Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Donal Hickey: New season unlikely to see ease in depletion of salmon stocks

WHEN the salmon fishing season opens next month, anglers will be on the lookout for signs of a continuing decline in stocks, which have been falling dramatically, writes Donal Hickey.
Inland Fisheries Institute (IFI) has reported the number of fishing passing through counters, in recent years, has been the lowest since 2002.
At this stage, scientists regard climate change as, perhaps, the biggest threat to the wild Atlantic salmon, voicing serious concerns about the Arctic ice melt.
For many decades, we’ve seen pollution, over-fishing and diseases being cited as major threats to the species, which has declined by more than 60% in 40 years.
Not as much is yet known about the effects of climate change, but research shows a rise in water temperatures results in reduced salmon growth and survival.
A drop in ice cover also has adverse effects on salmon habitat.
The biggest impact is on the likely salmon range moving northwards.
Many stocks in traditional salmon fishing areas along the east coasts of the US and Canada have been decimated, but there are still viable stocks in Norway, Russia, and Iceland, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.
Higher temperatures can also create better conditions for disease-carrying parasites and also reduce the prey on which salmon feed, forcing salmon to travel further for food, with more deaths at sea resulting.
More rainfall arising from climate change means more water drains into waterways, clogging up rivers and, possibly, causing more pollution and siltation.
Scientists are referring to the diminishing albedo effect.
Albedo is a measure of how well the earth’s surface reflects sunlight.
Snow-covered sea ice has a high albedo and reflects 85% of sunlight.
However, the open water exposed as ice melts is darker and absorbs more, reflecting 7%.
The less sunlight is reflected, the more heat the planet absorbs.
Professor Jennifer Francis, from Rutgers University, New Jersey, was quoted recently, in the CarbonBrief website, saying that losing reflective sea ice can, in turn, speed up surface warming.
“As sea ice retreats, sunshine that would have been reflected back to space by the bright ice is instead absorbed by the ocean, which heats up, melting even more ice,” she said.
US researchers are reporting sea ice cover to be at its lowest since they started measuring in 1978.
We are also feeling the effects of what’s happening a long way from Ireland, with the IFI revealing only 5% of salmon which go to sea are returning to rivers to spawn compared to 15%, 30 years ago.
Little wonder salmon are extinct in many rivers.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Calling for a prohibition on pair-trawling in coastal waters

The Irish Wildlife Trust said

Pair trawling is a fishing practice involving two boats dragging between them a single large net with small meshing. It is an activity which has lately been going on in sheltered inshore bays and estuaries along the west coast - many of which are protected for nature conservation (eg Kenmare Bay). 

Pair trawling targets sprat which goes on to be processed into fish meal. Sprat is a small fish which forms large shoals and is a keystone of the marine ecosystem being food for larger fish such as cod, as well as sea birds. Not only does pair trawling sieve the water of food for other marine life, it also has the potential to catch seals, dolphins or anything else in its path such as migrating salmon or spawning sea bass.

IWT campaign officer Pádraic Fogarty says "catching sprat to be ground up for fish meal is insane. It's a wanton destruction of the whole marine ecosystem, frequency in areas which are supposed to be protected for wildlife."
Large fishmeal plants (both constructed and planned) operate in the expectation that boarfish (a small fish unexploited until recently) would provide the raw materials. However boarfish catches have declined sharply in recent years so there is significant pressure to find replacement feed. 

It is important therefore that this practice is prohibited in order to preserve coastal areas for marine life and other users who depend on the resource. The practice highlights the unsustainable nature of fish farming at sea, which relies on the wasteful use of wild caught fish for feed.

Off The Scales Fishing Magazine said 

Yes, this is happening right now in Cork Harbour. Second day of this in the upper harbour, near Little Island. Apparently the official word is they are "fishing for sprat" but of course bass, mullet and salmon (which are running at the moment) will also inevitably be caught as by-catch. This is disgraceful but deplorably not illegal, as Ireland offers basically ZERO PROTECTION t
o inshore/estuarine nursery areas or waters. This MUST change!

Lobbying must be stepped up, more people need to work together on this cause - or else nothing will change and there will be NOTHING left for future generations. Anglers are one of very few groups who actually care about protecting the seas. It is our responsibility and duty to try our best to save our seas, our fish and our environment. 

