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Salmon Fishing Reports from Ireland's Cork Blackwater river


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#1 Ian Powell - Blackwater Lodge

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 05:21 AM

2009 Season Report for Ireland’s Blackwater Lodge Salmon Fishery
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The Biggest Fish Ever since 1986?
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.

Heaviest Weighed Fish of 2009
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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!

Heaviest First Ever Salmon of 2009
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On September 8th., Belgian anglers Guillaume Verlings (l) & Jean-Paul Hendricks ® 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.
Blackwater Lodge Fishery - Salmon Catch Statistics.
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Catch & Release
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.


Graph 1: Catch per Rod Day
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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.

Graph 2: Dramatic increase in larger fish.
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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.

Graph 3: Percentage Increase by Weight Class in 2009 compared to the 5 Year Average
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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%

Looking Forward to 2010
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.

Grilse: 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.

Larger multi-sea-winter fish: 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.

Prospects for a great season’s sport for anglers for whom size really does matter!
Proprietor of Blackwater Lodge - Ireland's premier salmon fishing lodge - with his wife Glenda. The Lodge is situated 35 miles from Cork in a beautiful location overlooking the Blackwater river. 15 miles of private fishing. B&B/cottage accommodation, smokery, guides. Fly-casting & Fishing Tuition with Glenda (APGAI-IRL Salmon & Trout) – Europe’s highest qualified female fly-casting instructor & Emerald World Masters Ladies Salmon Distance Casting Champion.

Blackwater Lodge Fishing Report page: http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm

#2 Ian Powell - Blackwater Lodge

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 05:25 AM

The First Springer is Caught on the Blackwater Lodge beats.
The First Springer is Caught on the Blackwater Lodge beats
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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 on March 6th. with gillie 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.

Prospects
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: http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm
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The Second Springer is Caught on the Blackwater Lodge beats
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Bass fishing guide Michael McCormack from Wexford with the second fish of the season from the Lodge beats. It was sea-liced & weighed in at 10.2lb.
It was taken on Silver Bullet on the Green Bank on Upper Kilmurry.
Michael saw 3 or 4 more fresh fish as well during the day.
He was the only rod out on the river today - one springer for one rod day cain't be bad!
For the latest info: Fishing report page http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm

Third Springer is caught on the Blackwater Lodge beats
The third springer of the season was taken on Sunday, March 14 by Larry Sheridan (Dungarvan) who gillies for the Lodge.
He released the fish which weighed about 12lb & was taken on black Flying C at the top of the Island Stream on Kents.
It didn't have sea-lice but very fresh. He saw a couple more springers there as well.
Unfortunately no picture as he doesn't carry a camera with him.
The river is now at summer level - 0.36m on the Ballyduff gauge. Perfect fly order.
Lots of kelts being caught on flies as small as size 8.
For the latest info: Fishing report page http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm
Proprietor of Blackwater Lodge - Ireland's premier salmon fishing lodge - with his wife Glenda. The Lodge is situated 35 miles from Cork in a beautiful location overlooking the Blackwater river. 15 miles of private fishing. B&B/cottage accommodation, smokery, guides. Fly-casting & Fishing Tuition with Glenda (APGAI-IRL Salmon & Trout) – Europe’s highest qualified female fly-casting instructor & Emerald World Masters Ladies Salmon Distance Casting Champion.

Blackwater Lodge Fishing Report page: http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm

#3 Ian Powell - Blackwater Lodge

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Posted 12 April 2010 - 01:04 AM

Here's the current water level on the Cork Blackwater at Ballyduff on April 10th.
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Source - Blackwater Lodge Fishing Report page: http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm
The river is falling slowly but steadily. The clarity has improved dramatically & is now about 5 feet on the lower river.
It's still a bit too high to fish the fly comfortably.
The 5th. springer of the season on the Lodge beats was caught on spinner on Beat 5 - Inchinleama last Sunday (April 4th.) before the last flood hit the river.
One kelt was caught today - surprising that there are still some present in the river this late in the season.


Fishing the Fly at Last!

