It’s been one of those weeks where we have seen every dimension of Irish weather as rain, hail, frost and gales have been interspersed with periods of near balmy sunshine. And when the sun shone, we were lured into stripping down to t-shirts only to be sent scrambling for jackets as soon as the sun dipped behind a cloud and the northerly breeze reminded us all we are not quite out of winter’s grip yet.

Neither are we out of the grip of the Covid travel restrictions which have been hampering our angling efforts for many a long month. But, like racehorses lined up at the starting line in last week’s Punchestown festival, anglers from all around the country are under starter’s orders in anticipation of getting the green light to head to pastures new from next Monday, 10th of May.

Some charter skippers have been quick out of the starting gate, taking their first trips of the season over the past week, and we have a report of fantastic skate fishing down in Courtmacsherry as anglers managed to boat 15 skate in total, all of which were tagged and released as part of Ireland’s Marine Sportfish Tagging Programme. Further north in County Clare, both the Lady Gwen and the Clare Dragoon had their first trips of the season with some good fishing for Pollock, Ling and Coalies, all under fabulous blue skies.

Fine skate from Courtmacsherry

Switching to smaller vessels, kayak angler David Norman had a session down in Clonakilty which yielded some nice pollock, even if he was handicapped by a couple of broken rods in the process…

Fine pollock from a kayak

Shore anglers were out and about too over the past week and the going was good for regular contributors, Killybegs Mariners and for Galway Bay SAC where Flounder, Coalies, Thornies and Turbot all featured, while a few nice bass were landed in a night-time session for the Galway SAC anglers.

Night time bass from Galway Bay

The recent rain showers seemed odds-on to have some impact on the salmon fishing, and in the northern half of the country, a number of salmon fisheries reported that the fresh water prompted waiting salmon to make a move. The River Glyde had its first salmon of the season, a nice fish of 11lb. The Boyne also saw a bit of action as a number of salmon were landed during the week, with the best being a 10lb fish. Over on the Moy, there were quite a few salmon landed throughout the system including a fine fish of 16lb. Unfortunately, the rain didn’t manage to reach further south, with many of the fisheries there crying out for a bit of water and only the odd fish showing on the Bandon, Blackwater and Lough Currane. But with a belt of heavy rain promised tonight, there might well be a bumper day or two over the weekend.

Calm before the storm
All calm on Currane

Many a trout angler will have been sweating over the travel restrictions in recent months as it looked like another mayfly season would be a non-runner, with many of us being confined to base. So the 10th May reprieve is perfect timing for all those trout anglers who are champing at the bit to get back to the loughs. We have reports of the first sign of the Mayfly hatch stirring on Irish loughs and anglers on Lough Conn managed to land a few fish on Mayfly patterns. Lough O’Flynn has also reported some good fishing in the past week despite the cold conditions. Meanwhile, on the rivers, late afternoon proved to be the sweet spot on the Nore as the period of peak temperature spurred on improved hatches of fly and the fish made the most of it.

trout nore
Small but beautiful on the Nore

Kevin Lyons of Melview Lodge got off to a gallop this week as he returned to the water after some pike in the Longford area. In a short session of 4.5 hours, Kevin and his boat partner managed an impressive haul of pike with three fish over the magic 100cm mark. He reported that the pike were feeding well following their spawning period and that should encourage all pike anglers to get out there with their lures, deadbaits and flies.

Kevin with a 105 cm pike
Melview Lodge back in action

Go Fishing Week

Finally a big thank you to all those who contributed and tuned into the various online movies, webinars, how-tos and other events as part of IFI’s Go Fishing Week.

We all enjoyed putting it together for you and we hope you got something out of it too. For any of you that missed it, all the events are now posted on our YouTube channel.

Other News

In other news, the IFI Research department has just released its latest newsletter detailing some of the projects they are currently working on. Topics covered in this issue are:

  • Science-Based Guidance on River Restoration — Hydromorphology & Climatic Change
  • CatchmentCARE Restoration Projects Help Farmers Manage Cattle Access to Rivers
  • Climate Change Mitigation Research Programme — Visualising a Year on the Erriff
  • Radio-Tracking Study of Ferox Trout Spawning Helps Establish Conservation Measures
  • Wanted: Your ‘Fishy Stories’ — Sea Anglers Contribute Valuable Insights to IMREC Surveys
  • Silver in the Dark — Monitoring Ireland’s Population of Migratory Silver Eels

And now the weather…

The remainder of today looks like being mostly fine with only the chance of an odd shower. Overnight a band of heavy rain will spread northeastwards from Munster bringing the possibility of localised flooding. There will also be increasingly gusty winds overnight with the possibility of gales along the west coast. Saturday will be a milder day with temperatures from 14 to 18 degrees in a moderate to fresh southwesterly. The following few days will bring unsettled weather with heavy showers and sometimes gusty winds but temperatures will be milder than in recent weeks.

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

Shane 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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