Monday, 14 November 2016

Inland Fisheries Ireland calls for vigilance and protection of waterways as high quality river sites in significant decline

State of the Environment’ report from the Environmental Protection Agency shows areas for concern as well as highlighting progress made to date
Tuesday, 8th November 2016: Inland Fisheries Ireland is calling for continued vigilance on Ireland’s rivers and lakes following the latest ‘State of the Environment Report’ from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The report shows that there has been a substantial loss in the number of highest quality river sites.
According to the report, only 21 sites were classified as the highest quality rivers (0.7% of sites) in most recent monitoring period (2013-2015). This compares with 575 sites between 1987-1990 and 82 sites between 2001-2003. In addition, 18% of monitored rivers and 27% of monitored lakes were defined as less than good status due to fish ecological status – monitored and reported on by Inland Fisheries Ireland. Preliminary assessment suggests that barriers to fish migration and physical deterioration of habitats may be partly to blame.
Between 2010 and 2012, there were also 70 fish kills reported. However serious pollution of rivers has fallen to just over six kilometres compared to 17 kilometres in 2010-2012 and 53 kilometres in 2007-2009.
Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: “The loss of high quality rivers is of concern to Inland Fisheries Ireland as anything which affects the aquatic environment of fish can have impact on our fisheries resource. We need to protect our fish populations and conserve our resource for the next generation.
The long term conservation of the resource requires the maintenance of healthy and ecologically viable ecosystems.  This includes monitoring and protecting the water quality, removing barriers to fish migration, improving land management practices which cause adverse physical changes to fisheries habitat, managing changes in water quantity and flow and controlling invasive alien species.”
Dr Byrne continued: “The fisheries resource is worth €836 million annually to the Irish economy and supports over 11,000 jobs often in rural and peripheral communities. We have over 273,000 domestic anglers currently in Ireland and in 2015, 163,000 international visitors fished here. Angling and the fisheries resource, if developed in a conservation focused manner, offers huge recreational and economic potential for Ireland now and into the future.
We have some of the best wild fisheries in Europe and water quality in Ireland still compares favourably with our European neighbours. However, the dramatic reduction in the number of our pristine rivers is a wake-up call which we need to address.”
Inland Fisheries Ireland’s Fisheries Officers and Environmental Officers work throughout the year, both day and night, to police and protect Ireland’s natural resource. They monitor for water pollution and any illegal fishing activity which could have a negative impact on fish populations and their habitat.
Inland Fisheries Ireland has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the general public to report incidents – 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24. This phone line is designed to encourage the reporting of incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species.
For more information on Inland Fisheries Ireland, visit read the ‘State of the Environment’ Report from the Environmental Protection Agency, visit .

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Shocking photographs of the OPW "Brutal bank clearance on the Bandon River, Dunmanway

Friends of the Irish Environment is today (07-09-2016) publishing a Report obtained under Access to Information on the Environment showing shocking photographs of the Office of Public Works’ brutal bank clearance on the Bandon River beside Dunmanway’s Long Bridge in September 2015. 

The site is host to a dense colony of the protected fresh water pearl mussel, and the Report details ‘removal of riparian trees and vegetation and disturbance of the ground resulting in the presence of large amounts of loose soil.’ Subsequent reports by the National Parks and Wildlife Service include photographs showing the river entirely overwhelming the silt fences put in place to prevent erosion. 

Friends of the Irish Environment has written to the Minister, highlighting the dangers to the environment of the OPW’s highly interventionist approach to urban flooding which emphasises hard landscape measures over catchment management and soft measures. The disastrous approach demonstrated in this Report is being replicated in the flood management schemes across the country. 

FIE Photographic Report   /    OPW Report   /   Letter to the Minister

Friday, 23 September 2016

Fisherman threatens to sue OPW over ‘destroyed’ fishing pool

Article Published on Mayo News 20 September 2016

A CORK fisherman is threatening to sue the Office of Public Works, claiming it destroyed a fishing pool adjacent to his property on the River Moy. Tim O’Mahony claims that work the OPW carried out on the river last year resulted in 300 tonnes of silt running back into the river and destroying the pool, known as Howley’s Pool located on the River Moy between Swinford and Foxford.

The Cork resident owns a fishing lodge beside the pool, which he hires out to anglers. Claiming it is now unsafe to fish along the river bank, he says his business has suffered as a result.
“It is dangerous to walk along the bank because of what the OPW has done,” he told The Mayo News. “I was told they [OPW] are entitled to do whatever they wanted and there is nothing I can do about it. What they have done is horrific. The pool is no longer a pool … it is gone.”
Mr O’Mahony explained that the OPW extracted silt from the river last September and built up the riverbanks. However, he said once heavy rain arrived in November the silt and soil from the bank flowed back into the river, and he claimed this has destroyed the fishing pool.

“I went up around October and they [the OPW] had nearly finished. It looked a fabulous job, but I knew straight away when I saw cracks in the bank that it was going to go. A couple of weeks later it was all back into the river—and this was before the major floods. The bank and the pool has been totally destroyed. It makes me sick to even talk about it. It is sick to think that a government body created this mess,” he said.

Mr O’Mahony said he has been fishing on the Moy for over 30 years and bought the house beside Howley’s Pool ten years ago. He says fishermen would fly in from all over Europe and stay at his house to fish on the Moy. He has met with the OPW and Minister of State, Seán Canny, to try to get the river restored, but he says he has been left frustrated by their lack of urgency.
He has now engaged a firm of solicitors and has threatened to sue the OPW unless they come up with a plan to restore the pool.

