78th Annual General Meeting 2021

Unfortunately , due to the current Covid 19 regulations, it is not possible for us to hold a traditional public meeting for our AGM as we have been accustomed to.  It is vital that club business continues and our club committee will move forward and continue to plan for the year ahead.

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

In the absence of our AGM the following arrangements have been made. A copy of the Chairperson’s address and the Secretary’s report will be available on our website. Members can request a copy of our normal AGM booklet which will also contain these along with the Treasurer’s report by emailing oaareports@hotmail.com by Sunday 28th February.

All Association officers will continue in their respective positions for another year. It is proposed that the sitting Committee will ratify Association Officer roles at the earliest opportunity for a monthly meeting.

We are sure all our Club members will appreciate that we are in difficult  and unprecedented times, and these arrangements have been made with the interests of our community in mind and in an effort to avoid public contacts  whilst also avoiding exclusion of members who do not have access to online meetings. So please stay safe , keep your distance and follow all Covid 19 Regulations fully.  

I will publish my Yearly report on the website and will ask Seamus Cullinan for his annual update which I will publish here as well.

Terry Smithson
Honorary Secretary


(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. 

Omagh Anglers waters are open to members again. Visitor permits available from 08/07/2020

It is with some joy that I am able to report that our waters opened on the 18th May 2020 for angling by members. We will be selling visitors permits from the 8th July 2020.Anglers are individually responsible for compliance with their government’s advice and guidance. Anglers should keep up to date with the latest advice from the Public Health Agency (PHA) in Northern Ireland and the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland. Make sure that you have your Omagh Anglers permit and your Loughs Agency permit purchased before attempting to fish. Fishing with out either will lead to suspension of membership. Details on how to purchase Omagh Anglers permits are in another post with contact details. Loughs Agency offices remain closed and the normal licence distributor network is also still under lockdown conditions. Therefore, anyone wishing to purchase a licence should do so through the elicence website. For anglers requesting carcass tags when they purchase a licence on-line, these will be posted to your address. Anglers should take this into account when purchasing.  Loughs Agency encourage the public to continue to report illegal fishing or pollution concerns through our Waterwatch reporting tool on our website or through our 24hr response line on +44 (0) 2871 342100. If you require any further assistance please contact Loughs Agency on +44 (0) 2871 342100 (Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm) or email general@loughs-agency.org.

This next section comes with the support of the Ulster Angling Federation. Angling to be undertaken in accordance with Government social distancing guidelines – these may change, you must be compliant at all times. . Anglers must follow current Government guidance on travel for the benefit of recreational activity. All freshwater anglers must be in possession of the relevant Fishing licence. . No sharing of fishing positions (swims) except by members of the same household. No sharing of fishing tackle or any other items. No angler to fish within 2 metres of any other angler. . Anyone displaying symptoms of COVID- 19, or who shares a household with any individual displaying symptoms, should not go fishing and should continue to follow Government advice on isolation. STAY SAFE and STAY COMPLIANT TO ALL RULES .

Bobby Rodgers RIP

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Bobby Rodgers former Chairman  and long standing stalwart of our Club, Omagh Anglers Association.

Bobby had been recruited to the Association in 1963 as a committee member by his uncle Joe Mathers who was the Treasurer of the Association since it was set up in 1943. He quickly progressed through the ranks becoming assistant treasurer in 1964 Secretary in 1967 and then Chairman after the late JV Courtney in 1979. He held the position of Chairman until his retirement this year 36 years in total.

Bobby is seen here receiving from the Association a large framed photo of one of his favorite spots on the river, the Willy Wans on the River Strule which is just above the meetings of the rivers Fairywater and Strule on the Beltany Road out of Omagh.

Bobby had recounted to the Committee that evening that many years ago he had tied himself ,a silver salmon fly ,and on its first outing he had captured two 12lb salmon from the Willy Wans.

During his time in the Association Bobby was recognised by the Queen in the Birthday Honors list receiving the MBE in 2001 for services to Game Angling.

Bobby’s knowledge of all the local waters and all the place names on the river was fantastic and he had many connections within the game angling network in N. Ireland . He had a steadying hand at the helm of Omagh Anglers Association for many years and was always the calm voice of reason . His input has had a great effect on those who follow in his footsteps.

