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From Jan 01, 1999 To Feb 09, 2018
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 Mar 8, 2010; 07:53AM - Salmon Fishing on the Cork Blackwater
 Category:  Ireland
 Author Name:  Ian Powell
 Author E-mail:
Report Description: The First Springer is Caught on the Blackwater Lodge beats.
The First Springer is Caught on the Blackwater Lodge beats

Lodge regular Gavin Wishart from Newcastle, Co. Down came down to celebrate his 40th. birthday
this weekend & scooped the First Salmon of the 2010 season to be caught on the Lodge Fishery.

He was fishing yesterday (March 6th) with Connie Corcoran on Ballinlovane and took the fish on Flying C at Cloonbeg.
The fish would have been released, but was bleeding from the gills so had to be kept.
The cast before he lost what they both believe was another springer, so there were definitely a few about.
It was hardly surprising that it took us until now to catch a fish as there were only 64 rod days
for the whole month of February. There would certainly be more springers caught if there were
more rods out on the river each day.

There are more fresh fish being seen in the river in the last few days.
The river is in absolutely cracking order at the moment - even for the fly.
0.44m on the gauge so perfect fly height & clarity a good 4 feet.
The weather forecast (Metcheck) looks dry for the next 2 weeks apart from about 6mm on the 15th.
Daily Updated Fishing Report:
 Nov 15, 2009; 05:25PM - 2009 Season Report for Ireland’s Blackwater Lodge Salmon Fishery
 Category:  Ireland
 Author Name:  Ian Powell
 Author E-mail:
Click here to enlarge Report Description: If you would like to see this post with graphics displayed, it can also be found on our website at
2009 Season Report for Ireland’s Blackwater Lodge Salmon Fishery
[b][u]The Biggest Fish Ever since 1986?[/u][/b]
On September 15th. last, Tony Murtagh from Co. Dublin landed & released a fish estimated at approx. 25lb. weight.
This huge fish was taken on spinner on the Island Stream on Beat 6 - Lower Kilmurry.
The fish was rather coloured but fin perfect and very well conditioned – being very deep bodied & broad-backed.
It was quickly released without even a picture being taken as they had no camera & no weigh net!
It measured 96cm (38\\') long with an estimated girth of 50cm (20\\').

Some of our recently caught fish were measured for comparison:
A 13.5 pounder measured 81cm, a 15 pounder was 85cm & a 19.1 pounder measured 89cm.
The gillie that released this fish said that he could only just get his thumb & forefinger of both hands
around the wrist of the tail, which was definitely much thicker than the 19 pounder.

[b][u]Heaviest Weighed Fish of 2009[/u][/b]
On September 18 last, Paul Rosier caught the Heaviest Weighed-In fish of the season
on prawn at Gorman’s Pool on Kents – Beat No. 4. It weighed 19.1lb & was absolutely tide-fresh.
The same day, they saw literally hundreds of fish on the beat, including at least a dozen
which they reckoned were the same size as the one he caught – it was the only take of the day!

[b][u]Heaviest First Ever Salmon of 2009[/u][/b]
On September 8th., Belgian anglers Guillaume Verlings (l) & Jean-Paul Hendricks (r) both caught their First Ever Salmon!
They were both taken on spinner on the Castle Flat on Beat 3 - Ballinaroone & weighed 16.6 & 9.8lb.
Both fish were sea-liced! Guillaumes\\' was the Heaviest First Salmon of 2009!

In 2009, there was much talk about drastically reduced numbers of salmon running into many rivers.
Here on the Blackwater, whilst the spring run wasn’t so good, from May on we saw good numbers of fish running.
May in fact produced the best number of fish caught (53) since 1996 and was in fact the third best ever total for the month
since I started accurate records in 1986. It was only beaten by 1994 (82) & 1996 (72).

Whilst it was certainly not a year when the number of salmon caught for the whole season was outstanding,
there were a couple of factors which help explain the lower catch figures for the backend & consequently the total season catch.

This was in part due to less rods fishing ( a consequence of the recession)
which is a major factor which is often not taken into consideration when looking at catch statistics.
The other startling factor in 2009 was the behaviour of the fish themselves.
Whilst there were large numbers of salmon in the river, especially in August & more particularly in September,
they displayed a startling reluctance to take any offering.
This was a phenomenon which was observed throughout Ireland this last season.

The table below shows the catches since I took over the Lodge in 1986.
[b][u]Blackwater Lodge Fishery - Salmon Catch Statistics.[/u][/b]

[b]Catch & Release[/b]
As an aside – 43% of the fish caught in 2009 on the Lodge Fishery were released.
This is well above the national average of 38% in 2008 as recently published in the
Central Fisheries Board Wild Salmon & Seatrout Statistics report
for 2008. Our guests released 52% in 2008.

