Displaying items by tag: Lough Corrib
Life was simpler back in 1882 when the sailing folk of Galway Bay and the stunningly beautiful Lough Corrib inaugurated the Galway to Cong race the length of the great lake writes W M Nixon. People didn’t have cars, and still less had they efficient road trailers. So if you raced the whole way from Galway up the lake to Cong, you then had to expect to sail back again, and you’d have covered at least 60 miles by the time the day was out, though it’s likely they made at least two days of it.
But now with modern road trailers and dinghies dominant, complex logistics enter the equation. Since its revival in 1972, the race has been just one way – southwards from Cong to Corrib Village in Galway city. In order to ensure a smooth state of affairs after the finish, competitors are offered the option of leaving their boats by road at Lisloughry beforehand, then leaving their cars and trailers at Corrib Village where a bus will be on hand early in the Saturday morning to get them back to their waiting boats in Cong.
On the other hand, with people making last-minute decisions based on the fickle weather of 2019, maybe the handiest contact is direct to organiser John Barry, Rear Commodore (Dinghies) Galway Bay SC, at 086-8111269 – he reports that entries already in range from 420s to a selection of RS dinghies, participant ages are from 15 to 85, and there’s a strong female contingent taking on the challenge.
Meanwhile, the GBSC cruisers are recovering from their Summer Solstice Cruise to the Aran Islands at the weekend, which had a dozen boats taking part. While the sail round Inishmore on Saturday enjoyed Mediterranean conditions, Sunday brought driving easterly rain and a very damp beat home - all very character-building stuff.
Two anglers recently appeared in court on charges relating to illegal fishing methods on the Cong River and fishing during the closed season.
On Thursday 23 May, Mindaugas Jenkus of Claremorris, Co Mayo and Dalius Bureninas of Birr, Co Offaly appeared in front of Judge Mary Fahy at Clifden District Court in respect of breaches of fisheries legislation on the Cong River which occurred on 9 September 2018.
Both defendants represented themselves and pleaded guilty to strokehauling (using a weighted instrument or device with a rod and line or otherwise to foul-hook fish) and fishing out of season on the Cong River.
Bureninas also pleaded guilty to a further charge of obstruction under Section 301 (7) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959.
Fisheries officer Paul Reynolds outlined the facts of the case to the court, while assistant fisheries inspector Barry Kelly also told the court that the Cong River was a very important salmonid fishery with has a large run of Atlantic salmon and a good stock of brown trout.
It is also of particular conservation interest in relation to ferox trout, for which the river is renowned.
The Cong River is one of the main tributaries of Lough Corrib, and is one of the most important salmon rivers in the west of Ireland
Fisheries inspector Pat Gorman stated that these offences were very serious due to the conservation status of the Cong River, when asked his opinion by Judge Fahy.
The judge commented on how serious a matter these offences were and referred to Bureninas giving a false name and address when lawfully demanded. She also noted that Mr Jenkus had a recent conviction for a similar fisheries offence.
Judge Fahy stated that if both defendants paid costs of €600 each to the court at a sitting of Clifden District Court on 26 September, she may deal with the matter by way of a somewhat reduced fine.
She also warned both men to be on their best behaviour and not to come to the attention of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) again as there was a risk of a custodial sentence being imposed.
“The Cong River is one of the main tributaries of Lough Corrib, is one of the most important salmon rivers in the west of Ireland and provides habitat for a very unique salmonid sub-species, ferox trout,” said IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne when commenting on the case.
“The Cong River is closed to angling during September as a conservation measure relating to both Atlantic salmon and ferox trout. The river attracts many anglers and tourists annually to fish for these unique wild salmonid species.”
Sailors and boating enthusiasts from Galway’s sailing and boating clubs are coming together next month to follow their forebears in Europe’s oldest and longest inland sailing race.
On Saturday 29 June the fleet of dinghies will pit their wits against the elements and each other on the historic route along the length of Lough Corrib from Lisloughrey near Cong to Galway city.