I pass on , on behalf of all the Committee and members ,all our deepest sympathies and condolences to his wife Maura and his family at this very sad and difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

Terry Smithson(Honorary Secretary)

Letter from Loughs Agency to All Anglers

3rd April 2020

Re: COVID-19

Dear Angler

I hope this correspondence finds you and your families safe and well. These are unprecedented times for us all. Loughs Agency continues to review the most recent announcements from the governments of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We urge the angling community to follow the guidance provided and to keep up to date with the latest advice from the Public Health Agency (PHA) in Northern Ireland and the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland. As you will be aware both governments have provided guidance, listing circumstances where members of the public may leave their homes at this time. One of these is to take exercise, either alone or with other members of their household. The only forms of exercise permitted are walking, running or cycling. Angling, like many other forms of recreation is not specifically mentioned as a form of exercise, therefore we would urge you not to go fishing at this time – this includes Loughs Agency’s permit waters on the River Finn, River Foyle and at the Greenbraes. We thank those anglers who are already adhering to this advice and we will continue to review government guidance as it is issued. While we hope these restrictions won’t last long, we must all do what is asked of us by government and work together to fight this pandemic. This is about saving lives and supporting our healthcare systems and frontline staff. The Agency is encouraged by private fisheries closing during this pandemic and heeding government advice. Loughs Agency offices are closed and we would ask our stakeholders to engage with us using email and telephone. We currently do not have the capacity to facilitate the selling of licences by phone or through our eLicencing system. However, our Fishery Officers will be patrolling the rivers and will ask anyone found angling to leave at once. We encourage you to report illegal angling or pollution concerns through our website or through our 24hr response line on +44 (0) 2871 342100. The safety of anglers, Loughs Agency staff, our families and healthcare professionals are paramount at this time. We must do all that we can to help deal with this health emergency.

Yours sincerely

Sharon McMahon

Chief Executive Officer

Membership Fees during lock-down due to Covid 19

We are now 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 instructions 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. Members can email; oaaenquiries@gmail.com giving their name and address and ask how much they have to pay. MEMBERS MUST DO THIS TO GET THE CORRECT AMOUNT THAT NEEDS TO BE PAID. A reply will be sent to them and 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 as quickly as possible. You can also use this phone number: 07989855202. Ivan will be answering the phone between the hrs of 10am and 5pm Monday to Friday . He can take card details and issue the permit after he has accessed the card payment machine.

I hope this enables us to get our permits out in a timely manner. I am unsure as to the start date of the season and have published the full letter from the Loughs Agency on another page.

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.

Catch and Release from 1st October 2020 Season, as agreed at the AGM by the Members.

On February 27th 2020 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 2020. 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

New Picnic area and parking at Stonebridge

May 2019 seen the completion of the area near the Stonebridge prepared by the Friends of the Glens group and with a donation from Omagh Anglers Association. A new parking and picnic area at the junction just over the Stonebridge is provided and anglers can take a well earned break at the large stone picnic bench.

Mc Bride and Courtney Cup 2019

Alan Norby receiving the McBride Cup from Chairman, F Spratt

The Clubs two cups were fished for on Sunday 5th May at Birchwood Fishery in Drumquin. Many thanks to Birchwood and also thanks for sponsoring two prizes on the day. 28 anglers availed of the pleasant conditions but at times it was cold and the fish stayed down. It is a great pity that more anglers could not support this event considering we have approx. 870 members in total. It took only 5 minutes for the members to start catching and several big rainbows came to the net. The Secretary was kept busy on the specimen lake running from one end to the other with the weigh scales, and each trout was getting bigger. Started off with a 6lb , then up to 8lb followed quickly with a few around the 9lb mark. Young Jordan McFarland caught his 9lb winning trout in this early session. All the anglers had at least hooked one trout by lunchtime . At the end of the day 195 trout were caught at Birchwood. The afternoon session brought a umber of bigger trout from the specimen lake although Pearse McKernan got an 11lb trout from one of the smaller lakes. A great days craic was had by all and the afternoon session on the specimen lake produced some fantastic trout. Alan Norby caught his trout late on in the afternoon at his first stand on the specimen lake and it was a huge trout of approx 14.5lb. Alan received the McBride Cup and a voucher for £100. Jordan McFarland won the Courtney Cup with his 9lb trout and got and new fly rod kit as well. The money raised from the draw at the Angling Fair in Castlederg and the entrance fees for the competition are going to be made up to a donation of £500 which will be handed over to the Local Special Olympic Group. We had several great prizes on the day for the draw with the first prize being a box of salmon flies donated by John Martin.

