On Monday 14th May the Transition Year students from Coola Vocational School visited the increasingly well known Ballisodare Salmon fishery in Co Sligo. The 18 students and their teacher Mr Mark Irwin were given a brief history of the Ballisodare River, how Salmon were introduced to it back in the 1800’s and were then shown around the fishery.

The students were shown Salmon Parr and how to recognise them from the very similar Trout Parr. They were able to see adult Salmon running through the fish pass and through the Salmon counter which is installed in the pass. Later the students were shown how the Salmon counter works, the images created and the type of data collected from it.

The reason behind the installing of an elver trap in the fish pass was also explained and the large volume of elvers in the pass were pointed out to the class. Some of the braver students were given some for a closer look however most were happy to look from a distance.

Some of the Coola TY students with their prize catch from their recent visit to the Ballisodare Fishery
Some of the Coola TY students with their prize catch from their recent visit to the Ballisodare Fishery

Afterwards some of them tried their hand at Salmon angling but this proved a little too difficult for them, especially as a well fed otter entered the water to do some of her own fishing. Thanks to one local angler who hooked a small Salmon on the prawn and handed the rod over to Ciara O Rourke to bring it in. After the fish was carefully netted by Killian Harte the fish was tagged and brought back to school to be cooked in the following day’s home economics class.

A special thanks must go to Dermot Glennon (Sec) and to the board of Ballisodare Fishing Club for allowing the students access to the fishery. Also to the I.F.I. staff Ciaran Jennings and Declan Feeney for showing the students around on the day.

Some of the Transition Year students being shown how to put a worm on a hook
Some of the Transition Year students being shown how to put a worm on a hook