Angling Notes: Lough Sheelin bylaw agreement set to usher in suite of changes
Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association incoming officers, from left: treasurer Eamonn Ross, chairman Kenneth O’Keefe and secretary Thomas Lynch
Ballybofey angler Eddie Roulston with the first fresh salmon of 2016 from the river Drowes. The fish weighed 3.5kg and was caught with a Red Flying C lure.
The recent annual general meeting of Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association (LSTPA) in Crover House Hotel was well attended, with close to 100 members present including Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) chief inspector Óisín Naughton and fisheries officer Brenda Montgomery, and long-time Sheelin supporter Vaughan Ruckley, who travelled from Glasgow.
The attendance, larger than normal, was requested primarily to bring members up to date with important angling developments relating to Lough Sheelin.
Following protracted bilateral meetings between IFI and LSTPA representatives, an agreement was reached, in principle, to adopt a suite of new bylaws for the lake.
The main talking points centred on four fundamental changes aimed at further improving the high standard of angling conditions that pertain for tourists and recreational anglers.
The first relates to the daily bag limit, which will be set at two fish.
Of course, the LSTPA is strong on conservation and will continue to recommend a catch-and-release policy.
Secondly, a minimum size limit would see an increase to 35.56cm (14in) from 30cm (11.8in). Again, this should allow more spawning trout to run the tributaries and should lead to a reduction in fish kill.
In addition, the association will maintain a 40.64cm (16in) size limit for all its competitions.
Trolling will be curtailed and allowed only from June 16th to October 12th. This later start will see, among other things, less water turbulence, particularly during the mayfly season.
Easily the most important change concerned the close season. From this year’s season the lake will be closed for angling from October 12th to March 1st. However, five days will be designated for fishing for pike under strict control by the IFI. Pike caught may well be removed to more suitable waters.
LSTPA delegate Michael Callaghan said: “We sent an email to [IFI chief executive] Ciaran Byrne concerning that [the aforementioned] was our understanding what was agreed, and received an email back to say ‘Yes’, that was what was agreed.
“I would further suggest the days designated for pike angling that none be in February, to allow trout come back into the lake to regain their strength after spawning,” he concluded.
These new proposals will now go forward for public consultation and adoption into the National Strategy for Angling Development that will subsequently be incorporated into a new bylaw for Sheelin.
In seeking endorsement from members, an overwhelming majority were in favour of the new proposals and thanked the members of the LSTPA delegation for their hard work in reaching the agreement. A word of thanks was also expressed to the National Anglers’ Representative Association for its assistance in earlier talks.
First Drowes salmon
The first salmon on the river Drowes this year was caught last weekend by Ballybofey angler Eddie Roulston while fishing with his son Nash. The fish weighed 3.5kg (7.12lb) and took a Red Flying C lure in the trout pool, below Lennox’s Bridge.
“Fishing conditions have improved lately with above average temperatures, and water levels are just below 0.7 metres at the Four Masters’ Bridge,” proprietor Shane Gallagher said.
A GoPro camera still awaits the first angler to catch and release a fresh salmon from the Drowes.
Move to digital
After next Monday, February 8th, my angling column will not appear in the newspaper due to pagination changes at the back of the newspaper.
After 25 years there is some sadness about this change, but I am happy to say readers will not lose out because of the development and can continue to access my Angling Notes column online.
Starting from Monday, February 15th, angling notes will be available via your mobile phone, desktop, laptop or tablet. To view, visit irishtimes.com and then go to breaking news and search for Angling Notes or Derek Evans.