It’s been a cold start to May and the temperatures over the last week are a couple of degrees below where they should be. But then it’s been a bit drier, at least in eastern and northern parts of the country. The winds have presented a mixed bag though, so while angling in rivers and lakes and from the sea shore is picking up, we’re still not seeing much angling activity out at sea…

Try not to remove smolts from the water as you unhook them

First of all, it’s that time of year again, when salmon smolts are heading down the rivers on their way to sea. If you catch a smolt, try to release it without removing it from the water. They will swim off none the worse for wear and hopefully we’ll see them back in the river in a year or two as an adult fish. For more see Smolts running – remember to handle with care.

Pat O’Toole with his fly caught 18lb salmon on the River Boyne.

On to bigger salmon now, and the news from the Munster Blackwater is that the fishing is picking up with a few fish being reported daily over the last week. The Moy also has had some anglers enjoying decent fishing with the East Mayo Anglers, Ballina Salmon Anglers Association and Clongee all seeing salmon caught last week. On the other side of the country salmon anglers on the Boyne have had some super fish landed, though the fishing is still best described as slow. Meanwhile on Currane there has seen a steady stream of anglers visiting the lake, but unfortunately the salmon have not been as numerous.

George McGrath’s trout

Over to trout reports now and with the hawthorn in full bloom and the cuckoo calling everyone has one eye, or both eyes, on the lakes. Starting in the west the news is that fishing on Conn and Cullin has improved and there have been some good catches on wet fly. The mayfly is up on Corrib and the lake is about to go into full swing as fish are taking wet and dry mayfly patterns. Heading south now and to the River Bride where nymphs are fishing well and the river is in very good order. Staying with the rivers, we have a great video from George McGrath who mostly fishes the Suir. He puts his streamer skills to the test with good effect catching some serious trout. Meanwhile on the Nore, it’s once again beaded nymphs that are accounting for the fish and Dan O’Neill’s report also includes some great fly casting advice. Finally we head to Kells Blackwater in the north east of the country where competition anglers enjoyed some terrific fishing.

Gintaras Vosylius with a fly caught 8lb bream
Catch of the Week winner Gintaras Vosylius with a fly caught 8lb bream

Coarse angling next and an unusual one for the feeder and pole guys and gals. Gintaras Vosylius was back at the big bream again, catching some really impressive fish to 8lb – with a fly rod! Big roach have been seen in a few venues but at Lanesborough, despite big numbers of fish, the bigger roach did not show up during the week. Meanwhile, nearby lakes fished well for tench. In Co. Fermanagh, England international Steve Hemmingray finished top of the pile of 146 anglers to win the King of the Erne £1,000 first prize with a fantastic total of 58.100Kgs. Dean Murray won the NCFFI All Ireland Canal Champion at the weekend. Fishing was poor with cold winds to blame and an overall weight of 16.46kg was enough for top spot.  Thirty-four optimistic and excited anglers descended on Portumna for the April festival last week. Steve Williamson was the overall winner of the 5-day event, his best catch was a little over 30lb. The Barrow and lakes and Mount Juliet have been fishing well in the southeast where young Anthony O’Neill has his PB carp. Carp were the primary target for the Athy Anglers who has a fantastic time at Oaklands for theirclub competition. Finally, in co. Clare Munster Polish Team successfully defended their team of 4 title in the last match of the Munster Council Coarse Angling League.

Thierry hits 115cm

Pike anglers are reporting the the massed shoals of spawning roach are seeing pike quickly coming back into top condition following the rigours of their own spawning season.  The Lough Ree International Pike Festival & World Cup was fished over three days last weekend, pitting 130 of the best pike anglers in the country against each other. And the venue didn’t disappoint, as 47 pike of 100cm or over were brought to the net. Norbert Renaud of l’Ile Verte Pike Fishing Lodge reports that big fish have been on the move for his anglers in the past week and fish to 115cm have been measured. Big pike have also featured at Lough Derg where Senan Stanley and angling guide,Paul Bourke have had some huge fish right under their toes. In the Longford area Dutch anglers at Melview Lodge had 68 pike to 87cm in 4 days. Newbridge and District Anglers fished a double session at the weekend. They saw 227 pike landed, including seven doubles. Circling back to Lough Ree Chris Scally from FishTales was in touch to tell us about a fine fish landed by his client Damien, 24lb pike measuring 103cm.

A fine turbot for Chris

At last we reach the sea. It’s mostly shore reports but that’s no bad thing. There have been some great fish going recently. Big ling and some cracking cod were the reward for anglers aboard Killybegs Fishing Trips boat Fiona Tee. Anglers on Kincasslagh’s Saoire Marie had up to 11 species on recent trips with mackerel making an appearance. Two of the Galway Bay charter boats had a group of 18 anglers out from Howth SAC on Sunday for a species competition, with some great fishing had by all. There was a good mix of fish caught and some none stop pollacking at one stage to boot. The first leg of the Connaught Master Angler League was fished at Lettergesh in far from ideal conditions, but turbot turned up and some smashing fish were landed. A competition at Fanore saw something similar, no bass were caught but some spotty flats made the day. Tralee Bay SAC hosted their annual Tag a Ray competition and it was a huge success with 99 ray caught, 46 of these the endangered undulate ray. Bass and mullet, and even mullet on fly were there for the taking despite some bitter conditions in Kerry last week and anglers staying at Thatch Cottage had some great days out with John Quinlan. Leinster Anglers had a dull day at Kilcoole but there was some clamour of excitement when Gavin Fogarty landed a utterly unexpected 39cm plaice.

Other news…

Don’t miss what has evolved into Ireland’s largest and only angling show of its kind this May. Building on the success of previous years, this year, the Irish Spring Angling Fair promises to be bigger and better than ever! The two day event takes place on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th May 2024 at Ardaire Springs Angling Centre, located just outside Mooncoin, Co. Kilkenny (Eircode: X91XTY7).

And now the weather…

Mixed for the rest of the weekend with showery rain in places. Warm sunshine in parts too though. Drier everywhere into next week.

Saturday will be another mostly cloudy and misty day with scattered outbreaks of rain and drizzle, most prevalent across the North and East. The best of the sunny spells in the southwest. Highest temperatures of 10 to 15°C with a light southwest to west breeze. Sunday will see cloudy with patchy outbreaks of rain, turning heavy locally. Some warm sunny breaks will develop in places too. Highest temperatures of 12 to 17°C, all sunshine dependent with light variable mainly northwesterly breezes. A brighter day overall with a mix of sunny spells and scattered showers, but with some sharp ones possible across Leinster later. Highest temperatures of 13 to 18°C, in a light to moderate northerly breeze with best values further south.

We expect that there will be a lot anglers out this May Bank Holiday weekend. For many it will be their first time back on the water this year, so why not read over our Angler Safety Checklist here. Don’t forget to check the forecast before heading off and if you’re going to sea, check the tides.

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

IFI Staff
Catch, Photo, Release

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