We’ve had the first real freeze-up of the winter in the last seven days; temperatures dropped to below zero or lingered in the low single digits in many places for the early part of the week, we even had a dusting of snow on higher ground in some parts.

There are some pike anglers who love to get out when the mercury falls but we didn’t see many reports of pikers making the most of their post-lockdown freedom this week. Predator anglers, like Mick Flanagan, who went after another wintery fish – the perch – did have some success though, with jigging in deep water on the midlands loughs proving to be the best tactic.

Perch at sunset

For coarse anglers in the midlands, the week ahead will see the end of an era, the two iconic peat burning power stations at Lanesborough and Shannonbridge will finally be decommissioned. These power stations were renowned as coarse angling hotspots for a generation, the warm water discharged from each plant attracting large stocks of coarse fish and these attracted just as many coarse anglers from all over Ireland and beyond. Fortunately the match stretch will still remain at Lanesborough and, with healthy fish stocks throughout the Shannon system, we’re sure that anyone fishing in either location will still be in with the chance of some good fish.

The hot water stretch, Lanesborough

Off the east coast, Kit Dunne has been venturing out to test the waters for some winter specimen spurs. He’s managed a few big fish and plenty of smaller ones when the conditions were good. Kit is open for January bookings for anyone looking to kick 2021 off with the chance of an early specimen.

Kit with a Spurdog

On dry land, the Killybegs Mariners have been wrapping up well and taking to the beaches this week to target flatties as the temperatures dropped. Flounder, turbot and coalies were the main species encountered with a super 44cm flounder caught by Cara Boyle – the longest flounder for a club member in 2020.

Coalie flounder double

While the season for wild trout is closed, there are opportunities around the country to target stocked fish on one of the many commercial fisheries that reopened since the start of the month. Ardaire Springs is one such fishery, well worth a visit to get an angling fix over the winter months, as Glenda Powell can confirm after her recent visit. 

Glenda Powell at Ardaire Springs on a beautiful December day

This week’s cold snap should have been a signal to our salmon to start digging their redds in many rivers and streams around the country. Some rivers, like the Drowes (where a bar of silver will be offered for the first C&R salmon of 2021), will be opening in less than three weeks’ time. If you want to pick up a salmon licence for a loved one this Christmas, Inland Fisheries Ireland has reopened its Salmon and Sea Trout Angling licence sales for the 2021 season. E-licences can now be purchased online at www.store.fishinginireland.info and will be delivered along with a logbook straight to your phone or computer.

Salmon before being released back into water
E-licences can now be purchased online at www.store.fishinginireland.info

If you’re stuck for ideas but don’t want to let an angler down this Christmas don’t forget to look at our featured stocking fillers pages with plenty of gift ideas from Irish tackle dealers and angling service providers. If you’re stuck for ideas for a new year’s resolution, why not join an Irish fishing club and resolve to go fishing more often in 2021!

And now the weather…

Showers through Friday night, becoming mainly confined to the western half of the country. Lowest temperatures of 1°C to 5°C, a degree or two milder in the west.

Scattered showers on Saturday morning will become isolated during the day. Mostly dry and bright in the afternoon with good sunny spells, 6°C to 9°C. Cold overnight with rain arriving form the southwest.

Rain will linger in the eastern half of the country on Sunday morning, possibly turning heavier at times. Brighter conditions with showers further west will extend nationwide during the afternoon. A mild day with highest temperatures of 8°C to 11°C.

Mixed weather is forecast for the early part of next week, temperatures to stay in the single digits.

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

Paul O’Reilly
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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