While our distant neighbours across the big pond are preparing to celebrate the 4th of July sweltering under a ‘heat dome’, Ireland’s weather has, luckily, been a lot less remarkable over the past week. It’s been drier than usual in most parts of the country and a little bit sunnier too, but temperatures have remained stubbornly below average. And, while the newspapers this week were telling us to prepare for a hot July, it’s not time to hit the beaches just yet, as the next few days will see the possibility of heavy thundery showers rolling in…

For the grilse that are queuing up to ascend our rivers, this is welcome news, as many of our salmon fisheries have reported low water conditions over the past week. In the south-west, on the Bandon and the Lee, water was below normal summer levels, and this hampered fishing, with only the odd fish reported. It was much the same on the Blackwater, with most of the fisheries struggling, although the Fortwilliam Fishery did manage to throw up a few fish. Things were better over on the Ilen, which reported 14 salmon, and the grilse have also arrived on Lough Currane, with some sea trout making a welcome appearance too. Further north, there has been steady fishing despite low water on the River Erriff, and reports of good numbers of sea trout running at Costello, with a few grilse also thrown into the mix. Staying in Connemara, anglers who fish Lough Furnace on the Burrishoole system will be glad to hear that it is now open for fishing again. We also have a great video to share, showcasing some of the exceptional fishing available on Carrowmore Lake in Mayo and capturing the breath-taking scenery on show for anyone fishing the lake. Finally, just before going live with this update, we’ve received this week’s angling report from the River Moy, and unlike the rest of the country, it seems they got a fair bit of rain during the week. And it certainly got things moving as they are reporting a record 554 salmon for the week!

Levi Caffrey with a nice Erriff grilse.
Catch Photo Release

In some less welcome news, a Pacific Pink Salmon was landed during the week on the Ridge Pool in Ballina. Unfortunately, these are a non-native species to Ireland and, if they become present in sufficient numbers, may negatively impact our native Atlantic Salmon. As a result, Inland Fisheries Ireland has issued an alert and is now asking all salmon anglers to be aware of the possibility of catching a Pink Salmon, making sure not to release any back to the water, and to report any sightings to IFI.

Picture shows an example of a male Pacific pink salmon, with a pronounced ‘humpback’.

Low water levels have also had an impact on the pike angling, with only one report in this week, as Newbridge Pike Anglers held a marathon ‘back to back’ competition, fishing a total of 28 hours on the trot. Despite tough fishing, a total of 96 pike were caught and released, and great craic was had by all. We would like to remind pike anglers that the higher temperatures of July and August can lead to low oxygen in many of our rivers and lakes, and this can make it difficult for larger pike to recover after catch and release. Consider not targeting larger pike during this period but if you do catch one, try to play it quickly and return it swiftly, but gently to the water. Hold the pike in the water giving it plenty of time to recover and only release when it kicks strongly and swims away.

One of the 96 pike caught & released by Newbridge Pike Anglers

July is the month most often associated with the frenzied period of activity known to river trout anglers as the ‘evening rise’. The warmer temperatures during the day at this time of year slow feeding activity down as long as the sun remains high, but, as it starts to make its final descent towards the horizon, the river explodes into life as trout boil, sip and slash at all manner of insects on the surface. The activity can carry on well past sunset and into darkness, leading to some late nights, as Dan O’Neill can testify to as he enjoyed some excellent evening fishing on the River Nore over the past week.Meanwhile, anglers fishing Lough Conn struggled with a quiet lake last week but still managed to rustle up a few trout some fishing with dry flies and others getting them on bright-looking dabblers.

A nice trout goes back on the R. Nore

When freshwater angling is suffering from increased temperatures and/or lack of water, it’s to the salt we usually turn for the bulk of our angling reports and this week, the sea anglers have been the most active amongst us. South Shore SAC were out in force as over 80 anglers turned out on Morriscastle Beach for the Jimmy Smith Open Competition. Tactics were divided between those who fished close in for flatties and those who opted to chuck it out chasing doggies, with the chuckers falling foul of numerous Spider Crab, which managed to bite through several snoods…

Morriscastle beach during South Shore SAC Comp

On the charter fishing front, we have plenty of reports from skippers around the country, and, at this time of year, multiple different species are showing up in catches. In Carrigaholt, anglers on the Clare Dragoon had a great weekend’s fishing with huss, conger, pollack, ray and spurs all putting in a show. In Kinsale, Michel Walsh of Atlantic Charters reported some good mixed fishing and also had some unusual looking fish on his boat. The shark below looks like a porbeagle but has a very unusual mottled appearance which is not at all like a porbeagle. We’ve sent it off to one of our research team for an expert opinion, but in the meantime, we are awarding it our Catch of the Week for its novelty value if nothing else.

It’s shaped like a porbeagle, bites like a porbeagle, and fights like a porbeagle, but is it…?

Anglers fishing in Galway Bay with skippers Kevin MacGabhann and John Fleming also reported good species fishing, with cod and pollack being the feature catch. Further north, in Sligo & Donegal, anglers onboard Saoire Mara Charters had excellent bluemouth fishing amongst a variety of other species, while the Kiwi Girl is back on the water with a few nice pollock showing up and the Fiona Tee reports good mixed fishing too. On the east coast, Kit Dunne had a few crack specimen hunters aboard during the week, and they didn’t disappoint, managing to boat a few specimen sized smoothies, and Kit reports plenty of good-sized Tope around too.

A nice cod on the Maighdean Mara, Galway

And now the weather

Today, Friday, will remain dry in most areas early on, but rain will spread from the south-west later in the day. This rain will spread to all parts of the country overnight, and Saturday will see a mix of showers and sunshine over most of the country, with some of the showers being heavy and even thundery. It will remain mild and even humid over the weekend, and the showers will become heavier on Sunday, with some spot flooding a possibility. The heavy showers will remain a possibility through Monday and Tuesday, with fresher, breezier weather towards midweek

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

Shane O’Reilly
Catch, Photo, Release

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