81st Annual General Meeting Mellon Country Inn 29 Feb 2024 at 7.30pm

The Association will be holding the AGM on the 29th Feb 2024 in the Mellon Country Inn at 7.30pm sharp. Refreshments will be served on the evening.

Seamus Cullinan Head of Conservation and Protection and Jason Mc Cartney local area Inspector will be present on the evening and he will give an update on all that has gone on within the area including pollution incidents and in-river works carried out by the Loughs Agency and the Strule Trust and Omagh Anglers over the last year.

 

Terry Smithson (Secretary), Freddie Spratt (Chairman), Ivan Grieve (Treasurer) at the Clubs AGM on the 22nd Feb 2018

 

Terry Smithson
Honorary Secretary

Drumragh Access Project

Omagh Anglers Association working in conjunction with the Loughs Agency and with the permission of Messrs Porter and O’Neill have completed the Drumragh Access project.

This comprised widening of the entrance way and erection of a new gate , scraping and dressing the lane and the implementation of a new carpark in order to provide ease of access for members and increase their safety in terms of getting in and out of the lane. Please see the photos to view the befores and afters of the project.

I would like to thank the contractor Martin MC Phillips for the efficient and speedy nature and his professional approach to the project. We also thank local Loughs Agency officers A Sides and S. Cullinan for their assistance in completing the task ,Kelsie Geddis for her help in attaining the grant and also to the Riparian owners for their kind permissions.

Angling suspension lifted!

With the some rain and the continued drop in temperature in both the air and the water and the rise in water levels albeit small we have lifted the temporary suspension today 27th June 2023.. We just ask for a common sense approach when members are handling fish , please do it carefully.

The river is rising but only by a little

Please keep an eye on our website should we have to invoke it again.

Temporary Suspension of Fishing

Omagh Anglers Association have now put a temporary suspension on club waters due to the extreme heat and prevailing low water conditions. we will notify of any change as soon as possible. Club permit holders are asked to use common sense and refrain from angling in such conditions. Fish caught in such environmental conditions have an extremely high mortality rate and are unlikely to survive

We have been working already in conjunction with the Loughs Agency and we had asked and received the deployment of their aeration equipment on the River Strule in known spots where the water temperature had risen to over 23 degrees and where the oxygen levels are low. Of course the rivers are to vast to cover all areas but we are attempting to do our best. These were asked for on Monday and today wednesday once water temps have been checked.

There will also be no day tickets for sale at this juncture.

Keep fingers crossed for a marked reduction in temperature and some very heavy rain!!

Loughs Agency issues angling advice following hot weather spells

Loughs Agency is advising anglers to help preserve salmon and trout stocks in rivers following prolonged periods of hot weather across both the Foyle and Carlingford catchments.

These extreme weather conditions have led to low river flows, high water temperatures and low oxygen levels in many bodies of water.

Head of Science, Dr Sarah McLean is hopeful that anglers will proceed with caution on the rivers, particularly when fishing in the current warm temperatures.

Dr McLean said: “Many of our fish species will find survival difficult in these warm conditions without the added pressure of angling stress. Even catch and release poses a serious risk to fish health in these conditions as low dissolved oxygen in the water can result in poor fish recovery rates and inadvertent mortalities.

“It is also worth remembering that high water temperatures and low dissolved oxygen levels may also leave fish more susceptible to parasites and disease, so any fish caught will also require additional care when handling.”

There are several measures anglers can take to help protect fish during the hot weather:

Consider taking the water temperature before you fish and avoid fishing during midday and afternoons when water temperatures are high. Water temperature will be coolest in the early morning;
Where possible, keep fish in the water during catch and release;
Seek advice from fishery or angling clubs where appropriate;
Avoid targeting larger fish or sensitive species;
Keep nets should not be used by coarse anglers during warm weather;
Limit handling time;
Where possible and safe, release fish into deeper, faster flowing water.


Anglers should report distressed or dead fish in the Foyle or Carlingford catchments directly and promptly to Loughs Agency at +44 (0)28 71 342100 or info@loughs-agency.org

£14500, spent on the River Drumragh revetment works and fencing and tree planting Autumn 2022

Omagh Anglers in conjunction with Omagh Golf Club and the Loughs Agency have carried out a restoration project on the lower Drumragh River. Over 850 metres of new fencing, access gates for anglers, tree planting and revetment works were carried out on the section through Omagh Golf Club. The works were carried out in the Autumn of 2022 and the Loughs Agency took the lead on the project. Omagh Golf Club gave access to the contractors and the revetment works will help the banks alongside the river on the golf club side from continued erosion. The new fencing will keep most of the livestock out of the river and the tree planting alongside the river will help provide some shade when they grow. The project cost £14500 and I would like to thank the Loughs Agency for the funding and Seamus Cullinan and Ciaran Mc Gonigle for all the assistance and work in bringing the project to completion. Hopefully this will be the first of many schemes carried out together with them.

