ANY angler visiting rural Derry will be spoiled for choice when it comes to casting a rod and line with some of the best fishing Ireland has to offer right in this county.
The two main locations for hooking the odd salmon or trout or two is as any keen fisherman will know are the River Roe and the River Faughan.
The Faughan rises in the northern Sperrins, near the village of Park, and flows roughly north east to Drumahoe where it turns north to enter Lough Foyle some six miles north of Derry.
It is well known in this area as a salmon and sea trout river and the season runs from April 1 to October 20 and day tickets are readily available.
The River Faughan boasts some of the most magnificent scenery to be had anywhere along the 20 odd miles from its source, Poll an Iolair (The Eagle's Pool) to the Foyle.
Salmon anglers on the Foyle system enjoy healthy runs of larger salmon moving into the system from August onwards, and over recent year’s salmon of 20lb+ have been landed.
In its upper reaches it is fast flowing, with streams and gravel fords the predominant feature and as it descends the river slows as it passes through agricultural land, until it reaches Campsie, where there is a large dam. This dam slows the flow right down, and provides sufficient depth to hold large numbers of fish throughout the year.
Trout anglers should note that although the Faughan does offer good sport in the right conditions, the runs of trout have not quiet recovered from levels enjoyed during the 1980's
There is a resident population of brown trout throughout the river and its tributaries although for the most part these are quite small and are generally not seen as a quarry species by anglers.
However brown trout to 1.5lb have been caught from time to time, and surveys by the Loughs Agency have indicated that in the headwaters and some tributary burns and streams there is a head of good sized brown trout.
While all legal methods are effective it is likely that fishing "fine and far off" with nymphs and dry flies could well produce results.
For those favouring fly, the Pennell, Connemara Black, Zulu, Black & Silver etc will all take sea trout by day, while night fishing would tend to be more productive.
The River Faughan Anglers Ltd manages the fishing of salmon and trout on both the tidal and inland waters of the River Faughan and they can be contacted by Tel: 028 7126 7781or Email email@example.com.
Tom’s Fishing Tackle Shop in Shop in Drumahoe is also an official distributor of all licenses and permits, as well as all essential fishing equipment for all local rivers and lakes connected to the River Faughan. The shop can be contacted by Tel: 028 71346265 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Down the road a few miles and there is another abundance of fish that would bring joy to the heart of any angler and cements the deserved reputation that County Derry is among the best locations for either a local or visiting fisherman.
The Oaks Fishery, located only a few minutes drive from the City of Derry, offers some of the finest Trout and Pike fishing available in the north-west. The stunning lake provides an ideal and tranquil location for fly, lure and bait fishing.
The fishery has 15 acres of water fed by natural springs, helping to keep the lake cool and crystal clear throughout the year. The excellent quality of the water offers fishermen a unique opportunity to stalk high quality rainbow trout and pike either from the bank or by boat. Contact Oaks Fishery on Tel: 078 7499 9236 or Email: email@example.com.
The River Roe flows from the hills above Dungiven down through the Roe Valley through Limavday town before making its way to the Foyle Estuary.
The Roe is a medium sized spate river (5.20 m) with fine runs of sea trout and salmon with the first of the sea trout entering the Roe in early June and these trout are usually the bigger trout from 1to 3lbs in weight.
At the same time Grilse will also appear and in July the main run of sea trout will enter the lower stretches and make themselves available for the dedicated fly fisher at night. Local anglers report that Teal Blue, Black Zulu, Peter Ross and Black Pennell patterns, floating or intermediate lines work best. Salmon weighing from between 3 to 6lb with a few larger salmon 8 to 12lbs can be caught while the water conditions control the methods used.
When the river is in full spate the local anglers will fish worms and spin with flying ‘C’s and Copper Spoons being successful methods and as the river begins to drop and clear the Fly fisherman will cast his flies in hope of a fish. The local patterns include the Wilkinson Shrimp, Curry’s Red, Apache and Bann Special Shrimp patterns working well in sizes 8 to 12’s depending on water height.
Visitors planning to come in the latter end of the summer should note that August tends to be a hard month on the river as the water levels tend to be low.
Day tickets are available for the River Roe as well and anyone planning a day on the banks of the Roe needs to contact Roe Angling Limited for information on a day ticket: Tel 028 7776 6688 or 028 7772 2128.
Anglers should familiarise themselves with the Loughs Agency regulations and be aware that from time to time the directors may impose additional restrictions, for example no spinning on certain stretches of the river or in low water conditions. Anglers should be in possession of a valid Foyle license and Faughan permit at all times.
For more information on the Faughan Valley please visit: www.discoverfaughanvalley.com.