Galway’s Eriff Fishery records its best salmon return in six years

Galway Fishery raises price of permits and Co Down angler wins Bonanza competition

Ashleigh Falls on the Erriff Fishery in all its splendour. Photograph: Kevin Crowley

Ashleigh Falls on the Erriff Fishery in all its splendour. Photograph: Kevin Crowley

 

The Erriff Fishery at Leenane, Co Galway, enjoyed a fantastic season during 2017 with a catch of 509 salmon which included 87 ranched fish – its best return since 2011. However, the sea trout run did not materialise and expectations are high for an improvement next year.

In April, the fishery opened on a catch-and-release basis for wild salmon and those fortunate to catch a wild salmon were offered a ranched fish instead.

The grilse arrived in June in great numbers and local man Peter Coyne caught the first wild salmon from the Middle Garden Pool on a Willie Gunn. July saw the grilse run peak with 180 landed.

This good run continued during August with 140, including a pink salmon, caught at the Lower Garden Pool on Beat 9. Subsequent to this capture a camera was placed at the pool where more pink salmon were observed. A short video of this can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVVU3GGfcy8.

Regular visitors Paddy Donegan, Mick Vincent, Donal Chambers and Albert Caffrey had fantastic sport in the first week of September releasing 26 salmon on a variety of shrimp patterns. The month also saw a number of farmed salmon caught of unknown origin.

Enjoying their week on the river Erriff, Paddy Donnegan, Mick Vincent, Donal Chambers and Albert Caffrey. Photograph: Osgur Grieve
Enjoying their week on the river Erriff, Paddy Donnegan, Mick Vincent, Donal Chambers and Albert Caffrey. Photograph: Osgur Grieve

During the year, an EU-funded Smoltrack project was conducted on the Black river where salmon smolts were implanted with miniature acoustic transmitters and released. Acoustic listening devices were placed at different points through the river system and out in Killary Fjord.

Scientists are hoping this project will help understand the timing of their downstream migration as well as migration behaviour and survivor rates as they migrate down the river system.

Galway Fishery increases permits to €125

The Galway Fishery is currently taking applications for bookings for the 2018 season. An increase of €40 has been applied to the cost of a main beat session permit (there are two sessions per day) in the June 1st to July 16th period.

The price is now €125 and is the same as the price charged on the Moy Fishery Ridge Pool beat. Other prices remain the same, as do the opening hours. There will be no public consultation.

Full details of 2018 opening hours and prices are available to view at www.fishinginireland.info. Applications for rod bookings should be made before the start of the season (February 1st) to: the Manager, Galway Fishery, Nun’s Island, Galway. Tel: +353-91-562388; fax: +353-91-562930; email: Seamus.Hartigan@fisheriesireland.ie.

Bonanza festival contest winner Johnny Keith, centre, with councillors Sean McPeake, Niamh Milne, Ian Milne and Edward McGomery
Bonanza festival contest winner Johnny Keith, centre, with councillors Sean McPeake, Niamh Milne, Ian Milne and Edward McGomery

Down angler wins Bonanza competition with weight of 60.725kg

The river Bann showed its full glory at the recent Bonanza festival with anglers from Ireland and the UK competing in this prestigious competition. The event is held on the Mid-Ulster Council’s facility at Portglenone, Co Antrim, which includes 89 managed swims over a mile-long stretch.

The festival is run in association with Lower Bann CAA, UNCFFI, NCFFI and NGB for coarse and predator angling in Ireland.

Lough Bann Bonanza winner Johnny Keith with his impressive catch.
Lough Bann Bonanza winner Johnny Keith with his impressive catch.

It was a close-run competition which saw Co Down angler Johnny Keith secure his second consecutive victory with a five-day weight of 60.725kg, and his third Bonanza win.

After the all-important “net-dip”, the 32 anglers drew random rotations of four sections to ensure a different mix each day finishing with an open draw on the last day. Near perfect water levels made for excellent fishing which allowed Keith on Thursday to return the catch of the week with 25.375kg.

Runner-up Derek Buckley chose a 7m whip line to put his stamp on roach up to 750g and Cavan angler Niall McKitterick catapulted himself from eighth to third position with 146 “red fins” for 18.750kg from peg 89.

Results: 1. J Keith, 60.725kg; 2. D Buckley, 59.775kg; 3. N McKitterick, 55.175kg; 4. T Hopkins, 53.675kg; 5. R Jordan, 53.650kg. The 2018 event will take place from the November 5th-9th .

Note: The National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland will host the Fips-ed European Championships in 2019 and the river Bann is a preferred location. Working with Waterways Ireland and Mid-Ulster Council, the Portglenone facility is set to be enhanced to facilitate the event.

angling@irishtimes.com

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