Since 1882, sailors have raced the length of Lough Corrib. While the origin of the wager which prompted the first races is shrouded in myth and lore, the early races were hotly contested and a great social occasion.
They were very much a test of stamina as well as skill, with competitors completing a round trip of over 60 nautical miles from Galway to Ashford Castle and back again. It was raced annually until 1914 and the outbreak of World War I.
The race was revived in its current format, sailed in one direction from Lisloughrey to Galway, in 1972 and again became a stable in the Galway maritime calendar.
However, the weather gods have not been good to the race in recent years.
So, to ensure a successful event this year, the boating and sailing clubs around Galway have come together and moved the event to an earlier slot in the calendar.
It will take place this year on 29 June and follow the traditional steamer channel through the lake.
Full details of the race and the online registration are available on the Galway Bay Sailing Club website.
Transport will leave Corrib Rowing and Yacht Club and the Galway Commercial Boat Club at 8am to bring sailors to the start line in Lisloughrey. From there, the boats will make their way to Kilbeg for lunch and then continue on to the finish line in the lower Corrib.
However, the challenges don’t end there, with the Quincentennial Bridge providing a final obstacle to be negotiated — usually with the mast, sails and sailors in the water!
Following the race, there will be the chance to relive the decisive moments of the race at a reception hosted by the Commercial club after the historical silverware has been presented at CRYC.
Galway Bay Sailing Club has a link to the Notice of Race and Sailing Instructions, as well as the online registration form. For more details about the 2019 Cong-Galway Sailing Race, see the Facebook event page HERE.
The owner of an angling centre from Moycullen was convicted at Galway District Court last Tuesday 5 February for the illegal use of a net and for possession of an unlawfully captured trout.
The court heard that Michael Canney, with an address at Portarra Lodge, was approached by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) fisheries officers on the morning of 25 June 2018 as he was hauling an illegal net into a lake boat on Lough Corrib.
Diorai Ford, solicitor acting for IFI, outlined to the court that fisheries officers had covertly kept the illegal net under surveillance throughout the night.
The net had been fishing since the previous evening when it was discovered during a routine fisheries patrol.
Canney was accompanied in the boat by a foreign student who was staying with him where he operates an angling centre.
When Canney retrieved the net into the boat, it contained one dead brown trout. While in the act of lifting the net, Canney was approached by a fisheries officer on a personal water craft.
Canney was co-operative throughout. The equipment used in the commission of the offences was seized and included a lake boat and engine.
Solicitor for the defendant, Sinead Fitzpatrick, stated in his defence that Canney had a group of Italian anglers staying with him at the time and he was undertaking a survey to see what fish stocks were in the area.
Judge Mary Fahy commented that she knew several people who fish legally on a regular basis on Lough Corrib and that Canney was a mature man and that he knew that what he was doing was illegal.
Judge Fahy convicted Mr Canney on both counts, and imposed a fine of €500 for the use of an unlawful net, along with a fine of €500 for the possession of an unlawfully captured trout.
Costs of €600 were awarded to IFI’s solicitor. The boat and engine that Canney used in the commission of the offences were also forfeited.
IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne said: “Lough Corrib is considered Ireland’s finest wild brown trout fishery and is also a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) designated for the protection of numerous aquatic species including Atlantic salmon.
“Lough Corrib attracts a vast number of anglers from all over the world who enjoy the unique angling for wild brown trout, Atlantic salmon, pike and coarse fish that the lake offers.
“This conviction reflects the long hours that dedicated fisheries officers spend on a daily basis in protecting our valuable fisheries resource.”
Fisheries investigators found dead fish over a 5km stretch of the river in the Tolka Valley Park area, following the report on Tuesday 18 September.
According to IFI, a “significant source of polluting material has been identified” and samples were taken for analysis.
In the meantime “relevant parties are undertaking appropriate remedial action” as the investigation continues.
IFI will begin operations in 2019 to remove the aquatic plant Lagarosiphon major from the lough, after successful cutting and picking operations over the summer months this year.
