Every day throughout the season and during the off season by people planning a trip to Foxford we get asked a lot of questions. Some of these questions are pretty straight forward and easy to answer, some are more complex and a little more difficult to answer and some would require a big crystal ball and a lot of patience. The patience I have but the crystal ball is still on the wish list 🙂
Over the next few weeks I’m going to give the answer to some of the most commonly asked questions. From the start I want to be honest and straightforward in saying that I do not consider myself as an authority on Angling or the River Moy but I do have a lifetime’s experience of angling and guiding and in particular angling and guiding on the Moy. I am not saying that what I recommend is the best, others may know better and I have no doubt they will let me know. I know some people are going to wonder why I have decided to do this and will ask what he is getting out of it. Well I’m doing it for a few reasons. I enjoy helping people and sharing what knowledge I have. I love when an angler tells me that he or she has had success due to some bit of help or advice we have given. I also want to promote and grow my business. We have had this website for a good few years and have never taken full advantage of it. I see this as a way of driving traffic through the website and perhaps creating a few sales. Perhaps if you enjoy this and get something from it you may at some stage choose to purchase something offered on themoy.com or visit our shop when you are in the area. I think this is a fair exchange and will work both ways.
Q1: What’s the Season on the Moy and what’s the best time of year to come to fish.
Perhaps not the most asked, but this is a very regularly asked question. As there are many factors that are out of our control we cannot say for definite how a particular time of year or part of the season will be. I will as follows give a general idea of what a normal season is like.
February: The seasons opens on the First day of February. There will be a lot of Kelts (Spent fish) making their way down stream at this time of the season. Fresh Salmon have been taken on opening day, mostly above the weir in Ballina. The earliest I have ever taken a fish (fresh run spring Salmon) was on the 2nd of February while fishing with my friend Thomas Monaghan on the Cloongee fishery and I can safely say that was a fluke. Realistically there is a very slim chance of taking a fresh fish this early in the season. It’s a nice month for a local who lives close to the river to take the rod on a fine evening and have a cast while dreaming of better days to come but I could never recommend anyone to travel in the hopes of taking a fish.
March: Most Locals will not start fishing before the middle of March and St. Patrick’s Day is for most of them the start of the season. One of my child hood memories is of two old local men, Paddy Coleman and Gerry Madden. Paddy always fished a pool called Cairigeen about one mile upstream of Foxford while Gerry fished close to his home in Cloongee. There was a form of competition between the two gentlemen, both well known “Good fishermen” as to who would catch the first Salmon of the season. Every year sometime in the middle of March one or the other would arrive in town with a Springer wrapped in newspaper. The victory would be celebrated in the Local pub and from then on the season had begun.
March to May: Although the chance of success has increased greatly by mid-March there is no guarantee. Water levels and conditions play a big part and it’s not uncommon to have hailstones and howling wind. It’s not for the faint hearted but the reward of an early springer is something worth struggling for. The run improves as we move into April and by late April and the first two weeks of May we will be in the peak of Spring fishing. From Mid may on we start to see a few Grillse arrive. These early Grillse have a tendency to run hard and fast and it’s not un common to hear of a fresh sea liced Grillse been taken on Lough Conn or from the River Deel at the North end of Lough Conn. At the end of May there can be a lull period as the main spring run ends and the Grillse run starts proper. However, normally there’s fish about and subject to water conditions fresh fish can arrive at any moment.
June and July: Moving into June the Grilse run increases steadily. On a normal year It will peak somewhere between the third week of June and mid-July. Some years this is different due to conditions and water levels. The biggest problem at this time of year is the unpredictability of the Irish summer, we could have a drought or extended periods of rain and as the crystal ball is still on the wish list its one of the factors we cannot predict. In general there will be plenty of fish throughout the system and all methods will work. You may be better fishing early mornings or late evenings, again this is all down to conditions on the day.
August: August is a month that’s unpredictable. Depending on conditions it can be good or bad. In general the fish that have been in the system for a while are “resident” and can be difficult to tempt. If we have hot weather and water levels are low a lot of fish will lie in the tidal waters. A great time to fish some of the tidal beats and the famous Ridge and Cathedral pools. There will always be periods where something happens and fish switch on. For example a windy day where the angler using the Bubble and Fly has a bonanza or a night’s rain can rise the water by 20 or 30 cm and we get a run of fish that have been lying in the estuary.
September: As we move into September and towards the end of the season fish that have been lying in the river tend to become more active and will again start to take more readily. Some fresh fish will arrive as well. The last two weeks of September are normally the best part of the month and as runs appear to be getting later it’s the best part of the month to be in with a chance of taking a fresh run fish. We would always urge anglers to fish with care during this part of the season. While I see no harm in an angler taking a fish for the table most Coloured or Red fish are not great for eating and if unhooked and handled properly can easily be photographed and returned to the water to continue to spawn.
A few of the more difficult questions we get asked have to do with water levels and conditions. The answers are more complex because they involve a lot of factors. Next Friday I will explain a little about water levels.