There are two main rivers in the Gweedore area in North West Donegal – the Crolly, or Gweedore, river and the Clady river. The Crolly river drains Lough Anure and a number of other lakes. The Clady river drains Lough Nacung and flows for about 8km before entering Gweedore Bay at Bunbeg. This river is physically connected to the Crolly river by the Clady headrace, a 2.7 kilometre canal constructed for the purposes of hydro electric power generation.
The Clady River
The Clady River flows through wild moorland for around 8km draining Lough Nacung in Gweedore and flowing through Bunbeg to join the Crolly River estuary. Physical access to the river is relatively easy although the banks are fairly rough.
The Clady gets a good run of grilse with the odd autumn salmon. The river flow is controlled by a hydroelectric power station at the head of the river. Each year water is let down the Crolly in 24 freshets between May and September to assist fish in ascending the river. The best of the run occurs at the end of June and July (often when the power station lets freshes down the river). There is also a run of sea trout, which is at its highest at the end of August and though not large, is improving. Most sea trout are caught in the evening, downstream of Bunbeg Bridge.
The Clady River Fishery occupies the bottom 5km of the river. Angling is not allowed between the hydroelectric dam and the bridge.
Angling methods vary depending on location. In the stretches closer to the mouth of the river, spinning and worming is popular. In the higher stretches fly-fishing is more popular.
The Crolly River
The Crolly River or Gweedore River drains Lough Anure running around 5km through Crolly village to the sea. It is a fairly narrow, stony spate river, flowing through rocky gorges and deep pools. The landscape about the river is very rugged and scenic.
The Crolly gets a better run of spring fish than the Clady and these enter the river in March, April and May. There is also a run of autumn salmon. The grilse enter the river from early June, peaking in late June/early July. It is possible to catch up to 8 fish a day when conditions are right.
Access to the river is relatively easy although the banks are fairly uneven. There are some good pools from ‘The Flag’ downstream to the Crolly factory and a further three good pools between the Crolly Bridge and the sea.
The Crolly also has a better run of sea trout than the Clady. Late June and July sees the best run of sea trout. The last number of seasons saw a marked increase in sea trout catches with many fish in the 1½ to 2lb bracket.
Both he rivers clady and Crolly have fished well for the last few seasons. The reported catch returns usually average around 500 salmon each season.
The ESB and the Rosses Fishery control the Lough Anure (Loughanure). The lough drains into the sea through the River Crolly (Gweedore River) It is a large shallow lough of some 360 acres. This beautiful lough has a good head of free rising brown trout which average ½lb with many up to 1lb. It also gets a good run of sea trout and salmon from mid-July. The lough is relatively shallow and rocky and care should be taken especially in a big wave.
The Clady and Crolly rivers can both be fished on the same permit.
Weekly and seasonal permits are available.
Permits are available from:
Boat hire for Lough Anure is available through: