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Displaying items by tag: Loughs Agency

The Loughs Agency has announced that angling permits for its waters on the River Finn and River Foyle, including the Greenbraes, are now available to purchase online.

Online permits will make angling in these rivers even more accessible, particularly during the current COVID-19 government restrictions when many tackle shops are closed.

Loughs Agency permits provide access to some of the best quality fishing locations in the Foyle system, which is famous for its salmon and trout angling.

The River Foyle is a large tidal river that begins its seaward journey near Strabane in Co Tyrone and Lifford in Co Donegal at the confluence of the River Mourne and River Finn, spilling into Lough Foyle at Culmore Point in Co Derry.

Along its length are several fishing hotspots, including Mary’s Pool, the Gribben, Corkan Island and the Backwater, where anglers can cast a line for salmon, brown trout and sea trout.

The Finn is a well-known spate river for spring fish, but it also maintains a good run of salmon throughout the season. Sea trout fishing is best from July to mid-August.

For the 2021 season, the regulations for the River Foyle and Finn require total catch and release for all salmon caught, and anglers must use single barbless hooks.

For more information on fishing in the Foyle catchment, visit the angling section of Loughs Agency's website. To purchase a permit, visit the Loughs Agency's elicence website. Prices are as follows:

  • River Finn permit: £20/€24 for adults £10/€12 for juveniles
  • River Foyle permit: £20/€24 for adults £10/€12 for juveniles
  • Greenbraes morning permit: £15/€17 8am to 3pm
  • Greenbraes afternoon permit: £18/€20.50 4pm to midnight
Published in Angling

Over £80,000 has been invested in habitat enhancement projects in the River Roe catchment area in Co Derry during the past two years, the Loughs Agency says.

More than 20 sites within the Roe catchment were prioritised by the agency as a result of an assessment process conducted with habitat surveys and local angling club engagement.

Investment since 2019 included installing 6,500m of riparian fencing along the Bovevagh, Castle, Lynn, Owenbeg and Woodburn rivers and adjacent to the main River Roe itself.

Native trees planted previously to increase tree cover in the Roe’s upper reaches have been pruned to encourage growth, and around 4,000 tree guards were removed.

Instream works were also completed in the headwaters to ensure suitable spawning habitat for salmonids.

This is regarded as an area of special scientific interest (ASSI) because of the river’s physical features and its associated riverine flora and fauna. It is noted in particular for the population of Atlantic salmon, which is of international importance.

Riparian fencing, tree planting and associated works will improve water quality with increased bank stability and reduced erosion risk, the Loughs Agency says.

‘At a time when our rivers generally are under threat, this work will hopefully prove its worth in the years ahead and help sustain this valuable resource’

Biodiversity support, protection of invertebrates and indigenous fish populations in the River Roe and its tributaries are all key features of ongoing river restoration in the catchment area, it adds.

Roly Wysner, fishery inspector at the Loughs Agency, said: “The positive engagement between Loughs Agency and landowners cannot be understated.

“We worked with landowners who were very willing to participate and understood the rationale for the installations. They appreciated how it would feed into achieving sustainable management of both the riparian and aquatic habitats.”

Local club Roe Angling Ltd also welcomed the projects. A spokesperson said: “At a time when our rivers generally are under threat from a number of sources, this work by Loughs Agency will hopefully prove its worth in the years ahead and help sustain this valuable resource.

“The success of this programme is also indicative of the positive relationship that exists between Loughs Agency and landowners.”

The Loughs Agency’s Habitat Improvement Strategy outlines works associated with conserving, protecting, and improving the abundance and distribution of wild salmon and trout in Foyle and Carlingford’s freshwater catchments.

For more information on Loughs Agency’s habitat enhancement work or to read the full case study for the Roe catchment, visit the habitat section of the Loughs Agency website.

Published in Angling

The Loughs Agency says it shares its stakeholders’ concerns about the impact of cormorants predating on juvenile salmon during the annual smolt migration.

Unlike other salmon predators, cormorants are a protected species under Article 4 of the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985.

Given the legal protection of this marine wildlife species, the management and population surveys are the responsibility of the Wildlife Section of the Biodiversity and Conservation Science Unit, Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and their counterparts in the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

Angling clubs and fishery managers in Northern Ireland should be aware of the process to apply for the appropriate licence to assist in managing these birds and other actions, including scaring the birds to move them on, after agreement with wildlife officers from NIEA.

