Simon Ashe reports from Ballynahinch Castle Fishery on the end to a great season:

Ballynahinch has just completed one of its most successful fishing seasons in many years. The total catch of over 110 fish to the fly on the Castle Stretch was very respectable whilst the total catch of approximately 350 fly caught salmon for the whole catchment is the best in many years. September, as expected, came in with a solid 40 fish with 35 being returned.

A summer frequented by numerous floods and unseasonably windy days, made for some fantastic salmon fishing leaving very few blank days in the fishing register at the hotel.

The largest fish of the season, a fresh springer of 14.25lbs fell to regular angler, Ann Corcoran with Tom McManus coming a very close second. Top rods for the year were Tom McManus and Stephen Cullinane. There were a great deal more multi-sea-winter fish in the system this season compared with other years and it would seem that this trend was replicated throughout the country.

Counter figures would appear to be slightly down on last year’s record return; however, they would appear to be in line with the five year trend. The numbers of large sea trout increased year on year, however, the finnock numbers continue to struggle, most likely due to low numbers of spawning fish over the past few years. We are confident that sea trout numbers are still going in the right direction.

The fish-out competition on the last day of the season proved to be a great success once again with 5 fish landed and returned safely to spawn. The top prize was shared by local guides, Frank Flaherty and Michael Van Mourick who each returned a 12lbs fish on the day.

Regular angler, Stephen Cullinane, landed the most magnificent trout on the fly whilst fishing on the Lower Sna Beg beat on 16th September. The fish, weighing in at 15lbs 5oz, was the largest trout landed (as far as we are aware) on the Ballynahinch System in living memory. We are currently unsure if this fish had spent any time feeding at sea, or on other trout in the freshwater, however, when the scales are examined over the winter it should shed more light on the issue. The fish is currently with the taxidermist and will be on display in the Fisherman’s Pub at the hotel from next season.