February doesn’t stand out as one of our better fishing months in Ireland and some people think that the best thing about it is its brevity.

January and February are our coldest months, but temperatures over the past week were one or two degrees above normal, with mean values between 6°C-10°C. Rainfall amounts were quite varied, with below average rainfall for southern areas but above average rainfall elsewhere. The highest amount of rainfall was recorded at Shannon, with 46mm (227% of normal). With yellow wind and rain warnings in place overnight on Friday, parts of the west and south west will more than make up for any reported lack of rainfall to date.

Rainfall is that most important requirement for salmon angling, which is slowly picking up around the country, with more fisheries opening as the weeks go by. The next opening date in the calendar will be February 15th, when an extra handful of salmon fisheries will resume where they left off on September 30th last. Salmon angling was slow everywhere this week, except the Bundorragha River, where Delphi Lodge have reported five more springers since their first fish was landed. Hopefully a fish will be caught before too long on the Moy, the Munster Blackwater, Currane or one of the other open fisheries yet to see a fish in 2022.

Simon Cassidy with his cracking 7lbs 14oz springer from Delphi.

February 15th is also a date that trout anglers will have keenly awaited; it is the traditional opening date for many of our wild trout fisheries in the west and north west. With many trout anglers sorting out their fly boxes over the weekend or prepping their gear for some bricín fishing, we eagerly await the return of the trout fishing reports to these pages! For those trout anglers who will be busy wrapping thread around hooks over the weekend in anticipation of their first casts of 2022, Peter Driver will be hosting his live fly tying show on Saturday evening; this time the focus is on sea trout flies and nymphs.

Coarse fishing was slow this week, although the very active C/M Lakelands Feeder Club were busy again, with another twenty anglers competing on Lough Garadice in Leitrim at the weekend. There weren’t many pikers out either, although one young angler who does deserve a mention is Ruben from Lisdoonvarna who caught some good Corofin pike including a super 15lb fish. Ruben makes his own spoons, although his fine pike fell to a float-fished deadbait. Ruben wins our Catch of the Week for his efforts!

Ruben and his pike – our catch of the week

In the salt, the Killybegs Mariners were back on the shore again with a good mix of winter species caught in difficult conditions; junior member Christopher Gillespie gets a special mention for his 35cm whiting. At the other end of the country, the Tralee Bay SAC fished at Ventry, where Paul Whelan caught an impressive 37 dogfish, while the West Cork and District SAC fished their match on Ballinwilling beach in East Cork where club members landed ten different species: Pollack, Plaice, Flounder, Rockling, Cod, Painted Ray, Dogfish, Pouting, Coalfish and Conger.

bull huss
A Ventry huss

One type of fish that rarely features in our February reports is the mullet, but Richie Ryan caught three good mullet with his fly rod and bread fly – an impressive start to the season for him.

Never easy…Mullet on fly!

In Other News

Inland Fisheries Ireland is launching its recruitment drive this week to hire forty-nine Seasonal Fisheries Officers.

The six-month posts are divided across seven River Basin Districts, covering sixteen counties with recruitment getting underway immediately. Seasonal Fisheries Officers will join teams over the summer months to help protect, conserve and develop fisheries resources working in and around Ireland’s lakes, rivers and coastlines.


And finally – a reminder that the 2022 Tuna CHART programme will be open for applications from February 14th to 28th. Over 1,100 Atlantic Bluefin tuna, the ‘giant of the sea’, have been successfully tagged and released under this ‘citizen scientist’ partnership. For more details on how to apply see here.

And now the weather…

Wet and windy on Friday night with widespread rain and strong and gusty southerly winds bringing a risk of localised flooding. Temps 6°C to 9°C.

Breezy on Saturday with widespread blustery showers in the morning, heavy bursts in places. Some sunshine, with showers becoming isolated towards evening. Highs 8°C to 11°C. Rain will push in again from the south overnight. Lows of 4°C to 6°C in fresh winds.

Outbreaks of rain on Sunday with heavy bursts in places, clearing northwards in the evening. Highs 7°C to 10°C with moderate winds. Clear spells developing overnight with scattered showers along Atlantic coasts. Lows 2°C to 4°C.

Sunny spells and a good deal of dry weather but cool on Monday, Tuesday looks wet with heavy rain possible. Highs of 8°C to 12°C.

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.

Paul O’Reilly
Catch, Photo, Release

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