Thursday, 28 December 2017

Minister welcomes Positive Review of "Catch and Release" Policy

Minister Sean Kyne announces 78 rivers open for salmon angling in 2018

Minister welcomes Positive Review of "Catch and Release" Policy

Mr. Sean Kyne T.D., Minister with responsibility for the inland fisheries sector, has approved a suite of regulations and bye-laws that will govern the wild salmon and sea trout fisheries in 2018. These will come into effect from Monday 1 January 2018.
Minister Kyne said "In all, 78 rivers will open for angling activity in 2018 and this will provide opportunities for all to share this important natural resource on a sustainable basis.  42 of these rivers will be fully open with a further 36 for angling on a "catch & release" basis. I had asked Inland Fisheries Ireland to carry out a full review of the Catch and Release element of fisheries management policy ahead of the 2018 season and this has resulted in an additional 12 rivers open on a Catch and Release basis which otherwise would have been closed."
Minister Kyne had received management advice from IFI in relation to over 140 genetically individual wild salmon stocks in Ireland, in advance of setting out the legislation for 2018. This advice was also made available as part of a public consultation process.  This was based on the scientific assessment of the current status of all stocks carried out by the independent Standing Scientific Committee on Salmon. This committee comprises scientists from a range of organisations. 
Over 130 submissions were considered as part of the public consultation process. Based on this the Minister has introduced conservation measures for the management of the wild salmon and sea trout fishery in 2018.

Management advise supported by scientific assessment of rivers/estuaries/harbours is that:-

  • 78 Rovers should be open for angling of which 
    • 42 rivers should be open as a surplus of fish has been identified in these rivers;
    • 36 rivers should be classified as open for "catch and release" angling; 
  • 68 rivers should be closed as they have no surplus of fish available for harvest.
Summary of main changes to the management of the wild salmon fishery in 2017
Fishery District River20172018
DundalkGlydeOpenCatch And Release
DundalkDeeCatch And ReleaseClosed to 30 April/Catch And Release from 01 May
WexfordSlaneyClosedClosed to 30 April/Catch And Release from 01 May
KerryFertaOpenCatch And Release
KerryInnyOpenCatch And Release
BangorShramoreClosedCatch And Release
BallyshannonEskeClosed Catch And Release
BallyshannonOwenwee (yellow)ClosedCatch And Release
LetterkennyOwenea/OwentockerOpenCatch And Release
LetterkennyGweedore (Crolly)OpenCatch And Release
LetterkennyTullaghobegleyClosedCatch And Release
LetterkennyLeannanCatch And ReleaseClosed to 30 April/Catch And Release from 01 May
1.  Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme (Amendment) Regulations S.I. No. 602 of 2017
These regulations provide for, the quotas of fish that can be harvested by commercial fishing engines and rod and line from those rivers identified in Schedule 2.  The Regulations also provide for the use of brown tags in specified rivers which are identified in Schedule 4. 
2. Angling Byelaw No. 955, 2017
This Bye-law prohibits the use of any fish hooks, other than single barbless hooks, and also prohibits the use of worms as bait in angling for all species of fish in the waters specified in the Bye-law. 
3. Conservation of Salmon and Sea trout (Bag Limits) Bye-law No. 956, 2017
Provides for an annual bag limit of 10 fish being either salmon or sea trout (over 40 cm) per angler and provides for a season bag limit of 3 fish in the period 1 January to 11 May, a daily bag limit of 3 fish from 12 May to 31 August and a daily bag limit of 1 fish from 1 September to the end of the season. The Bye-law also provides for the use of single barbless hooks and prohibits the use of worms as bait once the specified numbers of fish have been caught in the specified periods.  
4. Conservation of Salmon and Sea trout (Catch and Release) Bye-law No. 957, 2017 
Provides for catch and release in respect of salmon and sea trout (over 40 cm) in rivers that are meeting at least 50% of their Conservation Limit as mentioned in the Bye-law. The Bye-law also provides for the use of single barbless hooks and prohibits the use of worms as bait in angling for salmon and sea trout over 40 cm.
5. Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (River Suir) Bye-law No. 958, 2017.
This Bye-Law provides for catch and release in angling for salmon (any size) and sea trout (over 40cm) in the River Suir (including the waters of the Rivers Clodiagh, Lingaun and Blackwater) and also prohibits the use of worms, prawn, shrimp or any other crustacean, or artificial forms thereof, as bait and any fish hooks other than single barbless hooks during the period 17 March to 30 Sept, 2018.
6. Conservation of Sea Trout Bye-law No. 959, 2017
This Bye-law provides for a daily bag limit of 3 sea trout (less than 40 cm in length) and provides for the use of single barbless hooks and prohibits the use of worms as bait once the specified number of sea trout have been caught. 
7. Conservation of Salmon and Sea Trout (Closed Rivers) Bye-law No. C.S. 323, 2017
Prohibits the taking or attempting to take by rod and line salmon and sea trout (over 40 cm) in the rivers specified in the Bye-law.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Dry Fly & the Feeding Habits of Irish River Brown Trout

