Rainbow Trout numbers fall one year on from major flood

Ben and Tom McGilloway pictured with the Rainbow Trout they caught when fishing last year in Sion.

OVER a year since thousands of invasive rainbow trout were released into local waterways, a local angler has said the problem isn’t as severe as he once feared.

Local angler Barney Winters last year voiced concerns that the river Foyle and Mourne would be taken over by farmed Rainbow Trout.

Hundreds of thousands of the invasive species were believed to have entered the local waterways after flood water washed in to the Rocks Lodge Trout Farm in Newtownstewart during the extreme flooding which occurred on August 22.

However, Mr Winters said it is evident that trout numbers have subsided significantly over the course of the year.

“The majority of rainbow trout have been caught by anglers and numbers have reduced significantly,” Mr Winters said. “We called on anglers over a year ago to start catching Rainbow Trout, and they have done a lot of the work. 

“I am pleased to say that most trout have either been caught or died. A lot are not native to the environment and would have fed on anything including stones, which would block their digestive system. While there are some in the system, it isn’t as bad as we were anticipating.”

Despite this, Mr Winters says the long-term effects of the Rainbow Trout invasion are yet to be seen.

“Unfortunately it is difficult to pinpoint the long term effects last year’s events will have,” he said. “As well as this, the threat of flooding is still there and there is nothing stopping this kind of disaster happening again.”

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