Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Fort William Salmon Fishery. Castle Beat.

                                          The start of the Castle Beat on the Blackwater River.

And there are the views of the Castle Beat on the Fort William Salmon Fishery on the Blackwater River. I would say that while the prices are low salmon anglers should give this beautiful area a cast just to familiarize themselves with the beats and when the sport picks up having that knowledge will only improve their catch rate. The video of the beats will be out soon on my youtube channel and having fished with a bad back i had to leave early and will have to come back again soon to finish off the rest of the beats. For further details or contact Paul Whelan Fishery Manager at

Fort William Salmon Fishery. Glenmore Beat

                                        The start of the Glenmore Beat on the Blackwater River.
                                          Looking downstream towards the Glenmore Stream.

                                              Looking downstream towards the Abbey Pool.

                                            Fresh water mussels are everywhere on this beat.

A true indicator of good water quality is the presence of fresh water mussels and there are plenty to be seen on this beat. I fished down through the fast water at the start of the Glenmore beat with my fly rod and got a take half way down the run but the salmon didn't stay, this happened a few more times during the day  just getting  short pulls and then nothing. At the start of the Glenmore stream i hooked and landed a nice kelt on a Yukanga Gold fly size 9 double salar hook, using a floating line with a brown/red Rio versi leader ( sink rate 3.9ins ). The water here is ideal for the fly and fishes it perfectly through the whole run. After fishing the fly down to the Abbey pool i went back up and got the spinning rod and fished it again with a black and silver size 4 flying c and hooked and landed another nice kelt salmon, which was quickly released. Having fished out the beat i moved down to fish the Castle Beat of the Fort Willaim Salmon Fishery which is situated just above the bridge in Lismore and just under the walls of Lismore Castle. Having met the Fishery Manager Paul Whelan earlier in the morning, he showed me the beat and the areas that might hold a fresh salmon and true to his word this is where i met and took a few more kelts. The water height was just above 60 cm. on the gauge and the air temperature was about 5 degrees with a soft downstream wind.  

Tuesday, 19 February 2013


Salmon fishing has become an increasingly popular sport over the last few years, more-so than ever before we're seeing anglers picking up their double handed rod and throwing a scandi tip fly line to a likely looking run. But with more people doing it, there doesn't seem to be that many blogs about salmon fishing, which is a shame as you need to buy a dedicated magazine to find any sort of useful information.

Fly Fishing Tackle Retailer Fishtec, have produced a list of blogs which are guaranteed to make any angler want to get out on the water and cast a line. This list features blogs from all around the UK which have sparked interest with the fishing team at Fishtec. Be it river fishing, lake fishing or the latest fishing tackle news.

 After much surfing of the web, we in the Fishtec office have come across This Fly fishing blog from Paul Hanley has been keeping us entertained over the lean winter months with Salmon updates including useful tips and techniques to get our prized fish on the bank.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Salmon Kelts ( Spent / Spawned Fish )

The fishery officers are checking that all salmon kelts must be recorded on your log book so i am just letting all salmon anglers know they need to record the kelts or a fine will be imposed on those that don't record kelts. I myself have recorded all my kelts and now need new log books for all the kelts that i will catch in the coming weeks. This means that most anglers will be recording the same fish more than once and this is going to give a totally inaccurate figure in the coming year on the stocks of wild salmon especially as there is no seperation between kelt and fresh salmon on the log book. If anyone has information as to why this is happening this year please let me know so i can inform all the salmon anglers.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Clothing Tips.

(1) NEOPRENE BOOTIES. When fishing with breathable  waders these booties will keep your feet and calves warm.
(2) NECK GATOR. This stops the warm air escaping through the neck of your jacket and also stops cold air
from coming in.
(3) GOOD GLOVES. Once the hands are warm you can enjoy your fishing, and these Simms gloves i have treated with a water repellent so they stay warm even when wet.
Always remember that even with the best of clothing there are going to be areas that will let cold in but by covering the extremities i.e. hands, feet, neck, face and head you will cut down on heat loss and if it gets too warm you  can  always take it off but if you don't have these extras you are going to be cold. A good cap or hat will keep your head nice and warm and also dry in the colder months ahead.


Blackwater River ( Upper Kilmurray Beat )


I fished the Upper Kilmurray Beat of the Blackwater Lodge Salmon Fishery with the fly as it was a beautiful piece of water to fly fish, the flow of the water fishes the fly perfectly. The water level was 1m 11cm on the gauge and dropping, temperature was about nine degrees and out of the strong wind maybe a little warmer. Moving down the beat i fished the fly first and then went back over the same water with a spinner, unfortunately i didn't meet anything on the fly but fishing the opposite bank with some long casts pulled a few kelts which kept me on my toes. Moving down past the Inches and on to the casting platform i gave the fly another whirl and a fish touched the fly twice and then backed off with an aggressive pull on the line. The take was short lived as it dropped the fly suddenly, having met a lot of spring salmon over the years it leads me to believe that maybe it was a fresh fish as kelts normally swallow the fly first go. After lunch i moved upstream to Ballyhooly Bridge and found that the wind had come up due to the fact that this area is exposed  the temperature had dropped a few degrees, on fishing down the top beat i met a large number of kelts and one baggot which were in great condition and fighting fit but i didn't see any fresh salmon. Luckily the rain stayed away and with a bit of luck the water will drop away over the coming days and we will be able to fish more of the beats.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2013 ( The Blackwater River )


Here is a picture taken by Kieran showing me casting upstream  and as you can see i really punch  out the spinner and as he says a rod should never bend at that angle.



On moving upstream i knew that we might have a better chance meeting a fish due to the slower water and this would allow both fly and spinner to achieve optimum depth. Fishing down from the top of the beat i caught 9 Kelts which were in great condition and even one gave me a scare for a moment due to the fact that it stayed deep and pulled hard upstream. Looking at the spent fish and the great condition that they were in i reckon that they were late arrivals ( October / November ) and now having spawned are heading back. The fish are not marked and some have still got good body weight to them and fight very strong so they are not in the system very long. Last October and November a large number of fresh salmon were seen going over Fermoy weir and i reckon i caught a few of those fish today. I was using a 20gr Black / Silver flying C with a size four blade to achieve maximum depth, casting upstream from mid water to the far bank i met all my fish hugging the bottom. Kieran also caught three kelts on the fly but the downstream wind was making fishing a nightmare for both systems because it was speeding up and blowing the lines back across the river and not allowing us to fish slower. With cold weather due i reckon that if the river drops another foot and a half there might be some fresh fish caught over the weekend. At the time of writing this report i didn't hear of any fresh fish taken on the Blackwater. The video will be edited and up on youtube tomorrow ish due to the fact that i'm knackered from spinning heavy water all day.



These are the views looking downstream from Ballyhooly Bridge on the Blackwater River today 1st February 2013 salmon season. Due to the very high water and bad weather during the week Ian from the Blackwater Lodge had to cancel the opening event but anglers still turned up to try their hands at catching an early springer. We started fishing the lower pools as can be seen on the pictures but with the speed of the high water it was almost impossible to keep a spinner on the bottom. Kieran fly fished with a skagit fly line and a super fast sinking head and i fished with my spinning rod but we didn't meet any fish in the lower pools. We then moved upstream in the evening to the flats above Ballyhooly Bridge and on arriving we saw some action with the odd Kelt jumping.