“We are giving them seven weeks to come up with a plan to rectify the damage that has been done. This has been going on for nearly a year, and if they do not come up with a plan we will have to sue the OPW,” he said.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Fishing Etiquette Comparisons

Combat Fishing
I've been wanting to write something, anything on fishing etiquette for some time but have not got around to it. So lets start, what is fishing etiquette, why is it so important and read the comparisons from around the world on it.

I think fishing etiquette can be best described as a set of basic rules of common conduct and courtesy while fishing. If you are a visitor or new angler to an area its best practice to ask first what the local etiquette is around fishing. It can be so easy to unintentionally step on someone's toes or cause an annoyance. Fishing etiquette, if followed correctly ensures there is harmony and cuts down on conflict or annoyance to others while enjoying a peaceful and tranquil past time.

I've gathered some interesting articles from different sources that outline the different points of Etiquette. Some are universal while other points differ.

Friday, 16 September 2016

The Salmon Hat-trick

Written by Simon Toussifar

The phone rang, it was one of my fishing buddies. The conversation was the usual, we need rain, lots of it. Where are the salmon... Next flood we'll get a good run of fish surely? Having watched the 5 day forecast with anticipation, it appeared that heavy rain was finally due. So the usual ritual ensued, preparation of fishing gear, flies and make arrangements to get out!

The Bandon River
A good amount of rain fell a week and half into the month of September after a very long dry spell so there was an expectation of a good run of fish. The river came up and started to drop. It was time to go fly fishing. I met the fishing buddy that morning and off we went on a mission to catch salmon!

On arrival the water looked perfect, still up high with the colour clearing. No sign of fresh fish travelling, a few coloured fish jumping alright. First pool worked it down and nothing. Moved on to the next pool and cast the fly across waiting for that subtle take. Then sure enough as the fly swung around I felt that slow pulling of the line, it was the unmistakable take of a salmon. Doing nothing as is the way when salmon fly fishing when a salmon takes I let the fish turn to hook itself and slowly but firmly pulled into the fish so setting the hook.

I was using my 12 foot Shakespeare Oracle double-hander with Hardy Marquis No.2 fly reel. A nice setup that rarely fails. It wasn't a big fish but fought well doing acrobatic jumps and darting up and down the river. I called the buddy to come over with the landing net and do the honours. Well done lad he said. A nice coloured 4 pound salmon. We released it straight away. You'll probably get a second fish knowing your luck he said.... I laughed and said you know what that sounds about right while casting the line across the water.. Then no sooner had the words been uttered... bang.... another fish on...

This was a bigger fish I could feel the weight of it bending the rod forward. It jumped to reveal itself, wow... A double figure coloured fish... The battle continued with the fish running and charging towards me. And that lovely clicking sound of the Hardy reel as the fish ran with line.... This is what its all about.... The fish finally came to the landing the net weighing 12 pounds. It was a coloured hen fish so we wasted no time and returned it back to water carefully...

You lucky bugger he said... You might aswell go for the Hat-trick now.... Two casts after he said those words... bang and into a third fish... Hey I'm on again I said... What!!! This was another big fish... It battled hard and took its time getting into the landing net. 14 pound coloured hen fish, again we wasted no time in returning this fish and it took a few moments to recover before swimming away.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Life of a Salmon

Adult salmon change their appearance from silver to darker colours during their stay in fresh water. Those that have changed to the spawning livery are referred to as "coloured salmon". Those that survive spawning again change their appearance back to bright silver as they prepare to return to sea. The silver is caused by excretion of a substance called guanin beneath their scales which protects them from salt water by stopping their bodies absorbing excessive quantities of salts. This is but part of a process called osmo regulation for that purpose. Salmon migrate to the sea as smolts and return a number of years afterwards.

Those that come back to the river after one winter are classed 1SW those that have stayed a little longer but not another winter have a '+' added to their class i.e. they are 1SW+ All 1SW fish are called grilse. A fish that has spent two winters in the sea is classed 2SW and most of the spring salmon belong to this class. Really large salmon spend more time in the sea before maturity and may be 3, 4 or 5SW.

After spawning salmon are called 'kelts' or "black salmon". Those weakened fish start to drop downstream and begin eating to recover condition. Female fish are the most likely to survive spawning because they head downstream immediately after laying their eggs. Males keep scouting around the redds looking for new females and fighting amongst themselves to mate with them, consequently the huge majority of them perish in the rivers and provide a source of protein that is appreciated by future generations as it recycles through insects etc. Kelts are very easily caught and occasionally beginners mistake them for 'clean' fish, a term used to describe a fish that has entered the river and has not yet spawned, and usually a specimen that is in reasonably bright condition. By contrast kelts and fish that are near to spawning are described as unclean fish.

One further confusion remains the 'baggot' or 'rawner' both terms are used to describe fish that shed their spawn late or not at all. Such fish are occasionally caught in springtime on the early rivers and indeed some salmon may spawn as late as March month. Baggots can be distinguished by their soft flesh, distended bellies and sometimes open vents.

