River Moy Information
The River Moy: rises in the Ox Mountains and meandering through Foxford and on to Ballina it flows some 64 miles before entering the sea at Killala Bay. The Moy as it is known, is one of the most prolific salmon rivers in Europe with an estimated rod catch of between 8 and 12 thousand salmon annually.
There are no counters on the River Moy so no one knows exactly how many salmon enter the system. Anglers come from all over the world to fish on the Moy and fishing is readily available at modest prices.
The river is divided into 17 different Fisheries each owned or controlled by different individuals or Clubs. Most of these Fisheries let fishing on a daily or weekly basis. Making the decision on which fishery to choose will depend on a few factors, the type or method of fishing preferred, the time of season and of course the weather and water conditions.
The Salmon season opens on the first day of February and continues to the last day of September. Older Locals will tell you that fresh fish enter the system every day of the year but form experience we can narrow it down to some peak times. Nature in the form of weather, Moon and tides plays a huge role in timing of a run but an average season will be something like this.
February to Mid-March: February 1st sees the start of the fishing season. It is generally a quiet month on the river, a lot of spent Salmon (Last Seasons Spawning Salmon) “Kelts” or “Slats” as they are called, will be making their way down stream. The chances of catching a fresh run fish are slim. In a normal season there will be perhaps 10 salmon taken on the entire river for February. A lot of Locals take the opportunity to have an occasional hour on the river to “Wet the Line”, honing casting skills and testing the equipment for when fishing improves.
Mid-March to Mid May: From the middle of March the number of Fresh Fish (Spring Salmon / Springers) entering the river increases and while there will still be a large number of Kelts going downstream the chances of taking a Springer are quite good. Saint Patricks Day “March 17th” is a traditional starting day for many Local Anglers. The run of fresh fish increases throughout the remainder of the month and into early April. To put an exact date or week on the peak of the spring run is impossible as it can vary from season to season but generally between the second week of April and Mid May the spring run peaks. Numbers of anglers, both local and visiting increases and Foxford “The Capital of the Moy” awakens.
Mid May to Mid July: From Mid-May smaller salmon “Grilse” start to run. This run increases steadily through June. A few years ago we would have been safe to say that the run peaked about the third week of June, however for the past number of seasons this has not been the case, Instead the main run has not arrived until July. This could be due to many factors and we cannot say for certain that it will continue to be this late. One thing that we can say with a degree of certainty is that anyone who is fishing the Moy in the mid June to Mid-July period will certainly see large numbers of fish.
Mid July to September: By now there will be large numbers of fish throughout the system. Fishing conditions are dictated largely by weather conditions. In a summer where we get some sunshine and water levels are low fishing can be best in the lower reaches. The Ridge pool and Cathedral Beat are excellent in these conditions. If like the past few summers we get a lot of rainfall then the fisheries upstream will continue to fish well all summer. Early morning and late evening can be the best times, hence a lot of anglers make a combined family and fishing holiday at this time.
September: September is the last month of the season. It is a month in which anglers should fish with restraint. There are large numbers of fish lying in all the pools many of which are becoming “Coloured” and are preparing to spawn. Fresh fish continue to run but these “Harvest” fish are not as plentiful as the earlier grilse. Some large fish are hooked, most good sportsmen will return these fish gently and unharmed. The last two weeks of September are exciting in the Foxford area. Many anglers are having their final casts of the season and a lot of fish are been caught, old friends meet, drinks are drank, tales are told and life is good…