The NIEA advises that under Article 18 of the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, an application can only be legally processed if it can be shown that:

  • There is no other satisfactory solution, and;
  • The licence is issued to prevent serious damage to a fishery.
Published in Angling

The Loughs Agency has highlighted £12,000 of habitat enhancements works on the Drumragh River catchment in Co Tyrone throughout 2020.

The Drumragh catchment comprises a series of branching river systems such as the Seskinore River, Routing Burn, Quiggery River and Owenreagh River.

Through habitat surveys and angling club engagement, the Loughs Agency assessed that the Aghlisk River, a tributary of the Owenreagh, had severe erosion issues. Entire banks had collapsed into the river, causing siltation of spawning areas.

The erosion was also being acerbated by livestock trampling the riverbank due to a lack of riparian fencing.

The agency worked in partnership with local landowners to install 310 metres of fencing to prevent livestock from accessing the river bank and to create a natural buffer. Another 150m of bank revetment work was also completed to combat erosion.

On the Quiggery River, 30 metres of collapsed bank was reinstated using root wads and fencing reinstalled following a flood which caused a large area of bank to slip into the river.

Seamus Cullinan, fishery inspector at the Loughs Agency, said: “These works will boost the rivers’ ecological status, ensuring salmon and trout requirements for the various stages in their lifecycle are met without hindering drainage.

“The riparian fencing and revetment works will improve water quality, increase bank stability, reduce erosion risk, support biodiversity and protect the watercourses’ indigenous fish populations.”

The Loughs Agency website has more on its habitat enhancements works, including a full case study for the Drumragh catchment.

Published in Angling
Tagged under

While some anglers enjoyed success on the rivers within Foyle and Carlingford in 2020, the Loughs Agency says it continues to take a precautionary approach in line with national and international trends.

The State of the Salmon Report published by the international lead on salmon management, the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), highlights the worrying and continuous decline in the populations of the Atlantic salmon.

NASCO states: “It now takes about double the amount of eggs to produce one adult (compared to 1990s) that will return to that same river to spawn — an indication of the multiple pressures facing the species throughout its complex life cycle.”

This decline continues to be reflected locally, the Loughs Agency warns, with rivers such as the Finn in Co Donegal failing to reach their conservation targets in 2020 and therefore will continue to operate on a catch and release basis for the 2021 season.

Now the agency is calling on anglers to take steps to ensure sustainability of the fisheries of Foyle and Carlingford. Anglers are encouraged to:

  • Update their catch return and fishing effort regularly throughout the season on the eLicence website. This data is used to help Loughs Agency manage the fishery using real-time data.

  • Keep the Loughs Agency’s 24hr Response Line telephone number +(0) 44 2871 342100 as a contact on their phone and report any concerns directly and promptly. The Loughs Agency relies on reports of illegal fishing and pollution from the public.
  • Practice catch and release. Many anglers already do this, with around 45% of anglers not taking carcass tags when they purchase their licence.

  • Implement biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of invasive species.

  • For the 2021 season, the Loughs Agency is issuing a maximum of one blue tag for the period 1 March to 31 May and/or a maximum two black tags for the period 1 June to 31 October, depending on the type of licence purchased. Tackle shops have been instructed not to issue more than these maximum quantities for the 2021 season.

The rivers Film and Foyle opened this past Monday 1 March, signalling the start of the salmon, sea trout and wild brown trout angling season. However, game, coarse and sea angling is already available in both catchments.

For still water game anglers, Binevenagh Lake opened on 1 February. The lake lies on a basalt plateau that towers over Lough Foyle and its flanking lowlands below with the famed hills of Donegal beyond.

The 3.2 hectare lake is regularly stocked with rainbow trout by DAERA Inland Fisheries and successful flies include Bibio and Buzzer patterns.

Fly fishing, spinning and worm fishing are permitted and the fishery has a daily bag limit of four trout per rod. A Loughs Agency game rod licence and a DAERA game angling permit are required to fish this water.

Some private fisheries are also operating and offer fishing for rainbow trout including Ballyheather, Altmore, Birchwood, Cashel, Termon, Oaks, Glenowen, and Duncrun Fishery in the Foyle area. In the Carlingford area, Donaghaguy Reservoir is open for trout fishing. A Loughs Agency game licence and a permit from the relevant fishery are required to fish these waters.

Coarse angling on the Newry Canal (Photo: Loughs Agency)Coarse angling on the Newry Canal | Photo: Loughs Agency

Coarse angling is permitted all year round, but the climate impacts on which species can be targeted. While tench, bream and rudd are active in warmer weather, roach and perch feed in all seasons and make good year round fishing for the coarse angler.

