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Remember those catch returns by John Dory
THE Loughs Agency and DAERA have reminded game anglers to make their annual catch returns promptly this year now that the season has come to a close. The information is increasingly important for the management of trout and salmon stocks after another difficult year which brought many new challenges for both anglers, conservationists and the scientists. Huge floods in the north west may have damaged important spawning areas and saw the escape of thousands of farmed rainbow trout into the Foyle system. The appearance of Pacific pink salmon in Irish rivers is also a phenomenon which will require careful monitoring and may pose a new threat to the native wild Atlantic fish which remains in sustained decline in many areas in the north and west.
Rainbow trout fisheries will continue to provide quality fly fishing for anglers who are not afraid to brave the winter cold though many places will reduce opening hours after the clocks went back last weekend. Some offer winter competitions which give an added edge to a cold day’s sport. Just 20 places are available at the charity trout fishing tournament at Turnaface fishery, near Moneymore in Co Derry, on December 2. The £20 entry fee will help support the Buddy Bear Trust for children with cerebral palsy. First prize is £150.
Winter is peak time for predator fishing and big pike remain plentiful in waters throught the province. For the past few years anglers have come close to beating the Irish record of 42lbs which was set in 2004. Remember to bring certified scales to be sure of your fish meeting official standards at the weigh-in.
The Tronixpro Irish Winter Shore Sea Angling Festival will take place in Wexford on January 25 and 26 next year and is expected to have a prize pot of more than 17,000 euro plus more than 3,000 euro in tackle. There will be both individual and team competitions. The entry fee of 160 euro covers a place at the prize winners’ dinner. Contact Warren Doyle at
Meanwhile the Northern Ireland Environment Agency is hosting a one-day conference on working in partnership to deliver the Water Framework Directive. It will be held at the CAFRE Greenmount Campus in Antrim on Saturday November 25. There will be a series of talks from DAERA, Northern Ireland Water, Donegal Catchment Care, Queen’s University and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute. Booking through Eventbrite is essential to secure a place.
Autumn gold: a good day at Lough Navar in Fermanagh but don’t forget to make your annual catch returns.
November 2, 2017 / by / in
Agency expands hi-tech helper by John Dory
THE Loughs Agency has re-launched its angling website giving it a new look and some extra features. The new site contains more information for both local and visiting anglers. In addition to essential advice, rules and regulations it also provides access to purchase a Loughs Agency rod e-licence. Interactive maps of each river in the Foyle and Carlingford catchments allow the web user to see where the best spots are to park to access the river and where the nearest tackle shops can be found.

Angling club boundaries are also clearly marked with details on how to buy a day or season ticket. If there is a river gauge or camera these are also clearly marked so the angler can see what the conditions are from a smartphone, tablet of computer. Each lough that is open to the public, as well as stocked lakes, are also included with details on opening times, contact details and permissible methods.

Anglers can refer to tide tables, lunar phases, sunrise/sunset times and weather forecasts for both the Carlingford and Foyle catchments to help plan their trip. More real-time data will be available in the future to provide the angler with river level, water temperature, turbidity and rainfall information.
The information within the website will expand and change as more surveys are carried out, said a spokesman.

“The Loughs Agency is also committed to providing an e-permit solution for its stakeholders. This will allow the visiting angler to purchase a day or season ticket without the need to visit a distributor in person, or react to conditions and purchase permits to fish alternate beats from the riverbank.”

If you have any content you would like added to the uFish Ireland website or want to provide feedback contact the agency using the email address or call David Spencer on 028 7134 2100.
Salmon angling on the Reelan river in Donegal. Anglers will be able to check water levels on a smartphone.
November 2, 2017 / by / in
Children get hooked by John Dory
THE annual Northern Ireland Schools coarse fishing competition will take place this saturday, October 21. The established event has this year attracted over 60 youngsters who will tackle up along the Lower Bann at Portglenone in teams.

Young people have been attracted to the sport in bigger numbers in the past three years because of the availability of qualified coaches and the encouragement of progressive schools. However Ireland’s youngsters have a long way to go to catch the French and the Polish who dominated the medals at the World Youth Angling Championships held in Cork in August.
The Northern Ireland schools event is supported by volunteers from east Belfast and the lower Bann clubs who would be grateful for assistance on the day from people who are suitably qualified. Please contact John Taggart at or call 07891 516677 if you can assist.

