Fishing in the Slaney valley
Traditionally the Slaney was seen primarily as a spring salmon fishery with the bulk of angling activity taking place in the months of March to May, augmented by a small number of grilse and a fair run of sea trout in late June /early July. Good fishing for small wild brown trout is also available on the river.In addition to the rod fishery the river also supported an extensive commercial draft net fishery in the estuary with up to 75 draft nets licensed to operate. The scale of the runs of salmon in the past can be assessed by the fact that in the 1930s the annual reported rod catch varied between 1,000 and 2,000 with a draft net catch of between 3,000 and 7,000 fish.
In the post war period the catches peaked at 3,000 rod caught and 6,500 draft net fish in 1966. It is probably reasonable to assume that these figures under-reported the catches.1966 was also the year in which UDN salmon disease hit the river. The impact of UDN, the Greenland fishery, environmental change and local commercial over exploitation all contributed to a serious decline in the salmon stock in the river culminating in the closure of both the rod and commercial fisheries in 2007. It is understood that about 30 of the 75 draft net licences were bought out under a Government hardship scheme designed to compensate licence holders who surrendered their licences.The salmon and seat rout rod fishery was re-opened in 2008 on a catch and release basis with a reported catch of only 175 salmon despite what appeared to be good spawning performance in that year. In 2009 and 2010 the salmon fishery was closed and reopened on a catch and release basis in 2011. For the 2014 season the salmon fishery is open on a catch and release basis from 17 March. From above Enniscorthy bridge the fishery is fly only and single barbless hooks must be used at all times.Anglers are permitted to keep 3 sea trout under 40cms in a 24 hour period. All sea trout of 40cms and over must be returned.
Above Tullow the fishing is mainly for brown trout, which also provide good sport for a number of miles below the town. From Tullow to Enniscorthy the fishing is mainly for salmon with a run of summer sea trout. Above Bunclody the river valley is narrow, the scenery generally hilly and wooded. The river is characterised by a succession of sharps, weirs and relatively shallow pools. Below Bunclody, where there is much arable land, the valley widens and the river has long runs and much deeper pools.There is generally a good run of small sea trout, fish of between 12oz and 11b 8oz, in late June and early July, with the best of the fishing between Bunclody and Ballycarney Bridge.Details of some of the clubs providing access, and includes details of permits are available on the former Eastern Regional Fisheries Board site.