In the Foyle area, coarse fishing is currently available at Aghlisk Lough, Baronscourt Lakes, Enagh Lough, Longvale and Lough Muck near Omagh. In Carlingford, anglers can also fish for roach and perch at Bessbrook, Camlough, Derryleckagh, Drumlough, Greenan Lough, Mill Dam, Milltown Lough and in Newry Canal. A Loughs Agency coarse licence and permission from the relevant fishery owner is required to fish these lakes. In some cases a day ticket must be purchased.

The marine waters in Foyle and Carlingford offer fantastic sea angling with stunning landscapes and seascape backdrops. Flounder, bass, dogfish, dab, rockling, conger, pollock and ray are likely catches for the shore angler.

The Foyle area has over 90 miles of coastline of inlets, beaches, estuaries and rocky shores from which to cast from, while Carlingford offers almost 30 miles of coastline opportunities to fish. No licence is required for sea angling, but if fishing for salmon or sea trout a Loughs Agency game licence is required for the season.

Anglers are reminded to comply with the latest government advice and restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19. For further information on season dates, licence and permit requirements in the Foyle and Carlingford areas, visit the Loughs Agency website’s angling section HERE.

Published in Angling

The Loughs Agency has launched a new campaign appealing for angling enthusiasts to embrace the practice of catch and release to help sustain fish stocks in the Foyle and Carlingford areas.

The agency says it welcomes the growing trend of catch and release angling as a way of continuing to fish while limiting the impact on local stocks.

And it has produced a video guide to help anglers with their catch and release technique in order to increase the survival rate of salmon after release.

John McCartney, the agency’s director of conservation and protection, also explains the carcass tagging scheme which applies to salmon, brown trout and sea trout retained by recreational anglers, and highlighted the importance of returning any unused tags.

The Loughs Agency is aiming for a catch and release rate of over 80% for salmon and sea trout caught during the new season which is now partially underway.

It also wants to further reduce the number of anglers opting to take tags when purchasing a licence. 

‘The agency welcomes this approach to angling and would encourage all anglers to practice this method’

 McCartney says: “Last year, 45% of anglers purchasing a licence opted not to take tags and there is a growing trend of anglers implementing the practice of catch and release.

“The agency welcomes this approach to angling and would encourage all anglers to practice this method as a way of continuing to fish, whilst limiting the impact on local stocks.

“Numbered tags are allocated to anglers who request them when they purchase their licence. The angler then records their retained catch and the corresponding carcass tag number when updating their catch return during the fishing season, returning any unused tags to Loughs Agency when their licence expires.

“The catch return data from anglers is analysed throughout the season and used to make fishery management decisions to ensure the sustainability of species in Foyle and Carlingford.”

For the 2021 season, the Loughs Agency is issuing a maximum of one blue tag for the period from 1 March to 31 May and/or a maximum of two black tags for the period from 1 June to 31 October, depending on the type of licence purchased. Tackle shops have been instructed not to issue more than these maximum quantities for the 2021 season.

The above video guide to good practice for anglers with their catch and release technique includes the following pointers:

  • Landing the fish quickly to avoid exhausting the fish.
  • Use a soft knotless mesh net and keep the fish in the water at all times.
  • If you must handle the fish, use wet hands and cradle it below the belly. Never put your fingers inside the gill covers or lift the fish by the tail.
  • Use a single barbless hook to limit injury during removal. Remove the hook immediately, keeping the fish in the water.
  • If the hook is caught deep in the fish, cut the line and release with hook still inside rather than trying to remove deep-caught hook.
  • When releasing the fish, support it in the water using two hands, with the head pointing upstream to aid breathing.

 The season has already started on some still-water fisheries, with fishing on the rivers beginning to open up from Monday 1 March.

For further information on season dates, licence and permit requirements in the Foyle and Carlingford areas, visit the angling section of the Loughs Agency website.

Published in Angling

The Loughs Agency is reminding anglers in the Foyle and Carlingford areas to log and submit their angling effort, catches and releases for the 2020 season.

Rod licences for salmon and sea trout in Foyle and Carlingford come with a legal obligation to inform the Loughs Agency (via the eLicence web portal) of how many times the licence holder went fishing and got many fish they caught.

To date, the agency says less fewer than 10% of anglers have made their return for the 2020 season.

For the 2020 season, the Loughs Agency will be carrying out an in-depth study of catch returns and angling effort to determine fish runs in rivers, number of fish caught, weight of fish caught and/or released, and how much time anglers put into catching those fish.

As a result, anglers are encouraged to make their return and be as accurate as possible with locations, dates, weights, species, methods and time spent fishing.

