Alert for Pacific pink salmon invaders on Irish rivers

Angling Notes: Inland Fisheries Ireland fear species may impact native population

Happy Irish Times anglers following their fishing outing to Mullaghmore, Co Sligo with skipper Peter Power and partner Nuala Redmond in the background.

Happy Irish Times anglers following their fishing outing to Mullaghmore, Co Sligo with skipper Peter Power and partner Nuala Redmond in the background.

 

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has issued a second appeal to anglers and the general public to remain vigilant and report the presence of any Pacific pink salmon in Irish river systems. To date, 30 have been recorded in nine rivers and one of the most recent captures was a mature male ready to spawn on the River Erriff.

This fish was caught on August 9th on Ireland’s national salmonid index catchment where a wide range of scientific research and monitoring activities on resident salmonid populations is undertaken.

The appearance of the species is of concern as it may impact Ireland’s indigenous salmon populations in the future. Their potential impact is unclear at present but these fish may introduce parasites and pathogens not present in native salmonid fish.

Interbreeding is unlikely as pink salmon spawn in late summer whereas Atlantic salmon spawn in winter. However, competition for food and space in nursery areas is possible.

Anyone who catches a pink salmon is asked to keep the fish; record date and location; tag and photograph and report it to IFI’s 24-hour confidential hotline number 1890 347424 or 1890 FISH 24.

Atlantic salmon with blue tag, Pink salmon on bottom
Atlantic salmon with blue tag, Pink salmon on bottom

Pink salmon can be distinguished as follows: Large black oval spots on tail; 11-19 rays on anal fin; very small scales; no dark spots on gill cover and upper jaw typically extending beyond the eye.

A pink salmon factsheet is available to help identification, and footage of a pink salmon on the Erriff is available here. To download a free copy of the factsheet, visit fisheriesireland.ie.

Fishing reels

Four fishing clubs have reached the final stages of the Fish & Film competition launched in June to encourage young people to spread the word about fishing. Entrants were requested to take film footage of their fishing adventures.

Ballyshannon AA, Newport SAC, Whitelake AC and Sphere 17 Youthgroup submitted entries, which are being showcased online and will now progress to the next stage of the competition. These clubs are appealing to the public to watch their entries at fisheriesireland.ie/fishandfilm.

Finalists will go forward to compete against other entrants to be in with a chance of winning the top prize of a €1,000 tackle voucher for their club or one of the €250 runner-up prizes.

The competition supports the objectives of Inland Fisheries Ireland’s National Strategy for Angling Development which aims to make angling attractive to all while establishing it as a key leisure pursuit.

IFI’s Suzanne Campion said: “It is fantastic to hear from the next generation of anglers to find out more about what drives them to keep up fishing. These entries really give a taste of what fishing is all about for junior anglers.”

Charlie Gannon with his codling at the Irish Times outing to Mullaghmore
Charlie Gannon with his codling at the Irish Times outing to Mullaghmore

Big score at Mullaghmore

A group from The Irish Times enjoyed their annual fishing outing to the beautiful coastal village of Mullaghmore in Co Sligo last weekend. While Mullaghmore is perhaps better known for its big-wave surfing exploits, the sea fishing can, on its day, produce some fabulous catches.

Last season was exceptional for blue shark, with warm waters and its close proximity to the Gulf Stream. However, our quarry were the smaller pelagic species such as pollack, coalfish, codling, scad and mackerel, and the bottom feeders including ling, pouting, wrasse and one squid.

Although mackerel were scarce in the morning for bait we managed with limited resources to catch some quality fish. With skipper Peter Power and his vessel Predator, there is always an assurance he will explore the best grounds to give the angler every chance.

Tony Cerasi with a good-sized ling caught at Mullaghmore, Co Sligo
Tony Cerasi with a good-sized ling caught at Mullaghmore, Co Sligo

And so it was. Tony Cerasi landed the longest fish, a ling of about 3kg, to scoop the €5 pool (per person). Pollack to 2.5kg, codling to 1.5kg followed by an array of smaller species. On the way back to port we tried again for mackerel and . . . bingo! Within 10 minutes we had 50 on board.

All in all, it was a great weekend. Mullaghmore was packed to the rafters with surfers, divers, yachters, anglers and the general public enjoying the glorious sunshine in this seaside coastal village.

For bookings, Peter can be contacted at 087-2576268. My stay at Seacrest B&B in the village was top-notch. Call John for bookings at 071-916 6468 or 087-6549469 or seacrestsligo@gmail.com.

Corrib catch

On the Corrib, Larry McCarthy of Corrib View Lodge said fishing had greatly improved over the last week. The second olive hatch had started in several areas and evening sedge fishing was productive in the Greenfields and Saddle areas. Tom Chamberlain from Wales fished with Larry over three days and they boated 22 trout up to 2.21kg (4lbs 14oz).

On Sunday, Larry fished alone and in a few hours with light wind conditions boated five good trout between 1.5kg and 2kg on dry olives.

Note: Anglers are being advised to be vigilant as regards their boats and outboards as there was another outboard stolen in the Oughterard area.

Henry Stagg, Northern Ireland, with his 5.2kg Ridge Pool salmon
Henry Stagg, Northern Ireland, with his 5.2kg Ridge Pool salmon

Tough to tempt

With angling efforts decreasing of late, the reported catch on the Moy has dropped significantly. Fresh fish continue to enter the river daily, although they are proving more difficult to tempt as the season progresses.

On the Moy Fishery, fly angler Garry Brithwell, from the UK, was successful with a grilse from the Ridge Pool and Cathedral Beat. Pat Kane from Donegal enjoyed excellent sport on Spring Wells, catching two grilse and good numbers of sea trout up to 0.68kg. Kildare angler Henry Stagg, however, had the best fish of the week, a fine salmon on spinner weighing 5.2kg.

Dick Warner’s final outing

Dick Warner’s Great Irish Fishing Odyssey is a factual entertainment 13-part series beginning on Monday at 7.30pm on eirSport and presented by the late Dick Warner. The programme blends an innovative format with HD photography and unseen archive.

The result is a television series that conveys an important aspect of Irish culture and heritage while also retaining broad audience appeal. The series is made by Midas Productions and supported by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.

The series builds into an entertaining guide to fishing in Ireland, but the breathtaking scenery takes this series far beyond the traditional fishing audience, although there’s also plenty in there for angling aficionados.

The series is also unusual in that it makes a distinct contribution to Irish heritage by assembling some of the inland fisheries’ unseen archive, making it one of the most exciting new programmes for a single sport in Ireland.

In this, Dick’s last contribution to television, he leaves no stone unturned in his odyssey to catch one of each of 13 freshwater species in all weathers, in every type of waterway, and cements his legacy as one of Ireland’s all-time presenting greats.

Monday night’s programme starts with the annual ritual of mayfly fishing for brown trout on Lough Corrib. Dick learns what his odyssey will entail, and international fisherwoman Betty Hayes joins him on the water.

angling@irishtimes.com.

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