While carp are generally smaller in Ireland than elsewhere in Europe, the same is not true of pike. In fact, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was home to some truly huge pike, owing to the large Atlantic salmon population that once swam the River Shannon. Today, many fisheries and rivers still contain fish of 20 to 30 pounds, and the Irish record at 42.75 pounds is only 4 pounds shy of the British record. Bigger fish of above 50 pounds are known to exist in Irish waters.
A lot of anglers tackle up for pike fishing in the winter. This is when pike often lurk in deeper waters, lazily waiting to attack large shoals of prey fish such as roach. Pike fishing is available right across Ireland and in a diverse range of large and small waters.
Should you be tempted to visit Ireland for some piking, bear in mind that it has stringent conservation measures in place to protect the species. Among these is a ban on killing specimen-sized fish, which means anything beyond a 20 pounds river pike or 30 pounds lake (lough) pike.
Irish Pike Venues
Pike angling is often free in Ireland, but some fisheries require a permit. Here are just a few of the best venues:
*Carrowmore Lake in County Mayo is home to regular pike fishing competitions and contains fish of over 20 pounds.
*River Barrow in Counties Carlow, Kildare and Kilkenny is a big river often yielding fish of over 20 pounds and was the site of the 42 pounds Irish river pike record.
*Blessington Lake is a large 5,000-acre reservoir 19 miles outside Dublin that contains some good-sized pike of between 20-30 pounds. An ESB (Electricity Supply Board) fishing permit is required.
*Lough Ramor is a large natural lake in County Cavan containing many sizeable pike up to and exceeding 20 pounds.
*Assaroe Lake in County Donegal contains pike of all sizes, from small jacks to whopping fish of over 40 pounds. An ESB weekly or season permit is required to fish here.