Barney Winters Angling Column


It has been a quiet couple of months as far as Salmon Angling goes on the local rivers of the Foyle. The unsettled weather has seen water levels up and down and this has led to disappointing results. I must apologise for the lack of reports this last number of weeks, this has been due to other commitments.

The committee of Strabane Lifford Anglers Association would like to invite the members of the Club to an EGM. The sole purpose of the EGM is to ask the members to vote on the proposed new lease with Abercorn Estates. The EGM will take place on Wednesday 27th September at 7.30pm in St. Patrick’s Hall, all members are encouraged to attend.


Locally some anglers have had success in the last few weeks. Alban Norby had a fish from Sion Mills water on Saturday week last. Stuart Harper also managed a fish from the Wood in Sion Mills that same week. Darren Kingh has been catching Salmon on the worm, landing two one morning from the Blackstone.

Sadly the complete infestation of our river by the escaped rainbow trout has turned a lot of our Salmon anglers off going to the river to fish. The initial excitement of catching these trout has worn off. The Loughs Agency are continuing to assess the impact of escaped Rainbow Trout into the River Mourne. We can now report that a possible 1.2 million rainbow trout or 97 tonnes of fish have entered into the system. This is a catastrophe for our native populations of trout and juvenile Salmon that naturally exist in our rivers.

Loughs Agency Freshwater Scientists and Fishery Officers have been assessing and monitoring the situation since the flood hit at the end of last month. Loughs Agency are considering a variety of scientific methods that will aid the removal of fish and would encourage anglers who do not wish to consume the fish to hand them into Loughs Agency offices or passing Fisheries patrols so that the stomach contents can be analysed as part of the on-going monitoring progress, indicating exactly where the fish were caught.

The Agency has praised the efforts of anglers who are assisting with the removal of Rainbow Trout and reminds anglers that any fish removed from the river must be done so respectfully and promptly and if anyone needs advice on how to dispatch fish contact please contact Loughs Agency.  We would also like to remind anglers to be safe around rivers, particularly fast flowing or deep watercourses.  All anglers must have valid licence and permit to fish for Rainbow Trout.  Again, if unsure, contact Loughs Agency.

The SLAA would encourage as many members to try and catch and remove as many fish as they can. The committee are currently organising an event to ask parents of young anglers from the local area to come and fish for these trout in an effort to reduce their numbers.

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