In addition to these management operations, IFI commenced a research project last month which aims to establish the current distribution of L major in Lough Corrib.
New innovative methods are being trialled to survey the aquatic plant as part of this research. These include unmanned aerial drones, sub-aquatic remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and modern remote sensing techniques.
Speaking as he visited IFI’s stand at the National Ploughing Championships, Minister Kyne also asked the fisheries body and his department to continue liaison with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), who have responsibility for the legislation covering Alien Invasive Species (AIS).
#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland has published its 2017 fish stock survey for the Owenriff catchment as well as its rehabilitation plan for the system to promote the recovery of brown trout and salmon in its lakes and rivers.
The Fish Stock Survey — which was conducted in the summer of 2017 and forms the basis for the Rehabilitation Plan — deduces that the introduction of pike into the catchment has been the significant factor in the declining fish stocks.
“As there are little or no major anthropogenic pressures in the catchment to cause the decline in fish stocks, it is reasonable to infer that the introduction of pike and their subsequent range expansion in the Owenriff catchment (with impacts of competition for food and space and predation on resident and migratory fish) is the main factor causing the decline of brown trout and salmon in the Owenriff catchment. Research from Europe and North America supports this finding,” the reports states.
Anthropogenic pressures include human-induced factors such as urban growth, deleterious discharges, farming activities and introduction of alien species.
Although pike were captured for the first time by IFI staff in 2009 in two lakes in the catchment (Loughs Bofin and Agraffard) and efforts were made by IFI staff to remove the pike from the system, they did not show up in two catchment-wide surveys in 1997 and 2007 and were only officially recorded in a survey for the first time in 2015.
However, the latest report, from the 2017 survey, confirms that pike are present all over the Owenriff catchment “in areas where they can freely gain access and in some areas where they cannot naturally gain access.”
Welcoming the publication of the two reports, Minister Sean Kyne TD said: “We have acted swiftly since the interim results of this survey became known. In late January, I announced that Inland Fisheries Ireland is to commence fish stock management operations on the Owenriff catchment to protect and restore trout stocks which have been impacted by recent introductions of pike to the catchment.
“The consequences of not taking wider remedial action on the basis of these survey results would lead to further decline in ecological biodiversity in the catchment, so I very much welcome the publication by IFI of the Owenriff Fish Population Rehabilitation Plan 2018.”
The minister continued: “The purpose of the plan is to develop a fisheries rehabilitation project that can be undertaken on the catchment to promote the recovery of the brown trout (both resident and migratory Corrib) and salmon populations in both lakes and rivers. It will take time and will be costly, but we are already underway with this very constructive and positive roadmap.”
With stock management actions having already commenced, the success of the broader rehabilitation project will depend on applying the correct tools to rehabilitate the brown trout and salmon populations in the Owenriff catchment.
These include fisheries enhancement works in selected sub-catchments to favour brown trout and salmon; genetic restoration; removing the problem (pike control); reducing anthropogenic impacts in the catchment; public awareness (especially in relation to the impacts of the introductions of species not indigenous to an area); interagency co-ordination; climate change mitigation; and any other necessary measures.
The Owenriff catchment is located on the north-western end of the Lough Corrib catchment, and the main Owenriff River drains into Lough Corrib Upper downstream of Oughterard, Co Galway. The Lough Corrib catchment itself is the largest and most important wild salmonid catchment in Ireland, and Lough Corrib is considered the premier wild brown trout fishery in Ireland.
The Owenriff rehabilitation plan and 2017 fish stock survey can both be downloaded from the IFI website. Afloat.ie also has more on IFI's stock management plan for Ireland's trout waters in 2018.
#Angling - Sean Kyne, Minister of State with responsibility for the inland fisheries sector, has announced that Inland Fisheries Ireland will shortly commence fish stock management operations on the Owenriff catchment near Oughterard in Co Galway.
The measures to protect and restore trout stocks, which have been impacted by recent introductions of pike to the catchment, were promised last November upon the development by IFI of a specific stock management plan.
