Clonbur hosts two-day fly fishing competition for winemakers

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Clonbur in Co Galway always boasts of being nominated as one of the top 20 places in Ireland to live and visit (as reported in The Irish Times, Saturday 4th September 2021), and it has remained in good shape when I visited last week .

In one respect, the village of Connemara Gaeltacht is a step back in time with its laid back lifestyle and close community spirit, while still being well served with all necessary amenities, including a new bakery that has only opened its doors. that last weekend, specializing in traditional Irish bread.

From a fishing perspective, the village is ideally situated between two of Europe’s finest wild game fishing lakes – Lough Mask and Lough Corrib – each within ‘casting distance’ and with easy access including by boat or ghillie rental.

For the past 18 years, Clonbur has hosted the two-day winemakers fly fishing competition, centered in Burke’s Bar and Restaurant on Main Street. Over 120 fishermen from across the country and beyond converged on the village and provided, I have no doubt, a welcome financial boost to the community.

The Covid-19 put an end to the event for two years. However, with the restrictions somewhat lifted, a group of “diehards” flew the flag in a scaled-down version last week. No price, no official entrance fee, no gala dinner, just fishing (basically).

Sadly, Lough Mask was like a pond for both days. On day one, 20 boats (40 fishermen) fishing from various vantage points, including Cushlough, Roshill and Burke’s, only managed to catch four fish. Alan Haugh of Loughrea took top honors with a 2lb 9oz (1.16kg) Ferox Trout over an Elk Haired Nymph.

Donald O’Leary (left) and Daniel “Dinger” Murphy, Day 2 contest winners on Lough Mask, with Tómas Burke (center)

Your correspondent caught one, unfortunately the smallest of the four! The second day was a little better, with 22 boats bringing back 18 trout. Donald O’Leary and “Dinger” Murphy, both from Cork, brought four, two each, to win the day.

Conditions improved over the next two days, sufficient to move the fish and for the trollers to enjoy a well-earned sport. I managed to handle five good sized trout (one came back), mostly one lover of sooty olives.

For those who turned out, all really enjoyed the few days, although it was a bit strange to find the main drag deserted shortly after 11pm each evening !! Can not wait for next year.

Farmed salmon discovered on the Dawros river

Galway Fishery Officers were recently alerted by anglers fishing for wild Atlantic salmon on the Dawros River at Letterfrack of farmed salmon from the Connemara fishery. The fish caught had poorly formed fins and other distinctive features associated with farmed salmon.

Scientists inspected samples from the river and confirmed that the fish are “of aquaculture origin” and are not wild Atlantic salmon. Investigations are underway to determine the source of the escape and the Department of the Navy, which is responsible for issuing aquaculture licenses, has been informed.

Dr Greg Forde, Head of Operations at Inland Fisheries Ireland, said: “The Dawros Rivers have been designated a Special Area for the Conservation of Wild Atlantic Salmon and we are seriously concerned about the impact that farmed salmon have could have on this native species.

“Farmed salmon could potentially transmit disease to the native wild salmon population. The first indications are that farmed salmon, due to their size and development, may be able to spawn this winter and breed with wild fish, thus weakening the natural gene pool unique to the Dawros River.

“To protect and conserve wild Atlantic salmon for present and future generations, it is absolutely essential that all salmon aquaculture facilities are completely secure and that farmed fish are not allowed to escape into the wild.

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