There were no lions to speak of this week as March came in like a lamb. This followed a February where high pressure dominated, bringing yet another month of higher than average temperatures everywhere and lower than average rainfall. As experienced anglers will know, most of our fishing depends on the weather, and mild weather early in the season can mean better fishing for many species. We still have some chilly March weather ahead of us though, with temperatures expected to drop below zero some nights next week, taking the spring back out of our steps for a little while at least.

The trout fishing season opened on many rivers and lakes on Wednesday, March 1st, and the low water conditions meant that river fly anglers had a good chance of a trout if they got out on the water. There were even afternoon hatches of large dark olives to bring the trout to the surface on some rivers. On the loughs, the early season is the time for the spinning rod and some great trout fell to lure anglers in the midlands as well as out west, where the big trout get very big and the odd big pike makes an appearance to keep things interesting.

The best of the fishing this week has been for pike, and regular guests of Melview Fishing Lodge and visitors from Italy all managed to land some cracking fish. On the Erne system, guests of Guided Predator Angling had tremendous sport for pike and perch on their lure rods, with the mild temperatures bringing longer periods of activity. Also after pike this week were the Tulla and District AC who had a super day out on Lough Brigit where the pike were very obliging.

Bill with his 3rd of the day

On the coarse fishing front there was little activity this week, the only report worth a mention was that of the Munster Coarse Anglers who fished the 8th leg of their winter league at Portumna.

Low water has meant that salmon fishing has been very slow, with anglers still waiting for rain to bring in the spring fish. Waiting patiently is Jackie Mahon, who has announced that he will be going back to his roots this season by guiding on Glencar Lough in Sligo – which was one of his grandfather’s favourite lakes. On Lough Currane, despite having four boats on the water most days, there have been no fish landed this week. There have been no sea trout recorded either, and we’d like to remind anglers that the lake, as well as all of the rivers in the Ballinskelligs Bay area – and the bay itself – will remain catch and release for all sea trout for the 2023 season.


Another fish that will remain catch and release throughout the month of March is the bass, with a two fish bag limit (min 42cm) resuming in April until the end of the year.

catch and release
Bass – #CPRsavesfish

Bass haven’t returned to our shores in numbers just yet, and anglers fishing in the various events around the coast have seen very few. One spot they did make an appearance was Ballywilling last Saturday night, where Cork SAC held their second competition of the year in an easterly breeze that put off the fish and the anglers. Also cursing the easterly last Saturday night were Galway Bay SAC and South Shore SAC; Galway fished Renvyle where bites were painfully slow and South Shore split up between Morriscastle and Ballinoulart, with Morriscastle fishing better on the day.

A small thornback ray for Gary

Faring better than the seniors were the participants in the IFSA CAST coaching programme, where 35 young anglers took to the shore at Roney Point for the first leg of their coaching pathway, with trained IFSA coaches and International anglers going to each angler and coaching them on tips, techniques and all aspects of sea angling from the shore.

Happy anglers with their Cast certificates
Happy anglers with their Cast certificates

For those of us not planning to hit the water this weekend, there are other forms of angling entertainment available, and you can choose whether to read, watch or listen. First off, the 2022 Irish Specimen Fish Committee Annual Report is now available online and you can read up on the 420+ specimen fish recorded in Ireland during the year. When you’re done with that, you can sit back and listen to the latest episodes from Ireland on the Fly and the Lure Fishing Podcast. Finally, if you’re fed up waiting for the rain to bring in some spring salmon, you can look back on the early fishing from 2022 with Andrew McGall, as he has goes rock hopping in search of a springer.

There is also the small matter of the Ireland On the Water Expo taking place in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. The event will celebrate everything that is great about the marine leisure industry, from angling to sailing, kayaking and diving, the Ireland on the Water Expo promises to be an event for the entire family to enjoy.

ireland on the water

And now the weather…

Dry, calm and cloudy tonight with frost setting in where any longer clearer breaks develop. Lowest temperatures of – 1°C to + 3 °C. Some local mist too. Saturday and Sunday will be mostly dry but dull days with just light stray showers. Highs of 5°C to 7°C, in light breezes. Lowest overnight temperatures of – 1°C to + 3 °C. Monday will bring rain southwards over the country in northerly breezes. Day time temperatures of 5°C or 6°C in the north, 7°C or 8°C further to the south.

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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