"I'm absolutely overwhelmed with the turnout this evening," declared Cllr Duncan Smith at the inaugural public meeting called to set up a fishing group to develop Usher's Lake as a coarse fishery in Swords, Co Dublin.
More than 50 people packed into the local community centre to hear at first hand details of the background to Usher’s, its present status and, more importantly, to assess its potential as a coarse fishery for all to enjoy going forward.
The lake is situated within the Brackenstown Estate alongside the Ward River on the Knocksedan side of Swords. The area is regularly utilised by the local community for recreational purposes and has a good diversity of wildlife surrounded by native woodland.
Indeed, according to an ecological survey of the Ward River Valley Park, no less than 40 bird species were recorded in 2015.
Fingal County Council are in the process of acquiring this area for development, ie a riverside walkway from The Schoolhouse pub to Knocksedan Bridge, which will incorporate the lake within its ambit.
The fishery already has a resident stock of small roach, perch, tench and carp, and provided the project gets off the ground, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is prepared to further stock the lake and to include it in its patrol route.
IFI’s assistant inspector, Des Chew, said the lake has the capacity to take six fishing stands to allow anglers access to safe fishing, and pathways could be cleared with minimal pruning.
“There is a major shortage of venues in north Dublin where residents can actually fish, experience the outdoors and get away from ‘computer gadgets’. It is my view the reservoir has the potential to be developed into a very good fishery,” he said.
Overall, the views and opinions of the gathering as to the way forward were very positive and the meeting concluded with the setting up of a 12-strong steering committee.
Meanwhile, a clean-up of the lake shoreline is organised for Saturday, April 1st. All are welcome. For further details, contact Duncan at 087-986 2686.
IFI summonses temporarily invalid
The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment has informed IFI that following legal advice it has received, IFI does not have explicit power to prosecute offences under the Fisheries Acts.
The department has also advised that pending the enactment of amending legislation, which is being progressed urgently, IFI summonses for such offences currently before the courts should, regrettably, not proceed.
IFI is considering whether fresh summonses can be issued at a later stage when the amending legislation is in place in respect of all or some of the alleged offences concerned.
In the meantime, all persons accused of such offences are, in the normal way, entitled to the presumption of innocence.
IFI is further advised that cases that have already been finally disposed of by the courts are not affected. All current provisions and offences of the Inland Fisheries Acts continue in full force and effect.
The department has advised that it is intended that amending provisions will be in place within a matter of weeks, well within the statutory period of the six-month timeframe for the initiation of proceedings following the date of alleged offences.
Consequently, anyone who allegedly commits an offence will still be liable to prosecution.
Corrib ‘on the quiet side’
It was a similar story to last week on Corrib with temperatures staying low and angling activity very much on the quiet side. Fish that were caught fell to brickeen, roach and fry patterns.
Lough Swilly festival
Rathmullan Charters specialise in wreck, reef, tope and shark fishing. Over 30 species are available in the Lough Swilly area and the lough is famous for great tope fishing. Last year, the heaviest fish was over 24.8kg. Blue shark and porbeagle are also available from July until October.
The 51st Lough Swilly Sea Angling Festival is scheduled for June 3rd and 4th. A record number of tope were caught during the competition last year and a good entry is expected again this year. Please book early as places will be limited. Contact Niall Doherty at 074-915 8129/087-050 7464; email@example.com.
Waterford charity competition
The Waterford Trout Anglers held their annual charity competition recently on Carrigavantry Lake in Co Waterford, in aid of Nadine’s Cancer Battle. The catch and release event recorded a huge total of 176 trout among 23 anglers, with some complaining of sore shoulders from hard fighting fish.
A special word must go to Tom Healy at 81 years young, who still showed some of the others how to fish, a true gent of our sport.
Results: 1, M Rogan, 18 fish, 804cm; 2, N O'Neill, 14f, 617cm; 3, H Smith, 14f, 590cm. Largest fish, 57cm for D Tantrum.