2009 Fishing News Ballynahinch

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Fishing News 2009

1st October 2009

September was a month of two halves. The first half had very high water and the second half had very little! Not many fresh salmon entered the system during the month and most of the fish landed were fish that had come in during July and August. We finished the season with 60 salmon at Ballynahinch with only 15 taken during September. The largest fish of the month fell to regular angler, Miles McDowell who took a 9lb salmon from Beat 2 on a small Silver Stoat. Most of the September catches were either on size 12 salmon flies or size 12 trout flies such as Connemara Blacks or Claret Bumbles.

There were some sizeable sea trout still knocking around the river and a few were landed up to 2lbs. These fish should provide some good spawning this winter. Given that the salmon catch was down 50% on 2008, the run through the counter was only down by 20%. This poor catch is mostly attributable to the torrential rain which beset the country throughout the months of July and August (our most productive months).

The “fish out” on the last day of the season was an enjoyable day out for all involved. Despite the experienced anglers on the river for the day, only one salmon was caught by Colin McDowell, on a Silver Stoat Variant. Greg Forde nearly pipped him to the post in the dying minutes but lost his fish at Sna beg! Colin was presented the Mikey Conneely Perpetual Trophy by his team captain on the day, Tom McManus.

3rd September 2009

The past month has been very tough on the fishery with extremely high water levels since 16th August. Prior to that there were 7 salmon taken in a three day period prior to the rain arriving. Unfortunately there have only been 2 fish landed since 24th August with a nice 6lb fish taken from Sna Beg today.

If the rain stops September will fish well as there are reasonable numbers of fish in the river. Bookings can be made through the hotel on 095 31006

10th August 2009

Water and weather conditions remain very good here at Ballynahinch. The catch remains slow, however, with only 5 fish landed for the week. Nicky Strauss caught a fresh sea liced fish on Beat 1 on Saturday which is encouraging to know fish are still running. The total number in the book stands at 36, about 50% down on last year and 30% down on 2007.

We have 1900 to date over the counter compared to 2,300 in 2008 and 2,200 in 2007. This is only a 17% reduction in the run compared to the average of the past couple of years. I would envisage us ending up with about 2,300 for the year. This reduction, against bad spawning in 2005 and a terrible run throughout the country this year means that we are fairing out very well. By all accounts, the reports I am hearing from other fisheries on the west coast are not good. Hopefully there will be a late run in these fisheries; however, this is looking more unlikely as the weeks move on.

The water level rose last night with rain and Ranji’s Rock remains covered. Fish are holding in good numbers at Greenpoint 1, under the hotel, at the neck of Beat 2, around the Iron Pier and at the Furze Bush on Beat 4.

4th August 2009

Whilst the end of July is normally one of the top weeks at Ballynahinch, 2009 is not one to be remembered! The water level, weather and numbers of fish in the river was perfect. The only problem was that the salmon were simply not taking. Only 4 salmon were landed for the past week compared to about 12 for 2008. The numbers of fish over the counter is only 10% against last year, which is very encouraging considering the bad news which is coming out of the other fisheries in Ireland.

We have had a considerable amount of rain over the past few days and the river has risen quite substantially. Two fish were landed yesterday of 6lbs and 7lbs so things are looking more encouraging. When the water drops off a bit and the fish settle things we should start to have some consistent fishing.

Beats are still available for August and September and can be booked directly with the hotel on +353 95 31006

22nd July 2009

We are having a very steady season on the fishing front. It’s certainly not terrible; however, it’s not a bumper year. There is 28 fish in the book including three today (Beats 1, 4, 7) and two yesterday (Beats 1,4). Regular anglers to catch fish over the past week have been Paul Edwards (a beautiful 11lb fish from Beat 1), Chris Warne, Donna Warne, John McDowall, Colin McDowell and Jack Meredith. The “Ballynahinch” fish have only just started to arrive on the spring tides which we are getting at the moment. I was just standing on the bridge at Beat 7 an hour ago and counted 15 salmon below me in Stanley’s Run where I watched a grilse come up and take John McDowall’s yellow shrimp. He landed a lovely fish of about 6lbs with long tailed lice.


