Royal's alien invasion


ANGLING NOTES: ONE WONDERS what the Mullingar section of the Royal Canal will conjure up next. First we had wild Atlantic salmon, recently a red-eared turtle and now koi carp. Perhaps a blue-fin tuna next.

Last year, Adrian Murray, a student at the local St Bridget’s School got a big surprise when he caught a wild salmon while fishing the Harbour Bridge section of the canal during Fisheries Awareness Week.

The best theory at the time was that the fish entered the River Inny via the Shannon and then Lough Owel and made its way into the water supply system, which enters the canal. Strange, but true.

Two weeks ago, Tony Masterson caught, for the fourth time, a 30cm red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans) in the same stretch of canal. The species is a semi-aquatic native to the southern United States and its presence in an Irish canal is a matter of some concern.

Joe Caffrey, senior scientist with Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), said: “While it is illegal to release any species that is not normally resident in Ireland into the wild, this animal can be more of a nuisance to anglers by persistently taken bait.”

“We will continue to monitor the canal to ensure this is a once-off case. The situation could become serious if interbreeding was to take place”, he said. The turtle has now been removed from the canal by IFI and re-homed in a suitable location.

It is speculated that people often dispose of unwanted turtles by releasing them into the wild thereby risking upsetting the balanced ecosystem of those particular areas.

Meanwhile, IFI officers last week confirmed the sighting of a koi carp in the canal. “It weighs about 1kg (2.2lb) and appears to be in good condition”, fisheries officer Dermot Broughan said. “We haven’t yet decided what to do with it,” he said.

* David McEvoy of Delphi Fishery reported 16 salmon over a 10-day period which included a real cracker. Charles Cooper landed two fish. His first, off the Quarry Pool weighed in at 17lbs 6oz! It was taken on a Garry Dog tube.

After a titanic struggle Charles landed the fish 40 minutes later. He also broke his net in the process! He then landed another sea-liced fish of 6lbs 8ozs off the Rock Pool on the same Garry Dog.

* Dabbler patterns come in many forms and are generally considered to be the most sought-after lough pattern to take a nice trout. This is a Golden Olive Dabbler with the breast feather from a menolistic pheasant for the under wing and the colours really shine through.

The same effect can be achieved with any shade of dabbler, according to fly-tyer Jimmy Tyrrell. Available at and 086-845 1257.

* The Welsh government and Defra ministers last week approved a byelaw which requires the release of all rod-caught salmon and sea trout in the River Wye, according to Environment Agency Wales (EAW).

The decision was driven by the continuing decline of stocks and although many anglers return salmon and sea trout, too many continue to kill their catch.

EAW and the Wye and Usk Foundation, have also invested in building fish passes and removing barriers to improve access for migratory fish and improving water quality.

Pete Gough of EAW, said: “We will continue to monitor stocks closely and lift the measure if stocks recover sufficiently.”

* The annual sea trout angling festival hosted by Waterville Development Fisheries Group on Lough Currane will take place on Fri/Sat 10th-11th August 2012. This year’s event will include evening talks at Tec Amergin by Prof. Ken Whelan on “Nomads of the Tides” and Dr Willie Roche will give an update on the Celtic Sea Trout project. For bookings; contact