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

Chairman