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The river managed by the River Ilen Anglers’ Club is found in beautiful West Cork with its source 500 metres up on Mullaghmesha mountain North-West of Drimoleague and flows for about 33 kilometres southwards through the town of Skibbereen to the sea at Baltimore and the islands of Sherkin and Cape Clear.

The season starts on the 15th February and closes on the 30th September for both salmon and sea trout. The main runs of salmon (an bradán) can be expected in May, June and July and these Grilse/Peal, which make up the majority of the catches, average 2kg (4-5lb) . The average size of fish caught has increased as a direct result of the ending of the nets at sea and the added spawning from these larger fish should significantly improve future runs.

Later, towards the end of August and into September, there has been a tendency for what can be described as a late or autumn run to appear and some really fine salmon are not uncommon. Analysis shows that most salmon are taken on the spinner (44%), with the worm a short distance behind (38%) and the fly trailing in in third place (9%). Tackle need not be too heavy, rods of 8/10 ft. will do fine and all the standard spinners/lures will do the job.

The Club itself is comprised of an average of 60 members and an AGM is held in February. Full membership is open to all residents of West Cork who live within the catchment area of the river which broadly stretches from Durrus in the west, north through Drimoleague and down to Connonagh in the east and this constitutes a more than generous stretch in comparison to the river size. Outside of this, visitors can purchase a day/weekly ticket etc. without restriction whatsoever, subject to Club and State rules of course. A state licence is a legal requirement and all anglers are urged to keep fully up-to-date with both Club and State regulations.

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