By-law introduced in effort to save valuable brown trout

Expenditure by brown trout anglers contributes about €148m to economy annually

A new by-law that outlines a number of regulations to help conserve brown trout has been introduced in the Limerick District (Shannon River Basin District).

It provides for an annual closed fishing season in certain waters, a daily bag limit, a minimum size limit in specified waters and maximum number of rods to be used at any one time.

The waters included are the river Shannon and loughs Sheelin, Derravaragh, Owel, Ennell, Ree and Derg, which are all in the Limerick District.

Brown trout is one of Ireland’s indigenous fish and is highly regarded by most domestic and tourist anglers alike, making it one of our most valuable angling species.


Due to the temperate climate and the shallow productive nature of its lakes, Ireland is the only country in western Europe where lakes can support large trout stocks, which provides unique angling opportunities for fly fishermen.

Research commissioned by Inland Fisheries Ireland indicated that expenditure by brown trout anglers contributes about €148 million to the Irish economy annually.

Amanda Mooney of Inland Fisheries said: “The new measures will help improve brown trout stocks and ensure they continue to provide quality angling for local and tourist anglers alike into the future.”

Anglers are requested to familiarise themselves with details of the new by-law, which can be found on

Skate on thin ice

A new campaign was launched recently to raise awareness on common skate and to remind anglers that it is a protected species out to six nautical miles in Northern Ireland.

The new guidelines are part of the ongoing Watch Out for Wildlife Crime public awareness campaign by the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime NI.

While once abundant, the common skate has become very rare in UK shallow seas and in European waters. It is a criminal offence to intentionally or recklessly take, injure or kill common skate, and anglers must not deliberately target the species. The maximum penalty on summary conviction for such an offence is £5,000 and/or imprisonment for six months.

Plenty of salmon in Galway

Salmon fishing has been very good in Galway, with Seamus Hartigan reporting 211 over the past two weeks. Water levels increased slightly after a number of days of heavy rainfall, with water spilling over the closed gates, making the fish a little more unsettled in the river. Nevertheless, some decent fishing was had during the period.

Local angler Adrian Murphy caught three grilse to 2.7kg on shrimp and fly, and Clare man John Murphy also had three on fly. Waterford anglers Paul Whelan and Eamonn Power had a fun-filled visit, both landing five grilse each on the fly.

Regular Belfast visitor Dexter Lynas fished with his son Andrew, and although Andrew had two grilse to 2.26kg, Dad landed one of 3.4kg, all on the fly.

Clare man Eddie Corry also had a good fish of 3.6kg on the fly, while Limerick man Martin Kiely had three on fly and shrimp. Swiss visitors Thomas Ulbrecht and Werner Wahrenberg enjoyed their visit, both taking two grilse each on shrimp.

Fishery officer James Quinn had an unusual catch last Tuesday, landing what he thought was a small grilse to be surprised by what looks very like a Pacific salmon, either the coho or sockeye species and certainly a fish that appears to be lost.

Scale and DNA samples have been taken to confirm the identification, but if confirmed, this would be a most unusual catch and raises the question of how the fish came to arrive in Galway.

The fishery is still seeing excellent numbers of fresh fish, and water levels remain good for angling, indicating great prospects for the week ahead.

English ladies triumphant

Team England emerged victorious by the narrowest of margins at the 25th anniversary of the ladies fly-fishing home international championship on Lough Melvin. The competition was fished on a catch-and-release basis with brown trout, sonaghan and gillaroo all permissible for the final score sheets.

Just one fish separated the winning team from Ireland, with 15 to 14 trout, respectively. Scotland followed with nine and Wales received the wooden spoon with five fish.

The Irish team was captained by Julie Gerry, who has captained the team on no fewer than six occasions, and the teams were boated by members of Garrison and Lough Melvin Angling Club. Sean Maguire and his son Darren supplied the flies.

Spare a thought for Scotland’s Kathleen Sheppard who, on practice day, caught a 3.6kg brown trout off Bilberry Island on a Gorgeous George Variant and, on the same day, caught her first ever gillaroo, a sonaghan and brown trout. Unfortunately, she blanked on match day.

Ann Geary of Pontoon Bridge, as founder of the association in 1993, served as international president for this year’s championships. Preparations are already under way for next year’s event on Llyn Clywedog in Wales.

Wales at home

Home advantage paid dividends for the Welsh river team as they romped home at the international fly fishing championships on the River Ebbw in South Wales. After four sessions the home team amassed a total of 81 trout against their closest rivals, England, with 48 fish.

Ireland’s captain, Eamon Conway received the Mike Childs Trophy for the largest fish of 53.6cm.