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 email@example.com
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.