OCTOBER is often considered the last cast of the season by game anglers yet consistently produces good catches for those who know where to look for a nugget of early autumn gold.
The season for trout and salmon fishing runs from March 1 until September 30 for most major fisheries but there are exceptions if you are prepared to travel, brave the cold and the falling leaves. Indeed some game waters are at their best in the autumn when they often produce big fish preparing to spawn over winter.
For the salmon angler there is plenty of choice but you better be quick because the season closes, for many of the late waters, next Thursday, October 20. The Foyle system provides the best chance of a late bonus with good fishing to be found in the Sperrins. A few dates are still left on the Mourne at the Baronscourt estate but day tickets are more easily available on the Dennett, Derg, Roe, Owenkillew and Glennelly.
Golden days on the Owenkillew.
In county Londonderry the Bann has been fishing well all summer and produces a late run of big salmon some of which are headed for the Agivey which is open until the 20th. On the other side of the hills the Roe offers your best chance of a good night’s sea trout fishing.
In county Down the Shimna and the Whitewater remain open until Halloween and come into their own as sea trout fisheries in spate conditions. The Irish record sea trout stands at 16lbs 6oz. The fish was taken by Thomas McManus from the Shimna in 1983.
In county Antrim the Bush remains open until next week and day tickets are available on some restricted stretches however the little rivers of the Glens can be spectacular at this time of year producing sea trout and the occasional salmon. The Dun, Dall, Glenarriff and the Margey in Ballycastle remain open until the end of the month. Day tickets are limited so move fast when the water is high and clear.
Meanwhile it has been revealed that Northern Ireland will host the 2018 Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships. Teams from England, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Malta are expected to participate. Jill Maderno, chair of the Commonwealth Fly-fishing Association, said, “I am delighted that Northern Ireland will host our next championships in September 2018 and look forward to enjoying the great hospitality for which Northern Ireland is renowned.”