The picturesque village of Garrison in Fermanagh, Northern Ireland came alive last weekend as hundreds of anglers from across Ireland and abroad gathered to participate in and celebrate the 40th Lough Melvin four-day trout championships.
Melvin is unique in many respects. Apart from its eight miles of water which straddle three counties, i.e. Fermanagh, Donegal and Leitrim, the lough is home to six species of game fish including gillaroo, brown, ferox and sonaghan trout, salmon and char. In the case of gillaroo, it is said the strain cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Fishing conditions throughout the championships could best be described as a ‘mixed bag’ but there were no complaints on that front as the lough gave up a fair amount of fish each day.
As is customary, the quarry centred on sonaghan (Salmo nigripinnis), a foxy sub-surface species unique to the lough with its brown hue and large, distinctive black spots. Sonaghan can be found in open, deep water, where they feed on planktonic organisms. A fish of .5kg is considered a good catch.
The competition itself is held with two anglers competing together on the same boat and their combined catch totalled to give overall weight. A bag limit of six fish per angler is compulsory.
Of course, the minimum size limit applied little to local angler Stevie Ellis. Along with partner, Chris Callaghan, the pair qualified on day three with two fish. However, on finals day, Ellis caught a magnificent trout of 3lb 13.5oz which, along with a second fish, was sufficient to scoop the prestigious championship title.
“I caught my fish on the Garrison side at the mouth of Roogagh River on a Claret Dabbler. I’m particularly delighted today because in 2010, I was fortunate to win this same competition,” he said with a smile.
For their efforts, each received a 19ft Gareth Foley Lake Boat plus two pieces of Galway Crystal. (For information on Foleys Boats, call 086-832 6450 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Promoting angling among youngsters is high on the agenda of the Melvin club and a Youth Summer Scheme in conjunction with Garrison Committee Group saw up to 30 juniors attend fly tying classes, casting instruction and water safety course, supervised by Michael Gilroy.
The course culminated with a day on Birchwood Fishery, Drumquin for rainbow fishing, followed by a barbecue.
Former president, Gerald Regan did a splendid job over the four days selling tickets for the North West Hospice in Sligo which saw €1,000 collected for this worthy cause. Hospice fundraising manager, Laura Comiskey was on hand to gratefully accept the donation.
Always one for a laugh, Gerald said: “Yesterday, six anglers handed in one fish each weighing exactly .305kg and another two today. The fish must have all been born on the same day!”
Your correspondent did rather well. Along with Mark Gibbons from Cong, we qualified on day three and went on to catch five on finals day to finish in fifth place overall. Due to lack of boatmen, we were assigned committee member Freddie Boyd, an absolute gentleman.
I would like to thank the McGorthy’s of Melvin Country House for their splendid accommodation (028-6865 8766). Can’t wait for next year!!
Results: 1, S Ellis/C Callaghan; 2, W Acheson/M Duncan; 3, P Carson/N Lutton; 4, E Greene/D Leonard; 5, D Evans/ M Gibbons.
Martin Molloy cup
On Corrib, in the Oughterard area, the local regatta committee hosted the Martin Molloy Cup with proceeds going to James Kelly who is suffering from Lyme’s Disease and currently undergoing treatment in the US.
A terrific turnout on the day saw 69 anglers record 27 trout.
Results: 1, P Kinneavy (Cornamona), 3 fish, 3.06kg; 2, H O’Toole (Galway), 3f, 2.38kg; 3, T ‘Doc’ Sullivan (Cornamona), 3f, 2.14kg; 4, M Molloy (Oughterard), 2f; 5, C Higgins (Junior, Oughterard), 2f 1.84kg.
Walsh joins board of Inland Fisheries Ireland
Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Sean Canney, has appointed Ms Fiona Walsh to the board of Inland Fisheries Ireland in accordance with Section 12 of the Inland Fisheries Act 2010.
In welcoming the appointment, the Minister said: “Ms Walsh brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the board, particularly in the area of corporate governance. I wish her well in her role as a board member.”
Pink salmon caught on River Dee in Wales
Natural Resources Wales is urging nets-men and anglers to report any unusual catches after the first pink salmon was caught in Welsh waters for decades. The fish was caught in the River Dee at the Chester fish trap monitoring station.
Despite this being a Welsh first, numerous reports of captured pink salmon were made around the UK in 2017.
Our advice is to keep the fish and not release it back into the water, even if rivers are only open for catch and release angling. Then report your catch on the 24-hour hotline 03000 65 3000, and collection of the fish will be arranged.