I’m afraid 2016 was another poor year for local freshwater game anglers in particular.
At the start of the season confusion abounded over rules on where and whether anglers could keep rod caught salmon.
The season ended in October with anglers being even more confused about what to do with a declaration that they “MUST KILL” any fish caught that had escaped from fish farms?
Most anglers I know cannot tell the difference between a fish farm salmon and a wild salmon especially when you only have seconds to distinguish the fish before releasing it back into the water.
I continually engage with different angling club board members who cannot understand why stocking our rivers which are now producing shockingly low returns every year is still not an option to try and help improve things.
A blanket refusal to allow angling club waters to add stock has dumbfounded most of us for years.
On one hand we are being told our systems hold healthy stocks of fish and on the other hand we are told we cannot keep a fish because stocks are too low.
But like all good politicians, those who put these rules into place wangle a way out of this paradox by saying they can explain it?
The reason being they made a mistake in the way they calculated their figures.
Why then impose a rule that they knew before the season began was the based on false figures and has devastated local angling club revenue and put probably 50% of anglers off fishing for salmon altogether where these rules applied?
I understand 2017 will be back to more straight forward rules and regulations that can be understood and kept by the average angler.
One of the highlights of the year was a 16lb spring salmon caught by Robbie Bell on the Garynahine Blackwater River.
The fish was landed even after snapping Robbie’s rod and needed expert angling ability to land it under these circumstances, so well done Robbie Bell, for catching what most anglers would consider to be the Fish of the Season in flat calm conditions!
Some of the other highlights of 2016 fishing season are pictured above. Thanks to all who sent in pictures.
A Happy Healthy and Prosperous New Year to all .