Secretary’s Report for 2022
Another very different year for everyone again, who would have thought we would still be in the grips of Covid a year later.
We 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 I said last year our rents still need to be paid before April each year and that is 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 two schemes completed on the upper reaches of the River Camowen in line with salmonid enhancement directives as laid down by NASCO. Approx. £27,000 was spent on the schemes. Several more schemes are in the pipeline this year with a possible spend in the region of £80,000.
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 2021 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 90% making their return.
From the returns made in 2021, 1580 salmon were caught and only 106 salmon were kept. 6261 trout were caught and 174 kept. 228 seatrout were caught with 188 returned and 13 rainbow trout were reported caught and 6 returned. It is good to at least have some figures for individual rivers should we need them in a pollution incident. We did have a major pollution incident in May 2018 and this could have some bearing on the figures as they have dropped considerably for trout and salmon.
As stated in 2019 no excuses will be accepted for a no return or late return and penalties will be incurred for the 2021 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 are worked with a local Riparian landowner and the Loughs Agency to come up with a suitable scheme and this was carried out on the River Camowen. We carried out tree planting, bank revetment work and we also enhanced the carparking at Andersons corner. £3800 was spent by the club on the scheme alongside £5000 by the Loughs Agency.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 and thanks to the Club Bailiffs for their fantastic work throughout 2021. We had to make do with many phone calls and text messages over the course of the season instead of meetings. The Bailiffs checked 255 permits in the 2021 season, a terrific effort in protecting our waters for our members despite the conditions. We had one or two instances when members thought that Association rules did not apply to them and were disrespectful to our bailiffs. We dealt with this swiftly. We really don’t want to suspend membership but sometimes there is no option.
We had another major pollution incident again in 2021 on the river Auglish outside Dromore and large numbers of trout and juvenile salmon were wiped out. I am sure we will see the affects of this in years to come. We also had reason to close the season for a few days in 2021 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.
It is with sadness that we have had to cancel our AGM this year for 2022. Whilst we made the decision in January and restrictions became guidance in February, we felt that with the huge numbers still catching the virus we as an Association did not want to contribute to these numbers by bringing a large group to a confined space. Hopefully as the year progresses, we will all see and experience a more normal year for everyone and their families.
I also hope that all members will have a great year at the river.