The River Bann, which runs from east to west across the District, is the longest river in Northern Ireland, rising as the Upper Bann in the Mourne Mountains and flowing 40 miles (64 km) NW to the southern end of Lough Neagh. It leaves the lake at its north shore as the Lower Bann and flows 40 miles (64 km) north past Coleraine to the Atlantic Ocean. It has important salmon and eel fisheries.
The Upper Bann River bisects the district into two sectors, with Banbridge town and surrounding settlements, Gilford, Scarva, Loughbrickland, the Bronte Homeland and Ballyroney forming one distinctive area; and the area to the north-west of the Bann taking in Dromore, Warringsford, Ballyward and the Slieve Croob sector of the Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, forming a second, distinctive sector.
Salmon are taken in big numbers on the Lower Bann, more so than the Upper Bann and its tributaries. The River seldom gets spring fish and the fishing only really starts in early May. Sea Trout come in their numbers to the weir at Carnroe and above to some of the tributaries.
Lough Neagh Trout, known as dollaghan, add to good late season fishing, along with the good quality brown trout that are dispersed throughout the system. These trout weigh from 6-7lbs upwards. Often after flooding the fish run into the tributaries and can be fished using tactics similar to sea trout fishing.
There are existing access points along the river at Gilford (Woodlands Park, Stramore Park, Riverside Park), Solitude Park in Banbridge, and the riverside walk in Banbridge from the Leisure Centre to Huntly Play Area. There are canoe steps at Banbridge Leisure Centre, Mulliganís Bridge, Corbet, and at the picnic site at Katesbridge.