Lough Eske, Ireland

Lake Locations:

Ireland - North West -

Lough Eske, or “Lake of the Fish,” is a cozy little lake nestled in Ireland’s Northwest tourism region. Wedged between the Blue Stack and Tawnawully Mountains, this scenic body of water is best known for its dramatic backdrops and awesome angling. It has a shoreline length of nine miles, and a maximum depth of 100 feet.

Like its name implies, Lough Eske is a hotbed for species such as salmon, sea trout, brown trout, grilse, autumn fish and char. Fishing season runs from 1 March to 31 September each year, and permits can be procured at the Eske Angling Center on the southwest shore. Only boat angling is allowed here, and trolling for shrimp and prawn is strictly prohibited. The three-mile River Eske is also great for fishing; it flows southwest from Lough Eske through Donegal town.

A recent fish pass on the Lowerymore River created a vast habitat for spawning spring salmon at Lough Eske, a species that is best caught between early April and the end of September (catches of up to 20 pounds are not uncommon). Grilse are prevalent from June through September, and sea trout averaging 3/4 lb are rife between July and September. Char populate the lake en masse for roughly two weeks around Halloween, when fishermen can walk away with 30 or 40 specimens per day. Spinning and fly fishing are the most successful angling methods on the lake.

Kayaking and canoeing opportunities along Lough Eske are fabulous thanks to its numerous islands; Moylederg Island, Gull Island, Round Island, O’Donnells Island and Roshin Island are the main highlights, but there are many smaller, unnamed landmasses that are also ripe for exploration. Several day walks and mountain biking trails wind through the beautiful Bluestack Mountains, and also by the beaches close to Donegal.

There are plenty of fun things to do in Donegal Town, just southwest of Lough Eske. Animal lovers of all ages enjoy horseback riding along local forest and coastal paths. Various underwater wrecks and other interesting dive sites are available for scuba diving, particularly in the town of Muff.

Golf around Lough Eske is also top notch – four championship courses can be found within a 45-minute drive. Shoppers and socialites can take advantage of Donegal’s downtown area during the day, eat at a fine dining restaurant, and then hit the pubs at night.

Day trips from Lough Eske include one of Europe’s highest cliff tops: Slieve League, at 1,972 feet. Another nearby excursion is Glenveagh National Park – one of Ireland’s most visited preserves with 40,870 acres of woodlands and a Scottish-style castle. The Newmills Corn and Flax Mills are estimated to be 400 years old, and the Donegal County Museum boasts artifacts from prehistory through medieval times.

Lough Eske has many convenient facilities, including a wheelchair accessible entrance point at Mill Pool. A fish counter records salmon and sea trout 35 cm or longer; the machine recalibrates every hour to account for changes in water height and conductivity due to environmental conditions and flooding. On the southern end of the lake lies a picturesque arch bridge, ideal for long strolls and stunning photographs.

Lough Eske also features a recently renovated castle originally built in 1474. The last castle was constructed in the mid-1800s, but an accidental fire demolished most of it in 1939. The new design incorporates previous versions, but with all of the comforts and amenities of a five-star hotel.

Several hotels and bed and breakfasts can be found along Lough Eske’s breathtaking shores. Holiday cottage rentals and real estate properties are available, many with mountain or lakeside views that are just perfect for weddings and large get-togethers.

With such incredible natural beauty and so many things to do, Lough Eske is the perfect getaway for families, couples and solo-travelers looking for a peaceful escape. If you enjoy picturesque views and historical landmarks, you’re sure to fall in love with Lough Eske.

Things to do at Lough Eske

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Scuba Diving
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • National Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at Lough Eske

  • Brown Trout
  • Char
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Lough Eske Photo Gallery

    Lough Eske Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 900 acres

    Shoreline Length: 9 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 89 feet

    Maximum Depth: 100 feet

    Lake Area-Population: 119

    Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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