Secretarys Report 2023

Secretary’s Report for 2023

Whilst still under the influence of Covid we at least managed to get our season started as normal in April this year and I would like to thank Ivan and the guys in the shop for their sterling efforts in selling the permits over the phone and posting them out as well as selling them over the counter. As I said last year our rents still need to be paid before April each year and that is usually over £28,000 every year, a substantial amount.

We were unable to run our annual competition due to Covid regulations and to keep people safe this was for the best. Unfortunately, we will be unable to have the competition this coming year as well.

Two of the Association Committee members are still Directors on the Strule Trust and we had three schemes completed on the upper reaches of the River Camowen and Drumragh in line with salmonid enhancement directives as laid down by NASCO. Approx. £80,000 was spent on the schemes. We ourselves working in conjunction with the Loughs Agency had a spend of £14,500 on the Drumragh with soft engineering and revetment work carried out along with riparian fencing and tree planting. I would like to offer our sincere thanks to Seamus Cullinan and Andy Sides for all the work on finding and assistance in getting grants.

We do hope members will continue with catch and release practises that prevailed so much over the last few years and I can only thank those who practised catch and release and promoted this as the most positive way forward to help declining salmon numbers. I know that many of our younger members are great advocates for catch and release choosing to return all the salmon they catch carefully. The figures from our returns show this to be a great effort by many anglers.

We introduced a change in the 2018 season. As an Association we had no figures to combat pollution incidents or how many salmon /trout are being caught in our waters and from 2018 compulsory catch returns were to be made by all members. The permits will be issued again this year with space for catch returns on them and extra pages will be available from Andersons and on our webpage(www.omaghanglers.org). From the close of the season there will be 25 days in which to make your return and nil returns must be made.15th November is the final date for returns to be made. A late return or no return will incur a charge. If the charge is not paid, then membership cannot be renewed. Returns can be made online or on the actual licence and posted back to the Clubs PO Box number or left in the OAA returns box in C A Andersons.

I would like to thank all those who made their returns for the 2022 season, it was greatly appreciated. The numbers are increasing each year and less money is being gathered which we are over the moon about. We are volunteers doing this for the benefit of OUR club not for the fun of it. Associate and Senior members having the best uptake with 85% making their return.

From the returns made in 2022, 1040 salmon were caught and only 80 salmon were kept. 2928 trout were caught and 97 kept. 228 seatrout were caught with 160 returned. It is good to at least have some figures for individual rivers should we need them in a pollution incident. The reduced figures again can be perhaps explained by the two pollution incidents in the Auglish river only 3 years apart and the huge numbers of young salmon that perished both times.

As stated in previously no excuses will be accepted for a no return or late return and penalties will be incurred for the 2023 season. Those who were late or didn’t make a return at all will have to pay an extra £20 on their permits this year. This does not apply to juniors. Any monies raised will be put towards an enhancement scheme and this will be done on a yearly basis. Please make a return we need to have records as it is harder and harder in Court to assess the effect of pollution on our rivers. We would rather have the return than the £20.

As previously stated, any monies gathered from non- returns will be put towards an enhancement scheme. We had secured funding of £26,000 but had to stall on the project as it was the wrong time of year. Along with the Loughs Agency we are going to apply for funding to revisit the project. We will be using as promised any money raised through the non-return fees of members not making their catch returns. The scheme will cost in the region of £30,000 so hopefully we can get the grant and start on the scheme when allowed back into the rivers.

We also had reason to close the season for a few days in 2022 due to the extremely hot weather. River temperatures were at times around 25degrees. We asked the Loughs Agency to deploy their aeration equipment to the slow-moving sections which they did immediately.

The email address for anglers to contact with information on any stiles, step overs or bridges that are broken damaged or in need of replacement or repair, is oaastiles@hotmail.co.uk. Please continue to use this address.

Please be advised, you must have a valid Omagh Anglers permit before commencing to fish Omagh Anglers Association water. Anyone not having a permit will be disallowed membership to the Association. The permit must be carried with you when fishing Club waters and the Loughs Agency and our own team of 10 Bailiffs will be checking for our permits and it must be produced when requested. Members can also ask to see another members permit as long as they produce their own permit as well.

