There’s an interesting editorial on rod licenses in the Irish Times today. It’s an emotive issue for many. I’ve often wondered why a salmon or sea-trout angler has to pay a license but a pike or brown trout angler does not. There may be an argument for sea-anglers not paying a license because so little work is done to develop see fisheries by the authorities, but all freshwater fisheries require a lot of protection from polluters, poachers, etc.
My main worry is that the money raised would replace govt. grants that are currently given to IFI, etc. or the money raised would not be ring-fenced for the rehabilitation and protection of our fisheries. What I think should be a greater worry for anglers, is the current search for title deeds to fisheries. I see this as nothing less than a land(or river?) grab by the authorities to deprive clubs of valuable fisheries which they have protected, developed and cherished for generations. It would be a shameful act by this govt. if they, having only lately recognised the value of some of our fisheries, were to take them from those who fought long and hard to protect them over the years
For various reasons I haven’t updated this blog in a long team but hopefully I’ll be more attentive this year. Opening day has come and I’m looking forward to getting out on the river again. Hopefully there’s a nice bar of silver passing round Hook Head with my name on it.
A quick summary of 2013 season
Last year was the exact opposite of the rain fueled deluge of 2012. We had a very cold spring but it was followed by glorious sunshine through June and July. The river was down to its bones for most of the summer and small flies on floating lines in the late evening was the order of the day on most weeks.
It didn’t seem to have an adverse affect on the returning Salmon though as the Slaney had its best Redd count in 17 years. Hopefully this is the continuation of an upward trend and not a once-off blip.
The sea-trout run was disappointing though. Whether it was down to the cold Spring delaying smolts going out to sea or something else, the run was very late, smaller than usual and the fish seemed to be of a smaller size too. Fingers crossed 2014 will be better.
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.