We welcomed spring recently but the weather over the last week was more than a little wintry. Some parts of Ireland endured storms, snow, ice and hail, particularly at the weekend.

Tomasz with his recaptured bass which wins Catch of the Week

Anglers fishing for bass in Ireland are now bound by articles 10.5 and 10.6 of the recently introduced EU Regulation 2016/72 which stipulates catch and release for bass between Jan 1 and June 30 and bag limit of 1 fish per day from July 1 to December 31.  There is no longer a closed season. Further legislation has been drafted to implement the increased size limit from 42cm as per the EU Regulation to 50cm in line with the IFI Bass Policy. We’d also like to remind anglers that Inland Fisheries Ireland have designed a survey to evaluate the Irish bass fishery, bass angling and the current regulations in place which relate to the bass fishery in Ireland. If you would like to participate in the survey, please follow this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/IrishBassSurvey

Staying with bass, Catch of the Week goes to Tomasz Ekert for his recapture of a tagged bass in Co. Kerry. This fish had been first tagged almost 70km away in the Shannon Estuary and was at liberty for 232 days before being re-caught and released. At the Blackrock SAC match on North Beach, Wicklow, a good run of dogfish at distance on sandeel baits was enough to claim the win on the night with 28 fish. Catches consisted mainly of whiting, dogfish, rockling and flounder. Shore fishing in the Galway area saw catches of flounder, sea trout and coalies over the weekend.

Last week seemed quieter on the River Drowes with around 10 salmon caught that we know of to date. Rods fishing the Sea Pools at the weekend reported seeing good numbers of salmon entering the fishery on the high tides but were unable to tempt them. Delphi reported almost perfect conditions, but the catch was not in line with expectations and only 5 fish were landed. Currane produced a  mixed bag for anglers in terms of fishing and catches. Weather made getting out on the lake an unattractive proposition on some days but surprisingly some of the best salmon were caught on the most unlikely days. The addition of specimen sea trout to the catch reports was also welcome. The lake fished particularly well in the last couple of days. There were spring sea trout sighted running the Ilen River but no reports of catches to date.  Water levels are high. The Bandon has seen a few fish met and a couple landed particularly in the early part of this week. There was no report of fish from the Lee last week. On the Slaney the salmon are well spread throughout the system but in small numbers. Fishing has been described as slow, but the size of the salmon is increasing.

Lough Melvin saw some decent trout fishing last week but few anglers were prepared to get out on the lake to find out for themselves as winds were up and winter conditions returned. Cold water and high levels on the Boyne are not the best for trout on the fly, but there is some fishing available in tributaries like the Stoneyford as one pair of French anglers found. It’s still not easy going on Lough Sheelin, and with the weather we’ve had, that’s no surprise. Nevertheless there was a small increase in the numbers of fish caught last week and there were good hatches of small black buzzer early last week with anglers reporting some fish showing when the wind dropped. There were good hatches of fly on both Corrib and Mask last week and anglers reported some lovely fishing when conditions were suitable.

Ballyhaunis Angling Club finished off their winter league in style  on the River Suck.  Both pole and feeder helped the eventual winner make up a bag of over 17kg. Tough conditions on Sunday at Lurgan meant that catches there were more modest and the winning bag weighed in at 2.280kg. It was a similar story at Lough Muckno and though the anglers fished hard, changing tactics and approach depending on the changing conditions, the best bag at NADA winter league final on Sunday was  3.400kg.

IFI is in the process of reviewing the national policies for the management of bass, pike and trout. This process was initiated in January 2016 and includes the examination of:

  • The current stock management programme, including resource usage, fish transfer and health and safety;
  • Marketing and socio-economic information to include actual and potential economic value;
  • Scientific information to provide advice and to consider the scientific merits of the processes being currently undertaken.

An important element of each review will be a public consultation process which will be announced later in 2016. The consultations will ensure that anglers and other stakeholders have sufficient time to consider the existing policies and make submissions that will inform their review. For more information see: IFI undertaking review of Bass, Pike and Trout Policies

Anglers hoping to get out at the weekend are advised to get the winter woolies back out if they have already put them away. Met Eireann tells us that there will be more cold weather over the weekend with frosty nights. Although there will be some showers on Friday night and Saturday it will become drier for Sunday and for the early and middle days of next week. It’s not all bad.

Safe fishing to all and tight lines, especially here in Ireland.

Myles Kelly

Catch, Photo, Release

If you have an angling story to share with the Irish Angling Update please send it to [email protected].


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Bass fishing in Waterville, Co. Kerry
Bass fishing in Waterville, Co. Kerry