So long 2023, how’s it going 2024? Well, up until yesterday it’s been pretty wet and mild enough for the middle of winter. There’s a decidedly chilly feel to things now. Most rivers are high, the ground is fairly saturated and in many places fully waterlogged. Even if we get a bit of dry weather, levels will stay high for another bit. Sea anglers have a had a real mixed bag of wind to deal with, some beaches were badly weeded, not many decent days for getting on the water. But it wouldn’t be an Irish Angling Update without me telling you that for those who could get out and fish when the conditions were right, there were some good fish to be caught…

Lennon first salmon 2024

We’ll open with salmon angling. In our last update of the year we shared the news that 81 rivers would be open in 2024. The season duly opened on January 1st on a number of rivers. Water levels were up, but of course there were anglers out to mark the day. Now, if you’ve not heard already, James Kenny caught the first salmon of the season on opening day. Fishing a Flying-C James hooked a 69cm salmon from the Watts Pool on the Leannan at about 1.30pm. It was safely released and is our Catch of the Week. Hopefully it’s a good sign for the season to come. For those of you who enjoy a podcast, Daire and Tom of Ireland on the Fly talk to Shane Gallagher of the Drowes fishery about the opening days of the salmon season and more. And lastly in salmon news Glenda Powell has confirmed all the details for the the FISH-LIVE-LEARN with Glenda Powell Irish Salmon Challenge. This is an exciting venture with some top classes prizes and it’s open to anyone who catches and releases a salmon on fly this season, the winner will be the one who catches the biggest fish.


Pike anglers had some great fishing on Lough Derg in the last days of 2023. Senan Stanley, Paul Bourke and their guests had plenty of 100cm plus pike each day were out. Big fish also featured in the midlands where Chris Scally had pike to 107cm, he was fishing deadbaits with a strong scent trail to good effect. Also out was Anthony O’Neill, a young angler keen to get a pike on the fly who succeed in style on the River Barrow.


The first specimen of the 2024 has already been reported. It comes as no surprise to hear the lucky angler was fishing with Wicklow Boat Charters. The spurdog, clocking in at 114cm, was caught by well-known specimen hunter Derek Greene. Staying on the east coast Ciaran Fogarty from Southshore SAC won the 2023 Leinster League. The final match was fished at Kilcoole last Saturday. Christmas gales had postponed the Killybegs Mariners charity beach competition, but they eventually got to fish it at the weekend. Rossnowlagh was the only beach big enough for the 70 or so anglers taking part. Fishing was tough but it was a big success for the R.N.L.I at Bundoran and Donegal to Galway cancer bus.

From the coarse angling scene we have news that NCFFI Team Ireland Feeder Manager Brenton Sweeney has announced his team of six to fish the World Championships of 2024. Good luck to Michael Buchwalder, Tony Hopkins, Johnny McKinley, James O’Doherty, Charlie Richards and Rory Dunne who will represent Ireland in Spain this May. In other news Ireland’s FeederKing competition returns for 2024 after not been fished last year. With a prize fund of €12,000 and a host of top match anglers queueing up to claim the title it’s set to be an exciting event. On the subject of exciting events, Philip Jackson reviews the World Club Feeder Championships which were fished on Muckno last April and Cathal Hughes looks forward to representing Ireland at the club world championships in Slovakia.

Other news…

Inland Fisheries Ireland’s National Research Survey Programme has published 16 lake survey reports. Each report summarises the results of the 2022 fish stock survey carried out using Inland Fisheries Ireland’s fish in lakes monitoring protocol.

The Romanian Catch & Release Angling Association is taking new members for 2024. This is a vibrant coarse and pike club with a diverse membership from all across Ireland and organises some top class events like the Pike Master Ireland, the Perch League, Lough Derg Predator Challenge and Lough Ree Predator Challenge every year.

Don’t forget that angling clubs, groups and associations planning to apply for sponsorship funding need to do so before the January 19th deadline. In 2024, the €30,000 fund will have a particular focus on promoting sustainable angling tourism in rural areas while also supporting initiatives aimed at beginners and young anglers.

And now, the weather…

There’s a change afoot. The mild, wet, windy weather we been giving out about is giving way to settled conditions and colder conditions will dominate for the next week. More frost tonight as temperatures dip as low as -3°C and then mainly dry and sunny on Saturday after any lingering mist clears, though there will be some isolated light showers, mainly in the north. Highest temperatures 5 to 8°C generally in light variable breezes. Cold and frosty on Sunday with fog lingering inland, sunny otherwise. Highest temperatures 3 to 6°C, lower where fog lingers. Cold, foggy and frosty again on Sunday night. Lowest temperatures of -3 to 0°C. A cold but mainly dry day on Monday with a mix of cloud and sunny spells once any fog clears. Highest temperatures of 2 to 4°C in fresh southeast winds. You can expect more of the same for the rest of the week. There’s a small craft warning for all coasts today, so as ever make sure to check the forecast before going afloat and if you’re going to sea, don’t forget to check the tides.

That’s it for this week’s Irish angling Update, safe fishing to all and tight lines, especially here in Ireland.

IFI Staff
Catch, Photo, Release

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