Winter fishing has come with a vengeance in the past two weeks for anglers fishing on Loughs, rivers and at sea.  It has been a mixture of snow, sleet, ice, hard frosts, strong biting winds and together with some heavy rain at times and some high tides mixed in as well, but this did not deter the determined anglers from catching fish from many different venues.  Water levels are now very high and anglers should be very careful when fishing flooded loughs and rivers as conditions are very tough and sometimes dangerous.  Anglers should heed bad weather forecasts and warnings on extreme conditions and don’t put themselves in any danger.  The fish will be there waiting I am sure for us to come invading its space where on inland waters or at sea!!

Garry Farrell 15lb pollack
Garry Farrell wins Catch of the Week with his 15lb pollack

Up in Castleblayney, many parts of Lough Muckno were iced over in the last few days making fishing impossible for both the coarse and pike angler.  Over a week ago, the 4th leg of the Ballybay winter league took place on Annaghearn Lake near Shercock and small roach dominated catches and Neil Mazurek from Cootehill took the honours with a catch of 3 lb. 15 oz.  Two weeks ago a group of anglers led by Richard Caplice had very good catches including some bream while fishing on lough Muckno before the icy weather hit the lough.  On another day the latest leg of the Lough Muckno Winter league took place and roach, skimmers and hybrids dominated catches and Andy Chapman took first place with 4.440 Kgs.  Elsewhere it was announced in Mullingar that Paul O’Callaghan with his new tackle shop in the town is to sponsor prizes for upcoming pike and coarse events in the area.  The polish Fishmaniak club had a good day out on Muckno recording pike and some coarse fish also.

Over the last two weeks there has been plenty of pike angling activity around the country and certainly the best catch was made by a party of English visiting pike anglers led by the redoubtable Terry Knight fishing the Upper River Shannon River and loughs.  The group fished for a week and landed a huge number of pike including 11 fish for over 260 lb.  One of the party, Gary Banks recorded the best fish of 31 lb. 2 oz and most of the fish were taken on float trolled big deadbaits.  Angling guide and journalist Mick Flanagan reported some wonderful pike and perch fishing in the midlands area with many young anglers enjoying very good sport.  The Rye Lake at Carton House near Maynooth produced some fine pike in the past two weeks mainly to ledgered deadbaits.  Ashley Hayden and friends had a great day out on Bog Lake recording some fine fish on float and ledgered deadbaits.  Greg O’Rourke, Monasterevin recorded a near 20 lb. pike while boat fishing on the River Shannon with Tommy Burke from Edenderry.  Other venues reporting good fishing in the past fortnight were Lough Muckno in Co. Monaghan and Blessington Lake where the occasional good fish was taken.

It won’t be long before the salmon fishing starts on the River Drowes in Donegal and on the River Liffey in Dublin on the first of January.  It will be a battle to see which river produces the first salmon of the year.  Of course it could be Lough Gill in Sligo or Carrowmore Lake in North West Mayo could produce that elusive first salmon.  Down in the South West, it was nice to hear that there was plenty of big sea trout seen spawning in the rivers upstream of Lough Currane.

Many anglers are of course fishing many of the rainbow trout fisheries at this time of year and there were good reports of fish recorded on the Sheet water at Carton House and some good fish in Lough na Leibe in Co. Sligo.  In Waterford the Carrigavantry fishery is producing very good sport for boat anglers.

On the sea, there was a great turnout on Enniscrone Beach for the annual Jimmy Smith all Ireland open shore competition and the fishing was very good.  Shane Gilvarry from Newport won the gold medal on the day.  David Murrin reported a fine catch of Conger eels for himself and his friends while fishing off the east coast and showed up some wonderful photos of the fish.  The Tralee Bay SAC held a night shore competition on Rosbeigh and flounders were caught in numbers with Colm McDaid taking the top spot.  Up in Sligo, the IT club held a shore outing catching plenty of quality flounders.  More flounders and some bass were reported in the Youghal bay area last week.  In the Cork Harbour area, angling guide Richie Ryan reported that there was some fine Codling taken by client’s boat fishing.  Michael Dennehy, skipper of the Silver Dawn out of Kinsale had a group of anglers out last week, fishing over a wreck south of Kinsale. Top fish was a fantastic specimen pollack of 15 lb. taken by on 12 lb. class rod by Garry Farrell and it wins our Catch of the Week.  The group also caught cod, ling, pollack, coalfish, haddock and whiting on the day.  There are many reports of competitions taking place over the next few weeks both on inland and at sea in this week’s update reports.

Tight lines especially in Ireland,

Paul Bourke

Catch, Photo, Release


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