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Home » Coarse Fishing in Ireland »South » River Barrow

Athy to Carlow

The town of Athy is regarded as the start of the Barrow Navigation. The Grand Canal joins with the Barrow downstream of Horse Bridge which is located at the southern end of the town. From Athy, the Barrow and canal sections can be accessed easily from the towpath which runs from Horse Bridge to Carlow and downstream to St Mullins. The Barrow extends for some 20km (12.5miles) from Athy to Carlow. There are a number of shallow non navigable sections are linked by canal sections and are important to the angler as they can produce some fantastic coarse angling under the right conditions. 

Where the Grand Canal and the River Barrow meet

Horse Bridge to Tankardstown Bridge

The Barrow flows for 6.5km (4miles) from Athy to Tankardstown Bridge.  The river in this area is very shallow and not of much interest to coarse anglers in low water conditions. There are two canal sections on this stretch. The first canal section stretches from Athy to Ardreigh Lock and is approximately 1.5km (circa 1 mile) in length. There is good access to this section from the town. The canal contains stocks of roach, rudd, perch, bream, dace and occasional tench. Pole, whip and float techniques produce the best results.

Horse Bridge
The Grand joins the Barrow below Horse Bridge in Athy

The second section is located downstream of Tankardstown Bridge and is one of the longest canal sections on the river. It extends from the weir above Kilmoroney House to Levitstown lock which is located 6.9km (4.3 miles) south of Athy off the R417. This section of canal provides some great angling for roach, perch, rudd and dace. The cut at Levitstown lock where it joins with the River Barrow is one of the hotspots on this section and is a great winter venue. Fish will hold up here during high water but fishing from the swims below the towpath can produce excellent fishing for rudd, perch, hybrids and roach. Pole, whip and float techniques produce the best results but the feeder fished at the edge of the flow can also be effective in moderate to high water conditions. There is parking available beside the gate at Levitstown lock at the end of the laneway opposite the old mill.

Tankardstown Bridge to Maganey Bridge

The section from Tankardstown Bridge to Maganey Bridge (known local 3 Counties Bridge) extends for 3.5km (2.3miles) and can be easily accessed from a well maintained towpath. Upstream of Maganey Bridge the river is divided into two by an island of vegetation which provides shelter for the fish on the opposite bank, the deeper water is located on the towpath side with depths averaging 6ft to 7ft. Pole, whip and waggler are the preferred methods of fishing in this area which produces good bags of dace, roach, hybrids perch and some bream. An occasional tench is also taken in this slow flowing area. A spacious car park is available on the downstream side of the bridge.

Maganey Bridge to Carlow

The 8.3km (5.2 miles) stretch from Maganey Bridge to Carlow is quite slow flowing. The stretch is sometimes used by the local clubs for matches.  Depths downstream of Maganey average 6ft to 7ft but deeper areas can sometimes be located. Pole and other float fishing techniques produce the best results. It can take time to build your swim here but some quality roach, dace, bream and hybrids are a distinct possibility. Occasional tench to 5lbs also make an appearance. A car park is provided beside the bridge at Maganey.

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