Ronan Cusack reports that angling on Mask has finally got well underway after a tragic start to the 2019 season. Well known Ballinrobe angler Sean Maloney lost his life after failing to return from a day’s fishing on Lough Mask in early March. An intensive 3 week search took place involving the Corrib Mask Search and Rescue, An Garda Siochana, angling friends, IFI staff and numerous voluntary diving organisations. Sean’s body was recovered from the lake by members of the Gráinne Úaile Sub Aqua Unit, Ballina and Corrib Mask Search and Rescue on Saturday March 30th. Inland Fisheries Ireland would like to offer sincere sympathy to Sean’s family and friends. May he rest in peace.

Despite the sudden change in weather and drop in air temperatures with the recent easterly winds, Mask has been fishing reasonably well. Reports of early olive hatches in sheltered bays have come in during the week.   Local anglers Paul Loscher and Peter Byrne had 6 trout on wets on Sunday last in cold easterly winds (best fish 1.75lbs, all returned). Denis Kelleher had a nice 2lbs fish on wets on Saturday last; Denis also reported returning numerous undersize trout throughout the day. Ballinrobe angler Richard Cameron reported returning over a dozen trout in Caher Bay last Saturday. Richard said that the majority of trout would not have made the 13” limit, but it was very encouraging to see such a healthy stock of small trout. Tim Hannon and Tommy Foley had 3 fish on wets for a few hours this week (best fish 1.5lbs).

There is a significant improvement in weather forecast for the Easter weekend, so hopefully this should reflect in both angling and fly hatches.