A nice mild morning with a light mist in Foxford. Very close to the start of a new season on the Moy, on paper at least. In reality it will be the middle of March before it really kicks off. The river is actually in nice condition, 0.65m at Ballylahan bridge and a good level through Foxford. I don’t want to say it out loud but we need rain. Normally at this time of year the Loughs are a lot fuller and are a great reservoir through the spring and early summer. I’m relatively confident it will come 😊. Tuesday the 1st February is opening day. With conditions as they are I have a feeling there will be a few anglers (Locals at least) out for a few hours, especially if the weather stays mild. Chances of a fresh fish are small but its nice to have an excuse to get out and enjoy nature. I’ve said before that It’s my personal belief that the season opens to early and it would be better leave it until March to open. I was told yesterday by a reliable source that fish were still spawning a week ago. Watching the river in Foxford, there’s a lot of Kelts heading down.
For anyone that is going to “Wet a line” through February, Good Luck. Please remember there will be lots of Kelts heading downstream. Try to give them a chance. For anyone new to Spring fishing I’m going to attach a little piece I done a few years ago regarding the differences between Fresh run Springers and Kelts. It’s no harm to have a quick read of it and if you like please share it.
Kelt v Fresh run.
Kelts/Slats: Are salmon which have spawned and are making their way back to the ocean. If this Journey is successful the Kelt which is worn out and emaciated after several hard months in fresh water can once again feed, regain strength and condition and perhaps make a second return to its river, only this time as a Larger Salmon. Identified by the thin shape, distended vent and presence of “gill maggots” on the gill filaments, Kelts are frequently encountered by anglers in spring when they regain a silvery appearance and can be mistaken for fresh run Springers. On the Moy it is not uncommon to hook a Kelt as late as the end of April. It’s easy to get excited when we catch a Salmon but let’s not get too excited before we first determine that it is a fresh run Springer. By Law Kelts must be returned unharmed to the water.
Spot the Difference
Fresh-Run Salmon: Recognised by the pristine condition, bright silver flanks and thick girth. A Salmon straight from the Ocean will have loose, easily detached scales and many carry sea lice which drop off within a few days. Spring Salmon rarely “show” themselves, on most occasions they make a boil in the water without jumping. Kelts on the other hand jump frequently and Tail walk across the surface. During the Spring period if you see a fish jumping several times or splashing on the surface its most likely a Kelt, move on and leave it alone. When hooked a Spring Salmon Fights hard, will make several runs and will stay deep in the water. A kelt may attempt to fight but after a few minutes and a couple of half-hearted runs will come to the surface.
Look Out For
Salmon that has Spawned “Kelt”.
Erratic Jumping (Tail walking).
Frequently follows Bait/spinner to the bank.
Short Fight, loses strength easily.
Can be Silver.
Normally thin with a flat belly.
Fins and tail are ragged.
Often scared or marked.
Gills are pale colour with maggots.
Fresh run Spring Salmon “Springer”
Rarely Jumps or “Shows” (unless hooked :)).
Hard Fight with long runs.
Bright Red Gills .
Here’s one to try for a Springer
The Lemon Shrimp
The Lemon Shrimp is one of the Shrimp patterns that seems to work well in Spring and takes fish when fished with both the fly rod or Bubble and fly. If you had this in a few sizes, a couple of Cone head cascades and something with a bit of blue and silver you’d be set for a days spring fishing on the Moy.
Hook: Esmond Drury
Tag: Oval Silver tinsel
Tail: Golden pheasant red breast feather
Rear Body: Yellow seal’s fur
Rear Body Rib: Oval Silver tinsel
Mid Hackle: Yellow cock saddle
Front Body: Black seal’s fur
Front Body Rib: Oval Silver Tinsel
Cheeks: Small Jungle cock
Front Hackle: Badger
Head: Black or Red