I would like to thank everyone who has helped me over the last year in my role as Club Secretary especially the Committee and Officers especially the invaluable help from the Assistant Secretary Tommy Quinn. Thanks also to the Club Bailiffs for their fantastic work throughout 2022. We had to make do with many phone calls and text messages over the course of the season instead of meetings. The Bailiffs checked 257 permits in the 2022 season, a terrific effort in protecting our waters for our members despite the conditions. We again had one or two instances when members thought that Association rules did not apply to them and these had to be dealt with via suspended membership . We dealt with this swiftly. We really don’t want to suspend membership but sometimes there is no option.

I also hope that all members will have a great year at the river.

Tight lines!

T. Smithson.

Honorary Secretary.

2021 and 2022 Recipients of the Hall and Killoran Cup

Brian and Nigel Donnelly received the Hall and Killoran Cup in 2021 for the great work carried out on the river bank and their efforts in cleaning and clearing the banks is acknowledged by the members and Committee of Omagh Anglers.

Martin Mc Gillion was the 2022 recipient in 2022 for the excellent work in the area around the Willy Wans and Cappagh making the river more accessible for members.

The work by these volunteers is greatly appreciated by members and the Committee .

2022 Hall & Killoran Cup winner Martin Mc Gillion

Camowen Hydro Electric Project.

Hi All, yes this has reared its ugly head once more. Can I urgently ask that you contact your local Council Representative and ask them to vote against this.

We fought Omagh District Council alongside FASTA and the Ulster Angling Federation (UAF)for 7 long years from 2007 to 2014 regarding this blot on the river until the Hydro station was eventually built. Omagh Anglers, FASTA and the UAF tried everything to prevent this going ahead and even met with the Environment Minister , Alex Attwood. I argued and proved that lies had been told in its development by employees of NIEA and that objections were omitted. However, at the time a Councillor told us this was a scheme that the council had inherited and it would be going ahead whether the Anglers liked it or not. Cllr Josephine Deehan stated in the Chamber when I delivered a presentation to the Councillors(alongside Jim Haughey UAF), that “We will look after your wee fish”.

We have all seen how well that has gone when you consider the amount of pollution incidents in our rivers in this area over the last three years. This looking after was clearly evidenced on the day the turbine was first turned on and the two weirs run completely dry. This happened in March 2016 and this led to all the juvenile fish stocks being at the mercy of crows and jackdaws and herons. This was highlighted to the NIEA and the scheme was closed for a further year until 2017

At a time when salmon numbers are in dangerous decline why are our Council representatives insistent in starting up this scheme again. When you talk to your local Councillor, ask them how much more do we as ratepayers have to pay towards another “White Elephant” in our District to match the Ulster History Park? How much will it take to repair this?. Ask them do the understand the operating licence and the water levels that must prevail in order for the turbine to operate. Ask them also how much money is this project likely to generate in terms of savings and in terms of overall spend when is it likely to pay for itself. They talk about putting the scheme out to a 3rd party operator. Who would take this on knowing that the turbine cannot run for at least 5 months of the year due to low water levels. How can OFFGEN have given a green light to something that isn’t working and hasn’t worked in several years. That is unbelievable.

To date over £1.3 million has been spent by an extinct council (ODC)on a scheme that should never have been implemented on a spate river due to varying flow regimes. Surely a new combined council would see the absurdity of throwing more money at a failed idea. Figures show that normally this type of project could take 20/25 years to break even. At what cost to the rivers environment and declining salmon numbers. We have seen for may years Fermanagh council highlight the positive attributes of angling and using angling to increase the number of visitors to the Fermanagh District. This does not occur in Omagh.

On listening in to the meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee I noted a Fermanagh Councillor point out the damage that the Ballyshannon Hydro electric plant caused to the Erne system. It has wiped out salmon stocks in Lough Erne totally which has been irreversible. He rightly pointed out we should not be interfering with Nature as if a mistake is made as in the case of the Erne it cannot be rectified.

TELL YOUR COUNCILLOR TO VOTE FOR THE REMOVAL OF THE CAMOWEN HYDROELECTRIC SCHEME COMPLETELY!

Councillor Mc Elduff pointed out that the voice of Anglers is very important in this area. make them listen to you,!!

It will take money to decommission the hydro, but at least that will be a positive outcome, no further obstacles to migrating salmon!

Make contact with your local councillor now.

Membership Fees for Season 2021 during lock-down due to Covid 19

We are still in very strange times , and I would guess that none of us have seen the likes of it in our lifetimes, However as an Association we have to keep up with the administrative end of running the club and we must discharge our obligations to Riparian owners  and pay rents as per our lease agreements and  get membership fees collected and permits issued.

