CIVIC recognition for the work of Inler Angling Club in Comber will be welcomed by fishers throughout Northern Ireland. Too often anglers are accused of damaging the environment they rely upon for recreation when most well organised clubs are responsible for good work and delivering a clear message about how to behave in our valuable countryside.
Often anglers are the ‘canary in the coal mine’ drawing attention to fish kills and invasive species which threaten our waterways and the wider community.
The Inler club received its award for services to the environment at an annual ceremony hosted by Ards and North Down Borough Council on May 18. Mayor Deborah Girvan said,
“The Inler river is a real asset to the borough as a recreational facility and I would like to add my thanks to the club members for giving up their time. You deserve recognition for the voluntary work you do. Kingfishers, dippers and otters can now be seen along the banks. Your hard work has allowed all of this to happen, providing an area of beauty for everyone.”
The stream, which flows from the Castlereagh hills into Strangford Lough just outside Comber, offers brown trout and sea trout fishing to members. Some season and day tickets are available to visitors. Fishing is fly-only, on a catch and release basis and barbless hooks are required. The Inler’s banks and pools are accessible and kept clear of rubbish by volunteers who also sample the water for purity. They have the backing and support of the UK’s Wild Trout Trust.
Similar work has also been undertaken by enthusiasts along the Dibney river in Killleagh though both projects have been set back by pollution incidents. These rivers provide wild trout fishing in an area where it is in short supply and provide a model for the future of angling as a sport and a tourist asset.
Meanwhile Northern Ireland Electricity Networks has launched its annual FishSafe campaign which reminds anglers to ‘look up and look out’ for overhead electricity equipment before they start fishing. Every year anglers put themselves at risk of injury or death because they accidentally come too close or into contact with overhead electricity power lines and equipment. NIE Networks wants anglers at waterways and fishing lakes throughout the country to cast with care.
Hal Steele, safety engineer, said,
“We have produced a new FishSafe leaflet this year, which we are distributing to angling clubs across Northern Ireland. We hope that our awareness campaign will encourage all anglers to put safety first before they fish.”