We live in uncertain times, the scale of which most of us will never have experienced before. Schools, colleges and childcare facilities are closed; large gatherings are prohibited; people are advised to work from home where possible and an unprecedented period of social distancing is in effect. We all must do our bit to prevent the spread of Covid 19, especially to those ‘at risk’ groups among us. As things stand, Inland Fisheries Ireland offices will remain open to the public but we strongly encourage any angling enquiries and the purchase of rod licences or fishing permits to be done online or on the telephone.

From an angling perspective perhaps the only silver lining is that fishing can be the quintessential ‘social distancing’ pursuit; the angler can sit alone on the canal bank or lake boat, stand in the surf or fish down a beat on a west coast salmon river relatively safe in the knowledge that these are the places where contracting Covid 19 is highly unlikely to occur.

So to the fishing, which is still (and always) strongly influenced by our weather. Rainfall for the last week has been between one and a half times to three times the average across the country while temperatures for the past 7 days have, thankfully, been close to normal. As the days slowly lengthen the numbers of reports that fill our inboxes slowly rise. Salmon numbers in the rivers are on the up and some fine fish were reported from the Upper Caragh Fishery, the Drowes and from the Bundorragha at Delphi Lodge. First fish of the season came in the last week from the Munster Blackwater, the Feale, the Lee  and from Lough Melvin, while strong winds in the south kept the Currane catch for the week to a bare minimum (one!).

salmon release
Tadhgh O’Shea releases his fly caught salmon  on the Upper Caragh Fishery – our Catch of the Week this week. #CPRsavesfish

Not all rivers are open for trout fishing yet and, for many that are, trout anglers are still waiting for the water to drop off to fishable levels. On the loughs there are fish to be had for both the lure and fly anglers; favoured early season fly tactics being minkies and other ‘flies from the dark side’ fished deep, or something to imitate shrimp and louse fished shallow in the rocky areas around islands or close to the shore. Lough Sheelin has seen some super fish caught to minkies and streamers as well as to anglers spinning with small plugs and lures.

Thomas Lynch (LSTPA) with his first Sheelin trout of the season, a beautiful 4.5lb fish

Some good pike have been reported this week by guides in the midlands. Melview Lodge have put their clients on the fish again and elsewhere those anglers who persisted through the difficult conditions managed to catch some nice fish. One or two large but lean looking fish in the reports indicate that spawning has taken place in some areas, these fish will be hungry after the rigours of the spawning season…….

Bill braving the conditions
Bill braving the conditions with Melview Lodge

A handful of coarse anglers braved the elements for round 4 of the Munster Coarse Anglers’ Winter League on Craig’s lake. Unfortunately, strong winds and heavy hail showers kept the catching to a minimum. Over on Garadice Lough, the Go and Catch Feeder Team had a decent day’s fishing last Sunday; an open feeder knock up saw weights of up to 8kg recorded.

Rimantas Kondrackas.
Rimantas Kondrackas on Garadice.

Strong winds again this week will have kept many seafaring vessels at their moorings. An improving forecast for the coming week has some skippers sharpening their hooks; the Lady Patricia in Courtmacsherry being one boat that will hope to wet a line next week to kick off their season in search of some offshore wreck fish or a skate.

In other news

A reminder that Inland Fisheries Ireland are recruiting seasonal fisheries officers nationwide; the closing date for applications is Monday the 16th of March 2020. Applicants should be available for interview on the 1st and 2nd of April 2020 with a start date on Monday the 11th of May 2020. To find out more about the roles and how to apply, visit https://inlandfisheriesireland.recruitee.com/.

And now the weather

Dry in most areas to start on Saturday, but rain will move into the west during the morning and quickly spread eastwards to all areas, turning heavy at times, temps 9-11°C. Sunday looks set to be a cold and showery day as light to moderate westerly breezes turn northwesterly and freshen. Some of the showers will be heavy with hail and a risk of isolated thunderstorms, temps 7-10°C.

A dry start to Monday with sunny spells. Cloud will thicken from the Atlantic during the morning with some rain, staying dry further south and east, temps 9-11°C. Tuesday looks like a cloudy day with outbreaks of rain although it may become drier in some northern areas. Mild with highs of 9 to 13°C and light variable breezes.

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 reports@fisheriesireland.ie.

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