No doubt over the years many of them have been accidentally kept as clean fish because they are clearly not kelts and indeed some fishermen were known to favour killing them. They must not be killed because it is morally and legally the wrong thing to do.

Photos Compliments of Fly Angler Simon Toussifar Copyright Protected

Kelt- thin and lanky in appearance. This fish is bright silver and preparing to migrate back to the sea. (C) Pic. Safely Released. 

Fresh run salmon - deep and well conditioned, silver in appearance, firm flesh and a strong fighter. Does not feed in fresh water and is a challenging quarry (C) pic. a kept fish.
Coloured female salmon - Dark coloured, distended belly heavy with eggs and the vent beginning to open are sure signs of the latter stages of preparation for spawning (C) pic. Fish Safely Released after photo!

Friday, 26 August 2016

Inland Fisheries Ireland announces agreement with Angling Groups on Trout Production

The Board of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) met yesterday with a joint delegation from the National Anglers Representative Association and Trout Anglers Federation of Ireland to discuss IFI’s proposal to exit the production of trout for the re-stocking of angling lakes.

As a result of these discussions the Board of IFI has agreed to defer its proposal indefinitely. However, in the discussions the parties recognized that there are significant economic, environmental and biological issues surrounding the current production facilities which IFI needs to resolve. Inland Fisheries Ireland is committed to developing and seeking funding for a comprehensive strategy to meet current and future trout production needs, contingent on obtaining the significant investment required. The parties to the discussions agreed to continue to work closely together to deliver this strategy.

The Board of IFI wishes to acknowledge and thank all those who have made submissions to the public consultation on IFI’s exiting from freshwater trout production. This consultation process is now closed.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Doctor (51) whose body found during Galway lake search was top cancer surgeon

Article published from

Doctor (51) whose body found during Galway lake search was top cancer surgeon. Tributes have been paid to the top cancer surgeon who died in a boating accident on Lough Corrib in Galway yesterday. Dr Curran's body was found west of Camillaun Island, around four miles from where he set off in the Oughterard area.

Dr Curran was originally from Oughterard, Co Galway and lived in Dublin.
Tributes were paid to Dr Curran on social media as news of his death emerged.

Professor John Crowne expressed his sympathy: "Very sorry to hear of sad death of Prof Aongus Curran RIP. Fine man and outstanding cancer surgeon."
The body was brought to University Hospital Galway.

A post-mortem examination is due to be carried out.
The alarm was raised on Friday after his fishing boat was found.

At least 10 local boats were assisting emergency services in the search.
Professor Curran was one of the top cancer specialists in the country.

He was responsible for setting up a rapid access clinical at St. Vincent's Hospital for patients with suspicious neck lumps in order to aid the speedy diagnosis of malignancy in patients with head and neck cancer.
It was the first clinic of its kind for head and neck cancer in Ireland.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Beulah Switch Rods

Smooth casting and sturdy design make the Beulah 8/9weight switch rod the perfect fly rod to catch and play Atlantic Salmon. The cork handle is comfortable and provides good grip. For more information visit:
Short video below of fly casting on the Beulah Switch

Sunday, 24 July 2016

€7m upgrade of Bandon water and sewerage begins

Irish Water has announced it’s finally starting work on a €7 million upgrade of sewage treatment and water supply systems in Bandon, Co Cork. The company made the announcement yesterday, saying the upgrade will aid security of water supply, improve pressure and reduce leakage.

The upgrade of the sewerage network will increase flow capacity, reduce discharges to the Bandon River and aid in alleviating sewer flooding which hit the town recently.

Both systems will also allow for further development in the town and should be completed in two years’ time. The project will involve the replacement of approximately 5.1km of water mains pipes which are in poor condition with high levels of leakage.

An additional 2.5km of trunk water mains will be installed in order to increase network capacity.

A further 5km of existing sewers will be upgraded at various locations throughout the town.

Irish Water spokesman Mark O’Duffy said that by delivering water and wastewater services in one project, it will reduce the impact of the works on the local community, deliver the projects in a shorter timescale and generate overall cost savings.

He said site investigation works are the first important step in enabling design of the route for water and waste water rehabilitation work, and it is anticipated that a construction works contractor will be appointed in the second half of 2017.

The site investigation work will take place at various locations around Bandon where water mains and sewers will be installed or replaced, and Irish Water expects these works to be complete by October.

The work will be carried out by IGSL Ltd (Ground Investigation and Geotechnical Specialists) working on behalf of Irish Water.