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With such a beautiful balmy evening this evening, four of us decided venture out to the river about 6.00pm this evening.
We opted to go to Upper & Lower Kilmurry, the best of the Lodge's seven beats below Careysville
with the gauge height having dropped to 0.80m.
Glenda & I headed for Lower, and the picture above is her at the Lug Pool at 7.15pm.
She was able to wade & fly-fish the whole way down the pool even at this height.

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I headed down below to the Island Stream. This was about 10cm too high to be able to wade,
though could be fished from the (rather high) bank with a shooting head.
The picture above was taken looking downstream at the Island Stream at 7.45pm

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and this picture was taken looking up the Island Stream to the Lug Pool on the bend in the distance.

We didn't see or touch any fish on Lower Kilmurry, but when we went back up to Upper Kilmurry,
the other two had seen three large fresh fish moving through the Sand Gap & the Hut Pool and Daniel
(a student on work experience at the Lodge from the Swedish Sport Fishing Academy)
had briefly hooked one of them just after it showed.

The clarity is about 5 feet & the level is falling steadily, so the prospects for the coming week look good.

For the latest information, see our daily updated Fishing Report page: : http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm
Proprietor of Blackwater Lodge - Ireland's premier salmon fishing lodge - with his wife Glenda. The Lodge is situated 35 miles from Cork in a beautiful location overlooking the Blackwater river. 15 miles of private fishing. B&B/cottage accommodation, smokery, guides. Fly-casting & Fishing Tuition with Glenda (APGAI-IRL Salmon & Trout) – Europe’s highest qualified female fly-casting instructor & Emerald World Masters Ladies Salmon Distance Casting Champion.

Blackwater Lodge Fishing Report page: http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm

#4 Ian Powell - Blackwater Lodge

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 08:27 PM

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The First Springer on Fly is Caught!
Denis O'Donnell from Cahir caught this lovely sea-liced 8.4lb fish on a ˝ inch cone-head Cascade tube on the Island Stream on Lower Kilmurry today.
He saw a fish running through the stream & caught this one 3 casts later, so there were definitely a few fish moving.
Late report (21.00)
Kieran Conlon from Cork lost a similar fish at the net with Denis in the Island Stream after about 6/7 minutes - he could even see the sea-lice on its back, & lost another after about a minute on the Hut Pool on Upper Kilmurry. They saw at least half a dozen fish moving through.

Prospects
The lower river is rising slightly (a couple of inches) after yesterday's showers, but the clarity is still excellent.
The upper river came up about 6 inches & peaked during the night & is already falling.
The weather forecast is dry for the week, so fly-fishing prospects are excellent.
There are rods available for the coming week.
For the latest info: Fishing report page http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm

Edited by Ian Powell - Blackwater Lodge, 02 May 2010 - 08:27 PM.

Proprietor of Blackwater Lodge - Ireland's premier salmon fishing lodge - with his wife Glenda. The Lodge is situated 35 miles from Cork in a beautiful location overlooking the Blackwater river. 15 miles of private fishing. B&B/cottage accommodation, smokery, guides. Fly-casting & Fishing Tuition with Glenda (APGAI-IRL Salmon & Trout) – Europe’s highest qualified female fly-casting instructor & Emerald World Masters Ladies Salmon Distance Casting Champion.

Blackwater Lodge Fishing Report page: http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm

#5 Ian Powell - Blackwater Lodge

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 01:04 AM

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The Best Day so Far this season with two sea-liced fish caught for only 10 rods fishing.
Brothers Larry and Michael Sheridan from Dungarvan fished the Lodge's lowest beat
(only about 4 miles above the tide).
Larry caught a 9.4lb. on #8 Ally's on a slow-sink tip & Michael a 6.4lb on FC.
A number of running fish were seen & two met, one on fly & one on spun prawn.
Interestingly, I also heard today (from anglers fishing Fermoy Trout club's competition today
which weighed in at the Lodge this evening) that two fish were caught in the Ballyhooly area
& a grilse up at Lombardstown in the last day or so.
The run is definitely picking up, & with dry weather for the week, the fly-fishing prospects look excellent.
The river was down to 0.38m today with clarity 5-6 feet.
For the latest info: Fishing report page http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm
Proprietor of Blackwater Lodge - Ireland's premier salmon fishing lodge - with his wife Glenda. The Lodge is situated 35 miles from Cork in a beautiful location overlooking the Blackwater river. 15 miles of private fishing. B&B/cottage accommodation, smokery, guides. Fly-casting & Fishing Tuition with Glenda (APGAI-IRL Salmon & Trout) – Europe’s highest qualified female fly-casting instructor & Emerald World Masters Ladies Salmon Distance Casting Champion.

