2008 was the best year in nearly 25 years at Ballynahinch with large numbers of Atlantic Salmon and Sea Trout running the system. Next year is sure to be a great year here on the fishery. Make sure to book well in advance for fishing during the summer months of 2009 it is sure to get booked up early.
1st October 2008
The fishing ended at Ballynahinch with the most promising season season since the collapse of the sea trout stocks in the late 1980s. 110 salmon were caught during July, August and September and close to 500 sea trout were released also. The river was out of order for long periods of time after the biblical rain that Ireland experienced during the summer months and this meant that large amounts of fish ran through the Ballynahinch Stretch into the upper reaches of the catchment. Lough Inagh Lodge, just upstream of Ballynahinch also had a record year with nearly 90 salmon landed and over 700 sea trout released.
September was the most successful month of the season for salmon with 41 caught, with over 50% being released. Notable catches were a 12lb fish caught and released by regular Nicky Strauss and first salmon for Australian visitor, Marcus Fletcher. Timmy McComrmick also landed his first salmon at Ballynahinch following on from his father's and grandfather's great catches of old.
12th August 2008
The beginning of August started with low water levels at Ballynahinch as the terrible deluges skirted around Connemara. The rain finally arrived on 9th August and we certainly got enough water! The first two days of August were blank days, however from 3rd - 12th there has not been a blank day for salmon. The best day was Sunday 10th when 7 salmon were caught. The total for the month so far is 17 bringing the season total to 65.
The water is currently very high and there are still large numbers of fresh fish running the system. Prospects for the season remain for it to be the best in 12 years. The sea trout have mainly pushed up the system towards Lough Inagh, however, there are still some finnock being caught coming in off the tide. Top rods at the hotel are Nicky and Derek Strauss who have 9 between them for the season.
28th July 2008
The Ballynahinch Fishery has just enjoyed its best July in 12 years. Over 35 salmon were landed up to the 28th of the month and every fish was fresh, most of them with some sea lice. All of the fish were grilse with an average size of 5.75lbs. The best fishing was from Beats 1 and 4, however, Beats 2 and 7 produced some fine fish including a wonderfully fresh sea run fish from the Dentist's Pool by regular visitor, Paul Sims.
First fish at Ballynahinch were recorded for Adam Greaves who took an 8lb and a 6lb grilse from Beat 1 over his two visits during the month. John McDowall finally broke his duck after 5 years by taking 2 grilse over as many days from Beats 1 and 4. Richard Sheehan took his first Irish salmon, a well deserved fresh 5lb grilse from the stream of Beat 4 whilst Patrick Harendza also caught his first Ballynahinch salmon, a 5lb grilse from Beat 1 on 8th of the month.
The month started off wet and the good water continued at Ballynahinch until about 24th July. The river remained low until the end of the month and as I write droves of fresh grilse are leaping around the lower beats eager for a bit of water to move upstream. Rain is forecast for the end of the month so the start of August should bring some great fishing.
The salmon run over the counter will come very close to equalling the record breaking July run of 2007 where 1680 salmon were recorded, however, a rise in water will be needed to achieve this in 2008. The end of the drift netting and continued closure of the salmon farm in the estuary means that salmon runs at Ballynahinch are certainly double that seen during the 1990s.
The sea trout run for July continued to amaze us after such a fine run in June with over 4000 sea trout having entered the system so far this year. Over 200 sea trout were landed for the month with 50 trout over a pound weight and 5 trout over 2lbs. The run is predominantly fish of just under a pound, however, the increase in size and quantity of sea trout since the closure of the salmon farm is fantastic. Lough Inagh Fishery, just upstream from Ballynahinch will fish very well for sea trout during August and September.
For hotel and fishing reservations, contact Ballynahinch Castle on +353 95 31006 or email@example.com. Check out regular online updates at www.ballynahinch-castle.com.
10th July 2008
The run of salmon up the Ballynahinch has been very steady since we got water on 24th June. The total run of salmon for June was up over 50% on 2007 and the July figures are in line with that of last year. The grilse are a good size this year with the average fish about 6lbs weight which is ½ lb up on 2007. To date there have been 18 salmon caught on the castle stretch with the largest fish falling to Stephen Cullinane. It was a lovely 11lb sea liced fish caught underneath the hotel. Lough Inagh fishery has had it best start to the season in many years and they have landed nearly 30 salmon so far this season.
Most encouraging is the increase in the size of the returning sea trout this year. The number of fish has also increased and we are well on the way to getting a healthy stock of these wonderful fish back into the Ballynahinch system again. There have been over 250 sea trout landed at the castle so far this year with many fish over the pound mark
12th June 2008
Spring fishing on the Ballynahinch system is normally carried out in hope rather than expectation. The fishery has always been a summer system with limited numbers of springers entering the system. With such few spring days fished between Ballynahinch Castle and Lough Inagh Fishery, 9 springers have been landed. This is the most prolific spring year since 2004!
Ann Corcoran landed the first salmon of the season for Ballynahinch in early May. It was a 9lb bar of silver taken from the run at the top of Beat 3. Local fishing guide, Cyril Biggins took a stunning 11lb spring fish from the long pier on Beat 4. The fish took him to the end of the backing whereby the attachment knot to the reel came undone. Cyril then managed to skilfully hand line the fish and bring him to the net.
UK Club Member, Jack Meredith, whilst over in Ireland on a golfing trip, threw a fly at the top of Beat 3 on 25th May. He landed a fresh 5lb fish. Based upon reports from around the country it is likely that this fish was a two sea winter fish rather than an early grilse. This worrying trend of smaller spring fish is of great cause for concern.
Traditionally by 12th June the hotel would certainly have landed its first grilse of the season. However, the trend over the past 5 years shows that we probably will not get our first grilse until the last week in June. The water levels are very low at the moment and have been like this for nearly 6 weeks. We are expecting rain next week and hopefully it will coincide with the first run of grilse into the system.
There have been some large sea trout running through the counter in the past few days, however, the main run of trout will not come until later in the month. The cod farming operation continues in the bay, meaning that there have been no salmon farmed in the estuary since December 2004.
27th March 2008
The season has started off with high water. One fine springer was landed on the Derryclare Butts on Good Friday which is early for the Ballynahinch System. There are a lot of kelts being caught at the moment following our bumper spawning season this winter. The summer fishing is looking very promising.