This image sums up my summer’s fishing. That pole you see disappearing into the water is the River Slaney’s depth gauge, situated below Bunclody. Normal summer water levels are in or around the 1 mark. In 2012 Ireland had its worst summer for 26 years and most of the days when I could get a free day from work and family managed to coincide perfectly with the days when the rivers were the colour of weak tea and trying their best to climb over the banks.
It wasn’t all disaster though, I managed to get a few Sea Trout from the Slaney in the later part of the run. Most of them were small and a few of them were net-marked, which is always a worrying sign. I find that stepping the fly up a couple of sizes works wonders in attracting fish when faced with high, coloured water. Hopefully 2013 will bring better conditions and an elusive spring salmon or two. We live in hope!
According to research by Scientists from NUI Galway – The Irish Times – Thu, Nov 15, 2012 – the Red Squirrel is making a big comeback in midland counties in Ireland. The reds’ success appears to be down to the Pine Marten, which has also made a big comeback in Ireland after plummeting to very low numbers in the ’70s. Apparently Grey Squirrels, introduced in the late 19th century and responsible for a huge drop in red squirrel numbers, are abandoning areas populated by Pine Martens, leaving vast tracts of forest open to recolonisation by the native Red Squirrel.
Another report from the Irish Times reports increased sightings of both Red Squirrels and Pine Martens.
Now, if something could just be done about those Mink, and Giant Hogweed, and Dace, etc., etc.
Terrible news from north Wicklow where there’s been a devastating fish kill on the river Vartry. A nine km stretch from Roundwood down as far as Ashford has been wiped out. A few pictures can be found here. Whatever caused the fish kill must have been very toxic as the water levels were very high at the time. It will take many years of hard work for the fish populations on the Vartry to get back to where they are now. My heart goes out to all at the Vartry Anglers Conservation Club. They’ve put in trojan work over many years to restore a once great sea-trout fishery. All gone in an afternoon.
Hopefully the perpetrators can be caught and brought to justice.
It seems that the breeding attempt by a young pair of White-tailed Sea Eagles near Mountshannon on Lough Derg has failed. It’s a great pity, what a wonderful site it would have been to see the first White-tailed Eagles chicks in Ireland for over a hundred years. Still, this was a very young and inexperienced pair of Eagles and hopefully they can go a step further next year and raise some chicks. More info in the link below
The Irish Times, amongst others, are reporting the capture of a monster trout of 24lbs on Corrib. Presumably it’s a ferox due to its size and the fact it was caught while trolling a dead roach. It really is a magnificent fish but it’s rather sad that he killed it. I’m all for taking a few fish for the pot, but a magnificent creature like this should go back. I can’t think it would be good eating anyway, I’ve heard it said that brownies over 6lbs are never good eating
The captor, a Ceri Jones from Wales, plans to have it stuffed and mounted according to the report. Why a photograph would not have sufficed, I don’t know. Most UK anglers I’ve met on Corrib have been very conservation minded and it’s a pity that this guy felt the need to kill his fish.
Well done to Martin McKenny (River Dee) and Brian McShane (Castletown River) who were the top samplers of Sea Trout for the Celtic Sea Trout Project last year.
As can be seen from this link Irish anglers have been to the fore in providing sample scales for this very important project. Hopefully a sign of healthy stocks in some of our sea trout rivers. Anyone interested in providing scale samples this year should take a look at the info here
I also see on the IFI website that a man got a four month prison sentence, €400 fine and costs of €1414 for netting salmon on the river Glyde last September. It’s good to see the courts taking strong action against poachers
Great news from Lough Derg where a pair of White-Tailed Sea Eagles have setup nest and laid eggs. The first nesting Sea-Eagles in Ireland in over a century. Well done to all at the reintroduction project. Here’s hoping they successfully rear some chicks. I’ll certainly be keeping one eye on the skies next time I’m fishing on Derg