Mr O’Duffy said site investigation works will involve small trial hole excavations, slit trenches and borehole drilling. This work will also assist in the identification of any archaeological sites of interest.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Closure of Cullion Fish Farm

Peter Burke TD was delight that Minister Sean Kyne TD accepted his invitation to visit Cullion Hatchery with Andrew Duncan and attend a public meeting later that evening.
Peter secured a Dáil debate on this vital issue and this is an extract from it. We need to ensure Cullion Fish Farm is retained.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Great week on the Bandon River

It was a great week for anglers on the Bandon River with the long awaited arrival of travelling fish in good numbers. Salmon were spotted jumping the weir in Bandon town in two's and three's which was quite a sight to see. Bandon Angling Association members reported multiple catches with a mix of colored and fresh fish being caught and lost.

Brown Trout
Dry fly fishing for brown trout has also improved with warm evening temperatures prompting good evening hatches. All brown trout in the pics below were safely released after photo taken.
(C) Rubber landing net to minimize stress and damage to fish
(C) 3lb Brownie
(C) 2.5lb Brownie

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

National Pike and Trout Policies Review

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has today (04/07/2016) published the indicative timetable for the review of the National Pike and Trout PoliciesFollowing the appointment of a Policy Review Group later this month, the review process will commence with a scoping consultation which will be open to all interested parties.

IFI has long recognised that public policy-making can be enhanced through the active involvement and contribution of all stakeholders and has set out how it will develop policies and consult with stakeholders in its IFI Procedure on Policy Development andIFI Stakeholder Consultation Policy. It is expected that the updated Pike and Trout policy documents will be available in July 2017.
A policy group will be appointed shortly and will comprise of five IFI staff from the Research, Operations and Business Development divisions.
Dr Byrne, CEO of IFI said “IFI is committed to consulting with stakeholders and the general public on matters of inland fisheries policy. I expect the forthcoming scoping consultation process to gather useful information that will provide an evidence base for the update of the pike and trout policies in tandem.
“An agreed view from angler stakeholder groups would be most welcome and I urge the representative groups to work for such an outcome. I encourage all domestic and tourist anglers, tourism providers and the general public to provide their views on the important issues regarding the management of our important pike and trout species.”
IFI acknowledges the upcoming protest being staged by pike interests and can confirm that no decision has been taken regarding the cessation or otherwise of pike management operations in designated trout waters for 2017. IFI has accelerated the review of the policies and is working to ensure the completion of this exercise in as consultative way as possible that ensures all interested parties have input to policy formulation .
As advised previously work continues within IFI regarding the examination of:
  • The current stock management programme, including resource usage, fish transfer and health and safety;
  • Marketing and socio-economic information to include actual and potential economic value;
  • Scientific information to provide advice and to consider the scientific merits of the processes being currently undertaken.
See the timeline for the review process here: Indicative Timelines.pdf

Sunday, 26 June 2016


Having been privileged enough to be born into a family with big fishing traditions, I have always fished. For as long as my memory extends, I can't remember a time when I didn't fish. In my very early teens I discovered an old copy of sea trout fishing by Hugh Falkus in my grandparents home and after very quickly digesting it cover to cover I became instantly captivated by the images his writings created in my imagination. Growing up on the south side of Dublin, meant a lot of my fly fishing skills were honed on the humble river dodder on evenings after school. I can remember as though it were yesterday, the first time the sea trout Hugh Falkus had created in my mind crashed into life out of a murky evening in Ballsbridge, when I stumbled across the small but underestimated sea trout population the dodder supports. From that moment on my fascination with perusing sea trout and with their mysterious life cycle was galvanized.

Fast forward a few years and I find myself living on the east coast on the Wexford/Wicklow border. The corresponding section of coastline luckily has so far escaped the clutches of intensive salmon farming and consequently has several rivers with healthy populations of migratory trout. The fast flowing, stoney rivers with relatively low productivity around here are perfectly suited to supporting large populations of sea run Browns. The main rivers south of Dublin are, the Dargle, the Vartry, the Avoca, the Ahare, the Ounavarragh and the slaney all of which I've been lucky enough to have access to, as well as many other small streams that support sea trout in varying degrees.

My 2016 sea trout season has thankfully started as I would like it to proceed with a few lovely trout finding their way to my net. Last night (24th June) I made my way to one of my favourite beats on the small but not to be under estimated river Vartry. Unlike later in the season when finnock often occupy every available lie, the larger fish that run early on, tend to travel in small pods intent on their upstream progress and only resting in prime lies. Consequently knowing the water your fishing is vital if you are to succeed. On the beat I was fishing there is a large "turn pool" which has carved its shape out of a fifty foot high sandbank under a Woodside on the north bank and a manicured cattle pasture on the south bank.

The narrow neck of the pool forces the river to speed up and scour downwards to depths of 10/12 ft then widening out into a pool that resembles a small lake, slowly shallowing to a gravely tail out. The depth this pool has, coupled with the overhanging trees and under cut banks makes it a top holding pool for sea trout. Generally I have two sets of tactics for sea trout in rivers, 1. Muddlers or small wets in shallow pools. OR 2. Larger wets or streamers fished slow and deep.

