23rd September 2006
The fishing at Ballynahinch since 8th September has been very steady with 10 salmon caught within the period. The largest was a 10lb salmon taken by regular club member, Gene McDonald on a silver stoat. Incidentally, silver stoats and Vambeck Specials have been the flies catching most of the fish. Visitors, Karen Chapman, from Alabama and Michael Nixon from the UK both took grilse from Beats 1 and 2 respectively.
We have been hampered by huge flood water the past few days and the river is practically unfishable. Over 3 inches of rain fell in 48 hours and the river rose by 6 feet. The last few days of the season should be fruitful when the water drops to a fishable level.
8th September 2006
On 30th August a great deal of rain fell in Connemara and the weather has stayed relatively unsettled since. The river rose considerably, which has given rise to some great fishing. All of the fish that were in the lower beats for the past month spread themselves throughout the river. Six grilse have been landed for the week with a good deal more lost. Large numbers of fresh salmon have been seen running the counter and 2 fresh fish were landed. Stephen Cullinane and John Casey have both taken fish whilst local guides, Cyril Biggins and Michael Van Mourick, took an 8lb salmon each.
The weather looks unsettled for the coming week and there are fresh fish around. Contact the hotel to reserve fishing.
31st August 2006
For the final 2 weeks of August the fishing at Ballynahinch was very slack. The weather was not particularly sunny, however, the water was very low and warm. Large numbers of salmon were evident, splashing around in most of the beats but were proving almost impossible to catch. For these two weeks only 10 salmon were landed. An English visitor, Mark Carrington, took a fine 8lb grilse on a dry Grey Wulff, whilst syndicate member, Toby Strauss, took another on a dead-drifted Daddy Longlegs. Hitched flies were the order of the day in the low water with anglers having great action. Not many fish were landed using this method, however it certainly livens them up. The sea trout fishing was very slack also with a few fish being caught and released. This is not unusual given the low water conditions.
14th August 2006
The first few days of the month the fishing remained in great shape with 4 fish on 1st August one on 3rd and one on 4th. The conditions were very good and looking back on the counter a lot of fish ran these few days. We have landed 11 fish since the start of the month; however, we haven’t landed any of the big summer salmon yet. Most of the fish are around the 5-6lb mark. There is a good deal of rain forecast for tomorrow so it might liven up the large numbers of fish sloshing about the place. Beats 1, 4/5 and 6 are still the hotspots, probably because they are being fished most of the time! Des Lally lost a very large fish on Sná Beg last week which ran all over for about 20 minutes and then spat the fly out. Vincent Foley rose a couple of nice fish on 7, but never hooked into any of them. The fish of the week definitely has to go to Toby Strauss who landed (and returned) a nice 6lb grilse yesterday on a dead-drifted daddy longlegs dry fly at the iron pier! Bruce Kelso and Tom McManus are other club members that have taken fish in the past 2 weeks.
The sea trout have mostly pushed up into the lakes and are not being caught in the numbers we saw them in July. This is quite normal so it doesn’t surprise us. Hopefully we’ll have a good wet September and the fish will be leaping out of the river.
31st July 2006
Ireland has experienced a very dry July with record temperatures around the country. Luckily being on the western seaboard we have managed to get more rain than others. Unfortunately, water temperatures rose significantly and the fish were not prone to taking the fly during the dry spell. Over the last few days the weather has become more unsettled and the river has risen slightly. Six grilse were landed yesterday with two the day before that. The syndicate members have been having the best fishing with Tom McManus with 3 for the year as well as Ann Corcoran. Regular angler, Fergus McKeagney, landed 3 fish for the morning yesterday returning two. We should have a good week's fishing if the weather stays unsettled as there are a good few salmon in all the beats.
The sea trout fishing has still been fantastic. It is mostly confined to the evening now as they do not take as readily during the day. We have already caught more sea trout this year than our total for last year (420) and we will definitely improve on this figure as the season goes on.
We still have availability for fishing for August and September, for reservations, contact the hotel at the above number.
10th July 2006
Since I last wrote we had a good dump of rain on Saturday 8th and the river has only just levelled off. As the river just started to rise the huge numbers of grilse in Beat 4 and 6 came on the take. Six salmon were landed for the day and two were landed on Sunday. All of them were grilse and ranged from 4lbs to 8lbs. The collie dog and silver stoat were the flies working best. Most of the fish fell to our regular Club Members. On Saturday evening the counter recorded large numbers of salmon in 24 hours and the sea trout were going up the weir at a steady rate all day.
I went down the river on Sunday afternoon for an hour and landed and returned 15 sea trout. They ranged from ½ lb to 1 lb and were in great condition with very few lice on them. It is the best run of sea trout since 1988, the year that stocks collapsed upon the arrival of salmon farming in the estuary.
The river height is now perfect and the weather is very unsettled. The picture on the right is of Tim Stoodley who caught (and returned) the first grilse of the season on Beat 1.
