We’re already halfway through April, and despite time marching on, we seem to still be stuck in the grip of a winter that is doing its very best to hang on till the bitter end. Sure, we’ve swapped dandelions for daffodils at the roadside and blossoms for buds on many of our shrubs, but temperatures have remained a degree cooler than average and rain has been both widespread and abundant, with up to 238% of the normal rainfall in parts of the west last week. The sun has yet to master the skies, and despite giving the odd encouraging blast of warmth, it has more often than not remained shrouded in a thick blanket of cloud.

The near-constant rain over the past few weeks has certainly hindered early-season salmon fishing on many of our rivers as high water levels have made angling almost impossible for long spells. Such has been the case on the River Bandon in Cork, where anglers have struggled to get on the water since the start of the season. But waters eventually began to subside during the week, and one angler took his chance as club member Jonathan Walsh landed the first fish of the season on a Flying C. One system that has fished very well in recent weeks despite the poor conditions is the Caragh Fishery. The Upper Caragh produced a number of fish again this week, including a fine 12lb hatchery fish for fishery owner Ralph Doppler. Carrowmore Lough in Mayo is probably Ireland’s foremost salmon angling lough, and the Easter weekend brought an increase in fishing activity on the lake and a further 8 salmon were landed, 6 of which were released. Also in Mayo, anglers fishing East Mayo waters on the River Moy reported the first fish of the season on Thursday 6th with a fish of 7.5lbs for Ian Guegan, followed the next day by an even better fish of 8.5lbs for Danielle Gingell.

Danielle Gingell with her first Moy springer

On the trout loughs, the duckfly hatch is well underway, but the blustery conditions have meant that fishing using imitative duckfly patterns has been tricky, and anglers are having to revert to more traditional early-season tactics of stripping wets and lures. Such was the case on Lough Arrow, where the wind has put the duckfly down, and most of the fish that were caught, fell to wets. On Sheelin too, anglers found that the traditional early season patterns such as dabblers in all their variations were a better bet than trying to fish the buzzer. A couple of Sheelin anglers fishing last Monday found all manner of weather thrown at them. Forced into a lunchtime re-think, they made a dash through wind, wave and finally hail, but it paid off with nice fish to salvage the day. In the northwest, Loughs Conn and Culling have been quiet for the time of year, with poor weather deterring anglers from even venturing out.

Luke Drea with a nice Sheelin fish caught immediately after a heavy hail storm

On Lough Derg, the Terryglass Angling & Conservation Club were on the water over the easter weekend as they took part in a club competition. They found both trout and pike to be in biting mood, making it a busy weekend for the competitors. To wrap up our trout news in some style, we have a fine fish caught on Lough Owel. Inguss Kursitis was out at the crack of dawn casting a small Rapala lure when at around 8am, his rod doubled over with a good take. Not long after, he brought a cracking 5.4kg trout aboard, a super fish for Lough Owel and it wins Inguss this week’s Catch of the Week.

5.4kg Lough Owel trout

Italian angler Emmanuel is over in Ireland for some work experience and he couldn’t have chosen a better place to spend a few weeks than the Irish midlands. Staying with angling guide Kevin Lyons, it wasn’t long before Emmanuel had his first Irish fly-caught pike. Needless to say, he’s had a couple more since, and we hope to keep you posted on how he fares during the rest of his stay. Kevin has also had a group of French anglers at his lodge over the past week and they got off to a great start with 32 pike landed over two days. And things never slowed down for them as they finished their 5 days of fishing with a great tally of 97 pike, including a cracking fish of 107cm. Meanwhile, just further north in the Boyle area, some French guests made a return visit to be guided by Bodo Funke of Angling Services Ireland, and counted a super 113cm pike amongst their catches.

Super fish of 113cm for Trevor fishing with Bodo Funke!

Poor weather and high water levels have made it tricky for coarse anglers too in recent weeks, with venues having to be changed at short notice due to flooding. Tulla and District Angling Club have battled against these elements and seen the impact on the fishing as predictions of double figure hauls at their recent match were wide of the mark as the winner, Ian Kelsey, bagged a more prosaic 6lb 11oz. Similarly difficult conditions faced anglers fishing Lough Muckno over the Easter weekend, with the lake barely fishable due to high water and strong winds, but local angler Darren Fairhurst fought off some strong competition to top the festival rankings. And things will be hotting up on L. Muckno this week as anglers from far and wide make a beeline for the lake to fish the FIPSed 6th World Feeder Fishing Championships for Clubs. Teams will be spending the coming week practising, with the competition proper due to be held next weekend.

Clondorney , Tulla
Tough times for Tulla anglers

To sea angling now, and the Easter break is the time that many of our charter fleet take back to the water after a winter in the dry dock. Sean Maguire had a group of USA visitors along on his maiden voyage of the year and they found the pollack to be biting not too far from the shore. Pollack were also the quarry for anglers in Donegal Bay as anglers targeted big fish with light tackle before the windy weather put a stop to angling for a couple of days. Galway Bay also saw its fair share of pollack as anglers aboard the Leaca Rua had a fine stamp of fish. The Killybegs Mariners had league outing number 9 out of 12 on Good Friday in some fantastic weather. The 15 anglers found bites to be scarce but there were some quality fish in the mix, including some fine sea trout. Finally, down in the South West, David Norman continued his mullet exploits targeting those most elusive of fish with a fly rod. He has had 8 so far this season using a bread fly, with the best of his last trip tipping the scales at 5lb 5oz.

A fine mullet on the fly for David Norman

We finish off this week’s angling update with a couple of podcasts. Episode 7 of the Lure Fishing Podcast features top UK bass guide Marc Cowling which should make an interesting listen for all bass anglers out there. Meanwhile, this week’s episode of Ireland on the Fly features Elvar Fridriksson discussing the recent Salmon Summit, a yearly event aimed at sharing research on and providing solutions to help conserve the world’s dwindling salmon stocks.

And now the weather

Today, Friday will see scattered showers extending from the northwest with a chance of hail and thunderstorms in northern areas. The showers will die away overnight and it will be a cool night with temperatures from -1°C to +3°C. Saturday will be dry at first but cloud will gradually move in bringing outbreaks of drizzle to some places. Saturday night will be cloudy and Sunday will start dull with some patchy rain and drizzle but will become dryer later with temperatures rising to 18°C in places. Monday will see a mix of rain and drizzle while Tuesday looks like being mostly dry and sunny with highest temperatures of 15°C to 18°C

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

IFI Staff
Catch, Photo, Release

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