The river Faughan Anglers held their Annual General Meeting on the 13th March at the Du Pont recreation club. There was a good attendance which no doubt was the result from the worrying letter send out to the members telling them of the agenda. The letter stated that the new season’s permit prices were to be increased by £20 from £100 to £120 due to a legal action that has been put in place to protect the river from various environmentally unstable activities.
The meeting opened with the latest catch returns for the season 2012. Total number of Salmon caught 2699 with 1526 being duly released and was on the increase and now more than 56% of the catch return figure. The average weight of fish was 6lb which is great to see. This is up from 2011 when the catch figure was less than half at 1295. Catches of Sea trout were 486 with 293 being released again. This figure is down by 100 from the 2011 season. Which worries me as catching sea trout was were I learn’t my skills as a fly fisherman.
Gill tag situation for the incoming season is reflective of the good numbers and will continue as far as the committee knows at 10 tags per angler. 1 blue tag for a Spring Salmon and 9 black for grilse salmon. How these are distributed is still not know but more than likely one tag at a time will be issued as they are used. The directors made a plea for all anglers to behave responsibly when handling fish and told us all that we are to treat them as the precious commodities they are and they are not to be launched from the banking as had been reported back to the committee from previous seasons. Anglers who do that do not deserve to be allowed to fish the water as that kind of behavior is a cause on the increasingly poor returns.
With the oncoming judicial court action there is no funds available this season to provide paid bailiffs on the river and the directors asked that each member be vigilant and report any wrong doing and to approach any persons fishing they do not recognize as a member of the club and ask them to leave if no permit is shown.
This threw up a debate from the members some stating that it would be fool hardly to approach un-known anglers for fear of getting a back lash. I for one find if someone is fishing without a permit they usually move on when you approach and if that doesn’t do it a phone call to the authorities will. I would never take on someone on my own as I go fishing to enjoy nature and get some fresh air not to get into a debacle with someone and I would advise you to do the same. If in doubt ring the river watchers or the police.
In the interim to see where the court case goes the Faughan Anglers are in negotiation with the loughs agency to see about river watchers fro the new season. This will hopefully be in place although as it stands they can only ask for the rod license and not the permit if I am not mistaken.
The on coming court action took up the remainder of the meeting this involves the club taking on the DOE in the high court for not stepping in when environmental damage was going on along the river. This court action could in theory rick the existence of the club forcing them into bankruptcy etc. I hope this is not the case.
The river Faughan is in serious trouble. The increasing pressure from the city growing up around it has put extra threat from illegal dumping, new road works, hydro power stations etc. We will keep an eye on it and get back to you with updates as I get them. One bit of light has recently come to play in that a Judge closed the work on the A5 new road because of its effect on the rivers Foyle and Finn and the protected Atlantic Salmon and Sea trout, this can only hold us in good stead when the new A6 road works begin. Well done that man!