Ronan Cusack had plenty to report from Mask this week, as the first signs of mayfly begin to appear. The weather over the past 7 days has been appalling, with east winds and low temperatures, making fly hatches very unpredictable.

The Irish Trout Fly Fishing Association held the 83rd National Championships on Lough Mask on Saturday last, which saw 128 anglers from across the country compete for 10 places, to represent Ireland on our national team in the UK next year. This year’s National Champion was organising chairman, Seamus Kelly (Ballina/Cloghans), who finally lifted the trophy after many years of trying. The rule on the day was for the first fish to be kept and 1lb allowed for every fish over 33cm after that. Seamus had a total of 7 trout for 7.506lbs.

The following 9 qualifiers were Mark Clelland (Straid), Noel Shiels (Silverstream), Aidan Heffernan (Ballina/Cloghans), Arden Pollock (Agivey), Eoin Dunne (Dublin Trout), Paul McArdle (Monaghan), Patrick O’Loughlin (Ennis), Fabien Tronche (Owenabue) and DJ Byrne (Brosna).

Kevin Egan and Ronan Cusack fished on Sunday last and they had 7 trout on wets and buzzer (best fish 4lbs, all returned). Declan Gibbons had a day with Oliver Dillon and Seamus Brogan from Sligo last Friday and they had 3 fish on wets (best fish 1.75lbs)

Cian Murtagh from Cavan was joined by 4 friends for a 3 day break on Mask last week and they had approximately 33 trout on wet-flies (best fish 2.75bs). John Murry, Nigel Greene and Patsy Treacy had 5 good trout on small wets on Sunday (best fish 3lbs, all returned). Michael Vahey guided for a day for James Doyle and Eoin Dunne on Friday last and they had 6 trout pulling wets (best fish 1.5lbs, all returned).

Much milder conditions this week should improve water temperatures and fly hatches significantly, and the next few weeks should provide excellent sport on Mask.