“JUST when all the fishermen thought they had it sussed - great March weather and plenty of obliging trout - April comes in with dropping temperatures, frost and the threat of snow.
“Well that is the challenges of fishing, it’s not enough contending with the fickle finned fellows but Mother Nature invariably meddles causing further confusion.
“Low flows, frost and sun all contributed in sorting the men from the boys on running water over the past week.
“Most anglers reported a drop in both quality and quantity of wild browns, although I recorded my best catch of the season from the River Lagan (with quality trout averaging over 32cm in length).
“The trout are still there no matter what the conditions - versatility, knowledge and the ability to adapt come into play.
“The rivers will make for really interesting fishing in the weeks ahead as the conditions continue to change.
“The River Mourne and rest of the mighty Foyle system opened for angling on Sunday, with prospecting salmon anglers were out trying their luck on a very low and sunken river system.
“The lower end of the system was always going to be the best chance of a fish and so it was - with one salmon recorded at the swinging bridge in Sion Mills and another from between the bridges in Strabane.
“I ventured this direction myself with the children on Sunday, although in pursuit of brown trout.
“This system, in addition to quality salmon fishing, also provides some of the finest brown trout fishing in Europe.
“It didn’t disappoint on Sunday and plenty of fine trout came to hand (for anyone interested in sampling the delights of this vast system, I can provide guided days for both trout and salmon).
“Banbridge Angling Club’s second competition of the year on Corbet Lough featured success in the Hanlon Cup for Neil Cardwell (Banbridge), with Brian Molloy (Lurgan) the runner-up.
“The next Banbridge club competition is on the River Bann on Easter Monday for the Carr Cup. “Woodford Fly Fishery in Carrickfergus brought a close to this year’s Winter League in glorious sunshine and temperatures more like early summer.
“Most of the competitors had set up with buzzers on floating lines and small lures on intermediates as their back-up tactic. “Dundalk’s Hubert Smith got off to a perfect start by netting his first fish within seconds and had his five-fish bag ready on the 25-minute mark, fishing buzzers and damsel nymphs on an intermediate line.
“Prizes included a Grey’s GS fly rod for the longest fish outside the top 14 plus a Grey’s Platinum or Airflo 6th Sense fly-line for every finishing competitor. “The final placings were as follows: 1, Gareth Morris 25 fish 910cm; 2, Roger Fowler 23 fish 847cm; 3, Jonny Hoad 22 fish 822cm; 4, John Kellegher 22 fish 798cm; 5, Brian Kerr 21 fish; 6, Huw Morris 21 fish; 7, Hubert Smith 19 fish; 8, Mark Carlisle 18 fish; 9, Julie Gerry 17 fish; 10, Susan Brown 15 fish; 11, Chris Spence 13 fish; 12, Lenny Magee 12 fish; 13, Lenny Magee 11 fish; 14, Martin Robinson 10 fish; longest fish, Jim Fleming.
“Closer to home at Glenkeen Fishery, Armagh’s David Bell lifted the ‘Angler of the Week’ title for the third consecutive time, with 25 fish brought to the bank during his day’s outing.
“David landed all 25 fish on the dry fly and also had the added bonus of winning the ‘Angler of the Month’ prize for March.
“Tyholland’s Brian Corrigan had a five-fish lead over David going into the weekend.
“Fish were feeding at a range of depths over the weekend, with anglers landing on the surface with small dry flies and buzzers.
“Other anglers used lures effectively to tempt fish at deeper levels.
“The bait lake continued to fish well over the weekend, with anglers landing their full ticket within good times and worming, again, proving to be the most effective method.
“Glenkeen Fishery will be open on Wednesdays from 9 o’clock until late.”
For further information visit www.brflyfishing.co.uk.