Call goes out for Ulster anglers to reveal net gains
Anglers are being asked to do their bit to help boost fish stocks in Northern Ireland.
Whenever anyone buys a Foyle and Carlingford rod licence to fish for salmon and sea trout they are legally obliged to let the Loughs Agency know if they have caught fish and how many times they went fishing.
This is vitally important information because it helps the Loughs Agency gauge how many fish were caught, taken or released and how much time anglers put into catching those fish.
It's a great indication of how well stocks are doing and whether the authorities need to take any action should catches take a turn for the worse.
There were 9,123 licences purchased in 2014 but only 14% of anglers made their rod catch returns. As many anglers as possible must be encouraged to make their annual return so that the data can be used to assess the strength of fish runs in the system and for long term trend monitoring.
Art Niven, Freshwater Biologist at Loughs Agency, said: "Angling catch returns are used globally as a fishery management tool.
"A lot of anglers are not aware that they must make a return within 21 days of the end of the season, even if they never actually went fishing or didn't catch anything and have a nil return to make! The information is vitally important in developing sustainable fishery management policy for key species like salmon and trout."
Based on anglers catch returns in 2014, in the River Faughan 34% of salmon caught were released, in the River Mourne 38% were released, 44% in the River Strule and 79% in the River Derg.
Lionel Knobbs, Angler Development Manager, said: "We are also interested in returns from anglers who fished for coarse fish. The data is important to identify where coarse fish are being caught, species, sizes as well as monitoring trends such as increase or decrease in the number of people coarse fishing."
Anglers must make their returns by this Thursday.
Match of week
Darren Anderson leads the way after the third and fourth rounds of the Northern Ireland Cross Community Angling Junior/Youth Pike League which took place at Beechhill Fishery, Newtownards.
It was a cold and foggy day for round three and top honours went to Reece Sloan with a brace of pike while Jonathan Meaney took second place with a single fish.
Round four was even tougher for the young anglers with freezing cold conditions on the day.
Although all efforts were made with different tactics and bait changes the lads were unable to land any fish.
Going into round five tomorrow week, Darren leads on 56 points with Reece second, Simon Anderson third, Jonathan fourth and Gareth Anderson completing the top five.
At the Cashel Trout Fishery, Dungiven, Danny Walker and Jim Russell from Newtownabbey and Monkstown enjoyed good sport, landing quite a few trout and keeping a brace for the pot at almost 4lbs.
Local angler John Hasson had two short sessions enjoying great sport as he caught and released 16 trout which fell to the snake fly and buzzers.
Londonderry’s Gavin Campbell and Garry McCamphill bagged a brace each on Klinkhammers which tipped the scales at 5lb 6ozs and 6lbs.
Club of week
Lurgan Coarse Angling Club celebrates its 35th anniversary this month.
Anglers old and new are invited to attend the club’s AGM on Thursday, January 28 (8pm) in Lurgan Royal British Legion on Union Street in the town.
Membership is £30 per year and as the club is particularly keen to introduce more juniors into the sport, junior membership (aged 18 and under) is free.