River Mourne Guns and Tackle
River Mourne Guns and Tackle

Strabane Anglers Mourn Passing

It has been another beautiful week weather wise and we have been lucky enough to have been blessed with another bright and sunny St Patrick Day.

I am sure like myself there were many local anglers that ventured out somewhere for a throw. While river conditions remained low on the Finn, Lifford Bridge and the River Foyle are coming into order and hopefully it will be only a matter of time before someone lands a fish on the Strabane/Lifford Anglers water.

It was with great sadness that I learnt of the death of Robert Hueston on Tuesday evening. Robert was a well known angler and I am sure the members of the Moyola Angling Association are saddened to hear of the sudden death of their esteemed member and treasurer. Robert was a founder member of the Moyola association and gave many years of service and advice on all aspects of fishing and the development and protection of the Moyola River.

I would like to pass, on behalf of myself and our two local angling clubs - Strabane/Lifford Anglers Association and Sion Mills Angling Club - our sincerest sympathies to Robert's family. We have lost a much loved and well respected member and friend. Robert and his family will be in our thoughts and prayers.

The Finn has been extremely quiet with only a handful of unconfirmed catches. I can confirm that the first fish recorded on the Foyle system for 2015 was taken on the Finn by D Mc Elroy. The fish was taken at Kelly's sand bed on the Glebe Anglers water and weighed around 7.5lbs. Congratulations to the successful angler.

I have had an unconfirmed report of a fish weighing around 15lbs caught at Liscooley on the Finn Anglers waters, as of yet I have no name of the lucky angler.

The prize for the first fish on the Glenmore Rivers waters is still up for grabs. The Glenmore Trophy along with a box of salmon flies, two bottles of whiskey and a voucher for River Mourne Guns and Tackle is still waiting for the successful angler.

Elsewhere the Drowes fishery has shown a bit of an improvement this last week. There was a fish reported on Friday, three fish reported on Saturday and two on Sunday. By Monday the water has dropped to 0.73 on the gauge and they were still catching.

Pauric Patton from the banks of the Ballyshannon estuary struck it lucky on Friday 13 with a sea liced fish of 7lbs on a green bodied Willie Gunn from the Upper Mill Pool. On Saturday Dermot McNeice had a beautifully sea liced fish of 11.5lbs on the prawn from the Meadow. Michael McLoughlin had a fresh 7lbs fish on flying c from the Tinker's Hole and there was another fish of around 7lbs on prawn from the Blackwater.

On Monday morning another couple of fish were landed. Well known to the members of our local angling clubs, Brian Mc Evoy had an 8lbs fish on a three inch yellow belly from the Mill Pool and Paul McCausland had a fish around 8lbs on worm from the Upper Mill. The forecast is for mostly dry conditions with night frost up to the weekend which will lead to a continued drop in water levels.

Tides were building ahead of the new moon and lunar eclipse on Friday.

Another issue that is of grave concern to the anglers here on the Foyle system is the proposed Carrickaduff wind farm development consisting of 49 turbines, with a tip height of 156m. The wind farm is proposed for five kilometres south of Ballybofey and approximately six kilometres northwest of Castlederg. Running between the area of Barnesmore Gap and Killeter forest the farm is proposed in an area of extreme natural beauty and slap bang in the middle of the Derg and Finn catchments.

This is another development that while attempting to increase our use of renewable energy sources is being pushed through (to meet the unattainable figures promised to Europe for renewable energy production in the UK and Ireland) while disregarding the very environment that the use of renewable energy sources are intended to protect.

Not only will it see the removal of natural flora and fauna and directly affect local wildlife but it will also speed up surface water runoff by removing the natural bog that holds the water and slows run-off to the river. This will also be increased by the drainage ditches that will be dug during the initial construction of roads and services to provide access to the wind farm site.


Season ends quietly on the Finn

Monday brought to an end the season on the Finn. It was a year of mixed fortunes, with some good days fishing in May and the same in August. However, the rest of the year has been marred with low water conditions. A dry April and a nine week dry period in June and July, when the Finn would normally have seen the majority of its grilse enter the river, resulted in a disappointing season on the whole. Some of the top rods on the Finn this year were the Mc Keown brothers, Johnny and Matt, Andrew Mc Gall, Kerry Hardy, Brendan Garland, Glen Crawford and Tim Hughes. Well done to these men who persevered in the bad conditions.

I would hope that this is just a blip year for the Finn, the river has shown a constant increase in the numbers of fish running since the nets have come off the Foyle estuary. The counter would suggest that there are good numbers of fish in the Finn, but maybe the poor fishing conditions have meant they have been poor takers. Let's hope next year will end in a more positive report for the Finn.

We have had another week of dry weather and the River Mourne continues to fall. On Wednesday morning last Kieran Cairns had a fish on the fly of about 8lbs from the Gravenue at Sion Mills, the fish slightly colored was released safely. Visiting angler Yang Quintus from Luxemburg had a fish on the second day of his trip to Ireland. Yang caught the fish from the Gravenue at Sion Mills. Well done Yang, this his second visit to the Foyle system this year.

The River Mourne Guns and Tackle are continuing their sale this week. We will be offering up to 40% off selected fishing rods, reels and equipment. We also have a special on breathable waders reduced to clear from as little as £80 and Snowbee Ranger outfits for £110. Call in for a bargain. Keep an eye on our Facebook page River Mourne Guns and Tackle.