East Belfast Coarse Angling Club reports good catches of roach on the lower Bann and if you are interested in fishing this year’s Bann Bonanza festival in November please book in with Derek Buckley on 07725 404874 or visit the Facebook page at  Meanwhile anglers who caught specimen fish in 2017 are reminded to submit claim forms soon or miss out on recognition. Those with specimen claims for shad and cyprinids (roach, rudd and their hybrids) which require genetic analysis for positive identification are requested to submit their claims to the Irish Specimen Fish Committee by October 15. All other claims should be submitted by November 15. Email with any queries.

L-R: Ray McKeeman instructor, Susan Brown coach, Joe Stitt instructor and Madeleine Kelly coach were on hand for a Parent and Child and Woman’s Day of angling at Straid trout fishery in Co Antrim last weekend. The expert team holds regular events at the fishery in a bid to attract more women and young people into the sport.
October 23, 2017 / by / in
Casting back 80 years for Positive Futures by John Dory
BANGOR Angling Club held a competition and fundraising event  to celebrate its 80th anniversary last month. Prizewinners received their awards from chairman Raymond Telford. First was James Venning, second Brian Stanfield and third Marshall Tweed.

A spokesman said,

“As a club we encourage more people from different backgrounds to fish more often and over the past years we have welcomed a group of young adults supported by charity Positive Futures. The work of Positive Futures was the focus of our fundraising efforts which raised £765.”

Bangor Angling Club jointly manages the upper and lower Ballysallagh reservoirs at Craigantlet in partnership with DAERA. The members would like to thank local and national angling suppliers, AM Angling, Tight Lines, The Village Tackle Shop, Frozen North Fly Fishing Company and Wychwood Game for their generous prize donations.

Competitiors at the Bangor Angling Club’s 80th anniversary competition raised money for the charity Positive Futures.
October 6, 2017 / by / in
Don’t miss the late gold rush by John Dory
SEPTEMBER brings the game angling season to a close, in most areas, and sea anglers begin to think about tying up their boats for winter but this month can often be the most productive time of the year for both branches of the sport.
Lough Neagh’s big dollaghan begin to run up the rivers as the leaves begin to fall and the Bann always gets a late run of salmon which make their way into the smaller rivers, if water conditions are good. Lough Erne’s smaller rivers also produce good sport in September as big spawning trout make their way from the lake to the header streams. Autumn also produces the best salmon fishing on the Erne and parts of the Foyle system, particularly the Owenkillew and the Derg rivers in Tyrone.
For those who prefer salt water the bass fishing comes into its own along the north coast and in Carlingford Lough while big shoals of pollock come inshore with almost every tide, well within reach of beachcaster and rock anglers. Shark and tuna fishing reach a season’s peak in the south and west. For the last few years bait fish such as mackerel have been shoaling in our seas until Christmas.
So don’t pack up the rods too early.
Meanwhile last week’s extraordinary rains left a trail of havoc, ruined homes and washed-out bridges in the north west visiting misery on many people. But angling clubs have also been counting the cost of the flash floods which saw a month’s rain fall in just a few hours. Banks, paths and styles have been washed away on many popular fisheries and spawning beds destroyed. At least one club is considering an early end to the season in an effort to fully assess the damage and preserve remaining salmon stocks.
Some of Ulster’s finest small salmon rivers were hit hard including the Faughan, Burndennet and Crana. In one case a fish was washed into the nets on a riverside football field.
And finally, young anglers caught and released over 25,000 wild coarse fish, weighing more than two tonnes, during the World Youth Angling Championships at Inniscarra Lake in County Cork earlier this month. France dominated the prizes winning the under 25, under 20, under 15 and individual events. Medals were also picked up by Germany, Belgium, Poland and England. Team Ireland finished 9th in the u25, 8th in the u20 and 7th in the u15. Ulster’s James O’Doherty, Ireland’s favourite for a medal, just missed a podium place. Ireland presented some of the youngest anglers on the bank many of whom were new to international angling.
A 9lb pollock, caught by Maurice Henderson in deep water off Larne, aboard Bangor’s BETSY 3 last weekend.
September 5, 2017 / by / in