Abercorn Estates – Upper Mourne, 2010 Season Fishing Report

Overview The water levels this season made the availability of fishing trickier than in previous years. When conditions were right, great fishing was enjoyed with a total of 133 fish caught for the season. Those fishermen who adapted tactics and fished in low water were rewarded for their efforts. There was a good strong run of fish at the back end of the season which made up for thin number of lack spring, early summer fish. It was a relief when our regulatory body, the Loughs Agency, decided not to allow the licensed nets to operate this year in the Foyle. Sadly, this was due to the River Finn (sister river to River Mourne) failing to reach its conservation limit. There is a concern that the counter figures at Sion Mills indicate that there has been a lack of fish up the river this year for our system to meet its conservation limits. It is hard to tell due to the varying water levels this season. If it is decided that the conservation limit is not met then it is likely that we will become catch and release for next season.

October The final weeks of the season saw a prodigious amount of fish in all the pools in the Upper Mourne. However, they were not easily caught and proved to be testing. Light fishing pressure yielded a modest 15 fish for the month. Richard Kingston from London visited us on 11/12 Oct caught three respectable fish with his friend, Patrick Banks, catching one fish in the Snaa. Jim Murray caught three good fish on 17 October largest, 9lb. All hen and gravid fish are released from 1 September on our fishery.

September September fished well with over 36 fish being caught on the four beats. The conditions had settled in the last week of the month with the water level near perfect. Two large floods were experienced in the middle of the month making access to the river difficult. On 9 September, J Hutton caught five salmon in the day, the largest weighing 7lbs. On 13 September, I Caldwell caught four good fish. Chris Tarrant was filmed catching a salmon on the Snaa; it is hoped that this will become part of a new TV programme. Visiting anglers from GB were here from 25 – 27 September, with S Farnham landing two and M Dawnay one at 6lb on Carniquin. On 28 September, M Dawnay used a Sunray shadow which helped stir the fish up and he caught a lovely fresh 6lb fish and had at least five others chasing the fly. R Kingston and P Banks timed their visit to perfection and caught eight fish over two and half day period.

August A total of 36 fish have been caught, with over 10 lost. The Foyle system experienced a steady amount of rain which has favoured running salmon. Towards the end of the month, I Caldwell reported that he saw 10 – 12 salmon running through the Snaa pool. Pods of fish were arriving in dribs and drabs. They were grilse of between 4–7lbs fish fresh into the system. The last weekend of August saw a total catch of 11 fish with a further four lost; good going, given low water conditions. D Smart, London and D Rose, Edinburgh each caught two silver fish on the Snaa pool, on Saturday, 29 August. B Garland, Belfast and two fellow fishermen caught six salmon in three different pools on Sunday, 29 August. A total of 36 fish were caught on the Upper Mourne for the month, which is respectable with good fishing throughout the month.

July The Upper Mourne benefited from decent water height in July making for good fishing, a total of 26 salmon were landed, with a further 10 lost. C Moran from Londonderry landed his first ever salmon, 4lbs, on the Snaa pool, with his father catching a similar sized fish. The largest fish for the month was caught by I Gordon, an experienced local angler at 10lb; that day he also caught two further fish at 5lbs and 2lbs. A 14lber was reportedly lost at the net the next day. Mid-July saw guest fishermen from Spain watching the reigning world spey casting champion Gerard Downey on the Snaa pool. The Mourne had at least two good floods which both brought fresh fish into the system.

June The Upper Mourne, like the rest of the Foyle system and for that matter most of the UK and Ireland, suffered from a lack of water. When the rain did come twice in the month the fishing responded. A total of nine fish were caught in June. 11 June saw four salmon caught on the fly: local and experienced anglers C Gillespie 8lbs and 4lbs in the Snaa and J Hutton 3lbs and 2lbs in Doaks; two other fish were reported lost. On Sunday 12 June a 6lbs salmon was caught on the Half Water by J Irvine. More water was needed.

May No catch to report for May on the salmon front. Good brown trout fishing for the syndicate rods with catches of nice wild brownies of 1 – 2½ lbs.

April No catches were reported.

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