oday, we welcome the arrival of meteorological spring in the Northern Hemisphere. However, the current weather conditions with low temperatures, heavy sleet and snow showers, strong winds and ground frost in places, don’t really make for a “spring feeling” or pleasant and promising angling conditions. As a consequence, angling has been generally poor since our last update with early season game angling hit hardest.

Saying that, there were a few milder days during the early part of the week and last weekend, which provided for better conditions, mainly for coarse and shore anglers in the south and east of the country.

Starting off with salmon angling, we received another report from Vincent Appleby from Lough Currane in Co. Kerry where anglers caught a spring salmon during the week. Elsewhere, salmon anglers have struggled with the largely unfavourable conditions, as have trout fly anglers, as conditions aren’t really conducive to flyfishing yet. On Lough Corrib, however, pike & ferox guide, Tomi Kurman, proved that other methods can work well this early in the season. His first guided trip of the year produced three ferox trout on the troll, best at 75cm which deserves to win our Catch of the Week!

Fine Corrib Ferox

Meanwhile, fly anglers will be delighted to hear that Peter Driver is back with his weekly roundup. His informative Piscari-Fly Newsletter will definitely help all the fly buffs out there to pass the time until conditions will be more favourable to pursue their favourite sport.

Over to pike fishing where guests of Melview Lodge in Co. Longford saw a great start to their week’s fishing landing plenty of pike up to 104cm. At the time of writing ledgered and float fished dead baits had been the most productive methods – stay tuned for a full report next week.

One of the many pike landed in Longford

For predator anglers who are into home-made lures, Norbert Renaud’s video on hand-made pike fishing lures is a must see. Check out the latest L’ile Verte video here.

Coarse anglers had a rather busy week with many matches taking place throughout the country. In Co. Fermanagh the 8th match of the Erne Anglers Winter League was won by Jordan Hall with a total weight of 7.750kg, while the final match of the CM Lakelands Muckno Winter League saw another brilliant display by Damian Foltyn who won the match with 4.590kg of hybrids and roach.

Down south, the Munster Feeder Anglers WinterFest was fished at Inniscarra, Co. Cork. The festival was won overall by Ken Ince who put in a flawless performance to finish with 23.360kg, closely followed by Richard Pratt in 2nd place with a weight of 22.290kg. Over the two days the 22 anglers weighed a total of 309.690kg which is an unbelievable result for a February feeder match!

Great bags were caught at the WinterFest

Also at Inniscarra, the Oaklands Green team took first win in the 2024 Team of Four League in what was a tightly contested match with just a handful of fish separating the teams and double kilo weights popping up throughout the sections.

At Oaklands, Ronan Minogue won the Ger Hennesy Winter League on Sunday last. It was a very tight last match between Ronan and Leo Lynch who both finished on 9 points overall, but some big catches earlier in the series saw Ronan winning on weight.

Concluding our coarse fishing section, we would like to draw your attention to a great story sent in by Dan O’Neill, Fishery Manager at Mount Juliet and who we know is an avid fly angler with great enthusiasm and passion for his sport and the countryside. Over the years, Dan passed on that same enthusiasm and passion to his son Anthony who has been joining his dad on many occasions. However, now it was Anthony who had been asked by a friend who hadn’t caught a fish before if he could take him fishing. So, for the first time, it was Anthony who was in charge taking care of a novice angler. Their choice for the day was a small carp pond just outside Carlow…but read yourself how young Anthony and his friend Aun got on..

junior guide
Anthony and Aun…happy guide and happy angler!

It is not surprising that the unsettled weather of late also impacted negatively on charter boat fishing. Hence reports are few and far between. Killybegs Fishing Trips, however, made use of a break in the weather providing some nice early season pollack fishing for their clients in Donegal Bay.

From the far northwest all the way down to Ireland’s southeast where Cormac Walsh managed to land his first sea bass of the new season. His recent chat with Mike Ladle on the Lure Fishing Podcast inspired Cormac to get back to basics this past week and it clearly paid off for him!

First sea bass of the season for Cormac Walsh

Elsewhere, shore anglers kept busy fishing a number of competitions mainly along the south and east coasts. Starting on the east coast, 35 members of South Shore SAC battled atrocious conditions at Kilgorman fishing the first round of their Master Angler 2024, while Suir Estuary Sea Angling Club held their first competition of the year at Woodstown. Staying in County Waterford, Cork based Rebels SAC headed to Ballyquinn Beach for a milestone competition for their club: the first official competition as an affiliated and insured club with I.F.S.A. Further west, Tralee Bay Sea Angling Club held their second competition of the year at Ventry which saw Figgs Cronin scooping first price.

Ventry competition
Ventry competition

Finally, James Raymond is back with episode 3 of his Shannon Estuary cod hunt video series. Once again, the weather wasn’t in his favour, with driving rain at times. You can still check out if he cracked the Shannon Estuary cod run this time around…

Other News

In the latest episode of their Ireland on the Fly Podcast Daire Whelan and Tom Doc Sullivan talk to John Lalor about his new book Fish Scealta. John’s new book about game fishing from Alaska to Lapland and the Swedish Arctic covers his remarkable fishing life beyond Tipperary including some bucket list destinations we can only dream about.

Inland Fisheries Ireland would like to remind all salmon anglers that the next draw for brown tags for the River Roughty, Co. Kerry (24 tags) will open for entries on 24 March with the draw taking place on 17 April. Results of the first draw (allocation of an initial 24 brown tags) are available here.

And now the weather…

Tonight, lingering rain and sleet in eastern counties will become patchy and gradually clear. Elsewhere will be dry with clear spells at first but scattered showers will spread from the north later, some heavy with a chance of hail and sleet in the northwest. Frost and icy stretches developing with lowest temperatures of -1 to +3 degrees. Moderate to fresh northerly winds, strong on western and northern coasts.

Tomorrow morning, frost and ice will slowly clear. There will be a mix of sunny spells and showers through the day, some heavy. Over the weekend showers will become more isolated and top temperatures will rise to 7 to 9 degrees. Current indications suggest our weather will remain fairly mixed but relatively mild through midweek next week.

Make sure to check the forecast before going afloat and if you’re going to sea, don’t forget to check the tides.

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] and don’t forget that all of our fishing reports are available on our dedicated Angling Ireland Facebook page.

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