Oughterard Trout Hatchery is the oldest running hatchery in the world, commencing operations in 1852 as a salmon hatchery. In 1908 it became a trout hatchery when the then Department of Agriculture, on behalf of the Corrib Fisheries Association., redesigned and equipped a building which consisted of an iron shed 95 feet long by 12 feet wide. The average number of trout stripped at this time was 1,100 and the average ova laid down was a million a year. The hatchery continued operations until 1925 when the Corrib Fisheries Association was dissolved and it closed, subsequently falling into disrepair.


In 1938 a group of anglers met in Castle Hotel, Abbeygate Street, Galway, to discuss ways of improving trout fishing on Lough Corrib and they decided to rebuild a new trout hatchery in Oughterard. Within months they had raised the £450 to cover costs and by the end of the year the new hatchery was build and ready to start operating.

Apart from a short period in the charge of the now defunct Western Regional Fisheries Board, the hatchery has been run by local members of the Oughterard Angling Club ever since, with the property now vested in Lough Corrib Angling Federation, a grouping of angling clubs around the lake.


In 1968 a new timber bridge was built over the Owenriff River, making access to the hatchery much easier.

In 1990 Lough Corrib Angling Federation decided the hatchery needed major refurbishment, so a fund raising committee was formed with the aim of raising £50,000. At the time a formal application was made to the Government for a grant from the National Lottery Fund, but after a year’s delay and no grant money forthcoming the anglers decided to go it alone. In 1992 a complete reconstruction was carried out, fitted with new stands and pipe work for the incubation trays. A filter unit was built to prevent silting of fish trays, and a new concrete access bridge was also put in place. A new water supply was installed consisting of an 8” water pipe laid upstream. All this work was completed in time for the 1992-93 incubation period.

Great credit must go to all the anglers, and their friends, in successfully raising the necessary funding to complete this work.


Every year a netting licence is granted to the Lough Corrib Angling Federation by what is now the Inland Fisheries Authority, and at the end of October, nets are laid on the Owenriff River where over the course of a week on average a brood stock consisting of 300 hens and 150 cock fish are taken to the hatchery.

In November the hen fish are stripped of their ova and these in turn are fertilized by the milt of the cock fish.

The ova are then left in the incubation unit of the hatchery and over the course of the next 3 months are tended to by local volunteers of the hatchery team. During this time team members have to go in every night and make sure development is going as it should be and any damaged ova have to be removed.

Adult fish (all brood stock) are released back to Lough Corrib a week after the stripping.


Between January and February the ova develop into fry and, while still possessing their yoke- sack, about quarter of a million unfed trout fry are distributed through-out the Corrib system by all the angling clubs of Lough Corrib Angling Federation.

Some of the unfed fry are also used in restocking programs for stream enhancement by the Fisheries Authority.


The work being done in the Oughterard Hatchery is now seen as important intervention to the survival of the wild trout stocks in the Owenriff System, and the wider Lough Corrib Catchment’s. Over the last 3-4 decades the trout spawning beds of the Owenriff System have suffered heavy fertiliser run-off from massive plantations of conifer trees, and in recent years are being devastated by a pike infestation.

Near the mouth of the Owenriff River, where it runs into Lough Corrib, is the out flow pipe from Oughterard Sewage Treatment Plant which was build in the 1940’s and is obsolete and causing environmental damage to what is an S.A.C. (Special Area of Conservation).


Maintenance of the hatchery, cleaning of pipes, pumps, replacing parts etc., and the running of the operation between October and March, needs finance and a lot of voluntary hard work on behalf of the hatchery team, with Lough Corrib Angling Federation covering some of the costs.

If you wish to make a donation to the running of this very important and historical work you can do so through the Contact Us page on this website.

 

Cairde Loch Coiribe


Cairde Loch Coiribe is the development fund of the Lough Corrib Angling Federation.

 

Set up in 2010, due to the demise of the Fisheries Development Societies, the aim of this fund is to carry out essential maintenance on spawning and nursery areas and to enhance and develop further areas to help enhance trout and salmon stocks within the catchment.

 

The Federation hopes that all anglers fishing the Corrib system contribute to this fund by buying a membership to Cairde Loch Coiribe either through one of the affiliated clubs or in one of the many tackle dealers, shops, hotels or guest houses which sell the membership cards.

 

This fund is managed completely by the Federation and all funds raised are spent solely on development and enhancement works.

 

The Federation also runs an annual competition , The Federation Cup, on a catch and release basis with all funds going to Cairde Loch Coiribe.

 

Federation Photos