All quiet on canal front


ANGLING NOTES:GODFREY Donohue was busy directing traffic on the 12th Lock Bridge at Lucan as 90 competitors and assistants took their positions along the Grand Canal for the eagerly awaited Irish Wheelchair Association’s annual Angling Day. Now in its seventh year, the event has grown hugely in popularity and now attracts competitors from 11 centres as far afield as Roscrea, Portlaoise and Ardee.

Conditions on the day were challenging, with a gusty breeze that made casting difficult. However, the rain held off and the sun shone for most of the three-hour competition.

Event organiser Godfrey Donohue and his team, alongside Des Chew’s team from Dublin Angling Initiative, were kept busy entangling lines and baiting up with maggots and sweetcorn. All the while, association staff served sandwiches and soft drinks to keep up energy levels.

I met Jason Wheately, from Thurles, who is a member of the association centre in Roscrea North. “I fish the lakes in Templemore on a regular basis,” he said. Jason was accompanied by Michael Bentley, Gordon Green, Derek Dooley and Jim Quinlan. “We’re an all-male group,” one of them quipped.

But it soon became apparent the fish had decided to take a day off. No amount of coaxing with ground bait could entice the wayward creatures to feed. “The fish are in there, I can see them with the polaroids,” Godfrey said.

In contrast to last year when more than 30 were caught and released, this year drew a blank, no fish. In the end, it didn’t matter a whit as camaraderie and friendship reigned supreme. “Conservation was at its best today,” one competitor joked.

Later, at the nearby association centre, the grounds were packed to capacity as music and a generous barbecue rounded off a most enjoyable day.

At a prizegiving ceremony, Carol Marnell, association area manager for Leinster, said: “We have lots of prizes, but no fish. So, we will draw for prizes and the cup will remain with Lucan, last year’s winners.” Thanks were extended to the many sponsors on the day including Waterways Ireland, Inland Fisheries Ireland and Godfrey from Goldfish Ireland. Rose McCoy, manager of Lucan resource and outreach centre and Janet Healy, senior programme assistant, also received a big “thank you”.

- The bonanza continues at Lough Inagh Fishery as the century mark was passed last weekend in terms of salmon catches, when Dr John Casey from Galway caught and released three salmon from the Corloo Beat in gale force winds. All fish took a Collie Dog.

Congrats John. For bookings, contact Lough Inagh Lodge Hotel, 095-34706 or

- This season a number of large sea trout were caught and released in the Avoca River in Co Wicklow. However, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) remind anglers that the river is closed for salmon and for sea trout more than 40cm.

A bylaw introduced in 2009 enables anglers to fish for sea trout of less than 40cm on a catch and release basis. There is a ban on the use of worms and single barbless hooks must be used.

“The fact remains that salmon and sea trout stocks are very low and we ask anglers to give the species the best possible chance in this vulnerable river. Please be vigilant in helping us to protect this bylaw by reporting illegal fishing to our freefone number – 1890-347424,” the IFI asks.

- Anglers with specimen claims for shad and cyprinids that require genetic analysis for positive identification are asked to submit claims to the Irish Specimen Fish Committee, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Swords, Co Dublin, by September 30th.

As genetic analysis takes a considerable amount of time and expertise, the submission date has been brought forward to ensure claims are processed in time for publication in the 2011 specimen fish report.