“The Owenriff catchment is one of the most important spawning and nursery tributaries of Lough Corrib, our most renowned wild trout fishery,” said Minister Kyne as he made the announcement today (Monday 29 January).
“Previous scientific studies have shown it contributed 15% of the wild trout found in Lough Corrib, and each year thousands of wild trout and salmon migrate upstream into the Owenriff to spawn.
“I am committed to protecting and rehabilitating the system and welcome IFI’s stock management plan which I have asked to be implemented immediately.”
IFI will be commencing a focused and intensive effort aimed at reducing the numbers of pike in the Owenriff catchment over the coming year.
While pike cannot be completely eradicated, the project will reduce numbers to a level where they are not impacting significantly on salmonid stocks.
It is expected that ongoing maintenance operations will be required in future years to help maintain the trout population.
Minister Kyne also emphasised that, in tandem with the stock management plan, IFI is also preparing an Owenriff Fish Population Rehabilitation Plan which aims to ensure trout stocks and habitats are restored and protected, thereby providing the best opportunities for a successful trout population. The plan will be available shortly.
Survey results are currently being compiled and will be available from the IFI website. Further information on the stock management plan is available HERE.
#Angling - Sean Kyne, Minister with responsibility for Inland Fisheries, has welcomed the development by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) of a specific stock management plan for Galway’s Owenriff system aimed at removing pike from the system as a significant step forward.
Stock management operations are normally commenced in February each year and the Owenriff plan will be implemented for 2018.
Minister Kyne said: “I met recently with the board and senior management of Inland Fisheries Ireland to discuss this, and other issues, and it has now been agreed that, in line with current policy, a stock management plan explicitly for the Owenriff will be implemented in a more intensive focus on the system to facilitate the recovery of the salmonid populations.
“It has also been agreed that IFI will continue to implement a stock management programme for the entire Corrib catchment, in line with its current policy,” he added.
The minister also welcomed confirmation by IFI that the results of a fish population survey of the Owenriff system, which was undertaken during the summer of 2017, will be reported on in January 2018.
Dr Cathal Gallagher, head of research and development at IFI, said: “We have listened to local stakeholders and staff in relation to threats posed to salmon and trout populations in the Owenriff, a tributary of Lough Corrib.
“To understand the scale of the issues reported and to support evidence-based management, Inland Fisheries Ireland conducted a fish population survey in late June and late July 2017. We have since worked in the laboratory and with relevant analytical tools to understand the dynamics of the fish stocks in this catchment.
“We have also reviewed mitigation actions that could be taken to restore damage incurred by specific stocks. A proposed rehabilitation plan for the system will be delivered in parallel to the fish stock survey report.”
As part of its research into fish population in the Owenriff system, IFI surveyed 17 river sites and two lakes using standard fish population sampling methods.
IFI staff are currently analysing the data and comparing it to data from previous surveys and neighbouring catchments to determine the status of the fish stocks and to assess change.
A fish stock survey report, which will be available in January, will document important metrics including fish species richness, fish abundance, length frequency, age and growth, and fish ecological status.
Supported by analysis of the survey results, and taking account of the ecology of specific systems, IFI says it will deliver a detailed plan which will focus on the rehabilitation of endangered fish populations in this important catchment.
This will include plans to maintain the genetic diversity of salmon and trout stocks in the Owenriff catchment.
#Angling - Wild brown trout in Connacht lakes face extinction due to unchecked numbers of pike, local anglers fear.
According to Galway Bay FM, the Connacht Angling Council says stocks in Lough Corrib and Lough Mask are among those under threat unless measures such as a closed season for angling and a pike cull are introduced.
Ahead of its ‘Pike are Predators – Save our Wild Brown Trout’ campaign launch this Wednesday 20 September from 8pm at the Boat Inn in Oughterard, the council has launched an online petition in the hopes of persuading Inland Fisheries Ireland to take action against the “predator” species.
The consultant and cancer surgeon is believed to have drowned after his boat got unto difficulties off Oughterard, Co Galway on Friday 12 August, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.