The number of salmon released by anglers now outstrips the number kept for the first time.
A new report by Inland Fisheries Ireland shows 51 per cent are now being released back into rivers and lakes.
It comes amid calls for anglers to help conserve declining fish populations.
The river Moy in Mayo, the Blackwater in Waterford, the Laune in Kerry, Corrib in Galway and the Lower Lee in Cork accounted for over half of catches in 2020.
More than 14,000 wild salmon and sea trout licences were issued to anglers over the 12 month period.