The run up the counter is about 20% down on 2008 whilst only 10% down on 2007. The run timing is very similar to 2007 which should mean that we will expect a good run of fish over the next ten days (fingers crossed).


The large sea trout which ran during June have been caught throughout the system over the past week. A reasonable number of fish up to 3lb in weight have been landed and released. The smaller finnock have not returned in any numbers to the catchment this year, however, this seems to be common throughout most of the sea trout fisheries in the country in 2009.


There is still availability in August on the river and if we get rain it should be fairly productive. Bookings can be made through the reception at the hotel on 095 31006

9th July 2009

A good deal of rain fell over the past week and the river is pretty much in perfect order for this time of year. The grilse are incredibly late to arrive at the coast this year which seems to be a common theme across the west coast. We landed 4 grilse for the week and lost a few more. The streams in Beat 1 and Beat 4 seem to be the best spots although Beat 2 has a good deal of fish at the neck. The heavy rain promised for the weekend should bring some more fish into the system.

The sea trout fishing is very poor and it is unlikely that we will see many more sea trout coming back into the system over the coming weeks. Invariably most of the finnock would be in the river by now. There is some good brown trout fishing in the evening around the hotel for those that are willing to brave the midges!

2nd July 2009

The fishing at Ballynahinch has been plagued with low water for the past months The violent thundery rain showers which have been falling on the east coast have not made their way over to us. This means that there is a good deal of salmon now starting to back up in the lower pools below the fish counter. Some very large multi sea winter fish are amongst the smaller grilse and sea trout. There have been four grilse landed over the past few days with most of the action in the pool directly downstream of the counter. Nick Ashe (pictured) took two salmon last night from this spot whilst fishing for sea trout with a small silver doctor. This pool is traditionally a sea trout pool; however, with the construction of the counter it is starting to hold fish in low water.

The sea trout run has been very poor over the past couple of weeks and hopefully when the rain finally arrives we will see them arriving in good numbers. There is still availability on the river for a lot of days in July. Beats can be booked by ringing the hotel on +353 95 31006.

25th June 2009

We were very lucky to receive a good night's rain last Wednesday which managed to bring the river from very low to low! There was great action over the counter from Wednesday through to Saturday when a good deal of spring salmon (up to 20lbs) were spotted on the camera. The sea trout run is reasonable, however, they haven't arrived in great numbers yet. Hopefully they will come soon. The grilse appear to be late this year again with only small numbers in the lower beats at present. This seems to be the case on most of the other fisheries in the area.

Cyril Biggins managed to tempt a beautiful fresh grilse from the stream of Beat 4/5 last night on a silver stoat at 2230hrs. This seems to be the best time of the day as the summer weather is not working in our favour. Another 5lb grilse was sportingly returned to Sna Beg on Saturday by a visiting angler out fishing for sea trout.

The continuing presence of the salmon farm in Bertraghboy Bay is a great concern for all at Ballynahinch and we are working tirelessly to ensure that our salmon and sea trout are adequately protected from sea lice infestation emanating from these farms.

11th June 2009

The spring fishing at Ballynahinch has been above average at Ballynahinch for 2009. As we are traditionally a spring fishery, the fishing effort is not immense and as a result few fish are caught. There are however on average, 2 springers per day running through the counter all of which appear to be double figured fish. There has been a small run of maiden sea trout up to 3lbs trickling in since the middle of May, however, only small numbers have been caught.


The best springers of the season for 2009 were caught by regular visitor Neil Loughrey (pictured), Stephen Cullinane and Peter Eaton whilst a good few others were lost at the net. The prospects are for a great year’s sea trout fishing at an average season for grilse.


Water levels are currently very low and as soon as the next flood arrives we will see large number of sea trout and the first few grilse coming in from the sea. Evening fishing for resident browns up to 1lb has proved to be very productive for hotel guests and is certainly worth a try. There is still a small number of places left on the fishery for July and August which can be booked by ringing the hotel on +353 95 31006.

Click here for the 2008 fishing reports
Click here for the 2007 fishing reports
Click here for the 2006 fishing reports
Click here for the 2005 fishing reports