Andersons have had to close due to the Covid 19 regulations so we have had to think of other ways. Some of us are still at work so capability levels to do things are tough. However after consulting with the committee we have a process , limited but a process nonetheless. A cheque or postal order made payable to CA Andersons should be sent with a stamped self addressed envelope to Omagh Anglers Ass PO Box 92 Omagh BT78 9AX. Put name ,address and date of birth on reverse of cheque or postal order and Ivan will try to issue your permit as quickly as possible. You can also use this phone number: 07989855202. Ivan will be answering the phone between the hours of 10am and 5pm Monday to Friday . He can take card details and issue the permit after he has accessed the card payment machine.

Please stay safe , think of your own safety and the safety of others following and adhering to the advice that has been given out by Government.

REMEMBER CATCH RETURNS MUST BE IN BEFORE 15TH NOVEMBER

(Click below for extra pages on OAA Catch Return Form)

OAA Catch Return Form  

Alo Mc Donalds fishing diary from 1945

Catch returns on all species in Omagh Anglers waters are mandatory from the 2019 Season onwards!

As an Association we have no figures to combat pollution incidents or how many salmon /trout are being caught in our waters and from this season onwards, compulsory catch returns are going to have to be made by all members.  This was highlighted at the AGM in February 2020. From the returns made in 2019 1070 salmon were caught and 783 were returned. 3464 trout were caught and 3345 were returned.45 seatrout were caught with 36 returned and 12 rainbow trout were caught  

We tried a voluntary scheme six years ago but unfortunately it was unsuccessful.

The new permits will be issued this year with space for catch returns on them and extra pages will be available from Andersons and also from this website (see the section on returns for extra pages).

From the close of the season there will be 25 days in which to make your return and nil returns must be made.

The final date by which returns can be made is the 15th November.

If a member does not make a return, then they will forfeit their licence for the next year. A late return will incur a charge.

Returns can be made via email (oaareports@hotmail.com) or on the returns form located on the physical permit and are to be posted back to the Clubs PO Box, Omagh Anglers Association PO Box 92, BT78 9AX. or there is a private box in CA Andersons where they can be left. 

Catch and Release from 1st October 2023 Season, as agreed at the AGM by the Members.

On February 23rd 2023 at the AGM it was proposed from the floor and with a majority vote that the Association would make all waters of the Association Catch and Release  for Salmon fishing from 1st  October again this year. 

 It was decided that from this date that all salmon caught should be returned carefully to the river using full catch and release practises. Remember that bait fishing is not allowed from the 1st October as it is harder to safely release salmon using this method. Any member caught with a salmon carcass in their possession from the 1st October will be deemed in breach of this regulation and will be suspended from the Club. Dead or alive the salmon must be returned to the river. Loughs Agency rules will apply as per reverse of the permit ie.

Angling is permitted only with a single barbless hook with a gape of 12mm or less. From the 1st October the use of earthworms, as bait, is prohibited.

Thankfully as the years have progressed we have now many more members practising catch and release so this should not really cause too much of an upset to most. I would like to thank all these members for being proactive in protecting salmon for the years ahead. We are complying with the majority of members feelings who attended the AGM in Feb 2023. Don’t forget if you kill a salmon then you are denying this fish the possibility of spawning which in turn will only help decline salmon numbers for future generations. Please see catch and release information below. Any member found with a salmon after this date will face suspension from the Association Continue reading

2019 Mc Bride Cup and Courtney Cup at Birchwood Fishery Drumquin, Sunday 5th May

Waiting on the results

Good friends made at Birchwood, the competition fished in a friendly manner with a bit of craic thrown in

Alan Norby eventual winner of the Mc Bride Cup bringing another fish to the net

Last years winner Justin Elliot getting 2nd prize from Chairman F Spratt

Jordan Mc Farland Courtney Cup winner again. Well done!

Alan Norby receiving the McBride Cup from Chairman, F Spratt

P McVeigh , fully concentrated on the job

Mr Mc Crossan getting a large Rainbow weighed at Birchwood

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Willy Wans and Coneywarren area of the River Strule April 2019

As Secretary of Omagh Anglers Association I have been asked to make it known that the fishing rights in the  area known as the Willy Wans and Coneywarren area , left bank downstream , are OWNED not leased by Omagh Anglers Association. These rights were purchased by the Association along with other rights in that area in the1970s. With the fishing rights comes access rights.

Anyone caught fishing in this area without a valid Omagh Anglers permit will be liable for prosecution on the grounds of trespass on a Several Fishery and both Omagh Anglers bailiffs and Loughs Agency Officers will be authorised to check for valid Omagh Anglers Association permits.

Unfortunately a few  anglers are intent in  denying YOU fishing!

Willy Wans at Dusk