We have an upcoming sea angling trip to Killybegs at the weekend. Anyone interested in going or getting involved in our sea angling society can contact the shop on 02871 886218.


Mixed Fortunes on the Mourne

We have had a good week of weather here on the Foyle System, which has been in contrast to most of August, which was cold and wet. The good weather has been welcomed by most people, however the local rivers have returned to summer level since my last report which has slowed the fishing again. While the lower Mourne has been quiet the upper Mourne continues to produce good numbers of fish. I have a feeling that fresh fish are still entering the river off these big tides as I have watched fish each evening this week heading and tailing during the last hour of light.

On Friday, local angler Liam Mc Grath with his second fish of the year, a beautiful fresh run sea liced fish of around 10lbs taken on the fly from Purgatory in Sion Mills. Well done Liam.

On Saturday and Sunday we took the River Mourne Guns and Tackle up to the Fish Fest event. It was a great couple of days and there was a great atmosphere at the event. It was great to see Scott Mac Kenzie, Trond Syrstad, Paddy Keenan and Peter O' Reilly all on the same bill. The guides from the River Mourne Fishing Academy were at the event providing tuition in casting to kids and some adults too. It was great to see the next generation of anglers learning the techniques that will help them at the beginning of their fishing careers. I would like to say a big thanks to the guides from the River Mourne Fishing Academy; they never stopped over the two day event. Hopefully this event will be continued on an annual basis. It's great seeing everyone working together to help promote the fishing in our local area.

I was lucky enough to go fishing with Trond Syrstad on Monday after the Fish Fest event. It was a pleasure to watch him fly fish. I have never seen anyone who makes casting seem so effortless. We managed a fish each on the Fly, with Trond hooking and loosing another two. Talking to him about or local rivers here reminded just how lucky we are to live on the banks of the Mourne. On Tuesday two visiting American anglers staying at Glenmore had fish from the Snaa. Larry Parkes and Paul Minich from Florida had three fish to 10lbs all on the fly.

The River Mourne Guns and Tackle are starting a sale on Saturday of this week. We will be offering up to 40% off selected fishing rods, reels and equipment. We also have a special on breathable waders reduced to clear from as little as £80 and Snowbee Ranger Boots and Waders for £110. Call in for a bargain. Keep an eye on our Facebook page River Mourne Guns and Tackle for our upcoming sea angling trips. Anyone interested in getting involved in our sea angling society can contact the shop on 02871 886218.


New fishing festival comes to the North West

The continuous rain from the middle to latter part of last week brought welcomed fresh water to both Rivers. The Finn was probably as high as it has been all season, with the first proper flood in months. It is just a pity that it came so late in the season when the Finn season is almost at a close.

It was Saturday before the river levels dropped on the Finn. I didn't get many reports of fish; however no matter whom I spoke to that fished seemed to have some success. Eddie Gilmore had two fish from the lower section of Glenmore, one at Mc Ginty's and one at Keys, 12lbs and 6lbs respectively. Ronan Greene had a grilse from above Letterbrick and Michael Maxwell had 3fish to 5lbs from the Upper Finn and Reelin, all on Saturday.

Since the weekend river levels have dropped on the Finn. The Mourne has also produced some fish as the water levels dropped, taking a bit longer to fall into order. It was Sunday morning before fish began to take the fly. I had reports of fish on the middle Mourne. Local angler Andy Brown had a good fresh fish of about 9lbs he returned. My brother Jarlath, Brian Mc Evoy and Stephen Mahood all had fish on Sunday, all were fresh fish around 5-6lbs and all were returned safely.

On Monday I fished myself most of the day and while I seen plenty of fish heading and tailing, I never had as much as a pull. I was however glad to see some fish running after our recent quiet spell. I had reports of another couple of fish caught on Tuesday, a good fish of about 8-9lbs by Dessie Patton and another fish of around 5lbs by Andy Brown.

On Sunday the shop is running a trip to Rathmullen, Donegal to go out sea fishing on the Rathmullen Charter Boats. While this weekend trip is fully booked, keep an eye on our facebook for future day's boat and shore fishing. We are also taking bookings for a trip from Killybegs in two weeks time.

This weekend see the first 'Fish Fest', the event is to be held on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th September at Vaughan's Holm, Newtownstewart, from 10am on Saturday and from 11am on Sunday through to 4pm each day. This major all-new angling event on the riverbanks of the scenic Strule, is organised by Strabane District Council, in partnership with the Loughs Agency. Highlights include live Double handed casting demonstrations from 3 times World Spey Casting Champion Scott Mackenzie and Trond Syrstad, one of the world's most high profile and best respected flycasters. There will be also single handed casting demonstrations to be carried out by two Irish legends Peter O' Reilly and Paddy Keenan from APGAI. It also offers free family-friendly entertainment centred on fly tying and casting demonstrations, youth angling workshops and competitions, and general fun day activities.

We will be taking the River Mourne Guns and Tackle to the event and offering some special discounts on that weekend on our game and sea angling equipment. The Guides from the River Mourne Fishing Academy will also be there to help out with some workshops and competitions. Should be a great event for all the Family. Let's hope the Salmon fishing picks up these coming weeks.


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