Anglers tickled pink as they net 2,000 salmon in one week
HEAVY rainfall has delivered an unexpected bonus for anglers -- as a staggering 2,000 salmon were caught on a single river last week.
Anglers on the banks of the picturesque River Moy in Co Mayo were astounded at the high numbers of the fish hooked as they travelled upstream to their spawning spots.
Among the famous angling tourists spotted enjoying the plentiful bounty was football legend Jack Charlton.
Bryan Ward, an information officer based at the Ballina office of Inland Fisheries Ireland, described it as a "huge number".
In the state-run Moy Fishery, near the mouth of the river, there were 275 caught last week, and a mammoth 467 caught between July 5 and 11.
"It was exceptional circumstances. There were dry conditions for the whole of spring and summer with the river at very low levels," Mr Ward explained.
"There had been an exceptional build-up of salmon in both Killala Bay and the Moy Estuary.
"With the high rainfall that occurred, we had a large run of summer salmon known as 'grilse' towards the salmon bed where they'll spawn in the autumn," he said. Similar numbers have been recorded in the past but this was described as a "high" number for the current level of salmon stocks.
Mr Ward said during the week when 467 salmon were caught they catered for tourists from Spain, Slovenia, England, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.
The biggest salmon caught on Cathedral Beat at the Moy Fisheries so far this year weighed in at 13.5lbs and was caught by Colin Lynam from the Naul in Dublin.
Edward Doherty, the owner of the hostelry Doherty's on the Moy Bridge, Ballina, said his two teenage daughters, Catherine and Ally were both "over the moon" after they hooked a salmon while fishing for the first time. A "good proportion" of the fish would have been returned to the waters.
Anyone fishing for salmon must obtain a state licence and are subject to a daily limit.