Blackwater Lodge Fishing Report page: http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm

#6 Ian Powell - Blackwater Lodge

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 03:03 PM

The river is at 0.34m this morning with clarity about 6 feet.
Perfect fly-fishing conditions and it looks as if we're heading into a week of dry weather.
Possibly some moderate rain next week then a further dry spell.
I just had a report from Cappoquin that there are now good runs of fish coming in on every tide,
so the prospects for the coming week are improving considerably.
For the latest info: Fishing report page http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm
Proprietor of Blackwater Lodge - Ireland's premier salmon fishing lodge - with his wife Glenda. The Lodge is situated 35 miles from Cork in a beautiful location overlooking the Blackwater river. 15 miles of private fishing. B&B/cottage accommodation, smokery, guides. Fly-casting & Fishing Tuition with Glenda (APGAI-IRL Salmon & Trout) – Europe’s highest qualified female fly-casting instructor & Emerald World Masters Ladies Salmon Distance Casting Champion.

Blackwater Lodge Fishing Report page: http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm

#7 Ian Powell - Blackwater Lodge

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Posted 12 May 2010 - 05:37 PM

The First Grilse of the Season on the Lodge beats
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There was nothing to report in the last 2 days as there were no rods out so
- needless to say there was no fish caught.
Three of us went out to Lower Kilmurry for an hour or so at lunchtime today and saw half a dozen fish
running through - mostly fish of 7-8lb but including one which was well into double figures.
We all persisted with the fly but no takes so had a few casts with spun shrimp & caught & released
this one almost immediately on the Island Stream.
Met two more, but only half-hearted takes & didn't connect, then had to get home to pick the kids up from school!
Would've loved to stay longer as I'm sure we would have met more fish.
This, together with reports of good runs of grilse & salmon running from other beats on the lower river means the prospects in the coming days are looking good. Very little rain forecast for the coming week, certainly not enough to have any significant effect on the river.
For the latest info: Fishing report page http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm
Proprietor of Blackwater Lodge - Ireland's premier salmon fishing lodge - with his wife Glenda. The Lodge is situated 35 miles from Cork in a beautiful location overlooking the Blackwater river. 15 miles of private fishing. B&B/cottage accommodation, smokery, guides. Fly-casting & Fishing Tuition with Glenda (APGAI-IRL Salmon & Trout) – Europe’s highest qualified female fly-casting instructor & Emerald World Masters Ladies Salmon Distance Casting Champion.

Blackwater Lodge Fishing Report page: http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm

#8 Ian Powell - Blackwater Lodge

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Posted 13 June 2010 - 09:41 PM

Flood moves fish from tidal water!
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This is the water level situation at Ballyduff in the last few days.
The small flood on Tuesday put the river out of order for a couple of days as it became very coloured.
By Friday it was improving and 3 fish were lost on the Lodge beats.
Yesterday (Saturday), four fish were caught - 3 on spinner & one on fly.
The best (~12lb) was caught & released by Ray Burns on Upper Kilmurry on spinner.
Today, there were 3 grilse taken on the fly. Clarity is now a good 3 feet.
Seven fish in total for 14 rod days in the last two days.
There has been a significant increase in the number of fish moving through the lower beats since the flood.
I'm also hearing about some grilse & salmon being caught up in the Mallow area.
For the latest info: Fishing report page http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm
Proprietor of Blackwater Lodge - Ireland's premier salmon fishing lodge - with his wife Glenda. The Lodge is situated 35 miles from Cork in a beautiful location overlooking the Blackwater river. 15 miles of private fishing. B&B/cottage accommodation, smokery, guides. Fly-casting & Fishing Tuition with Glenda (APGAI-IRL Salmon & Trout) – Europe’s highest qualified female fly-casting instructor & Emerald World Masters Ladies Salmon Distance Casting Champion.