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



Secretary’s Report for the 2018 season

Secretary’s Report


By all accounts the 2018 season was a hard season for anglers with long spells of hot, dry and sunny weather and a major pollution incident. I have had reports from anglers that the numbers of salmon in September/October weren’t huge but a few anglers who managed to get out were successful.


The rainbow trout that escaped from Rocks Lodge fish farm caused great concern at the start of the season and the situation was being monitored by FASTA who are liaising with the different government bodies on behalf of all angling clubs in the area. With considerable work going on in the background FASTA have managed to secure funding from DAERA for a major study on the effects the rainbows have had and will have on our system.


Unfortunately, back in May we had another huge pollution incident which started well out side our waters but due to the extensive nature of the spill another huge fish kill occurred with the pollutant killing fish right down the Drumragh river as far as the meetings with the Camowen in Omagh Town centre. This received huge media coverage due to the damage caused and the nature of the pollution. I can report that the Drumragh although hit badly was not as bad as first feared and trout and salmon parr did survive in the lower sections.


To celebrate our 75th year we organised a BBQ on the day of our competitions. We again had a very successful day at Birchwood Fishery in Drumquin. We had 48 anglers on the day and the feedback was very positive. A great lunch of burgers, hotdogs and chips was provided to all as a tasty treat. On the day Shane, Brendan and Brian the Clubs qualified coaches gave one to one tuition for the juniors. Alan McFarland won the Mc Bride Cup and Justin Elliott won the Courtney Cup. The clubs annual draw took place after the competition with Ian Sproule drawing out the tickets for the winners. £2000 was raised for the two charities NI Air Ambulance and Omagh Hospital Palliative Care Ward getting £1000 each.


I would like to take this opportunity to again reinforce the point that the Omagh Anglers Association has lost no fishing rights on the Camowen River. I am glad to be able to let you all know that the Association now owns the complete fishing rights that were known as the Belmore Estate, purchased in the close season from the Rountree family. These upper reaches are clearly recognised as nursery streams and fishing late on in the season should not be encouraged on them. Since 2000 the club has attained funding to the tune of £130k which was spent on the Camowen and its tributaries on nursery enhancement schemes.


Two of the Association Committee members are still Directors on the Strule Trust and we hope in 2019 to engage in at least 3 new schemes of work on the upper reaches of the Camowen and Drumragh and its tributaries with regards to salmonid enhancement works. Two projects took place in 2018 with a spend of approx. £30,000. One scheme on a tributary of the Drumragh, the other on the Cloughfin.


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.


We introduced a change for the 2018 season. 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 compulsory catch returns are going to have 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. If a member does not make a return, then he/she will forfeit their licence for the next year. A late return will incur a charge. Returns can be made online or on the actual licence and posted back to the Clubs PO Box number. I would like to thank all those who made their returns for the 2018 season, it was appreciated. We are volunteers doing this for the benefit of OUR club not for the fun of it. From the returns made in 2018 806 salmon were caught and 593 were returned. 2991 trout were caught and 2856 were returned.36 seatrout were caught with 24 returned and 500 rainbow trout were caught and thankfully only 62 of these were returned! This is a great start and many thanks for the returns and a big thanks to Shane who checked the returns. As stated from this year no excuses will be accepted to no return and penalties will be incurred.


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 11 Bailiffs will be checking for our permits.


Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who has helped me in the last year in my role as Club Secretary especially the Committee and Officers and thanks to the Club Bailiffs for their fantastic work throughout 2018.The Bailiffs checked 356 tickets in the 2018 season, a terrific effort in protecting our waters for our members. I also hope that all members will have a great year at the river.

Tight Lines!

T Smithson.

Honorary Secretary.

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