Written by Simon Toussifar

Its November and freezing cold outside whilst I write this piece. The days are short and the evenings dark and so I have the perfect opportunity to get back to some blogging. 

Catch, Photo & Released 
My thoughts look back over the summer of 2017. Bright mornings, warm evenings, t-shirt weather and most importantly hatches of fly life and the sight of brown trout feeding on the conveyer belt of flys going down river. Perfect!

I had put aside the salmon fishing this year due to the Bandon River dredging works and focused solely on dry fly fishing for brown trout. Having mostly targeted brown trout in the past on wet flys and czech nymphing techniques, I quickly realised I had actually missed out and underestimated the power of consistently catching trout on dry fly.

Tree's and bushes can offer great cover and feeding locations for trout
Throughout the season of 2017 I consistently caught brown trout on the dry fly and this was mainly due to observation of their feeding positions, recognising what they were feeding on and delicate presentation of the dry fly upstream of their position.

The fly always had to land upstream of the trout and dead drift past them without any movement or drag. The moment they sensed an artificial fly all went quiet and they stopped coming up!

I think alot of anglers make the mistake of rushing in and not seeing what is actually happening on the surface before they cast. They tie a fly on the end and hope to catch but fail to catch. The reward is in waiting and observing the river to see where the fish are before presenting the fly of choice.

I learned quickly myself that selecting the right fly can be tricky as there might be several different hatches on the river at the same time and the trout will nearly always feed on one particular fly during these hatches!

The Hardy Shadow 5wt Fly Rod, perfect for trout fishing
A bit of guess work is whats needed to match the flys from your box to what you see on the river. The bigger trout are not shy of taking very small flys either and I've found them taking size 16's and 18's. 

The best way I can describe the feeding positions of trout along the river is to visualise and break down the river into feeding lanes. The smaller trout will most often rest along the shallow areas while the bigger trout can be found under or beside tree's or bushes that offer them better security and cover. They stay in the same position all day, actively looking up at what food is floating down the lines of river current and if their feeding on top you'll see the tell tale rings, nips and nudges on the surface. River foam is also an indication of a feeding area as insects/flys will often become trapped in foam.

Its amazing when you think about it that these trout will obtain their daily calories from feeding on over 60, 70, 80 tiny flies per session. I've noticed morning and evenings to be the most favourable times for catching trout on the dry fly with afternoons being the most difficult. 

Rubber meshed landing net is an ideal catch & release net

Thursday, 5 October 2017

My overview of Season 2017 on the Bandon River

It has to be said the season of 2017 on the Bandon River was very disappointing. The catch numbers were not steady and satisfactory as stated on certain social media reports. The spring fish were few and far between in the earlier part of the season however one or two were caught which is custom for the Bandon every year. 

Spring fish caught April 2017. Photo: Inland Fisheries Ireland

Looking back at June we had a small run of salmon during the first flood of that month. A few photo's emerged of Bandon Angling members catching fish however this window of opportunity was short lived and so were the run of salmon. 

June 2017 Salmon during the first flood

June on the Bandon is usually a great month for grilse but the downstream dredging works below Bandon town were definitely having an impact on salmon/grilse migration as the month went on.

