Gone Fishing With John O’Hare

You are all aware that over the last several years, I have highlighted in my articles the huge decline that has taken place in the number of salmon returning to our rivers. To illustrate the above point, in 1962, 3,600 fish were caught in the Sheen Falls Draught Net. There were so many fish caught as well in the Roughty and Kerry Blackwater that they caused a glut in the market for salmon. No such problem today. The estate agent of that time once told me that he could not source any more wooden fish boxes and so they came to the decision to cut short the draught netting season. This action took no account of fish caught by anglers and others, legal and otherwise in the full fishing season.
Two years ago the quota of fish catchable on the Sheen River for the full season by anglers (the draught net is now a distant memory) was about 100 fish. With the draught net now being only a distant memory. This years list of rivers for the Kenmare area makes for some sad reading. The Finnihy, which runs on the edge of town, is completely closed, as is the Owenshagh in Lauragh. Open, but only for catch and release, are the Kerry Blackwater and the Cloonee system. The Roughty is open but requiring brown tags, and those open but requiring blue tags are as follows; The Sheen, Sneem, and Croanshagh. What is the cause of low fish numbers you ask? Well a culmination of things but ultimately comes down to human activity, you and I. In other words, global warming, damage to spawning areas, harvesting krill which the fish need to feed on in artic waters (where do you think our Omega 3 supplements come from?) Interceptory fishing on the high seas, smolts going out full grown salmon returning, fish farms with high numbers of sea lice. The list is endless.
What galls me is that Dail Eireann is chock-a-block with politicians of all parties yet it is very rare, if ever, that you hear them highlight the huge damage done to the environment and wildlife by human interference. Are we such an arrogant race to not pass any thought to these creatures that co-inhabit this planet with us? I wonder what our money will buy us when this world is a desert. What started all of this was inland fisheries attempt to control the salmon catches by anglers on rivers to allow a few fish to spawn and re-produce. All anglers have a quota of 10 fish for the season Blue tags, that one would be so lucky!
As I already mentioned rivers under threat if low fish runs are either completely closed, are catch and release only, or have a brown tag issue to the amount of the total allowable catch of any given river. These brown tags are put on the fish with the blue ones and are issued one at a time. If a licensed dealer gets 20 brown tags from the fishery board and he sells 20 salmon licenses then he has no more. One can not increase the fish quota to get more tags (no fish). You may still fish if you like but without a brown tag you cannot kill nor keep a salmon. This is the Roughty’s current situation and has been causing a bit of aggravation, but if one could understand, I would hazard a guess that on average a couple of hundred anglers will fish it along its enterity in a season. So where does this leave you with 20 tags and that is only obe, some come back for extra ones so that they can continue catching and killing fish.
Jesus himself performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes, I think we would find it almost impossible to repeat with these brown tags and salmon. However, a lot of anglers still feel it can be done so leave them at it. All of us, if we want future generations to enjoy salmon fishing as much as we did. We will have to do our bit, and control our impulses to kill every fish we catch, so put them back and support Inland Fisheries Ireland and its officers. The future of the wild atlantic salmon looks very bleak indeed if we do not heed these warnings.

Salmon catches are at nil in Kenmare to the best of my knowledge.
A small number caught trolling in waterville, Killarney Lake trolling few if any, the Laune and Flesk Rivers same story.
Bit too early for reasonable catches for trout fishing, you have to wait for fly life to increase, however they should be about shortly in May.
We look forward to the Rainbow being stocked in Barfinnihy Lake and Lough Fada from May 1st.
Sea fishing is still quiet for pollock, mackerel and conger. Please do not forget the sea bass season is closed from May 15th until the same date in June.

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