Coarse Angling

Inniscarra Lake

Inniscarra Lake is one of two lowland lakes created by the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) in 1956 and spans and area of over 530 ha. Although not all is fishable there are over 25 miles of bankside. Both Inniscarra and Carrigadrohid Lakes form an integral part of the River Lee system and offer the coarse angler excellent fishing in a panoramic setting.

The River Lee itself has attracted anglers for centuries and offers some of the best game and coarse fishing in Ireland. From its source in the rugged countryside above Gouganbarra it flows due east through beautiful contrasting scenery varying from wild mountain to moorland and later through the two lowland lakes.

The Lee then flows on down through the historical city of Cork and its harbour out into the Atlantic ocean.

Inniscarra Lake is well suited to coarse angling, with its gently sloping banks and optimum water depths. A wide range of fishing tackle can be used including poles - with large 5 to 10 gram pole floats, feeder rods, open ended feeders, open faced reels with 3lb and 4lb line and hooks ranging in size from 10 to 16. The region's mild climate allows year round fishing and weather conditions generally present little problem to the angler. Bait, tackle and information can be obtained from local stockists.
"By the way, don't forget a pair of strong arms."

History Of Inniscarra Bream

The South Western Regional Fisheries Board introduced 200 adult Bream into the upper Carrigadrohid Lake in 1974 however it was not until 15 years later that large stocks of Bream were discovered in the lower Inniscarra Lake. Today Excellent Shoals exist through Inniscarra Lake with catches in excess of 100lb. and fish weighing in at over 7lb. not uncommon.

Much of Inniscarra Lake still remains to be explored and this is pioneering angling at its best. Bream are plentiful throughout Inniscarra Lake and some recommended sites are highlighted in green on the accompanying map.

Some notable spots are:

1. The Innisleena Section, 1 mile west of the Inniscarra Dam on the northern shore. The old roadway has been refurbished and offers parking close to the excellent fishing.

2. The Dripsey Arm west of Griffens Garden Centre.

3. The small bay 600 yards east from Rooves Bridge.

4. The Caumruad, and easily accessible shallow weedy area (beside the main road east of Carrigadrohid village).

5. Fish both banks upstream of Carrigadrohid Castle Bridge. This section varies in water depth and fishes best when the water is high with minimum flow. For your own safety listen for a hooter which is sounded to indicate that water is being released from the dam.


Rudd are abundant, widespread and usually shoaling with the bream in Inniscarra Lake. Large shoals of small rudd are often encountered at the recommended areas on the map with the occasional fish in excess of 1Żlb. The Caumruad is renowned for its Rudd and Bream/Rudd Hybrids.

Bream-Rudd Hybrids

Specimen (over 3lb.) hybrids have been caught in Inniscarra Lake. These are usually located with the bream and in the deeper water at Oakgrove.

A licence for coarse fishing is not required and there is no close season. Permits, issued at a small charge, are available from the ESB for fishing the Inniscarra and Carrigadrohid Lakes. These Permits can be obtained from our offices, the ESB office at Inniscarra or in Coachford. You may require permission to cross certain land owners property.

Please abide by all conservation policies and respect the interests of land owners and other water users. Close all gates and bring home your litter. We would welcome details of your catch, constructive suggestions and indeed any information that will help us protect and develop this valuable resource.

Pike Angling

Inchigeela and Carrigadrohid lakes offer the pike angler excellent angling in a panoramic setting. Healthy stocks of hard fighting pike reside in these waters and in the case of Inchigeela, Lake boats are available. Why not try fly angling for Pike, we have and it's a truly exhilarating experience. If you would like information on fly angling for Pike please contact us.

Pike are protected by law as follows:

You cannot take or kill more than one pike in any one day.

You cannot have a pike in your possession of more than 3kg

You can take a specimen, i.e. over 9kg (river) or 14kg (lake).

You cannot move pike even within the same fishery

You cannot use live bait

Despite the protection of law there are some careless anglers who damage fish by rough handling which removes the essential mucus layer, by allowing the hook to be swallowed, by damaging the very sensitive gills, and by clumsy removal of the hooks with inadequate tools often bursting the swim bladder in the process leading to certain death.

