As we turn the corner from June into July, we are still patiently waiting for any prolonged spell of weather that we could rightly call ‘summery’. Summer has been a very mixed bag so far this year, with strong winds and unseasonably cool temperatures predominating, and only the odd gleam of summer sunshine breaking out from time to time. Last week it was the turn of rain to put a dampener on things, as rainfall was well above average, with some areas of the country seeing five times the usual amount. And the rain meant that temperatures stayed on the low side, with most of the country falling a degree or two below the average.

Many of Ireland’s salmon rivers are spate rivers, so they fish best after a good spell of rain brings a bit of a flood. Anglers who fish on these spate rivers have been hoping for a good belt of rain to come through to bring the fishing on, and they were far from disappointed to see last week’s deluges. Such was the case on the River Ilen, where anglers made the most of the good flood, landing 40 salmon to 13lbs during the week. Other rivers in West Cork, such as the Coomholla and Glengariff, had reports of decent fishing as well. Anglers on the Bandon also benefited from the high water, as rain on Friday led to some fantastic weekend sport with around 50 fish to 16lb being caught. Friday’s rains livened things up on the Waterville System too, as sea trout and grilse responded well to the fresh water, and one angler broke a 50-year duck in catching a salmon on the fly! Not too far away, on the River Laune, the rain brought fish and anglers to the system last weekend. On the Owenmore system in Kerry, the water levels in the river have been quite high, but the lake has produced a grilse and a few sea trout. The River Moy also saw plenty of water run through, and this helped the fishing, with 404 fish reported in the catchment during the week. Sometimes, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, and such was the case on the River Blackwater, which was much in need of rain, but when it came, the river rose so much as to become practically unfishable.

A sea liced 8lber from the Bandon taking a rest before being returned

Elsewhere on the freshwater scene, fishing has been considerably slower. Lough fishing for trout usually goes into a bit of a lull after the mayfly, but the end of June sometimes sees an increase in activity as sedge and/or buzzer fishing becomes more productive. However, Sheelin anglers hoping for a post-mayfly uptick in angling were to be disappointed as fish continued to be hard to come by despite some decent fish being landed. In Mayo, strong winds and heavy rain meant that few anglers ventured out on Loughs Conn or Cullin, and those that did found little fly life hatching off, and fish were few and far between. Anglers fishing at Laois Angling Center fared far better though, as a recently stocked lake made for great fishing and some super-sized brownies and ‘bows.

A super-sized ‘bow from Laois Angling Center

Pike fishing often slows down a bit in high summer, but a couple of Austrian anglers fishing in the Boyle area found them to be pretty active, with some quality fish falling to lures.

Austrian angler Klaus with one of his pike

On the coarse angling front, anglers fishing on Lough Muckno found that heavy rain the night before their Feedermasters match subdued the fish, and the squally, wet and cool weather on the day of the match didn’t help either… In the midlands, a husband and wife duo from Belgium fishing at Melview Lodge had some good feeder fishing, with plenty of hybrids keeping them busy. As we head into the (supposedly) warmer summer months, we would like to remind all anglers that we have regulations in place to protect our pike and coarse species, and that pike and coarse fish are particularly vulnerable at this time of year. High water temperatures and low oxygen levels can put these fish in distress, so fish should be brought to the net quickly, handled carefully, and should not be kept in keepnets for long periods.

A good bag in tough conditions

The summer months see the height of activity on the sea angling front, and it was great to see a couple of junior anglers come to the fore last week. In Cork Harbour, young angler Seán put one over on his grandad Ritchie Ryan by landing a cracking pollack on the fly.

Sean, with his fly caught pollack

Meanwhile, up in Clifden, 8-year-old Rory Cahill showed his dad Oisin how it’s done, by landing another fine pollack, this time with a lure. Both Séan and Rory can be very proud of their efforts, and in recognition of that, they jointly win this week’s Catch of the Week.

Rory Cahill, with a fine lure aught pollack

Staying on the pollack theme, a Dublin-based angler fishing with West Cork Bass made the most of a calm spell of weather to land some nice pollack on lures. Switching species and upping the game in terms of size, Carlingford Lough produced a 68lb whopper of a Tope for Dundalk angler Paul Kirk. Killybegs Mariners SAC have been hard at it over the last few months, fighting it out for the top spot in their shore league. It all came to a head last week at Rossnowlagh, as the top anglers fought it out in the final competition of the season. West Cork & District SAC were also out on the beaches last week, as a club match on Ballyquin yielded plenty of dogfish along with a good mix of other species. Shore anglers in Mayo had less luck though, as strong north westerly winds prevented them from fishing at all!

On the charter fishing front, a group of Dutch anglers fishing in Courtmacsherry had some great sport with catches of pollack, ling and conger. Another group of Dutch anglers had a good range of species as Tom Collins got his boat Loch an Iasc back in the water last week. Shark and skate both featured in catches, and there were plenty of bluemouth and huss on the go as well.

Blue shark
Tom Collins gets off the mark with the Blue Shark

And now the weather

A band of rain will extend eastwards this afternoon, bringing heavy falls to some places but clearing to showers this evening. Saturday will see a mix of sunny spells and showers, some of which will be heavy, and temperatures will range from 15 to 18°C. Sunday will be mostly dry with some scattered showers, mainly in western areas. This pattern of dry spells with some showers seems set to remain into early next week, but we should see some improvement in temperatures as high pressure builds from Tuesday onwards.

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

Shane O’Reilly
Catch, Photo, Release

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