The later always produces the bigger fish for me. As I sat waiting for darkness several fished showed around the pool, mostly in inaccessible spots under trees on the far bank but I knew it likely there would be good numbers of fish in this pool so I waited patiently. As my surroundings lost their definition I decided to tie up a small white muddler, it was a warm muggy night with loads of sedges and white moths about and there was a good chance of bringing trout up to the surface. I started at the neck of the pool and systematically worked my way downstream casting at 45 degrees and retrieving with a slow figure of 8.

My Favorite Sea Trout Quote 

"Brown trout give themselves up to those who have skill, salmon to those who have money but the sea trout is a very different fish, to catch a sea trout you need soul"

Almost straight away I could hear the little splash of small resident trout and parr investigating my muddler occasionally punctuated by a loud plop or slurp of a curious sea trout but without the slightest contact with my fly. By the time I was half way down the pool I began to see a large disturbance in the tail out, which I credited to the helpful otter that had been travelling upstream with the sea trout since they began to run. This wasn't the first night mr otter had halted play of late and disappointed I reeled in. As I sat down on the bank, about to take out my phone and peruse done deal for more unneeded fly rods, I noticed the water had settled, maybe I had spooked mr otter I thought to myself. Not one to give up to easily I decided to tie on a wet and have another go. I picked out a long shank 6 that had tied myself, a silver tinsel body, blue hen false hackle, black Arctic fox wing with crystal hair overlaid with a few strands of peacock hurl and topped with a bit of teal !!!!

I went back to the top of the pool and started to work my way down again, this time casting more at a right angle to the bank in an effort to get the wet a bit deeper and a slightly faster swing as the line straightens, still retrieving with a very slow figure of 8. As I went down the pool I could feel the odd tap and tickle at my fly which were more than likely curious parr. On just about my last cast, right in the tail out of the pool where I thought the otter had been my line stopped dead and before I knew it a large silver lump was hurtling through the air shattering the silence. After what seemed like about 20 crazy leaps when the fish stayed in the water long enough to run it stripped me nearly to my backing. A few hectic minutes later, a plump sea trout of about 3lbs was in my net. A quick photo and the fish dashed into the depths of the pool as quick as it had hit my fly.

I rested the pool for about 20 minutes and then repeated the process, low and behold in nearly exactly the same spot I connected with a second fish, wen it came to the net it was a slimmer slightly smaller fish of around 2lbs. Satisfied with my achievements and mindful of the busy days work I had that was fast approaching I packed up and went on my way.
I regularly ask myself what it is about sea trout fishing that is so captivating and I regularly don't come up with an answer. But it's without doubt, once your are bitten by the bug of sea trout fishing there is no cure.

Monday, 20 June 2016

The Complete Angler

The Complete Angler is a film by James Prosek (artist/writer), Fritz Mitchell (producer/editor) and Peter Franchella (cinematographer). It documents Prosek's travels as he walks in the footsteps of the 17th century English writer, Izaak Walton—"research" for his senior thesis at Yale. The film focuses on Walton's book, The Compleat Angler, a book that many have heard of but few have actually read.

Chapter 1 - James leaves Connecticut for Ireland and England, catching a few trout in his home streams and musing about his youth, fishing, and some Waltonian ideals. He visits the library at Yale and examines a first edition of Walton's Compleat Angler from 1653. Then he sits for a reading of Yeat's poem, The Song of Wandering Aengus, by Harold Bloom.

Chapter 2 - James goes to Ireland to experience the earliest form of fly-fishing, dapping live mayflies impaled on fine-wire hooks for brown trout on the lakes of the Connemara region. He visits with a boy who collects and sells live mayflies to the fishermen, and salmon fishes along the Eriff River.

Chapter 3 - James fishes a tributary of the Thames in London that Walton fished three hundred and fifty years before, the River Lea. Walton was forced out of London during the English Civil War and returned to the pastoral beauty of his homeland in Derbyshire and the beautiful River Dove in the Peak District.

Chapter 4 - James visits the "fishing temple" on the River Dove, which Charles Cotton (considered the father of modern fly-fishing) built in honor of his friend Izaak Walton.

Chapter 5 - James fishes with Sir John Swire, an upper-class Englishman who talks about his love of fishing and of Izaak Walton's ideals and life philosophy.

Chapter 6 - James visits Victoria Wakefield who helped him secure fishing on the renowned chalk streams, the Test and Itchen in Hampshire. She introduces him to Roger Harrison, who owns a beautiful stretch of water on the Itchen with lots of wild trout. There, James encounters a milkmaiden.

Final Chapter - James visits Izaak Walton's grave in a chapel in Winchester Cathedral, and discusses the last years of his life. Then he sings a song in a meadow by the river and returns to the fishing at the pond near his home in Connecticut.

To Purchase the DVD please visit

Friday, 17 June 2016

Protest March for Cessation of Pike Management Operations by Inland Fisheries Ireland

Concerned anglers, angling and wildlife groups and members of the general public will be holding the second of a series of planned protests in a bid to bring about cessation of Pike Management Operations by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). Pike Management Operations cause damage to fish, wildlife and rural economies. IFI are systematically eradicating one of Ireland native fish species without valid scientific or economic justification at huge expense to the Irish tax payer.

