Thursday, 23 August 2018

Riprap (Rock Armouring) is a highly environmentally destructive way of combating flooding

Pictured below are photos of Riprap (Rock Armouring) along the Bandon River and information gathered from the Department of Homeland Security website that explains the issues encountered on rivers that use Riprap as a solution. 

Put simply, riprap is the layering of rocks (angular rocks generally being preferred,) along a threatened area to counteract the constant wearing away of land brought about by repetitive hydrologic activity. Whenever waves or moving waters meet unprotected soil, there will always be ero- sion. Covering exposed soil with rock helps protect it from being washed away, securing an embankment against further erosion. 

Problems arise because the effects of riprap do not stop at the point of installation. When positioned along a section of riverbank, for example, riprap has a number of negative impacts on the surrounding environ- ment. Riprap tends to increase the speed of water flow along an armored reach, as the water has no points of friction to come up against and nothing to slow it down. This additional strength of flow presents issues further downstream from a riprap protected bank, as water is deflected off the riprap and directed at other points of riverbank. The increased strength and speed of the water only increases erosion suffered at these new locations, the typical result of which is the necessity of installing additional armoring, which merely moves the problem further down the stream. 

Riprap impedes the natural functions of a riverbank or shoreline, as it interrupts the establishment of the riparian zone, or the point of interface between land and flowing water. A properly functioning riparian zone is important for a number of reasons; it can reduce stream energy and minimize erosion; filter pollutants from surface runoff via biofiltration; trap and hold sediments and woody debris, which assists in replenishing soils and actually rebuilding banks and shorelines; and it provides habitat diversity and an important source of aquatic nutrients. 

Not to mention, a naturally functioning riparian zone simply looks better. Another aspect of riprap is its considerable effect on wildlife, specifically fish that live in and utilize streams and rivers where eroding banks have undergone armoring. While erosion can cause potential problems for
fish, especially in high-silt loca- tions, the installation of riprap leads to other, more significant, issues. When riprap is the primary or only form of riverbank stabilization measure, the end result is typically a uniform, smooth channel, with no complexity. 

This means that there are no areas of vegetation either in or overhanging the water, leaving fish at risk from predation. In ad- dition, a lack of riverbank diversity denies fish a place to seek refuge during periods of high-water, which often results in their being washed out of a fast moving system during flooding.

Riprap causes other, albeit less sig- nificant, problems as well. In areas of low vegetation, when exposed to direct sunlight, the rocks that com- prise riprap can reflect light into the water, which increases water temperatures to an unhealthy degree for fish. 

Riprap also tends to suffer from structural integrity issues during and after high-water events. Losing rocks to high water or fast flows, a riprap structure will soon begin to fail in its purpose. Once the soil that the riprap is designed to protect is exposed, the damage continues as before its installation. This possibility requires constant monitoring and maintenance, which ultimately becomes expensive and problematic.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Southern Star Letter to Editor: OPW response on Bandon River fish pass ‘an insult’

Sunday, 12th August, 2018

SIR – I wish to respond to the comments made by the OPW in their response within your front page article titled ‘Bandon River's fish pass is described as butchery by local environmentalist.’
The OPW's response which read ‘the proposal to remove the weir could have delayed the completion of the flood relief scheme by years’ is just an insult to anyone’s intelligence. 
How could removing the weir take longer than removing half of it and then laboriously and extensively constructing a monstrous fish pass that better resembles a whale pass instead? 
I think the penny has dropped in many people’s minds about this whole project and questions need to be asked as to why the OPW decided to take the most expensive and environmentally-destructive route in rolling out the flood scheme.
The river bed below Bandon is completely dead and devoid of all natural life. It has been noted by environmentalists that the rock armouring going all the way down the river stretch is completely over the top and severe, which will make any type of environmental recovery almost impossible. 
It’s almost like no EIS was ever done here as there have been no concessions to environmental protection, and no effective mitigation measures.
How did it all come to this? Will the OPW ever change their ways?

Simon Toussifar
Recreational Fly Fisherman,

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The Ireland Angling Show 2018

The Ireland Angling Show will once again take place in the
National Show Centre Swords, Co. Dublin. 
With plenty of visitors expected over the two days,
the show is a great place to do business, meet customers and showcase your products. 
The Ireland Angling Show is a great weekend for all the family
with something for everyone, all ages and abilities catered for.

Visti website for information:

Opening Hours: 
Saturday 17th Feb. - 10am to 5pm
Sunday 18th Feb. - 10am to 5pm

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: