THE 2017 angling season on the Foyle is nearly upon us.
Anglers all over the North West are itching at the prospect of getting out for a throw on our local rivers and lakes again. As rivers open across the rest of a Ireland and the UK reports filter in of the first spring salmon having being caught, adding to the frustration of local anglers to get back out.
It has been a disappointing start to the season for the Irish rivers. For the first time since records have begun, we have had no reports of any spring salmon being caught. This has to be a statistic that really worries Irish anglers.
Scottish rivers have been producing fish from the opening morning of their season, when in the last two years they have experienced very sporadic starts. Hopefully the scarcity of fish this year is not the beginning of a worrying trend and we won’t ever have a January like this again.
The first fish reported in Scotland was a beautiful fresh spring salmon of nearly 23lbs from the Lower Garry River on the Ness system. It was taken on their opening morning, January 16, while it took until February 2 in Ireland for the first fish to be landed. Well done to Ronan O’Connor for landing the first confirmed spring salmon of 2017 at Careysville on the River Blackwater. The fish fell to a Flying C and weighed around 7lb, a small springer but I’m sure a very memorable one for Mr O’Connor.
Historically the River Drowes has been where the first Irish fish has been recorded most years. Many older hands would say that the Watts Pool at Ramelton should have held that accolade on many of these years, that is if their reports had been published.
The Delphi Fishery had their first spring fish of the 2017 season captured last Friday morning, when Bob Hadden on a short visit from the US landed a beautiful 8lbs 3ozs sea liced fish on the Deadmans pool. The fish took a Cascade Conehaed. Well done to Mr Hadden who has been visiting our shores for the past 20 years and has finally been rewarded with spring success.
The first salmon from the Drowes of 2017 was caught on Sunday morning past, February 12, from the Mill Pool by Bangor angler William Rainey. The 8lbs sea liced fish was taken on William’s first day fishing this season and was captured on the worm. This was the latest recorded first salmon of the season taken on the Drowes and it was taken at the lowest recorded water level in which the first salmon has been caught, with the river at summer levels.
The success continued on Monday morning with the first spring salmon being taken on the Blackwater Salmon Fishery by Noel Fitzmaurice. A beautiful springer with long tailed sea liced, which Noel safely released. Noel’s fish was captured on the fly and took a Gold Bodied Willie Gunn Franc N Snaelda.
It’s great to see these reports coming in from around Ireland however I cannot wait to our home rivers of the Foyle open, beginning with the Rivers Foyle and Finn on March 1. Over the next few weeks some of our local angling clubs will be holding their AGM’s.
The members of the committee of the Strabane/Lifford Anglers Association invite all members of the club to attend their AGM which is to be held next Wednesday evening, February 22, at 8pm in St Patrick’s Hall, Strabane.
The committee of the Glebe Angling Club invites all members of the club to attend their AGM which is to be held this Friday evening, February 17, at 8pm in Big John’s Bar in Sion Mills.
Another event to look forward too in the coming months is the North West Angling Fair. The fair, which is now in its second year, will welcome a host of world class fly dressers, casters and angling celebrities from around the world including Robert Gillespie, Scott MacKenzie, Henrik Mortenson, Andrew Toft, Stevie Munn, Paul Young, Gordon Armstrong to name just some of the line up.
BARNEY WINTERS COLUMN PUBLISHED EVERY THIURSDAY IN STRABANE CHRONICLE
Posted: 8:52 am February 19, 2017
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