Angling Notes: The salmon were jumping but ne’er a bite on the Galway Weir

RTE's Fergal Keane fly-fishing for salmon on the Galway Weir

RTE's Fergal Keane fly-fishing for salmon on the Galway Weir

 

‘THE river is stuffed with fish at the moment,” Kevin says, as we arrive in Galway for an evening session at the “golden mile” (well, 230 meters) of prime salmon water, otherwise known as The Weir, in the heart of the city.

Angling reports for the previous two weeks show on average 10 salmon landed daily and many lost. Fishing conditions are perfect for our session. How can we fail?

The occasion is an initiative between the Meyrick Hotel in Eyre Square and the nearby Galway Fishery to encourage anglers and partners to avail of a special package between these two renowned landmarks.

We arrive early and take time out to explore the city on a glorious sunny afternoon. Shop Street looks amazing, packed with city dwellers and the legendary buskers. The influx of tourists to attend the Galway Arts Festival adds to the splendour.

Back at the Meyrick for dinner in the Oyster Grill Restaurant our group of four is joined by general manager, Cian O’Broin who takes a huge interest in our endeavours and is hopeful of a successful catch.

The table d’hote menu is geared to suit all palates. I opt for the spring cabbage wrapped salmon stuffed with field mushroom risotto and accompanied by Galway oyster and shallot won tons with lemon and sorrell white butter sauce. Simply delicious.

Soon we are whisked across town with our “goodie bag” to the Galway Weir. Here we meet Weir manager, Seamus Hartigan and fisheries inspector, Kevin Crowley. Geared up and ready for action, Seamus suggests a selection of size 12 treble dark flies.

As we make our way across the weir it is noticeable that just one of the 16 hydraulic gates is open creating a torrent of water alongside the boardwalk leaving almost three quarters of the river broadside in relatively shallow water.

Both Fergal and I opt for wading and casting a long line into the narrow current, all the time mending the line to prevent skating. Meanwhile, Bobby and Frank prefer the boardwalk allowing the fly to hang at regular intervals over the lengthy pathway.

We fish hard, up and down the river until almost midnight without success. Frank has one pull, but that’s it! Salmon are jumping close-by (probably laughing at us), but no takers!

Returning to the Meyrick we enjoy a nightcap at the bar and attempt to redeem and explain why, where and how we went wrong, before retiring to the leaba. Following a really comfortable sleep and hearty breakfast we take our leave of Galway with some very pleasant memories.

The “Cast A Line” package includes two nights’ stay in the 4-star Meyrick Hotel, breakfast each morning, dinner and
day’s fishing on the Galway Weir from just €235 per person sharing. Price includes a one-day salmon licence.
For booking, contact: reshm@hotelmeyrick.ie or
tel: 091-564041.

Kevin got it right, the river is stuffed with salmon. It just wasn’t our day. But that’s fishing!!

Colin Folan reports that while Lough Inagh is suffering from low water levels, rain has finally arrived and good fishing is expected this week. “Plenty of availability at present,” he says. To book, tel: 095-34706, or check www.loughinagh
lodgehotel.ie.

Officers from Natural Resources Wales are investigating an incident on the River Loughor in Carmarthenshire, where 100 fish including brown trout and sewin (sea trout) have died.

Initial indications suggest the deaths were caused by a growth of algae in two deep pools stripping the water of oxygen.

Fort William Estate on the River Blackwater at Lismore, Co Waterford will host a free open day this Sunday (July 28th) from 10am. Fly-casting instructors Andrew Ryan and Kieran Conlon will conduct casting clinics and demonstrations, and the fishery is available free for fishing. BBQ also on the day. To attend, email: info@fortwilliamfishing.net
or Paul at 087-829 2077.

Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association is holding the McDonald Cup on Saturday 10th August on a catch-and-release basis with fishing from noon until 6pm, out of Kilnahard Pier. Entry fee is €20.

The cup will be awarded for the longest fish and additional prizes will be allocated in an open draw. Contact Eamon, 087-943 6655 or Thomas, 087-913 2033.


angling@irishtimes.com