Extending from Easky Village to Fortland Falls this beat comprises of six main pools although fish can also be encountered anywhere in between. This beat fishes best early in the season although fish will arrive off almost every tide throughout the season. In low water conditions a high tide is often all that is required to encourage fresh fish to run into beat 1.
Access to this stretch is from a footpath which follows the river from just below Fortland Bridge to the Laundry Pool, anglers may park in the visitors car park which is a few minutes walk from the river bank and it is well signposted.
The Laundry Pool
The first main pool on the Fortland fishery, it also holds fish and can be absolutely packed with sea-liced salmon when a run arrives. It may be fished from either bank, and both access and casting room are good. The neck of the pool is a deadly spot with the fly, especially early in the morning and even in low water. The body of the pool has a number of holding lies and fish will often be seen showing or following the flies across the pool. The tail of the pool is fished in high water where fish will rest after running the turbulent stretch of water below. Some of the best night-time sea-trout fishing can be had on this pool but one must ensure that it has been rested for a few hours before dusk. It is not necessary to wade this pool.
The Rock Pool
A streamy, rocky run fished when the grilse are running. It can be fished from either bank but it perhaps best fished by wading along the West Bank.
The Cliff Hole
A narrow even bottomed pool which is deep at the head and under the steep west bank. It is fished only from the East Bank and casting must be accurate. Fish lie at the head of the pool in the stream, under the west bank and further back in the pool across the width of the pool and under both banks. The sill of the pool is a good spot in high water or when fish are travelling.
The Sand Hole
A lovely bend, deep on the east side with a shallow, sandy bank on the west side. It is fished only from the west bank by wading in shallow water. The stream at the head fishes well with fish lying around the large rock close to the east bank. There are lies all along the east bank close to the rock shelf, which is visible. The sill of the pool is an excellent spot in high water or when fish are travelling. In suitable conditions this is a most exciting nighttime sea-trout pool as fish can be heard splashing up through the shallows into the tail of the pool. This is one of the best pools for fly-fishing on the entire fishery.
The Platform Pool
A deep pool with a rocky bottom and steep sides, which can be fished from either bank. It holds a lot of fish throughout the season and after a dry spell it can be packed with fish waiting to ascend the falls. Fish always show in this pool. The tail, which is fished from the west bank, is productive for fly-fishing when fish are running or the body of the pool may be fly-fished at night for sea trout. The deep body of the pool is more suited to spinning or bait fishing and fish can be caught here even in the lowest of water conditions.
A very picturesque narrow gut at the foot of Fortland Falls which is fished from a rock ledge on the east bank. This is an extraordinarily beautiful spot where fish can be watched ascending the falls. It is best fished with bait in medium to low water.
Beat 2 extends from Fortland Falls to the Nursery Pool. It is characterised by deep, narrow pools between rock ledges flowing through a beautiful wooden area. These pools hold fish all season after the first flood. It has six main pools each of which may be easily accessed from the coach path. Car parking is available at designated positions along this path. Wading is not necessary on beat 2.
The Merry Hole
A small pool fished from the west bank. This is the first spot for fish to rest after ascending the Fortland Falls, it is deceptive and although small can be absolutely full of fish. Fish lie right under the ledge from which you fish and under the lower part of the east bank. Be sure to have a net here as the banks are steep and the flow strong.
A number of small deep pools which can be fished from either bank. Overhanging trees and the confined nature of these pools mean that fish must be carefully approached at close quarters with a fly when fish are running or light bait fishing tackle in low water. A net is essential here.
The Sheep Dip
A deep holding pool over hung by large mature trees around a picturesque clearing. It can be fished from from either bank. The fast, narrow neck gushes between rock ledges and flows into a deep flat bottoms holding pool, which holds fish throughout the season. The neck and tail can be fished in good water whereas the body of the pool requires a deeper technique. This can be a good pool for sea trout at night.
The Bridge Pool
A pedestrian footbridge crosses the run above the head of this narrow deep pool. It is best fished from the rock ledges of the east bank and is very much a pool for running fish. Once again this is a pool where a net is essential.
The Rosary Pool
The pool immediately above the footbridge. It must be fished from the rock ledges on the east bank and wading is not necessary. This is a shallow swift flowing stream with a distinctive boulder near the tail, best water height is when this boulder is just covered. Fish lie in the fast water at the head and towards the tail against the west bank. A good pool for the fly when the grilse are running.
