Salmon play hard to get on New Year’s Day due to bad weather and high water

Drowning their sorrows on the flooded River Liffey at Islandbridge on New Year’s Day, were Dublin and District Salmon Anglers’ chairman Eugene McGrattan (left) and club member Paddy Murray

Drowning their sorrows on the flooded River Liffey at Islandbridge on New Year’s Day, were Dublin and District Salmon Anglers’ chairman Eugene McGrattan (left) and club member Paddy Murray


‘MOST anglers went home early,” according to River Drowes fisheries owner Shane Gallagher on the opening day of the salmon angling season in the northern region. “High murky water levels” and sleety rain, made angling barely possible for the 80 anglers – and not a sign of a salmon for the hardy few who braved the conditions in an attempt to land the first salmon of the season.

It was a similar story on the River Liffey where the traditional gathering on the island at Islandbridge by Dublin and District Salmon Anglers was abandoned due to flooding. Instead, the hatchery area on the mainland was substituted for those who turned up and “only one or two actually threw a line”, according to club member Gerry Heaslip.

Second day into the season and still we await the first salmon of the year. On the Drowes, a Galway angler lost a salmon while fly fishing at the weir on the Kinlough stretch and “several fish were seen jumping, but the river is still very high”, fisheries manager Bill Likely said.

The Drowes is a fantastic salmon river and rarely does a season pass without a fish being taken on opening day. The river is just four miles long with almost 70 named pools and flows from Lough Melvin in Co Leitrim to the sea at Bundoran in Co Donegal.

Last year, two anglers landed the first salmon of the season at the same time on the Drowes. Both fish fell for the Flying “C” and both were landed at 12.40pm. Timothy Dalton from Omagh caught his 4.5kg fish from the Blackwater Pool while four miles downstream, Colin Gardiner from Lurgan caught his 2kg fish from the Wee Drain.

On the Liffey, fishing remained at a standstill. “The river is still in a massive flood,” said Colm Adams.

Oireachtas briefed
The Minister of State for Natural Resources, Fergus O’Dowd, along with his department officials and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), have briefed Oireachtas members on the review of all extant fisheries legislation that is currently taking place.

The review is being undertaken to formulate proposals for a new Inland Fisheries Bill to ensure that the sector is underpinned by a robust and modern legislative code.

The consultation process began last spring when stakeholders were invited to submit views on policy objectives to be included in the new Bill. As part of this process the Minister and IFI attended a number of public information meetings throughout the country.

Resulting from discussions, 70 submissions were received and are available on the Department’s website, Of these, a significant proportion recognised the need to fund the development of the sector.

The briefing for Oireachtas members was arranged to address concerns over proposed funding for development of the angling sector.

It was made clear that no proposal relating to the possible introduction of a “rod licence” had surfaced and that it is not intended to make such a proposal.

The ministerial group and IFI welcome all proposals for developing the angling sector and how this may be funded. In this regard, it is intended that further stakeholder meetings will take place prior to finalisation of the proposed Inland Fisheries Bill.

Meanwhile, the Minister has approved a suite of regulations and by-laws that came into effect last Wednesday to govern the wild salmon fishery in 2014.

In all, the Independent Standing Scientific Committee for Salmon assessed 143 rivers and advised that 87 rivers will open for angling activity, ie, 57 fully open while a further 30 will open for angling on a “catch and release” basis.

“In 2012, I lowered the cost of fishing licences and I have decided to maintain that price cut for 2014. I am anxious that lower costs will encourage sales of annual licences and incentivise angling tourists to avail of Ireland’s first-class angling product,” the Minister added.