What a week this has been! The weather saw temperatures on par with the Mediterranean, with day-time highs of almost 20°C dropping to sub-zero in places during nights. Winds were generally light, but when the wind picked up, it was mainly easterly in direction, which usually never helps with fishing.

As you might expect, these bright and mostly calm conditions didn’t make for good lough fishing. This was the case on Loughs Conn and Cullin in North Mayo where trout anglers struggled all week. Over in the east on Lough Sheelin, the difficult conditions didn’t do anglers any favours either. However, as in previous years, fishing larger lure patterns at this time of year paid off and rewarded persistent anglers with some nice catches.

Sheelin perfection

What usually impacts negatively on the loughs can be a game changer on the rivers where the first warm days in spring can entice trout to become more active and respond well to wets, nymphs and the occasional dry fly. The River Nore for instance is such a river. So it was no big surprise that the recent warm spell and dropping water levels brought the trout on the take on one of the “Three Sisters”.

Nore brownie ready for release

Lately, we have noticed a substantial increase in salmon catch reports, but unfortunately, this trend wasn’t continued this week. However, after Lough Beltra saw the first fish of the year the week before, it was only a matter of time until nearby Carrowmore Lake would produce its first salmon of the season. Staying in Mayo, salmon angling picked up slowly on the River Moy with four more spring fish reported caught.

An angler fishing the Moy near Foxford, Co. Mayo

Over to coarse angling where Portumna Coarse Angling Club was pleased to find that the  roach had returned in numbers when fishing the town and stick up swims last weekend, while competitors of the first qualifier for the newly formed Ireland’s Feeder King competition on the River Bann experienced tough fishing in every zone with just the odd bigger stamp roach being caught.

Some great bags for Portumna Coarse Angling Club

Pike anglers, however, achieved great results throughout the country. Up north, the river Erne was “on fire” for fishing guide Gerard Smyth and one of his clients, while Pike angling guide Damien Culliney had a great day out recently on Lough Derg fishing with a couple of friends. The warm spring day seemed to spark the pike into action with nine fish to the boat, including PBs for both anglers which makes our Catch of the Week.

A proper Esox lucius from Lough Derg

There were also a number of successful pike competitions taking place during the week. Junior angler Thomas Williams showed how it’s done at Limerick Pike Anglers’ sixth competition of the winter season last week in far from wintry conditions. Further east, a new club record was set at Leinster Pike Angling Club’s March competition with 148 pike caught and released on the day. Remaining in Leinster, results for Newbridge & District Pike Anglers were equally remarkable. With 88 pike caught on the day including a very impressive tally of 10 doubles this was another red-letter day for the club.

Happy Newbridge & District anglers

While game angling largely laboured under the bright calm conditions, some charter boats made use of the mild weather. The recent settled spell allowed Kit Dunne of Wicklow Boat Charters to get back out on the water again and he was delighted to find that the spurdogs were on form with some specimen fish showing. Charter skippers in the northwest also ventured out after months of “winter hibernation” recording some nice catches of mainly pollack.

Fine spur for Wicklow Boat Charters

Killybegs Mariners were active as ever, reporting good numbers of beach sea trout up to 53cm while enjoying stunning Sahara dust sunsets over Donegal Bay.

What a stunning sunset over Donegal Bay!

In contrast, South Shore SAC was forced to change the venue for their latest leg of the Leinster League as the chosen venue, was blown out by high winds. Menapia SAC were also greeted by high winds on arrival at their venue near Kilmore along the south coast,  but with fish showing from the first cast, the winds were soon forgotten as anglers concentrated on bagging up. Lastly, we received a report of a surprise mullet from Jeremy Smith while targeting bass on Inchydoney Beach in Co. Cork.

Great surf at Dunworly, Co. Cork

Other News

Ireland on the Fly Podcast

The latest episode of the Ireland on the Fly podcast will be online on Friday 1st April and it features an interview with Tipperary’s, George McGrath, of Gundog & Fly YouTube fame.

River Lee brown tag draw

The next 38 ‘brown tags’ for the Lower River Lee will be issued on Monday, 11th April and the deadline to enter online lottery is midnight on Friday, April 8th 2022. For more information see Details for second online lottery for ‘Brown Tags’ on Lower River Lee in Cork

Something Fishy poster competition

Primary school students around the country are being asked to design a poster that encourages greater conservation of Ireland’s native fish. To enter, primary school students are being asked to create a poster with the ‘catch, photo and release’ message, take a photograph of it and then submit it by email before the closing date of Friday, April 15th 2022. For more information see Primary school artists wanted for conservation campaign

And now the weather

The mild and sunny weather of late will unfortunately come to a drastic end. Tomorrow morning will be cold and frosty with sunny spells. However, cloud will increase from the north through the day and outbreaks of rain will develop in Ulster and north Leinster during the afternoon and evening. On Friday night outbreaks of rain will affect east and northeast counties and may turn to sleet at times over higher ground, becoming more widespread towards morning. Lowest temperatures of zero to plus 2 degrees, coldest in Munster where under clearer skies there may be a touch of frost locally. Current indications suggest westerly winds will bring a more unsettled spell of weather with rain or showers at times and temperatures closer to the seasonal average of 11 or 12 degrees.

Safe fishing to all and tight lines, especially here in Ireland. If you’re heading to the coast, don’t forget to check the tides.

Markus Müller
Catch, Photo, Release

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