Welcome to Kerry Blackwater

Location: Between Kenmare & Sneem, Co. Kerry

The Experience:

A relatively short river at just some 16km long, the Kerry Blackwater flows from its source at Lough Brin Lake to the sea in Kenmare Harbour. Not to be confused with the much larger Munster Blackwater, this river gurgles and bubbles its way across boulders through pools and over a number of cascades from its mountain lake source to the sea. Running through some rugged countryside as it winds its way to the sea, the Kerry Blackwater offers a wonderful fishing experience for those lucky enough to be in the region. The river is managed by Inland Fisheries Ireland and in addition to the river fishing two boats are also available on the lake if preferred. It is divided into four separate beats with come 10 pools on each and a total of around 30 rods are permitted at any given time. 

As a spate river, the best fishing is during a flood period with many pools providing a spot for the fish to hold up as they travel through into the lake. Fly, spinning and worming would provide the best chance of meeting a fish on this river to which access in the main is very good. It is not necessary to wade the river in order to fish as all water can be fished from the bank. A single handed fly rod should do the trick here and a spinning rod will look after the other elements in terms of fishing. In addition to the run of salmon, the river also enjoys a run of sea trout which can be tempted by a fly as dusk approaches – a thrilling experience if you have not previously been lucky enough to experience it. Of course if the river itself is not in the best condition, the lake offers a positive alternative with the two boats ensuring you can explore the different drifts on the lake.

The Kerry Blackwater is another of the rivers in the county that you will remember for its scenery and location even if you do not manage to catch a fish during your visit. The spectrum of Kenmare Harbour comes ever closer as you make your way along the banks of this jewel of a river and who knows, you might even have a lucky story to tell after your visit, though as is often the case, the hard luck story of the lost fish might be the one to recount when remembering your fishing trip to the Kerry Blackwater.

Species & Fishing:

Salmon and Sea Trout are the main species on the Kerry Blackwater. The fishing season runs from Mid March to the end of September and fish can be expected to travel through the system throughout the period depending on the water levels. The sea trout would tend to run from mid June onwards.


This river can be accessed from the Ring of Kerry road between Sneem and Kenmare (N70) and also along the R568 road that runs from Sneen towards Killarney (via Molls Gap). It is roughly half way between Sneem and Kenmare – information will be provided with your permit purchase as to how and where to access the river.

Rules & Regulations:

The Blackwater was catch and release in 2013, which means that specific regulations apply:

- Anglers may not use worms

- Anglers must use single barbless hooks

- All fish must be handled carefully and should not be removed from the water prior to release.


Kerry Blackwater
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