Guidelines for anglers as salmon angling season gets under way

THE salmon angling season starts tomorrow, albeit on a limited number of river and lake fisheries

THE salmon angling season starts tomorrow, albeit on a limited number of river and lake fisheries. Lough Gill (Sligo); Carrowmore Lake (Mayo) and the Drowes River (Donegal/ Leitrim) continue their early season start, and the lower Liffey is back in business on a catch and release basis.

Looking at the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Regulations for 2013, it is noticeable that fisheries deemed “open” are edging ever closer to those closed. There are now 55 fisheries open and 59 that are closed.

In between, of course, is the catch and release scheme that accounts for 32 rivers and lakes. The River Liffey, from Islandbridge (Dublin) downstream of Leixlip Dam (Kildare), falls into this category for the first time since 2007.

It is acknowledged that rivers running below sustainable levels should remain “closed”, nevertheless, catch and release will maintain, among other things, club membership interest and ensure a good footfall on the riverbank.

Certainly in the case of Dublin and District Salmon Anglers, membership had dwindled from 200 to just 68 in the intervening five years. And the presence of club anglers along the riverbank is bound to deter any would-be poachers.

Provided catch and release protocols are practised correctly, research has shown that the survival rate can be close to 100 per cent.

The following is a brief set of recommended guidelines. Salmon caught by fly fishing with single barbless hooks have a greater chance of survival than those caught on barbed hooks or lures with double or treble hooks.

Avoid exhausting the fish, once subdued bring quickly to the bank and retain in water using a large diameter landing net with soft knotless mesh. Always handle with wet hands.

Care must be taken not to squeeze or hold by the gills when removing the hook. Upon releasing, the fish should be facing into the current and given sufficient time to recover. Hold gently until capable of swimming away strongly.

Copies of a 20-minute video, Catch and Release – The Future in your Hands is available free from Inland Fisheries Ireland, Balheary Road, Swords, Co Dublin. 01-884 2600.

Life-saving family

The RNLI depends on the dedication of volunteers such as the Duffys of Howth to risk their lives to save others. They are brothers George (former mechanic and second coxswain, retired after 44 years), Jim (retired after 26 years), Robert (coxswain, 37 years), Michael (deputy second coxswain, 30 years) and their nephew Keith Glynn (5 years). In total, 142 years of dedicated service.

The Duffys grew up in a maritime family aware of the perils of life at sea. The lifeboat was part of the culture of the town. Nephew Keith aspired to becoming a crew member like his uncles. “I always looked up to them. Joining the crew was something I had planned to do from an early age.” Jim says: “If you know you’re after saving people that would have been drowned only for you were there, that’s great to do that. It makes everything worthwhile.” When George retired after 44 years, what struck him most was the 359 lives he helped save. “The most difficult thing about leaving the crew was that I missed helping people day to day. For me, it was an honour and privilege to be a member of Howth lifeboat crew.”

Licences in Derry

The Loughs Agency says game and coarse angling licences are now available for the 2013 season and may be had at agency headquarters in Prehen, Derry. Licences have also been sent to the usual outlets and tackle shops, and should be available from this Wednesday.

Meeting in Mullingar

Irish Angling Development Alliance (Iada) agm will take place this Saturday in the Mullingar Park Hotel, at 2 pm.