Blackwater Lodge Fishing Report page: http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm

#9 Ian Powell - Blackwater Lodge

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 11:33 AM

Best Day of the Season So Far
including
Best Catch by One Angler in One Day

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The Best Day of the Season mark set on Sunday lasted only two days.
Yesterday, June 15th., it was beaten not withstanding the fact that there were only 3 rods fishing for the day.
Six grilse were caught in total - all on the fly.

In the late morning, Ray Burns caught one on Island Stream on Lower Kilmurry.
Portugese trapeze artist Pedro Granadiero from Dublin had a red letter day on Kents
when he landed five grilse of which he released four. All the fish were
caught from 2pm onwards on a fly he tied himself.
Having caught three, he had a siesta on the bank for an hour & then went back and caught another two,
only returning to the Lodge to report in at 10.00pm. . Four of the five fish were released.

Prospects
The river is down to 0.19 on the gauge & the clarity has improved to 4-5 feet since the last fresh we had last Tuesday.
This has brought more fish into the lower beats, so the prospects for the week are looking better.

For the latest info: Fishing report page http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm
Proprietor of Blackwater Lodge - Ireland's premier salmon fishing lodge - with his wife Glenda. The Lodge is situated 35 miles from Cork in a beautiful location overlooking the Blackwater river. 15 miles of private fishing. B&B/cottage accommodation, smokery, guides. Fly-casting & Fishing Tuition with Glenda (APGAI-IRL Salmon & Trout) – Europe’s highest qualified female fly-casting instructor & Emerald World Masters Ladies Salmon Distance Casting Champion.

Blackwater Lodge Fishing Report page: http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm

#10 Ian Powell - Blackwater Lodge

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 07:16 AM

River Report for June

The river level for June has probably been the lowest for about 50 years, which means that most fish are holding in the tidal reaches rather than running into the main river.
The table below shows the average height for the month for the last four years – since the start of the drift net ban.
This year it was 0.18m compared to the average for 2007-9 of 0.41m.
In fact it was only above 0.30m (which we would normally regard as summer low level) for 2 days during the whole month. There have also been few rods out fishing for the month.

Statistics for the Month of June for 2007 - 2010

----------------------Year------2007------2008------2009------2010
Number of Fish Caught-----------44-----------21------------51-----------24
----------Catch/Rod Day---------0.25--------0.09----------0.30---------0.30
--Average River Height---------0.35---------0.39---------0.48---------0.18

We can see from the Table that – whilst the catch number for the month was not high at 24 – in fact the catch/rod day was 0.30, exactly the same as that for 2009 when there was far more water in the river.

In fact, 22 of the fish were caught for only 24 rod days in the week from June 12 – an average of 0.9 fish per rod day, which was extremely good. One angler caught 5 in one afternoon – all on fly & 4 were released. Best fish of the month was a 12 pounder released on Upper Kilmurry.

July has started off well after a small fresh in the river on the 2nd. Seven grilse have been caught for 6 rod days in the three days from July 2-4.

For all the very latest information please see the Blackwater Lodge Fishing Report page on :
Blackwater Lodge Salmon Fishery - Daily Updated Salmon Fishing Report page

Prospects
Even although the river is very low, the clarity is good and runs of larger grilse (4-5lb.) are coming in.
There is more rain forecast during the week, so the prospects of sport for the coming week are quite good.
Very small flies, light worming & spun shrimp are working best, though fish are also being met on spinner.

Where to meet us
Glenda is fly-casting demonstrator at the Irish Game & Country Fair at Birr Castle in Co. Offaly on August 28 & 29th.
We will also have a stand at the Fair.

Availability
We have availability of rods & accommodation in the next couple of weeks.
Late summer and backend weeks are now filling up fast, so contact us quickly if you are thinking of fishing later in the season.
Proprietor of Blackwater Lodge - Ireland's premier salmon fishing lodge - with his wife Glenda. The Lodge is situated 35 miles from Cork in a beautiful location overlooking the Blackwater river. 15 miles of private fishing. B&B/cottage accommodation, smokery, guides. Fly-casting & Fishing Tuition with Glenda (APGAI-IRL Salmon & Trout) – Europe’s highest qualified female fly-casting instructor & Emerald World Masters Ladies Salmon Distance Casting Champion.

Blackwater Lodge Fishing Report page: http://www.ireland-s...shingreport.htm