The Weir Pool
A shallow even bottomed pool with over-hanging trees. It is generally fished from the west bank. Fish lie along the main flow and under the rock ledges along the west bank. A couple of large rocks just visible in low water provide holding lies in the body of the pool.
The Nursery Pool
This is the largest pool on the fishery and is shared between beat 2 and beat 3. The east bank is fished with beat 2. This pool always holds a large number of resident fish but fresh and running fish will also be encountered here, it is perhaps the main holding pool on the fishery. It fishes well to the fly in medium to high water but is very sheltered from the wind so the surface can be a bit glassy. Spinning or bait fishing can be deadly here at any time. Fish will lie throughout the pool but tend to be concentrated below the rock ledges, which run along each bank and at the head of the pool when fish are running. This is another excellent pool for sea-trout fishing at night.
Beat 4 comprises of 3/4 mile of single bank angling on the west bank immediately upstream of Beat 3 of the Fortland Fishery Double Bank Fishery.
- It comprises of 4 main pools with a number of streamy runs and glides. Two deep holding pools each below a waterfall can be fished with bait in any water conditions or, as with the remainder of the water, with all methods during good water.
- Running fish may be encountered anywhere along the length of Beat 4 and searching every nook and cranny with the fly can be productive and exciting during good water.
- Access to Beat 4 is from the top of Beat 3 or with a 1/2 mile walk downstream from the main Sligo-Ballina road bridge. Access to the pools and casting room on Beat 4 are less developed and more difficult than on the other beats of the Fortland Fishery.
- Four rods are let per day on Beat 4.
Beat 3 is the uppermost double bank beat on the Portland Fishery and comprises of seven main pools which are generally shallower and more open than those of beat 2. It flows through a picturesque wooded area and is accessible along its length from the coach path; anglers may park at designated spots.
The Nursery Pool
The west bank of the Nursery Pool is fished with beat 3. As mentioned previously it holds large numbers of fish year round and can be fished in any conditions or water levels.
The Doctor’s Pool
A beautiful, swift flowing, medium depth pool with steep banks surrounded by mature overhanging trees. It is fished by wading along either bank and care must be taken in higher water levels. The fish lie mostly towards the tail of the pool in good water or in the head of the stream as levels drop. Single-handed spey or roll casts are a great help to cover this pool well. This is a classic spate river salmon pool.
The Log Jam
A shorter version of the Doctor`s which is most easily fished from the rock ledges along the west bank although with care it may be waded along the east bank. It has a deep head, an even gravelly bottom in the body, and a long shallow tail. The fish lie at the head in the stream and along the ledge, and under the overhang further back along the east bank.
A shallow even run which may be fished from either bank by shallow wading. Another spot for travelling fish.
Reached via steps from the end of the surfaced area of the coach path. Another shallow even run with beautiful overhanging trees it is best fished from the rock ledge on the east bank. There is a deep pot towards the tail of the run on the east side, which holds fish.
Very similar to Paula’s Stream but the deep pot is at the head of the run close to the west bank. Once again a spot for runners.
The Stepping Stones
This pool is quite different to the others on beat 3. It is accessed by crossing the shallows above Paula’s or Kilmacurkan to the east bank and then using the steps and stiles provided. There is a deep backwater near the head below which a shallow gravelly glide deepens into a deep hole at the tail. Residents can be found in the deeps whereas runners will be encountered in the glide.
The Beat Map
Click on the image to see the map
Access to the Fortland Fishery
The Fortland Fishery can be found half mile south of Easky Village. Enterance through the gates, next to the Gate Lodge and follow the signs.
- Ireland West Airport at Knock travel time 1 hour approx distance 58km Taxi Transfers from Knock to Fortland
- Shannon Airport travel time 3hr approx distance 213km
- Dublin Airport travel time 3hrs approx distance 238km
- Belfast Airport travel time 3hrs 20 mins approx distance 240km
- Dublin Port – travel time 3hrs approx distance 246km
- Belfast Port – travel time 3hr 20 mins approx distance 248km
- Larne Port – travel time 3hrs 40 mins approx distance 277km
- Rosslare Port – travel time 4hr 40 mins distance 353km
The Foxford Fishery offers excellent salmon angling throughout the season:
Tackle & Techniques
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More informations about our fishing spots alongside the beautiful river