The usually good months of July and August saw very few fish running even though reports stated one or two fish were caught on worm and shrimp, these fish would have been left over from the first flood in early June. 

There were reports of trapped salmon in pools below Bandon at the height of the dredging works. One of the onsite ecologists hired to oversee the dredging had put his own health and safety at risk by running behind a moving track machines blind spot while attempting to rescue a trapped disoriented hen fish.

Onsite health and safety concerns in a desperate attempt to rescue a trapped salmon

Anglers and nature lovers spoke of their concern over the resident brown trout, salmon smolt and lamprey populations below Bandon town during the dredging works. It is unknown of their fate but it is feared these fish may have suffered a high mortality rate. These fish should have been removed and transported to safety prior to dredging works commenced. 

Inland Fisheries Ireland would not comment on water quality concerns even after members of the public made numerous requests asking for an update on the river dredging.

The month of September saw a trickle of tired stale fish move up river mostly during the weekends while the track machines below Bandon had stopped work. 

Coloured fish safely released after photo
Looking forward to season 2018 it most likely the Bandon River will be made a Catch & Release river to ensure the protection of future salmon and allow the river to replenish after the invasive in-stream dredging works of 2017.

Related links to Bandon River Dredging Site Visit 2017:

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Demise of Loch Maree

What has occurred across the west coast of Scotland over the last few decades is nothing short of a travesty. We have been responsible for the systematic demise of a great natural resource, decimating the wild populations of salmon and sea-trout in order to support big business in farmed salmon.

In the case of the river Ewe and Loch Maree system, the installation of a fish farm in Loch Ewe correlated with the decline of what was once the worlds premier destination for sea-trout in the world. Not only have we lost the sea-trout, but almost all the jobs its supported. This is the story of the demise of Loch Maree.

This film was commissioned by Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland

For more information visit:

Sunday, 5 March 2017

A call to ban pair-trawling in estuaries as a first step to protecting the marine environment

Padraic Fogarty campaign officer for the Irish Wildlife Trust and editor of 'Irish Wildlife' magazine published the following article for the latest publication of INSHORE IRELAND 2017 on why we need to ban pair trawling in our shallow inshore waters

Click image to enlarge article

Click to Enlarge

Friday, 24 February 2017

Council risks EU fines for not building 'fish path' to aid migrating salmon at River Blackwater

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 Irish Examiner

Hefty EU fines could be imposed on Cork County Council which hasn’t the money to build a ‘fish path’ for migrating salmon. A hands-on approach to dealing with migrating salmon may be needed again this year it is feared. The salmon need help getting over a weir because the fish path has been destroyed.

It’s estimated it will cost in the region of €2m to purchase land and build a new fish path at the River Blackwater weir in Fermoy town.

The council is writing to the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources seeking the €2m needed.

It also has to cap the weir and put in protective boulders to prevent it from again being damaged by trees which were swept downriver in previous floods. The council has enough money to do that, but not buy land and install the fish path.

The issue was raised at a meeting of the council’s Northern Division in Mallow by Fermoy-based Cllr Noel McCarthy. He said last October people, waded into the river to physically pick up salmon and take them to the upstream side of the weir.

Cllr McCarthy said it was believed that fish which weren’t picked up died: “I’ve met several people who are very concerned that this will happen again this year. We need to speed up the process and make sure there are no more delays in getting this work done. It’s totally unacceptable.” “We were told at one stage that we could face fines from the EU if this work isn’t done. We were also told originally that Lagan (contractors) would do the work as part the flood relief scheme,” said Cllr Frank O’Flynn who added that he knows a landowner who is anxious to sell the land needed for the fish path.

Council officials said they are in negotiation with a landowner and their legal department is progressing the transfer. However, they admit that they don’t have the money to pay for this part of the project and are in behind the scenes negotiations with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

“The structure of the weir is compromised. Capping must be done and their funding in place for that. This work could be progressed in the coming year,” one council official said. It had been hoped that capping would be undertaken in conjunction with the building of the fish path.

But assistant county manager James Fogarty said this couldn’t happen.

Councillors then agreed to write to the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources asking it to immediately release the €2m for the project.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Salmon Watch 2017 Conference