78th Annual General Meeting 2022

Unfortunately , due again to the current Covid 19 regulations and the rapidly spreading strain of Covid, it is not possible for us to hold a traditional public meeting again 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 27th 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

Angling suspension lifted!

With the plentiful 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. We just ask for a common sense approach when members are handling fish , please do it carefully.

The pumps put in place by the Loughs Agency have also been removed at this time. May it continue to rain!

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

Temporary Suspension of Fishing

I really can’t believe that I have to put this on our website but it is a sign of the times we live in.

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 25 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 Thursday past and the Loughs Agency had them on site on Friday morning.

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

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.


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.

Secretary’s Report and Chairman’s address for 2021 Season

Secretary’s Report for 2020

I am not sure where to start my annual report for the 2020 season. We have just endured one of the most difficult years in many of our lifetimes indeed some of us have never seen the like of it before. I am sure that many people have suffered losses over the past year and we as an Association offer our condolences to anyone who has or is suffering a bereavement in these difficult times.

Our season did not start until late May and we were in the grips of some dry warm weather which really resulted in a lack of fishing effort. This changed thankfully late in June and we had a few weeks of plenty of water. I was for one glad to get to fish for trout on the Drumragh after being couped up at home since the 20th March. From all reports that have come in many anglers have had one of the best seasons for a few years and this is reflected in the catch returns received.

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 two schemes completed in line with salmonid enhancement directives as laid down by NASCO. Approx £48,000 was spent on the schemes on the upper reaches of our rivers to enhance the spawning grounds and there are already plans for a further spend this year if conditions prevail.

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 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 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 2020 season, it was greatly appreciated. We are volunteers doing this for the benefit of OUR club not for the fun of it.

A lot of work is involved in compiling the returns and the figures.

From the returns made in 2020, 2286 salmon were caught and only 179 salmon were kept. 6969 trout were caught and 194 kept .168 seatrout were caught with 120 returned and 4 rainbow trout were reported caught and returned. It is good to at least have some figures for individual rivers should we need them in a pollution incident and many thanks to Shane who checked the returns and put the figures together.

As stated in 2019 no excuses will be accepted for a no return or late return and penalties will be incurred for the 2020 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 stated there will be an enhancement scheme put together with the money raised from those who did not make a return. We are working with a local Riparian landowner and the Loughs Agency to come up with a suitable scheme that will help enhance the river.

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.

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 and thanks to the Club Bailiffs for their fantastic work throughout 2020. We had to make do with many phone calls over the course of the season instead of meetings. The Bailiffs checked 344 permits in the 2020 season, a terrific effort in protecting our waters for our members despite the conditions.

 I would like also to extend special thanks to our Treasurer Ivan who worked tirelessly in March and April taking phone calls and membership fees and posting out the permits to our members. We still need to pay our rents every year and if we don’t have the fees coming in then there could be a problem.

It is with sadness that we have had to cancel our AGM this year for 2021. This is the first in 78 years of Omagh Anglers Association. Hopefully as the pandemic is brought under control and the vaccine rollout is completed it will lead to a more normal way of life and a more normal year for everyone and their families.

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

Tight Lines!

T. Smithson.

Honorary Secretary.

Chairmans address for 2021 season

Dear Members,

As we are living in the most extraordinary times with the Covid 19 Pandemic we find no other alternative but to cancel for now our 2021 Annual General Meeting. Members and the Community’s health and safety are our first priority at this time.

In the 2020 season, fish were plentiful all over- with high water from July towards seasons end. Some great fish in the 12-15lb bracket were caught with one in the 20lb bracket caught around Newtownstewart. At least this was some good news in these dark times.

On this occasion I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our Secretary Terry and Treasurer Ivan for their sterling work through these strange times we find ourselves in. Although we weren’t able to have any Committee meetings last season, they still worked away in the background. Thanks should also go to our team of Bailiffs for their valuable work.

Although at the minute things are uncertain , we hope that the 2021 season will kick off as planned and I wish every member a good season and “Tight Lines” and hope that every one stays safe and well.

Freddie Spratt



(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 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

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



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