He made a list, checked it twice, then left it on the table and went shopping! I’ll just have to face it all again this afternoon. Give me a mountain, a Lough, a beach anything but a supermarket and lunatics with trolleys at Christmas. I think it probably goes back to the famine; I can’t be sure but whatever it is don’t get in their way for the last trifle sponge. Anyway, its Christmas and that came around fast, another few weeks and the Salmon season will be open again. The Moy does not open until February but further North the River Drowse opens on January 1st. Although a riverbank in January is not for the faint hearted it attracts a large crowd on opening day and very often the first salmon of the year is caught there. I’m sure a few of you are preparing for it already, best of luck.
The 2023 Licences have arrived and there’s no changes, I had envisaged a rise in price but fair play to the powers that be they must know we are under enough pressure already and have left them at the 2022 price.
We had a very rapid change back from hard frost to our normal wind and rain. On Saturday morning last the cats couldn’t walk and by Sunday we had strong wind and heavy rain, the good old west of Ireland. The river has risen a lot, it was at 1.8m at Ballylahan bridge yesterday, we don’t need to worry about that today. From lunchtime we will be closing the shop for a few weeks and fingers crossed we will have some time to get out and enjoy Nature and all it has to offer. If water levels permit, we will visit a few spawning spots to see what’s happening, ill report activity here. Apart from that it will hopefully be Climb a few mountains, walk a few beaches and fish a few spots. On behalf of P.J and Myself I want to say thanks for your support in the run up to Christmas, I know a few people will be receiving Leatherman tools and Stanley flasks on Christmas day. They will not be disappointed and we appreciate the business. We wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas, enjoy.
Season on the Moy
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.