Fishing The Estuary

Fishing for sea trout with ultra light equipment like this can give fantastic sport!

A French angler playing a sea trout off the beach of Bartragh Island

The channels of the Moy estuary right down to the bar of the river and along its nearby beaches offer some of the best saltwater sea trout angling in the country. The estuary contains a vast amount of feed such as sandeel, white bait and shrimp, indeed the fish can be too well fed at times and ignore an anglers baits! Due to all this feed the area attracts large numbers of hard fighting sea trout which give excellent sport on light tackle.

The number one bait is sandeel, either fresh or good quality frozen. Sandeels are fished by free lining in the current or casting across the current and slowly retrieving, letting the bait swing round with the flow, with just enough lead to sink the bait, the angler must be ready to give some line the moment a fish takes. The estuary is home to a large population of permanently hungry crabs and ledgering on the sand is not recommended!

Good fishing can be had all summer though, as with any area, it will occasionally have difficult fishing at times. The best months for good numbers of nice sized fish are mid April to mid July. Fish of 35cm to 50cm can be commonly taken during these months. Anglers fishing early in the season may often take thin kelts which must be returned carefully. August, September and into early October can offer large numbers of smaller fish.

The Moy estuary isn’t noted for really large sea trout and a fish of 2kg or over would be notable [fish of 1kg being quite common] however this is more than compensated for by good numbers of fish. Every year, however, we take a number of really nice fish, 50 cm – 60 cm, and there is always the possibility of a larger fish. When the trout are biting really well sport can be fast and furious. The falling tide and first 3 or 4 hours of the rising tide tend to fish best but there are no hard fast rules and one day can be completely different from the next, indeed the fishing can change hugely in the space of an hour, as the fish can quickly move on and the ebb tide can often have totally different results than the rising tide.

Success comes down to being in the right place at the right time and this is where local knowledge and experience is so important. Blank days are extremely uncommon. In the interests of conservation and for good fishing in the future anglers should practice catch and release and only keep enough fish for immediate use. Anglers with no experience needn’t worry as I will soon show you how to fish correctly.

Sea trout angling is subject to certain controls by the North West Regional Fisheries Board including the requirement of a state angling licence and bag limits, anglers should make themselves familiar with such by visiting the Board’s website. North West Fisheries.

The angling season for sea trout runs from April 17th to October 10th.