IN HIS own words Ned Maher has been mad about fishing since he was “knee high to grass hopper” and now he is the proud owner of Ardaire Springs angling centre outside of Mooncoin.
Mr Maher was a dairy farmer for twenty five years, but five years ago he got out of cows and now he is responsible for a lake stocked with between 800 and 850 rainbow trout.
Along with his wife Geraldine, Mr Maher started work on the angling centre at the end of September 2010 and in a little under a year they have turned a field into an ideal fishing spot. Mr Maher said that he had seen a stocked lake up the country and that the idea had always appealed to him. He said “I saw one up the country about eight years ago and I had been farming but I got out of the dairy about five or six years back. The idea started to come to the forefront after that, and then about this time last year I decided I was going to have a go and see what would happen.”
With support from the Kilkenny Leader project and the inland fisheries board work got under way. The result of their combined efforts is a 2.5 acre purpose built lake that’s fed from a fresh water spring. The lake has been designed to provide the perfect conditions for the trout with undulating ridges across the floor providing natural lays and runs for the trout. Around the edge of the lake there is 100m of wheelchair accessible angling rests and stands.
So far the response to the new angling centre has been very positive. Mr Maher said “We’ve had a great response very positive response to the anglers to the quality and the size of the fish. They are commenting on how good the fish are and the fight that they are getting from them. That’s very important. The biggest one caught so far was around 15lbs. She didn’t take that long to land, some of the smaller ones can actually give you a better fight. She was actually caught twice in two days. She was caught by a guy in Mooncoin Iggy Dunphy and she was caught the next day by Shane Welsh also from Mooncoin.”
All the fish have come from the inland fisheries board and they are kept in perfect condition. Until the ecosystem with in the pond establishes itself they are being fed specialised food pellets to maintain their size weight and health. With such an effort being put on maintaining the health of the fish the goal isn’t on taking as many fish home as possible from the lake but on the fight in landing them and educating people about fishing.
“We would be more pushing people towards catch and release especially the kids. Trying to educate them that they don’t have to kill everything they catch, so that future generations going on can fish. On the opening day here there were 16 people here fishing and there were somewhere in the region of 170 fish landed and there were only five taken away. I was very impressed with that,” said Mr Maher.
Ardaire Springs is planning on putting schools packages together for transition year students next year. They are fully insured to handle groups of young people and they can provide tuition and education for the schools groups.
Although Ardaire springs doesn’t officially open until May 7, it has already gotten off to a great start. Hotels have been contacting Geraldine and Ned Maher looking to partner with them for tourism purposes.
For More information on Ardaire Springs got to http://www.ardairesprings.com