There has been a much-welcomed drier spell of weather over Ireland for the past week, with temperatures below average in the north and east, but up to 2°C above average in the south and west. Any break in the clouds is welcomed in Ireland – especially by those who enjoy the outdoors – and it is great to finally see blue skies and t-shirts in the photos submitted by our contributors this week…

The dry spell has finally seen the rivers drop to fishable levels for salmon anglers – with many of the gauges now showing water levels we haven’t seen since the middle of January. The spring salmon angler is a secretive creature though, and reports of fish being caught are as free flowing as blood from a stone; however, we do know that many of the springer rivers have finally given up a long awaited bounty, and that’s where we will start this week’s report…

Doo Lough, Delphi Fishery, Co. Mayo

First off, to Delphi Lodge where a run of spring fish produced some good fishing last week. There were 6 fish landed – including a stunning 91cm bar of silver – a first ever salmon for the US visitor which was released after a quick photo. This super fish wins our Catch of the Week, no contest. Conditions are great on the Munster Blackwater, too, and reports are that fish have been taken throughout the system, with water still high but running clear. On Currane, a few salmon gave themselves up to the trollers despite the sombrero weather and, over on the Killarney system, a couple of fish fell to the troll on the lakes while one or two more were landed on the Laune and Flesk. At the other end of the country, the River Finn in Donegal has seen a steady trickle of springers since the opening day, with a lot of fish landed in the 8lbs-12lbs size range, and the Moy fisheries in Mayo have seen some action, with the first fish of the year landed on the Cloongee fishery.

Retired pro baseball pitcher Rick Porcello – what a first fish! 91cm of picture perfection

Trout fishing is improving too, as the mercury slowly rises. On Lough Sheelin, the ITFFA Ulster Championships were held and Maddy Kelly earned a place on the Ulster team to fish the Interpros and the National Final – well done to her. Also in Cavan, Annagh Lake has been fishing really well for the rainbows, with good hatches of buzzers the focus for the fish there. On Lough Arrow, the Arrow Anglers held their Martin Carr Perpetual Cup competition which raised €800 for charity in a flat calm with a hot, bright sun, while further west, anglers fishing loughs Conn and Cullin are getting good action on wet flies. On Lough Owel, Brian Conway won the ITFFA Leinster Lake Qualifiers in similar sunny conditions with a monstrous double figure trout caught on a piscari-tied buzzer. On the rivers, Dan O’Neill reports that there have been olives hatching on the Nore, encouraging the fish to the surface which is always a welcome sight.

Owel’s finest

In other trout news, the Ballinlough Fishery in Mayo will open its doors to anglers once again on Wednesday 1st May. Ballinlough is a shallow, limestone lake of 22 hectares located 3.2km north of Westport and is managed by IFI. It is a rich lake with a marl bottom and has been stocked with rainbow trout and brown trout. The fish are known to be free rising, and are encouraged by hatches of olives, sedges and wind-blown terrestrials. There are 4 boats on the lake and permits (which include the hire of a boat –  excluding engine) are available on an evening or full day basis.

Ballinlough Fishery in Mayo

To pike fishing and as the Lough Ree International Pike Festival and World Cup takes place at the southern end of the lake this week (where a lot of 100cm+ fish have already been landed), the Lough Ree Lanesborough Angling Hub on the northern end have launched their King of the Lake event for 2024. The competition will be fished over September 28th and 29th. The Irish Federation of Pike Anglers held their national final nearby in Longford this week, where the Kiernan clan came out head and shoulders above the other 49 competitors.

Boats preparing to fish the King of the Lake on Lough Ree in 2023

The Shannon is still running high and cold, delaying the roach run from Lough Ree and making fishing tricky for coarse anglers in the midlands, who need the waters to subside a little, but there is still good fishing to be found in the smaller lakes nearby. There were plenty of roach to be caught in the Barrow though, as well as the odd pike, as regular contributor Anthony O’Neill once again stole the limelight from his mentor. In Wexford, young Ethan Holt from Cavan won his first Oaklands match with an impressive 51.670 kg from peg 16, while across the border, the third qualifier for Ireland’s FeederKing was held last weekend in glorious sunshine on the Erne system.

Anthony O’Neill and a plump roach

Finally we head offshore, where calm seas and blue skies enabled skippers to motor that little bit further from the coast and anglers capitalised on the opportunity to choose how and where to fish. In west Clare, the reefs provided a very good mix of species and plenty of fish for everyone aboard the Isle of Aran, while anglers on the Clare Dragoon got great ling, pollack and coalies. Further north in Galway Bay, the pollack and coalies were ‘smashing it’ for guests of the Brazen Hussy II who were made to sweat off the Factor 50 during their outing. In Donegal Bay, the Murray family got in amongst the pollack too, as did anglers fishing with Killybegs Fishing Trips, who also managed to land some good cod and enjoy some close encounters with a number of basking shark.

Another fine ling

The Killybegs Mariners enjoyed their first boat outing of the season, with some unusual species landed while fishing with tuna.ie, but they also held the second last leg of their 2023/24 shore league at Mullaghmore, where Gavin Dorrian put some daylight between himself and the nearest competitor. Also fishing from dry land were the Rinnashark SAC, who held the 3rd leg of their Master Angler 2024 series and the West Cork and District SAC, who fished the last leg of their midweek league last Wednesday. Last (but not least), lure anglers will be pleased to hear that  Ballinskelligs Bay burst into life last weekend, with excellent bass fishing for guests of John Quinlan from Thatch Cottage.

bss

For those who can’t make it to the water this weekend, we have a couple of really entertaining podcasts from those prolific podders – Ireland on the Fly and Cormac Walsh of the Lure Fishing Podcast. Cormac chats with David Lyons, who set up Tackling Minds – an organisation that offers support to British people from all walks of life who are struggling with a range of issues, including mental health, social deprivation, addiction and recovery, disabilities and those with long term illnesses. The Ireland on the Fly team meet with Muiris Huston, the medical contributor to the Irish Times and also a passionate fly angler and fly fishing book collector. In this episode they discuss the books everyone should have on their shelves – especially the Irish fly fishing ones

And now the weather…

Cold Friday night with lows of -1°C to 3°C and a touch of frost. Patches of mist and fog may form in light northerly breezes.

Saturday will be a cool day with sunny spells and the odd shower in a light to moderate northeasterly breeze. Highs of 9°C to 12°C, mildest in the west, lows of -1°C to +3°C overnight with potential for frost.

Sunny spells and scattered showers will feed in from the west through Sunday with highs of 9°C to 12°C in light northwest to west winds. Outbreaks of rain will develop overnight, spreading eastwards. Light to moderate southerly winds with lows of 3°C to 7°C.

It will be wet and cloudy on Monday and Tuesday with highs of 9°C to 13°C and light to moderate south/south westerly winds, drier with milder temperatures later in the 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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