5th July 2006
The fishing over the past 10 days has been as expected for this time of year. The grilse arrived in good numbers with the spring tide and the counter was registering up to 25 salmon per day. The salmon have been running very fast through the system and are being caught in the streamy water as they rest on the upstream journey. The streams of Beat 1 and 4/5 have been fishing best, however, grilse are been spotted in Sná Beg, Ranji's Rock and Stanleys Run on Beat 7. Since 23rd June, five grilse have been landed and a good few more have been hitand lost. Four of these five five have been landed by our syndicate members, Stephen Cullinane, Tom McManus (pictured right) and Jack Meredith. All of the fish have been fresh with sea lice on them. The sea trout have not been heavily fished for and we still have 200 sea trout captured and released. They are mostly around 3/4lb, however, it is not unusual to catch them over a pound. They are still running on every tide and we expect this good trout fishing to last into early August. The river is getting low at the moment and it is very humid so we are hoping for some wet westerly weather to bring about a change. We still have some beats available for July. For reservations, contact the fishery manager or hotel reservations.
23rd June 2006
I wrote on 18th June about the impending rain. It arrived during the week and since Tuesday morning there have been a lot of salmon and sea trout running the river. On Tuesday, we started fishing the river hard and local guide, Kevin Keaney, hooked into a nice fish on Ranji's Rock which responded by throwing the fly on an acrobatic leap! The exact same same thing happened to Des Lally on Beat 1 later on Tuesday evening. The fisrt grilse of the year was caught on the stream of Beat 1 on Wednesday morning. The 5lb hen fish fell to a silver stoat and was sportingly returned. The same anglers also caught a beautiful 1.5lb sea trout in the same morning. Club member, Gene McDonald, and local angler, Jackie O'Grady, both managed to get stuck into fish on Thursday but didn't manage to land them. Just before lunch today, a US visitor, Alistair Tulloch landed a fine 5lb fresh grilse from the short pier on Beat 1. He is pictured on the right. The counter is reading a fine run of salmon and also large numbers of fine sea trout over a pound. These large sea trout have been a rarity in Ballynahinch over the past 15 years and it is great to see them back again. I did some evening fishing last night for sea trout and landed 5 in an hour. It can only get better with the spring tide forecast for the weekend. Three salmon were taken on the Derryclare Butts on Thursday with some of the big sea trout too. The fishing is very good, with prospects looking better. For fishing reservations, contact the hotel.
18th June 2006
After many a rain dance, we have seen some good rain today! The river is very low and we are in dire need of a decent fall of rain. The forecast this week is for unsettled weather so we are keeping our fingers crossed that we get more than is forecast.
Due to the low water levels, fishing effort has been low. Those that do fish are connecting with nice sea trout in the lower beats. The sea trout continue to enter the system regardless of the low water. We are starting to see fresh grilse up as far a Beat 4/5 yet none of them have succumbed to the fly. Stephen Kennedy, an English visitor to the hotel to celebrate his birthday with a group of friends landed a smashing 1.5lb sea trout on beat 4/5 at the Iron Pier. The next spring tide is on Sunday next and hopefully it will conincide with a small flood to get the fish into the river.
9th June 2006
After one of the wettest Mays since records began, June has started completely different. We haven't had a drop of rain since the month began high temperatures and sunny skies have made the fishing difficult. This has not deterred the many anglers on the river who are starting to catch some nice size sea trout in the evening after the warm days. As we predicted, all is going to plan with the revival of our sea trout stocks at Ballynahinch. The fish counter is registering some good trout over the pound mark passing through, even in this low water. Our first grilse have started to arrive and a long-time regular visitor and shareholder of the hotel, Patrick Moore, hooked into the first grilse of the season on Beat 7 yesterday in the bright sunshine. As soon as some good rain arrives the fishing is really going to take off for both grilse and especially sea trout.
12th May 2006
The fishing has been quiet for the past few weeks with few fish being seen. The camera was installed on the fish counter and we are well underway in getting the counter calibrated for when the grilse start running in June. Traditionally this is the time of year when the large maiden sea trout run so we are keeping our fingers crossed that we will see some this year. Spirits are high on the Ballynahinch Fishery for a good year and we can't wait until the grilse and sea trout arrive.
17th April 2006
As I write, it is the end of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend and the river has been fished very hard. A small number of fish were spotted, touched and risen by the anglers, however, there was no success. The last of the salmon kelts have just about left the system and the sea trout and salmon smolts are on the downstream migration into the ocean. The bay is free of lice because of the absence of salmon farming so the mortality of these fish will be very low compared to previous years.
Mr Thompson from the UK landed the first fish of the year at Ballynahinch on 7th April. The fine 10.5lb fish was taken on Beat 3 on a trout rod, floating line with a #12 Red Francis fly. This would normally be summer tackle and it still has the regular anglers bemused who all say we should have sink tips or intermediate lines at this time of year!!
Summer bookings for the river are getting very busy, particularly in mid July where we are nearly booked up. The excitement is growing about the returning sea trout. For information on fishing the river, contact thefishery manager or hotel reservations.
20th March 2006
On 16th March the official opening of the salmon counter at Ballynahinch took place. Lal Flaherty, Chairman of the Western Regional Fisheries Board cut the ribbon to mark the occasion. Present were local landowners, members of the Ballynahinch Fishery Coop and further members of the WRFB.
March is a critical time for the salmon and trout smolts as they head to sea. There are still no salmon the cages in Bertraghaboy Bay meaning there will be very low levels of sea lice so we are looking forward to another good summer of fishing here at the castle. We are now taking booking for fishing for 2006. Contact details can be found at the bottom of the page.