This report also states that 12.9% of all fish caught & released in Ireland in 2008 were on the Blackwater
– the highest in the country for rivers which were not designated as C&R only.

[b][u]Graph 1: Catch per Rod Day[/u][/b]
A far better judge of the quality of the fishing is to look at the average catch per rod day
rather than mere number of fish caught, which of course depends on fishing effort.
This table above shows these figures for the last 3 years on the Lodge Fishery,
which corresponds to the period since the drift nets were banned.

It is interesting to note that in fact August is the best backend month,
which wouldn’t be apparent from the catch statistics for the number of fish caught by month alone.
In August, there are actually far less people fishing on the Lodge beats compared to September.

[b][u]Graph 2: Dramatic increase in larger fish.[/u][/b]
The Blackwater has always been better known for its prolific runs rather than the size of the fish.
I must admit to having had the impression myself in the first 2 years without drift nets (2006 & 2007)
that there was an increase in the size of fish coming into the river,
but accurate analysis of the weight of fish caught doesn’t actually bear this out.

This graph illustrates the percentage (of the total catch each year) of fish caught by weight class.
Please note that for this purpose - for example - 8lb. represents fish between 8-8.9lb, 9lb represents fish of 9-9.9lb etc.

For simplicity, I have only included the figures for fish in the 8-14lb class which is where the biggest difference can be seen.

Fish in this class accounted for 33% of the 2009 catch compared to only about 18% for the period 2004-2008.

The graph gives data as follows:
- The average percentage for the years 2004-2006 i.e. the last 3 years when drift nets operated.
- The average percentage for the years 2007-2008 i.e. the first 2 years without drift nets.
- the figures for the 2009 season.

We can conclude from this that there was actually very little difference in the size of fish caught in the 8-14lb class
for the 3 years before & the 2 years after the drift net ban.

[b][u]Graph 3: Percentage Increase by Weight Class in 2009 compared to the 5 Year Average[/u][/b]
There is however a dramatic difference in 2009.
The true difference is perhaps not adequately illustrated in the above Graph 2.
To better show the real increase, Graph 3 above shows the percentage increase
in each weight class by pound compared to the average figure for the period 2004-2008.

From this we can conclude that - relative to the 5 Year Average (2004-8):

- The proportion of fish caught in the 8-10lb. class increased by ~50%
- The proportion of fish caught in the 11-13lb. class increased by ~150-200%
- The proportion of fish caught in the 14lb. class increased by ~400%

[b][u]Looking Forward to 2010[/u][/b]
It will be very interesting to see what will happen next season.
In the early ‘90s we carried out our own scale-reading study of fish caught on the Lodge fishery.

[b]Grilse:[/b] We concluded that grilse were almost exclusively 1/1 i.e. spent one year in the river & 1 winter at sea.
Therefore we can expect to see the return of a lot more grilse in 2010 – the progeny of the 2007 run – the first season without drift nets.

[b]Larger multi-sea-winter fish:[/b] These were 2/2 to 2/4. We would expect the first of these to return in 2012, but it will be very interesting to see
if the increase in 8-14lb. class fish will be sustained next year.

[b]Prospects for a great season’s sport for anglers for whom size really does matter![/b]
For info visit:
 Jul 3, 2009; 02:11PM - Blackwater Lodge Salmon Fishery (Ireland). May/June Report
 Category:  Ireland
 Author Name:  Ian Powell
 Author E-mail:
Report Description: Excellent Early Season Fishing on Ireland’s Cork Blackwater.

The total catch on the Blackwater Lodge Salmon Fishery for May was 53 salmon to 13lb. averaging 8.1lb for only 182 rod days. This was the third best ever recorded, & the best since 1996. Last year we had only 22 for May averaging 7.3lb for 132 rod days.

Our total catch for June was 51 salmon to 16lb. averaging 8.2lb for only 171 rod days
Last year for June we had only 21 salmon averaging 8.0lb for 271 rod days.

Not only is the average size of the fish increasing, but the catch/rod day has shown a huge increase.
Catch per Rod Day
Year May June
2008 0.17 0.08
2009 0.29 0.30

The average number of rods fishing per beat each day for May & June 2009 was 0.36 compared to 0.41 for the same period last year - a reduction of 12% in fishing effort but which yielded a 142% increase in the number of fish caught. One can only conjecture what the catch would be if more rods were fishing.

The grilse run is picking up with more & more being seen running each day as we go into July. This also coincides with reports of large numbers of grilse off the West Coast which are moving in towards the coast to run the rivers. The grilse normally don't need high water levels to encourage them to run.