The first protest was held on the 24th March 2016 outside IFI headquarters and attracted huge numbers, great support internationally and national media coverage.

This protest will take the cause to the heart of government by taking place at the gates of Dail Eireann from 3:30pm to 6:00pm on the 5th July 2016. Please show your support by attending.

Visit the facebook page here

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The Ones That Got Away

After a Tuesday fishing on the River Test, near Southampton in Southern England, Trevor is walking from the pier carrying two brown trout in a bucket.

He is approached by a Water Conservation Officer who asks him for his fishing license.

Trevor replies to the environmentalist, 'I was not fishing and I did not catch these brown trout, they are my pets. Every day I come down to the water and put these fish into the water and take them for a walk to the end of the pier and back. When I'm ready to go I whistle and they jump back into the bucket and we go home.

The officer, obviously, does not believe him and he reminds Trevor that it is illegal to fish without a license. The fisherman turns to the warden and says, 'If you don't believe me then watch, 'and he throws the trout back into the water.

The warden says, 'Now whistle to your fish and show me that they will jump out of the water and into the bucket.'

The fisherman turns to the officer and says, 'What fish?'

Monday, 23 May 2016

Salmon Net was Seven Times Longer than a Football Field

So a fisherman gets €150,000 to stop netting for salmon, he then goes and gets charged for netting salmon with a net of 750 yards long off sauce Creek at Brandon Point, while being paid compensation of €150,000 to not do it, he then turns up in court with 1 thousand euro! Like does anybody else think that not only are they completely taking the piss out of the government but are also destroying the whole area of fish life..
Salmon caught in these nets would be making there way up all the small spate rivers all the Dingle Peninsula, they would be spawning in the lochs and streams way up in the valleys and mountains. After travelling thousands of miles down the North Atlantic onto the west coast of Ireland, instead they getting caught in these greedy so called fisherman's nets and being sold to all the restaurants in the area....
Tourists will then flock to the area and eat seafood chowder and salmon dinners not knowing the untold damage they are doing to the local rivers...
The sickening fact is that we the public are paying these guys compensation to not net while to head out every morning and evening from Brandon pier.. You can see them yourself every day with the fiberglass boats and outboard engines. Another thing that sickens me is the so called environmentalists will pull up with there boats all summer long and see these nets and not say a word...
It will be interesting to see what will be done to this so called fisherman come later in the year...
Tight lines..

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Meet the Father of Modern Sea-Trout Fishing

Born: 15 May 1917 Cheam, Surrey, England
Died: 30 March 1996 (aged 78) Birkby, Ravenglass, Eskdale, Cumbria, England
Nationality: United Kingdom
Other names: Hugh Edward Lance Falkus
Known for: Writer, film maker, television presenter, pilot and angler

Hugh Falkus (15 May 1917 – 30 March 1996), was a British writer, film maker and presenter, World War II pilot and angler. In an extremely varied career, he is perhaps best known for his seminal books on angling, particularly salmon and sea trout fishing; however, he was also a noted film-maker and broadcaster for the BBC.

Hugh Edward Lance Falkus was born to James Falkus, a Surrey bank manager, and his wife Alice Maud. James retired early to a boat, first on the Essex marshes and then in Devon, upon which Hugh was sent to the East Anglian School, in Suffolk. According to his entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Hugh caught his first fish when he was four, learned to shoot when he was six, and was an expert helmsman by the age of fifteen. By eighteen he had learned to fly, and at twenty he became a pilot in the RAF.

On 11 July 1939 he married Doris Marjorie Walter, and they had two sets of twins (three sons and a daughter). The youngest son, Anthony, born in 1952, died in infancy. The older twins, Christopher and Malcolm, born in 1940, had successful careers, Christopher becoming a prominent publisher while Malcolm's career has been in economic history. Falkus' only daughter, Rowena Mary, is a Benedictine nun.

In June 1940 Falkus' Spitfire was shot down over France and he spent the rest of the war in German prison camps, including Stalag Luft III the Great Escape camp. After the war he left Doris and in 1950 he married Diana Vaughan, the young editor of Argosy magazine, but on 12 May 1951 Diana was drowned, along with Charles Osborne, Bill Brendon and Sam Lee, in a boating accident off the coast of Achill Island in County Mayo, Ireland, while they were making a film about the local shark hunting industry. Falkus, a powerful swimmer, narrowly survived after swimming over a mile to the shore to seek help.

