Angling Notes: Pollution in the North rose this year by 50%, says the Loughs Agency

The Loughs Agency, with responsibility for the Carlingford and Lough Foyle area, has witnessed a big rise in pollution this year with 150 incidents reported, compared to 100 in 2015. In the worst incident last August, more than 1,000 fish, including spawning salmon, were killed in the River Faughan in Co Derry. Poaching in these areas has also seen a significant increase.

These alarming details were presented to the Northern Ireland Assembly by the Agriculture and Environment Minister, Michelle McIlveen, who added that the agency made 197 seizures of boats, nets, rods and fish, compared to 125 last year. In addition, 47 cases were taken court, compared to 30 in 2015.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re in this situation but staff are doing what they can,” the minister said.

IFI releases Corporate Plan

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has recently launched a new Corporate Plan 2016-2020 which sets out goals to drive its work around the protection, conservation, promotion and development of the fisheries resource over the next five years.

The plan outlines how modern technology will protect the resource with staff now routinely using equipment such as spotting scopes, night sights, thermal imaging equipment and mobile phone apps. Kayaks, all-terrain vehicles, quads and bikes are also included.

A greater focus on fish habitats to ensure fish populations thrive is included in the plan as part of implementation of the National Strategy for Angling Development. This strategy will deliver significant economic benefits in rural communities where much of angling takes place.

It also offers the opportunity to improve the current economic impact of angling by €60 million per year and to support an extra 1,400 Irish jobs.

IFI's chief executive Ciaran Byrne said: "We know that angling is at a turning point in this country and it is vital that we reinvigorate the sector. This plan outlines how, with the right budgetary and staff resources, we can maximise the potential of the resource."

To view the plan, visit fisheriesireland.ie/corporateplan.

Berwick conference

Closing date for submission of presentations for the Headwater to Headland conference is October 16th. The conference is scheduled for March 14th and March 15th, 2017, in

Berwick-Upon-Tweed

, Northumberland.

Jointly organised by the Atlantic Salmon Trust (AST) and Tweed Foundation (TF), the conference will address the important issue of improving salmon and sea trout smolt survival during the critical early stages of their migration in rivers and estuaries.

Those making presentations will be encouraged to submit papers for publication in a suitable peer-reviewed journal. There are no plans to publish proceedings.

Instead, the AST and TF intend to produce a report of the conference, highlighting key issues that arise and their implications for future management and research.

Anyone considering a presentation or poster is urged to discuss their ideas with AST's research director, Ken Whelan, ken.whelan@hotmail.com.

Westport skate festival

The annual Westport Skate Festival, hosted by

Vinny Keogh

from the Helm in

Westport Quay

, was held over last weekend, with more than 100 anglers taking part in what is by now, an unmissable event for many.

The event is held on a catch-and-release basis, with points per fish, but the main prize and the one all competitors seek is that for the largest skate caught. When a skate is caught, the boat skipper measures it with a piece of string, which is cut and placed in an envelope.

At the finale of the festival the envelope is opened and each string measured, so the winner is not known until the very end. This year, the lucky angler was Dave Bennett from the UK who beat Dublin angler Phil Skinner into second place. In third place was David McDermott from Mullingar.

Kelly wins on Lough Inagh

Lough

Inagh

did not fare too bad this year, according to

Colin Folan

, with 68 salmon to 6.3kg, 431 sea trout to 2.2kg and 556 brown trout to 4kg. The annual end-of-season competition took place on September 30th at which 14 anglers took part.

This year's winner was Robert Kelly with a combined catch of a 1.8kg salmon, two sea trout to 0.9kg and a brown trout of 0.45kg. Second place went to Richard Maguire, and Hugh Maguire took third spot.

The lodge and fishery thanked all its customers and friends for their support and to remind anglers to return completed salmon licences.

Lough Owel competition

Light winds and bright skies greeted the 71 competitors at last weekend’s

Leinster

qualifier on Lough Owel. This, of course, had a huge impact on catches resulting in just 39 fish at close of play.

Results: 1, K Flemming, Derravaragh, 4 fish, 3.28kg; 2, J Mulvaney, Bane, 5f, 3.03kg; 3, T Hipwell, Dublin Trout, 2f, 2.38kg, G Coakley, Dublin Trout, 2f, 2.09kg; 5, D Goulding, Kilbride, 2f, 1.87kg.

Thanks were extended to the Lough Owel club for their help and allowing the event to be held on the lake.

Corrib end of season

As anglers made their last cast of the season on Corrib it was of mixed fortunes with variable weather conditions and rising lake levels. A sample of catches, starting in the

Cornamona

area,

Leonard Geoghan

and John O’Reilly landed three trout on wet fly, best 1kg, and

John Sommerville

and his mother

Kathy Mannion

, also caught and released three fish to 1.6kg on a Gorgeous George and Green

Peter Muddler

.

In the Oughterard area, Eamon Molloy had one trout of 1.6kg and Harold O'Toole and Kevin Molloy had one each to round off their season.

Lessons in fly fishing

Whitechurch

Youth

Group from

Rathfarnham

, Dublin, has taken up fishing as part of the Dublin Angling Initiative (DAI). The group recently embarked on lessons in basics fly fishing and quickly put their skills into practice on the River Dodder at

Milltown

, Dublin.

Oisín Cahill, DAI’s co-ordinator, said: “Fishing is a hobby which can be enjoyed at any age. We would encourage anyone to try it out and discover a pastime which will have a positive impact on your health as well as good fun.” For further information, contact: oisin.cahill@fisheriesireland.ie.

angling@irishtimes.com.