. The salmon range in average size around nine pounds for the bigger fish with grilse around four pounds.

Seatrout start coming into the system in good numbers from the Mid April and fish continue to enter the system right through till mid August. Seatrout can be found in all stretches of the river but the lower and middle reaches are best in the early season while the upper sections tend to fair best later in the season. Excellent sport can be had with the fly rod at night for the seatrout which range in size from a half pound to three pounds in the main but bigger fish of up to five pounds can be taken earlier in the season. 

A number of proven baits are used by seasoned anglers on the Feale including a fly known locally as The Halpin but more well known flies such as Ally’s Shrimp, Hairy Mary and the Garry Dog also tend to be trusted to bring success. The river definitely fishes better in spate conditions with water levels falling and as noted earlier, the flood comes fast but also falls fast so timing is important.

Worms and a Devon Minnow are also trusted method to tempt a salmon onto the bank while a flying C has also been known to bring success for an angler.

For the seatrout, the best flies tend to be the Zulu, Bibio and the Mallard & Claret for those attempting to coax one of these wily fish onto the bank during the day time. Those willing to take to the river at night should include a Bloody Butcher, Silver Doctor or the Teal Blue & Silver on their list.

Access:

This river enjoys excellent access along its length in the main with detailed information as to the parking spots and access points available from the Angling Associations. There are multiple bridge crossing points along the river ensuring the angler is never far from a point from which to change bank.

Rules & Regulations:

The season on the Feale runs from the 1st of March to the 30th of September.

All legal methods (except Shrimp & Prawn) are permitted but most Angling Associations have specific rules that apply to their sections of water, including a fly only rule on some sections as well as specific bag limits that apply. Please ensure that you are fully aware and compliant with all of the rules applicable before fishing a stretch of water.

 

Feale System
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