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The 2010 Season Report
Just Add Water!


2010 was in many ways a challenging season. Not only did we have to contend with the economic climate, but also the weather one,
with one of the worst droughts on record on the Blackwater. Then add a dash of volcanic ash just for good measure!

To view the more detailed reports by Month click here

The Weather

The height of the Blackwater throughout the summer was reckoned to be the lowest for between 50-70 years. Every time bands of rain swept in from the Atlantic towards Ireland they seemed to miraculously divide so that the heavy rain went either north or south of the catchment.

The graph (below) gives the average height by month at Ballyduff for the last four years.
It shows that the level for 2010 was the lowest for this period for every single month except April.

 

The levels through the summer (June to September) fell to an unprecedented level as can be seen from the table below:

Table of Average River Height by Month in cms

Year

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

July

Aug

Sept

2004

105

93

87

64

41

34

31

68

75

2005

130

74

56

74

53

40

33

27

37

2006

127

57

76

60

83

42

25

21

61

2007

135

121

122

35

29

35

61

56

36

2008

168

89

84

49

35

39

113

98

91

2009

131

87

64

75

71

48

60

82

72

2010

132

78

63

80

28

18

31

10

16

 

Height of the Upper Blackwater River for the Last Five Years.
The pattern was consistent both up and down river. The graph below shows the height at Kanturk – which is 70km upstream of the Lodge – in cm. for the last 5 years.


 

Salmon Catches
The number of salmon caught primarily depends on the number of people fishing and the rod effort has fallen in the last couple of seasons due to the recession.
In spite of this, the number of fish caught in the prime summer & backend months has been quite consistent in 2010 with the exception of August,
when the river fell to an extremely low level.


A better perception is gained from looking at salmon caught per rod day, which gives a more accurate picture of the quality of the fishing.
The graph below shows that for the second half of the season, June, July & September were all as good of better than the 3 previous seasons (
from the inception of the drift net ban).  August – which was by far the best month in the previous 3 years, once again showed a marked decline.


Given the record low water levels, some of the catch statistics make remarkable reading! 
The Total Catch for the season was 652 with an average of 0.5 fish/rod day, which was the second best ever 
next to our all-time record season of 1992 when 1,511 fish were caught with 0.84 fish/rod day.
Of the fish caught, no less than 381 (58%) were released alive.

 

2010 Salmon Catch by Lure

Method

Feb. Mar. April May June July Aug. Sept. Total
Fly       8 15 46   23  93 185
Spinner   4 1 2 4 95     8  84 198
Worm           25   53  75 153
Shrimp     1 1 5 3   22  84 116
Total   4 2 11 24 169 106  336 652
Released   2 - 2 17 83   43 238 381


Click here to see Catch Statistics by Month 1986-2010

 

The Top Ten Best Days of 2010

  Date Number
Caught
Rods
Fishing
Biggest
Fish
Number caught with:
Fly Spin Worm Prawn
1. Sept. 21 26 17 ~16* 3 2 6 15
2. Sept. 16 25 16 ~16* - 17 1 7
3. Sept. 8 24 28 9.3 13 8 3 -
4. Sept. 9 23 18 ~12½* 15 4 4 -
July 18 12 9.6 - 18 5 -
5. July 13 20 11 11.0 12 7 1 -
Sept. 26 24 11 6 3 7 4
6. Sept. 19 19 16 10.5 6 3 4 6
7. July 24 16 11 ~12* 5 11 - -
Sept. 17 19 8.1 7 - 2 7
Sept. 24 40 5 2 2 12 -
8. Sept. 10 15 16 10.3 8 4 1 2
Sept. 28 20 ~9* 6 - 4 5
9. July 21 14   8 6.1 1 12 1 -
10. Sept. 20 13 17 8 6 6 - 1
Sept. 7 12 6.1 1 12 - -


The July total of 169 was the best recorded since we took 264 in 2000, the sixth highest ever & also the
Best Ever Catch/rod day for the month.
The two Best Days in July saw 23 & 20 fish caught - with 7 days recording ten or more.

September’s catch of 336 (
the third Highest Ever Catch/rod day for the month at over 0.5) was remarkable considering that the low water
 kept the prolific autumn run in the tidal reaches. These fish didn’t move into the main river at all until well into the close season at the end of October.

Regarding the percentage of fish taken on the fly, 2010 season had the
Second Highest Ever Total for the season. 
We also recorded the
Highest Ever for the months of May & June, the Second Highest for the month of September,
the fifth Highest for August and the Eighth Highest for July.


For the whole season, there were 26 days when 10 or more fish were caught, & 5 where there were 20 or more taken.
The Best Day of the Season was on September 21st. when 26 salmon to ~16lb. were caught.

The Best Catch on Fly from one beat in a day was on September 8th., when 13 were caught on Lower Kilmurry by a
3 rod party from N. Ireland comprising Terry McDermott (5), John Grey (4) & Ian Hastings (4).
Best fish was 9¼lb. and all 13 were released alive. The party caught 19 - all on fly - in total for their week.

Two fish vied for the Best of the Season at ~16lb. Both were released as they were rather coloured.
The first was caught on September 16th. on spinner at Ballincurrig on the upper river by Denis O’Donnell (Tipperary)
and the second on prawn by Ernie Bustard (N. Ireland) on Lower Kilmurry.
One angler caught the two Best Catches in One Day with eleven on Blackstone on September 21st.
and seven on the last day of the season on Kilmurry – all on the prawn.
Also notable were the five salmon caught in one day on June 15th. on Kents – all on fly - by Portuguese angler Pedro Granadiero,
five more on fly in one day for Terry McDermott (N. Ireland) on September 8th. on Lower Kilmurry,
& yet another five on fly on September 9th. for Dave McDowell (N. Ireland) from the Road Pool on Ballinaroone.



First Salmon


         
The Remold Party - September 7, 2010

As always, we were extremely successful in helping the less experienced anglers catch their very First Salmon.
Given the river conditions, a remarkable 35 anglers lost their virginity! Yet more remarkable was the fact that
- of these – no less than twelve caught their Second Ever the same day, and one even succeeded in catch the Third!

Notable amongst these were the twelve pounder on July 9th. for Dave Connon from South Africa,
the two caught the same day on August 9th. by father & son Stephen & Charlie Aulsebrook (UK) gillied by Glenda and the two
caught on successive days (Aug. 18 & 19th.) both on fly for father & son Harald & Jeremy Okorn-Schmidt (Austria) again gillied by Glenda.
Then there were the 3 eighteen year old members of the Remold party (Italy) who all caught two each on their first day ever salmon fishing on Sep. 7th. !
Not to mention another father & son team - Herman & Gijs Willemsen (Holland) who both caught two the same day (Sept. 15th.)
with Gijs’ fish weighing in at 10 & 12½lb!

In fact - since 1990, no less than 852 anglers have managed to catch their First Ever here.
Our success rate was quite good up to 2006, but has improved dramatically since - with the number of anglers catching their first
expressed as a percentage of total rod days jumping from 1.5% to between 2.3-3.3% in the last 4 years.

 

Average 1990-2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Number of First Salmon

40

40

62

38

35

% of Guest Rod Days

1.5

2.3

3.3

2.5

3.0