Well, the rain of the last while (4 months?!) took a welcome break this week, with temperatures plummeting, hard night frosts, and some areas even saw snow.

Pike angling is popular at this time of year, with fish often feeding up in advance of spawning over the next couple of months. Lough Erne is known for big pike, and young Jamie, who was a guest of uncle Kevin and Steven Powell of www.lureguides.com landed a fantastic 110cm pike over the weekend. Kevin also enjoyed fantastic fishing, with Steven putting them over lots of feeding fish throughout the day, but Jamie wins our Catch of the Week.

Jamie, Kevin and pike

Another angler enjoying his pike fishing was Callum Morss, who managed to land the same big fish twice in a few days. Although on the second occasion a new digital scales took a few pounds off the weight on his old mechanical scales, it still registered a whopping 25lbs 1oz! Further proof, as if it we needed that careful unhooking, handling and releasing can help to preserve our precious fish stocks and ensure a sustainable recreational fishery into the future.

Big fish second time!

Low temperatures and a cold wind made fishing difficult for the third round of the winter league at Oaklands, but John Browne made light of the tricky conditions with a very creditable top weight of 16.14kgs, just clear of Ronan Minogue with 15.00kg.

The CM Lakelands club also held the third round of their L. Muckno Feeder League on Sunday, with the cold weather providing difficult fishing. Irish international James O’Doherty managed to bag enough skimmers from his Yellow Island peg to win the day with over 5kg.

Salmon anglers are still mostly in hibernation, but another salmon fishery opened this week with 9 boats venturing out on Lough Currane on opening day. Fishing proved fruitless except for a few kelts, but the anglers enjoyed getting to wet a line again, and celebrated the start of another new season in style that evening.

Lough Currane opening day 2023
Lough Currane opening day 2023

The Ireland on The Fly podcast this week is of interest to salmon and sea trout anglers, as it focusses on the plight of wild salmon in Scotland, where the fish farming industry is a major threat. Tom and Daire interview Rachel Mulrenan of Wild Fish, an NGO and advocacy group that campaigns for greater protection for wild salmon and trout.

Floating weed, the curse of shore anglers, especially after rough weather, proved a nuisance at South Shore SAC’s first competition of the year on Kilcoole beach. It was no match for Alby Allan though, who continued his recent good form with 30 fish to take the win. Whiting, coalies, dabs and codling provided plenty of sport, as well as the prolific weed!

Tralee Bay SAC also kicked off their competitive season with a match on Fenit Pier, where a massive turnout of anglers defied the cold weather for the John Lacey Memorial competition.


The competition was dominated by the McMahon family, with Shane and Paddy McMahon taking the senior and junior prizes on the day. Not to be outdone, Liz McMahon took the longest fish prize with her 41cm coalie.

Best round fish of the day and 3rd place over all on the match was Liz McMahon with this belter of a Coalie of 41cm rounding off the fine family haul of prizes

Skipper John Fleming took a trip down the coast in fine weather to a boatyard in the Shannon estuary for winter maintenance, but he also reminded us of the potential for the season ahead, and that skippers’ diaries are open for bookings! Check out our listing of charter boats around the country and get booking some dates for the year.

We also feature a new podcast from a noted bass lure angler, Cormac Walsh, who has started a podcast to talk all things bass fishing. I know I have a lot to learn about this branch of fishing, so I will be following with interest! In the opening episode, Cormac chats with Michael Kelly from Evobass Lures, an Irish company making soft plastic lures perfect for Irish bass fishing.

Other News

In other news, the IFI Sponsorship Programme remains open for applications, with the closing date extended until Wednesday 25th January. So get your applications in soon!

Thursday 2nd February is World Wetlands Day, and the Local Authorities Water Programme (LAWPRO) is celebrating the day with an online “fireside chat” featuring Stories From The Waterside, a collection of writing from Irish authors sharing the water related local stories and personal connections. You can even choose which stories will be read, by their authors, by visiting the Stories From The Waterside website and voting for your top 5.

Trout anglers will be interested to hear that Inland Fisheries Ireland is holding an online lunchtime seminar about brown trout genetics in Ireland. Dr. Karen Delanty will give a talk on recent studies to examine the patterns and levels of population structuring and genetic diversity amongst brown trout populations in Ireland. The talk is free but registration is required.

And now the weather

Milder today with temperatures of 4 to 9 degrees, cloud spreading from the west but remaining mostly dry apart from some patchy drizzle. Patchy outbreaks of rain tomorrow, becoming more persistent in the west later, and moderate southerly winds bringing highs of 8-10C.

Sunday: Damp or locally wet to begin as overnight rain clears into the Irish Sea. Generally dry in the afternoon with a few sunny spells. Highs of 9 to 12 degrees in mostly light southwest breezes.

The outlook for Monday and Tuesday is for dull and cloudy weather with patchy light rain, amounts remaining small though. Light to moderate SW breezes and highs of 9-12 C.

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

IFI Staff
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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