Where to meet us
Glenda is once again demonstrating fly-casting at the Irish Game & Country Fair at Birr Castle in Co. Offaly on August 22/23. We will also have a stand at the Fair.
She has a special show planned featuring a team selected from some of the 10-12 year old girls who have been on her Fishstart programme this year in the Blackwater Valley. Country Channel TV filmed at Shanes Castle fair last weekend & will also film at Birr so watch out for Glenda on
 Apr 5, 2009; 12:45PM - Superb Spring Salmon Fishing in Ireland
 Category:  Ireland
 Author Name:  Ian Powell
 Author E-mail:
Click here to enlarge Report Description: April 2, 2009 – Ian Powell with an 11 pounder on fly from Beat 6 – Lower Kilmurry. The fish was released alive.

The Cork Blackwater in Southern Ireland is having a 'purple patch' in terms of spring Atlantic salmon fishing.
On Blackwater Lodge beats, eight springers to 14lb. have been taken in the period from March 25 to April 3 for only 35 rod days.

The river is currently in superb fly order with a medium summer level & excellent clarity. Great prospects for sport in the coming week, especially on fly.
 Mar 27, 2009; 09:01PM - Cork Blackwater
 Category:  Ireland
 Author Name:  Ian Powell
 Author E-mail:
Click here to enlarge Report Description: First Salmon of the Season on Fly!
On March 25th., the first salmon to be caught on the fly on the Blackwater Lodge Fishery this season was taken.

The fish was unhooked & released without even being lifted from the water.

Egil Olsen lead a party of 3 Norwegians to Blackwater Lodge for their first ever visit.
They arrived for a 4 day stay at 2.00pm on Wednesday, March 25 - earlier than their planned arrival time of 10.00pm. T
hey were due to start fishing on the 26th.
With some of the day still left, we offered them free fishing for the afternoon, & they got to the beat at about 3.30pm.
Bjornar Berg had no more than about 15 casts & caught the fish on a 1' Willie Gunn tube fished on a hover tip shooting head line!
Being a very sporting angler, he duly returned the fish alive - not even lifting it out of the water to unhook it or to present the fish fully to the camera.
The fish was measured against his rod at 82cm or 32.3 inches which gives an estimated weight of approx. 14lb.
The party was back at the Lodge by 5.00pm to celebrate.

With the river at 0.41m on the gauge, superb clarity and fish being seen all the way to the upper beats,
the prospects for the coming week are excellent, especially for fly-fishing.
 Feb 22, 2009; 12:49PM - The First Spring Salmon of 2009 is Caught!
 Category:  Ireland
 Author Name:  Ian Powell
 Author E-mail:
Click here to enlarge Report Description: Report from Ireland’s Cork Blackwater (Blackwater Lodge Salmon Fishery)

At 17.30pm on the 19th. February, local angler Bill McNamara caught this superb fresh-run salmon
- the first springer of the season on the Blackwater Lodge Salmon Fishery. The fish fell to spinner and weighed 6.7lb.We believe that there may have been four other springers already caught on the private beat below the first weir on the river, which is immediately above our Beat 7, but this is rumour rather than fact.

The Lodge has 16 beats on the river.
They are spread out from only 3 miles above the tidal limit to over 30 miles further upstream.
It is interesting to see the distribution of fish hooked/caught in relation to the geography of the river.
The first springer hooked was on Beat 8 - Ballyhooly Bridge (17 miles upstream of the Lodge) on the 1st. February – on fly when there was a 7 foot flood on the river.
The second springer hooked was on the top beat which is Beat 16 -: Ballygarrett, which is over 28 miles upstream of the Lodge. That fish was hooked on spinner.
The first fish caught (above photo) was on Beat 5 – Inchinleama.

The rainfall has abated in the last 10 days, and the river is now coming down to a perfect fly height & clarity.
The water temperature is 7°C - 45°F.

Absolutely superb for spring fishing in the coming weeks, with springers present and the river in fantastic order. The only reason that more springers have not been caught already is the low fishing effort.
There have only been 44 rod days on the fishery in the first 20 days of the season.
An average of only 2 rods/day over 14 miles of fishing!

Spawning Run
The spawning run has been truly exceptional and is judged to be one of the best since the 1960s. T
here are a huge number of very well-mended kelts in the river. Remarkably, disease is almost totally absent,
which is a very pleasant surprise with the very high concentration of fish in the river.
All this bodes well for the stocks of salmon for the future.

Availability of Rods
There is no problem for rod availability on most of the fisheries on the Blackwater at the moment.
1-10 | 11-16

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