IT was a real pleasure to attend opening day on the River Tolka in Dublin last weekend. The river never looked better as anglers, young and old, lined both banks from Cardiff’s Bridge in Finglas to Ashtown and beyond to Blanchardstown to celebrate the first day of the season.
Living close to Ashtown as a youngster, the Tolka became my second home during school holidays and weekends. In those days, a bamboo rod, wooden centre-pin reel and a juicy worm was sufficient to bag a few wild trout for dinner.
Two years ago, wild Atlantic salmon were discovered spawning in the Finglas stretch after an absence of almost 100 years and recently, “large fish” were again seen spawning above the weir at Cardiff’s Bridge.
“We can’t say for definite whether they were sea trout, salmon or brown trout, but they were big fish”, according to Tolka Trout Anglers’ Association (TTAA) chairman, Christy Emmett.
Water quality has greatly improved over the past 10 years, borne out by the increase of wild brown trout now prevalent. Club member Tony Finn caught (and released) a wild fish of 1.1kg on opening morning and anglers reported sightings of smaller fish throughout the system.
However, to augment existing stocks and to ensure a successful start to the season, the river was stocked prior to opening day. Each competitor was required to bring in just one trout. This system paid off handsomely as 25 juniors and 10 seniors presented fish for weigh-in at the council yard in Tolka Valley Park.
To the gathering of more than 60 onlookers and prize winners, TTAA chairman, said: “I would like to thank you all for coming along today and, in particular, a big thank you to Des Chew from Dublin Angling Initiative and senior parks superintendent, Maryann Harris.”
Results: Juniors: 1, D Maguire; 2, C McLaughlin; joint 3; K Walker and S Walker; joint 4; E Hazel and D Ahern. Seniors: 1, D Sershei; 2, Bogdan I; 3, Bogdan II; 4, P McGill; 5, J Cummins.
Meanwhile, on the River Dodder, it would appear adult salmon are now forging their way further upstream with sightings in early December of fish spawning at Milltown and quite a number of redds between Beaver Row and the Dropping Well.
Monaghan man Peter Boyle took pole position in last weekend’s
competition on Sheelin with a fine trout of 2.9kg (6.32lb) or 63cm, just nudging out Mullingar angler Kieran Newman with an equally good fish of 2.8kg (6.1lb).
The competition was hosted by Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association (LSTPA) and this year the club raised the size limit to 16in (41cm). This mattered little as the 67 entrants presented 18 quality fish for weigh-in with many more released.
Some other weights included O McCormack, 2.1kg (4.66lb); A Heffernan, 2.0kg (4.34lb); M McCoy, 1.95kg (4.32lb) and M McGorian, 1.8kg (4.1lbs). To join LSTPA, contact: Thomas Lynch at 087-913 2033.
“Out of order” is the catch- phrase at the moment, as prolonged high water has made fishing impossible at the Galway Weir, according to IFI’s Kevin Crowley. With 16 sluice gates open and Corrib dropping very slowly upstream, this is one of the wettest starts to the season for many years. “Unless we get a long dry spell, I would say high water will prevail for weeks to come, and fishing prospects are non-existent currently,”
Pat Murphy will present a talk on the life of Ireland’s most famous and historic boat
in Donaghmede Library, Raheny, Dublin 13, on Monday, March 31st at 6.30pm. The evening will include details and photographs of her 23-day voyage to collect guns and ammunition for Irish Volunteers and the landing of them in Howth in 1914, to its present conserved exhibition in Collins Barracks Museum. All are welcome but booking is essential at: donaghmedelibrary@
dublincity.ie or 01-848 2833.