Mourne/Derg report week ending 30.9.2010

Mourne Since my last report the Mourne has had two floods of note and several small  rises to complicate matters; the river has remained largely clean which has enabled angling even in very high water. The forecast for the rest of the season predicts a similar pattern with slightly above average temperatures and frontal systems bringing rain from the west. There is heavy rain forecast for tomorrow, Friday, 1 October.

High water has brought strong runs of fish into the river over the past three weeks, most pools are now stuffed with fish from small coloured grilse, larger coloured salmon with some very large fish more reminiscent of a king salmon – I witnessed a couple of these myself! There are also good numbers of very clean salmon mostly in the lower river down to Strabane. Reports suggest there is still plenty of fish in the Foyle. Fingers crossed these and more will move upstream on a small rise at the moment. It’s looking like this period will be described as a proper Mourne back end.

Although the river is full of fish it has been frustrating that when covering so many salmon there is a total lack of interest shown to all manner of flies or spinners. Several anglers fished hard all day recently in near perfect conditions without a touch, each commenting how he changed flies many times, poly leaders of different lengths and densities were changed to no avail. Prayers were said by one, another stuck pins in the corks of his rod handle and another considered suicide! After tea they went back to fish and within 40 minutes they hooked seven fish, landing four then, like throwing a switch, nothing more, no interest, total indifference.

This scenario has been repeated many times over the past few weeks by anglers. The only sure way of catching fish while they are in this mood is to keep your fly in the water. It is good to see many anglers are showing restraint and good sense by returning coloured fish safely especially when there are clean fish around. I checked my diary lately for 2006 and noted that four years ago we had a lot of high water throughout August, September and October limiting fishing to only a few days. Good numbers of fish ran the system.

Derg The Derg has enjoyed a number of spates over the past few weeks with good fishing levels. Unfortunately the good news ends there, few fish have been seen, any landed being in poor condition. Anyone landing fish from the Derg is asked to seriously consider returning them safely to spawn. What a pity this beautiful river is just a shadow of its former self.

Mourne/Derg/Feddens Report week ending 9 September 2010

Mourne A story of two halves over the past fortnight: bright sunshine and low water up until Sunday 5th, then a deluge of rain and a massive flood on Monday, followed by a week of high water and more rain forecast. The Mourne needed this clean out; if we can get fishing, things could look up for the tail end. The good news is fish have been moving over the weir at Sion Mills on a daily basis with an even spread of coloured grilse and better quality fish moving over the weir with ease.

Derg A similar story on the Derg: low water followed by fast rising, mighty floods. The Derg by now will be well cleaned out and even in high water fishing can be done further upstream around or above Killeter. Clearly, fish so far upstream might not be in peak condition so give this some thought when landing them. Around Ardstraw the water levels have not allowed for much angling but when low enough some fish were landed mostly by locals. Overall, so far a poor season with the Derg remaining a shadow of its former self.

Feddens (West Bank) Water levels very high during the past three weeks and fly fishing was not possible on most pools, but spinning in the permitted areas yielded fair results with several good-sized fish landed. The big flood of the 6th and high water ever since brought in a good number of fish and some good catches were made. Several anglers have been getting their bag limit with a good number of fish in the 7–11lb mark. Young David McDaid, a visitor from Ballybofey, had his first ever salmon of 7½lb spinning. At the time of reporting another large flood is rising so the fly angler will have to wait to the weekend and pray there is no more rain and the leaves stay on the trees and the water cleans up and the fish stay around and a fish or two sees my fly and they’re in the mood and maybe just maybe it’ll be my day! Tight lines!!!

Thought for September! In my family, there is no clear division between fly-fishing and religion.

Mark Gough @ NM Tackle, Sion Mills. Tel: 028 8165 9501 email:


Omagh District Council are proposing to build a Hydro-electric turbine on the river Camowen in Omagh. The Camowen is just about the most important river in terms of salmon-spawning in the whole Foyle system and any messing about with it could wreck it forever.

I’d appreciate it if you’d take 2 minutes to add your voice to those raising concerns about his project. I have already done so, but we need thousands of protestors to swing this around.Just a few words would suffice . e.g. I wish to protest against the proposed hydro-electric scheme on the river Camowen. I think an environmental impact assessment should be carried out before it goes ahead.

Here’s the link to the Council. If it doesn’t work, please copy and paste or type it into your address-bar.

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