The upgraded facility, which was funded by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) through its National Strategy for Angling Development, is hoped to attract international angling competitions and visiting anglers.
The fisheries development project saw the opening of an inaccessible angling stretch and the addition of 40 new coarse angling pegs along the shoreline which were required to cater for the lough’s growing number of anglers.
In addition, a new access point to the lough was developed for anglers incorporating 500m of road access, a vehicular access track beside the lake shore and new car parking spaces. IFI provided funding of €105,248 while Monaghan County Council contributed €35,000 to the project.
Minister Humphreys welcomed the upgrades. “Lough Muckno is a renowned angling destination and a valuable amenity to the community at large, offering significant value from both a tourism and recreational perspective. I am delighted to see investment in this facility which ensures it remains at international match standard,” she said.
The project is just one of many fisheries development schemes being delivered across the country under the National Strategy for Angling Development, which IFI touts as the first comprehensives national framework for the development of the angling resource.
The strategy provides opportunities for habitat improvement along with funding which will improve angling access and tourism development.
Cllr Seamus Coyle, Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council, said: “The development of this new stretch was required because of the success and popularity of the three previously developed sections on the lake.
“Because these stretches are regularly booked to capacity, it was important to provide another stretch to cater for all those who want to fish the lake and this is where South Lodge comes in.
“I have no doubt that this development will have a significant impact on the local economy and look forward to welcoming more international visitors to Castleblayney”
Dr Ciaran Byrne, IFI chief executive, added: “Lough Muckno has been extremely effective in attracting angling visitors to the town of Castleblaney over the years and this has had a positive economic impact on the area.
“It is fantastic to see rural communities engaging around the angling resource and we continue to support projects nationwide which look to support the improvement of fish habitats and remove barriers to accessing the fisheries resource.”