The Owenea River

The Owenea River entering Loughrosmore Bay

The River Owenea flows out of Lough Ea, in the western side of the Bluestack Mountains in south west Donegal. It runs for 20km following a western course past Glenties, into Loughrosmore Bay just north of Ardara. The Owenea is a great Salmon River and is owned by the Northern Regional Fisheries Board.

Contact Details

t: 00353 74 9551141e: glenties [at]

The Owenea is largely a spate river taking around 1 to 2 days to run off after a good flood. When in condition, the river is one of the best in Donegal – and indeed Ireland – for salmon. The fishery has runs of spring salmon, grilse, sea trout and a resident stock of small brown trout. August and September are the best months for grilse closely followed by July. Spring salmon can be caught from April onwards and indeed towards the end of the season a few autumn salmon are caught.

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The sea trout have been making something of a comeback in recent years though numbers still remain low. The fishery still requests that sea trout are returned where possible, to help conserve stocks.

The Owenea Fishery consists of nine beats on the bottom 12km of the river system with good pools spread throughout the whole river. Both banks can be fished. Access to the fishery and along banks is good with sufficient stiles and footbridges in place. The beats cater for 3, 4 or 5 rods depending on the particular beat. There are bridges over the river between beats and one in the middle of beat 7.

The river has a lot of ‘nice fly water’ with the majority of fish being caught by this method. Spinning and worm are also used. Shrimp and Prawn are strictly prohibited.Most shrimp flies fish well. Popular flies are Stoats Tail, Foxford Shrimp, Black Shrimp, Curry’s Red Shrimp, John Anthony Shrimp Claret Shrimp and Cascade’s.

The Owenea Fishery is owned by the Northern Regional Fisheries Board. It is very well managed and presented, with lots of named pools, and beat maps provide by the board.The Fishery has been upgraded recently as part of the TAM programme. It now has many extra facilities for anglers, including toilets and hospitality at the angling centre as well as access for disabled anglers along a section of Beat 3.There is an ongoing programme of maintenance and upgrading of access, angling structures, habitat restoration etc.


The season is from 1st April to 30th September inclusive.

Adult, Juvenile and weekly permits are available from

  • Owenea Angling Centre, Glenties Hatchery, Glenties Tel: (074) 9551141.

Salmon licences are available from:

  • The Owenea Angling Centre, Glenties, Co. Donegal.Tel: (074) 9551141
  • Northern Regional Fisheries Board, Station Rd, Ballyshannon, Tel: (071) 9851435.

The Owenea Fishery

The Owenea Fishery
Location Map for Owenea Fishery


Holiday Cottages near Glenties and Ardara


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