The deadline for catch returns is Thursday 21 January 2021.

Published in Angling

The Loughs Agency is calling on anglers in Foyle and Carlingford areas to take immediate steps to ensure sustainability of their wild salmon fisheries.

It comes after the latest State of the Salmon report, published by the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (Nasco), highlighted the continuous and worrying decline in Atlantic salmon populations.

According to Nasco: ‘It now takes about double the amount of eggs to produce one adult (compared to 1990s) that will return to that same river to spawn — an indication of the multiple pressures facing the species throughout its complex life cycle.”

This decline is reflected in our local rivers and we are calling on anglers to take immediate steps to ensure sustainability of the fisheries of Foyle and Carlingford.

The Loughs Agency is asking anglers to play their part in conserving and protecting these important fish, based on the latest scientific guidance. Anglers are encouraged to:

  • Update their catch return and fishing effort regularly and throughout the season on the elicence website. This data is used to help manage the fishery using real-time data. Last year only 7.5% of anglers made a return.
  • Keep the 24-hour Loughs Agency Response Line telephone number +(0)44 2871 342100 as a contact on their phone and report any concerns directly and promptly.
  • Practice catch and release. Many anglers already do this, with around 42% of anglers not taking carcass tags when they purchase their licence.
  • Implement biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals.
  • Reduce the number of fish taken from the system by complying with the reduction in carcass tags. For the 2020 season the Loughs Agency is issuing a maximum of one blue tag (1 March to 31 May) and two black tags (1 June to 31 October). Tackle shops have been instructed not to issue more than these maximum quantities for the 2020 season.

As the fishery authority for Foyle and Carlingford, the Loughs Agency also plays a vital important role as a steward of key cross-border natural resources.

The agency is undertaking reviews — of legislation, angling development and more — to ensure that its priorities are informed by evidence, particularly in relation to scientific evidence gathered for conservation and protection.

Input will be sought from angling stakeholders on a number of key areas, such as conservation, real-time fisheries management, development of angling and legislation, via a consultation process in due course.

Published in Angling
Tagged under

Important research that will help advance the management of our seas around Ireland, Western Scotland and Northern Ireland has not totally ceased during the coronavirus pandemic.

The SeaMonitor project, which is led by the Loughs Agency and supported by another eight leading marine science research institutions, was able to deploy some of its innovative species tracking technology to better understand and protect vulnerable marine life in our oceans.

Since April, following work on a tracking array at sea from the RV Celtic Voyager, scientists from across the partnership have managed to safely tag and release over 250 fish from five rivers in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland with trackers.

The technology behind them, called acoustic telemetry, involves deploying a series of listening stations from Malin Head to the island of Islay in Scotland that will record transmissions from a variety of marine species tagged by the project’s scientists.

The data, which is due to be downloaded from the receivers in the autumn, will be used to support the conservation of a variety of vulnerable species such as salmon, basking sharks, skate, dolphins, whales and seals.

Funding for the SeaMonitor project to the tune of €4.7m has been provided under the environment objective of the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Match-funding for this project has been provided by the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in Ireland.

Welcoming the deployment, Gina McIntyre, chief of the Special EU Programmes Body, said: “I’m delighted to see such significant achievements for the SeaMonitor project given the significant challenges faced by all involved.

“This is a much-needed step forward for the conservation of a number of vulnerable species within our shared oceans. It only serves to highlight the benefits that are created through strong, mutually beneficial cross-border partnerships in the management of marine protected areas and species. Well done to all involved for advancing our understanding of our seas.”

For more information about the project visit the Lough Agency’s SeaMonitor portal or follow the project on Twitter at @SeaMonitor1.

Published in Marine Science

Loughs Agency fishery officers recovered illegal nets in two separate incidents on the River Foyle last weekend.

In the first of these, fishery officers seized a 150m-long net containing 28 salmon at an area known as Rosses Bay.

A sea trout, millet and flounder were also caught in the net, which was found in an important holding water for salmon on their journey to the tributary rivers upstream.

Protection of this area is vital to ensure salmon populations are sustainable, the Loughs Agency says.

In a separate incident, another illegal net was seized on the Foyle at Porthall in Co Donegal after reports from a member of the public about suspicious activity near the river.

The net showed signs of recent use, with fresh salmon scales visible. The net was seized and will be destroyed once a court order has been granted.

Loughs Agency encourages the public to report suspicious activity directly and promptly using the 24-hour Response Line at +44 (0) 2871 342100 or through the WaterWatch reporting tool on its website.

Published in Angling
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