Anglers should handle pike with great care for two reasons. Firstly, even in the most productive pike waters there is rarely more than l4lb/6kg of pike per acre. Pike were considered by some as a vermin fish but thankfully such ignorance is not common today. Pike populations in some game fisheries may require management.

Clearly therefore conservation is important and every angler should aim to return all pike not just alive but in perfect condition. Damaged pike are prey to disease and disease can seriously diminish any fishery.

Secondly, while it has not been established conclusively that any animal experiences pain (as commonly understood by man) such scientific evidence as does exist tends to support the view that on the balance of probability vertebrates do. Fish are vertebrates having a backbone and central nervous system, with extensive nerve endings including the mouth area. Chemicals associated with the transfer of pain in humans are found in similar concentrations in fish. Anglers should then, as a precaution, act so as not to cause any fish to suffer or die needlessly.

Because the pike has up to 600 teeth the use of special tackle incorporating traces is required. The use of tackle without the trace will frustrate the angler and leave the hook in the fish. The trace should be 45cm long when dead bait is being used. 30cm will do when spinning. Use multistrand wire. Don't join the line directly to the trace - it will cut through the line - use a swivel. Avoid using fine line. Use l4lb/6kg breaking strain as a minimum. It is wise to renew line each season.

Dead baits are more likely to be taken deeply by pike that artificial baits. If you are using dead baits they must be presented and fished correctly to ensure that the pike can be returned in good condition. No more that two trebles should be used in dead baiting. Indeed one treble together with a larger single hook will be equally efficient in almost every circumstance and the hook will be easier to remove. The placement of trebles or hooks is important. As a pike will take the bait headfirst, place the hooks in the tail half of the body only. It is best to file off or flatten the barb on the hooks left exposed. Leave the barb on the hooks inserted in the bait.

The most important action in reducing damage to pike that any angler can do is to strike early. Some anglers wait five seconds before striking or wait for the second run. There is no need for this delay. If your bait is mounted properly the hook is in the mouth when the run starts so always strike immediately a run occurs. The saying A deeply hooked pike is a dead pike is not necessarily true but it should always be kept in mind. Since you are intending to return the pike don't play it out to exhaustion. Land it as quickly as possible.

Ideally the pike should not be removed from the water at all but directed to a landing net and unhooked there. In many circumstances, particularly for big pike or where the pike is to be weighed, this will not be practical and the pike should be landed using the landing net onto a wet plastic bag. It is important to realise that the mucus layer must be protected as this is the barrier the fish has to a range of fungal and bacterial diseases. While it quickly renews itself infection is common from careless handling.

Before handling the fish make sure that your hand is wet. If a glove (recommended) is to be used make sure that it is wet. Catch the fish around the back of the neck behind the gills while still on the plastic and examine the fish.

If the fish is in the size limit that can be taken and is very deeply hooked or diseased it may have little chance of survival and it may be best to apply the "priest". If it must be applied, apply into the cranium (top of head just on front of a line between the eyes) as soon as is practical and before attempting to unhook the bait. Some anglers tend to apply the priest too far forward towards the snout, but while this will cause immediate unconsciousness it will not of itself produce death.

It is preferable not to use a gag when unhooking the fish. A leather glove (or strong gardening gloves) usually gives adequate protection to the angler's hand and is easier on the fish. If you feel you must use a gag have a selection of sizes to suit the sizes of fish encountered. Some gags have sharp edges left from the manufacturing process. If so file off or cover with rubber or plastic.


Use a disgorger to unhook the fish. Every angler should have a selection of disgorgers, straight and bent nosed forceps are particularly useful. Do not attempt to approach the hook through the gills. Bleeding gills lead to almost certain death. If it is a big pike (over lOlbs/4.5kg) roll it up in the plastic, turn it on its back and straddle it. Hold the trace taut, and using the forceps push back against the hook to release it.

When unhooked, place the fish gently back in the water, keep it upright, holding a hand under the belly supporting the fish. Let the fish swim off in its own time. If the fish is being held for weighing place the fish in a soft cotton keep net (knotless mesh variety). Position the keep net in deep water and make sure there is adequate current. When weighing the fish use a bag or sling, do not put it directly onto the scales. It is important to remember that the fish's environment is in the water and we should always ensure that its period out of the water is kept to the absolute minimum.