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( 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 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.