It seems as though we are never too far away from another weather record being broken these days and, following hot on the heels of our fourth driest February on record, March 2023 was the wettest in Ireland’s 83 years of recorded weather history. Air and soil temperatures continue to stay above long term averages though, and as we head into the Easter bank holiday weekend, water temperatures have just about started to creep above the magical 10°C mark in most of our inland waterways…

For many lough trout anglers, 10°C is the point at which the trout start to look up for their food instead of just looking down, and surface activity becomes more noticeable on the loughs. On Lough Sheelin, with temperatures just below the 10°C mark, the first proper hatches of duckfly made an appearance this week and traditional flies fished close to the surface worked well. Over on Lough Arrow, the season kicked off on April 1st and blustery conditions tested the rustiness of the anglers there after their late start.

Sheelin sunshine

River trout anglers had to contend with high, coloured water but Dan O’Neill still put his guests over the fish on the Nore and, not far away on the Barrow tributaries, a cracker of a trout fell to a lure fished well through a deep pool for Levi Caffrey. In Mallow, another fine trout took a shine to a silvery spinner for Thomas Coyle, who thought he’d hooked something silver but was as happy with his gold reward! On the subject of silver, we have reports from a number of rivers that salmon smolts have begun making their journeys to the sea. Smolts will readily take a trout fly, so we’d like to remind anglers to handle these precious little travellers with care.

trout barrow catch and release
A super trout from the Barrow about to be carefully released

As the days lengthen, the adult salmon are picking up pace heading in the opposite direction to their tiny relatives. In Mayo, the Ballina Salmon Anglers on the mighty Moy recorded their second salmon of the season, and Carrowmore Lake is starting to produce some spring fish. In County Kerry, the Upper Caragh has added a few more fish to their record books and the Currane anglers have had some success with a number of double figure fish falling to both fly and lure.

Bernard releases his salmon on Lough Currane
Bernard releases his Currane salmon

On the coarse angling scene, we would like to remind anglers that the National Coarse Fishing Federation has been appointed by FIPSed (the world governing body for sport fishing) to host the World Club Feeder Championships on Lough Muckno on April 22nd & 23rd. Anglers are requested to refrain from fishing at the venue in the week building up to the event. The NCFFI are also looking for volunteers from affiliated clubs to assist with stewarding the event – please register your interest at www.ncffi.ie on the micro website dedicated to this Championship.

In other coarse fishing news, Inniscarra Lake hosted the third round of the Munster Teams of Four League while the Iascaire Feeder Fishing Club took their foot off the gas for some great pleasure fishing in the north midlands.

A very notable pike was caught this week as Artur Pike Seeker caught the pike he has been seeking for so long with an exceptional river pike of over 120cm in length. Artur wins our catch of the week this week for landing the fish of his dreams. On the competition scene, the Irish Federation of Pike Angling Clubs held their final qualifier on the Grand Canal at Vicarstown at the weekend, with some fine canal pike featuring in the catches.

120cm pike

To saltwater and the UK’s National Mullet Club have launched their ‘Irish Shield’ for the biggest mullet caught by a club member here in Ireland. David Rigden is the current holder with a 7lb 8oz thick lipped mullet. On the beaches, the Killybegs Mariners have been flat out with flatties and trout, and the Menapia SAC launched their 2023 competition season. Conditions looked good for South Shore SAC for the fourth round of their master series on Tinnebearna Beach last weekend, but the fishing wasn’t up to scratch in the early part of the session, and a late flurry of dogs saved the day.

West Cork and District got their 2023 season underway on the Slob Bank with a fine turnout of 21 anglers including several new faces. A new addition to the shore competition scene will be the collaboration of West Cork and District SAC and Tralee Bay SAC to host the Kerry Pairs competition. One pair will fish on the same peg and work together, something completely new on the match scene.

Kerry Pairs
Kerry Pairs

As the season moves on, the charter boats are getting back on the water, and Wicklow Boat Charters have started where they left off last season with some super specimen spurs from the east coast. In Donegal, Saoire Mara got the first trip of 2023 out of the way with 12 different species and, in Kerry, Fuego hit some early season specimen pollack out from Caherciveen as did the Brazen Hussy II in Galway Bay. 

Easter is here, and many parents are wondering what they might do to keep the kids from driving them mad! What better than a day on the sea? Fun all round and by the end of it you’ll travel home with a car full of kids who want nothing more than to sleep soundly for the night.

Joey Gough with one of his Specimen Spurdog, longest at 119cm
Joey Gough with one of his Specimen Spurdog, longest at 119cm

Podcasts

This week from the Ireland on the Fly podcast, the guys have another Book Club episode. In this instalment, Daire and Tom speak to John Gierach, the prolific and best-selling fly fishing writer who has been an inspiration for thousands of fly anglers around the world.

In Other News…

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has urged anglers and watercraft owners to help stop the spread of invasive species by carefully checking, cleaning, and drying their boats and equipment when travelling from one waterway to another this Easter.

In particular, IFI is asking users of the River Shannon and its tributaries to take action to halt the proliferation of non-native species that may cling to crafts as they move along the waters.

IFI is recommending that owners of motorised and non-motorised watercraft do not move them from the Shannon or its lakes, tributaries, and interconnected canals to other waterbodies.

And now the weather

Most of the country will have a dry Thursday evening with late spells of sunshine. Highs of 9°C to 12°C in a light breeze, turning chilly overnight with Lows of -1°C to +3°C and a touch of frost in places.

Friday will be mainly dry with spells of hazy sunshine. Highs of 12°C to 15°C in light to moderate southerly winds. Cloud will thicken overnight on with drizzle developing towards morning. Lows of 4°C to 9°C in light to moderate south easterly winds.

Patchy rain developing over the west on Saturday; however, it will stay dry for most other areas. Highs of 9°C to 13°C with overnight lows of 7°C to 10°C in light winds.

Easter Sunday will be a dull day with patchy rain and in the morning which will become more persistent in the afternoon. Highs of 10°C to 13°C in moderate to fresh southerly winds.

Monday will be a brighter day with some sunny spells but occasional heavy showers in the afternoon. Highs of 10°C to 13°C in moderate westerly winds.

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.

IFI Staff
Catch, Photo, Release

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