Belfast Telegraph

Where have all the salmon gone as New Year wait continues?

Rod and Line

By Vic Thomas

It is now two weeks into the 2017 salmon season and no fish have been reported caught and only the odd fresh fish has been seen.

It has so far been a disappointing start to the new season despite Shane Gallagher of the Drowes Fishery reporting that there have been good numbers of rods out in good weather and water conditions.

Shane said: "There seems to be a definite trend to later runs of both spring fish and grilse. What factors are influencing the timing of fish runs, whether ocean warming, climate change or other variables is a matter for debate. What is undeniable is that Atlantic salmon are a key indicator species and all the indications point to major changes at sea which are having a major impact on salmon behaviour and survival.

"Looking at our catch register book over the last 40 years, a fish a day was about average for January. Twenty years ago for instance, January 1997 was a below average month with just over 20 fish recorded. It is a stark warning for the future of salmon angling in Ireland when what would be considered a poor run starts looking like the good old days in the space of just 20 years."

• Archwood Fishery, Drumquin, saw a great turnout of both fly and bait anglers in the past week but it was very tough fishing at times with no particular fly tempting the trout.

As a result, anglers were forced to change patterns regularly to attract the fish but despite this, a total of 584 fish were landed.

Among the top rods were Alban Norrby and Keith Kilburn, both with 19 trout; Paddy ÓDonnghaile, 18; Maurice Brolly, 15 and Pat McDevitt 14.

Included in Pat's catch were fine individual fish of 8lbs, 6lbs and 5lbs while Raymond Forward also netted a nice trout at 7lbs.

• At the Turnagrove Fishery, Ballymoney, the top rod last weekend was Gerald Thompson with a great bag of 22 trout including a super fish at 10lb 15ozs. The taking fly was a Bloodworm pattern and the big rainbow gave an almighty fight right from the top of the lake to the bottom end and afterwards, Gerald stated that it was the toughest fight he ever had with a trout on the fly!

For anyone wishing to fish Turnagrove, they are normally just open every Saturday from 9am to dusk and Sundays from 10am to dusk but parties of three or more anglers can contact the Fishery to arrange a day's on weekdays.

• Killybegs Mariners held their latest League outing on Narin Beach, Donegal, with fishing from 12 noon until 4pm.

Michael McGettigan won on the day to become the seventh different winner from the club's nine outings to date. He also beached the longest fish prize with a lovely 39cm flounder!

• The new Lough Ree International Pike Classic in Lanesborough, Co Longford is set for June 24-25.

After the success of last October's World Predator Boat Championship, the World's top anglers are on their way back to Lanesborough and Ballyleague this June to compete for a massive prize and benefits fund of over €10,000.

The competition is restricted to just 60 boats with 30 of these already reserved for overseas anglers so if interested you will need to book your place fast!

Entries are being taken at and for accommodation call Debbie at 003534333 21734 or e mail:

• The final match in the Carty's Land and Sea Sports Winter League saw fairly poor catches in good conditions on Rossnowlagh beach.

The overall winner of the league after some fantastic fishing throughout was John Cunningham with Kieran McGowan runner up. Twenty nine anglers took part in this year's Winter league from as far apart as Mayo, Sligo, Donegal and Derry and nearly €1800 in prizes were handed out over the five legs.

Belfast Telegraph


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