In 1952 Falkus married Lady Margaret Vane-Tempest-Stewart, second daughter of the seventh Marquess of Londonderry, but the marriage was short-lived. By 1955 Falkus had settled in Eskdale, Cumberland, which he had come to know and love through his friendship with Bill Fowler, a bomber pilot from Long Yocking, Eskdale, who he had met in a prisoner of war camp. In 1958 Falkus married Kathleen Armstrong, daughter of a local farming family. He lived with her at Cragg Cottage, Eskdale, for most of the rest of his life, writing about fishing and natural history and making television films on related subjects. He wrote, produced and presented a series of The World About Us films for the BBC, and with the Nobel Prize-winning zoologist Professor Niko Tinbergen he made a film about gull behaviour called Signals for Survival which won the Italia prize in 1969, and first prize for the BBC at the 1969 Montreux Film Festival. He was reportedly and according to his biographer, Chris Newton, a sexual predator, gaining the punning nickname "Huge Phallus" at the BBC. He was still having affairs in his late sixties, upsetting his friends by deserting Kathleen, his wife of 25 years for a woman named Romille.

Falkus' masterwork Sea Trout Fishing, A Practical Guide (HF & G Witherby 1962, enlarged edition 1975) became a best-seller and has never been out of print; it "established his reputation as the father of modern sea-trout fishing" according to his biographer, Chris Newton. It was followed in 1984 by Salmon Fishing, a Practical Guide, also a best-seller which remains in print.

Falkus was a controversial and outspoken figure, insisting on being right and bullying people.

He was awarded the Royal Geographical Society's Cherry Kearton Medal and Award in 1982.

Hugh Falkus died of cancer and bronchopneumonia at Cragg Cottage on 30 March 1996. His son Christopher had predeceased him, dying in 1995 of heart disease.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Trout Anglers Alarmed by Plans to Close Fish Farms

Anglers are considering what action they should take after Inland Fisheries Ireland announced plans to discontinue operations at all of their fish farms and hatcheries. The National Anglers Representative Association (NARA) and ten other angler representative bodies learned of the plans after staff at these fish farms were informed that operations would cease. None of the eleven angler representative bodies were consulted with in advance of the announcement and the planned closures are not mentioned in Inland Fisheries Ireland’s National Strategy for Angling Development. This announcement in effect means that more than 100 fisheries within the state will be unable to source trout to stock their waters.

At a recent meeting with one of the fisheries that will be effected, Inland Fisheries Ireland conceded that there is no alternative plan in place that will enable the demand for farmed trout to be met. Whilst a limited supply of rainbow trout can be purchased in Northern Ireland there is not alternative supplier of brown trout. Purchasing rainbow trout from outside of the State will also result in a loss of income tax for the Irish Exchequer.

A recent study which was conducted by Inland Fisheries Ireland calculated the economic contribution of angling to the Irish economy at over €836m per annum and stated that angling is also estimated to support in excess of 11,350 jobs. The loss of these fish farms will have a serious financial impact on the value of angling and it will result in job losses. The largest fishery likely to be affected is Lough Owel which is just outside Mullingar County Westmeath which has played host to numerous International angling competitions and serves 25% of the Irish population.

Inland Fisheries Ireland currently stocks a number of fisheries with both brown and rainbow trout. Anglers who use these fisheries pay a Managed Water Permit to Inland Fisheries Ireland.  Angling clubs supplement this stocking programme by purchasing trout directly from IFI’s fish farm. The cost of purchasing additional trout if met through fundraising and membership subscriptions.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Brown Trout Fishing on the Borgund river in Norway

Amazing footage from a short trip to the beautiful Borgund river in Norway. A place where the river feels untouched, mayflies hatches in masses and the biggest trout break the surface first to have its dry meal.

THAT FEELING.. from Lotte Aulom(reelgirl-flyfishing) on Vimeo.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

A National Disgrace!

All that is wrong with how Ireland’s commercial sea fishing fleet is governed can be summed up in the following article published on An Irish Anglers World website

Read the full article here

The Rachel J Trawler Kinsale

Monday, 25 January 2016

First salmon of 2016 season caught on Lough Currane

The first salmon of the 2016 season was caught last Monday at 10.50am by angling guide Neil O’Shea on Lough Currane in Waterville, Co Kerry. The fresh fish weighed 4.5kg (10lb) and taken while trolling a Rapala lure from “The Bridge” on the eastern side of the lough.

This is the first occasion for Currane to record the first salmon of the New Year in Ireland.
“Conditions were very good although, while our season started the previous day, it was too windy to venture out,” he said. O’Shea also has the distinction of catching the first Currane salmon on opening day in 1986 and 2009.

At time of writing, the Drowes still awaits its first salmon. “The river has, at last, returned to normal levels, and with an influx of anglers at the weekend, we are hopeful for our first fish,” proprietor Shane Gallagher said.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

No to More Slash and Burn!

To: The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD

We ask you to reconsider your proposal to change the Wildlife Act to allow for the burning of vegetation in March and the cutting of hedgerows in August and establish proper hedgerow and upland management regimes that works for farming, road safety and wildlife.

Sign the Petition Here:

(Campaign created by Irish Wildlife Trust, Birdwatch Ireland, An Taisce and Hedge Laying Association of Ireland)