Once regarded as one of the top salmon rivers in these islands, now the number of fish being landed on the river Nore has collapsed.
What makes it more upsetting is that water quality on the river is improving thanks to the EPA and the local authorities and the absence of the drift net men on the estuary.
Yet salmon fishing seems to be almost gone. Are we paying the price for one disastrous year when the people who built the River Nore Flood Relief Scheme made a mess of the Lacken Weir and stopped hundreds possibly thousands of salmon from retuning up stream to spawn.
Local angler and keen conservationist Liam Kenehan has been fishing on the Nore for many years and over the last three years has watched numbers dwindle.
“The sad state of affair is that my last three years on the river have been a disaster with no fish. As a fly fishing man we had low water in 2011/2013 and high water in 2012 and sadly my experience along with my friends has been a disaster. What is happening to the fish or does any body care?
“Stories round about poaching and illegal netting resulting in no fish getting through the system, right or wrong, there is something fundamentally wrong right now. The fisherman, the rod and line and the commercial men need to deal with serious issue before its too late.
“The returns to the state from tourism in terms of salmon fishing licence is now put in jeopardy and so are the jobs and the knock-on effect to restaurants and hotels. Every salmon killed by a tourist is worth E3,000 to the local economy,” he said.
Bob Wemyss, Director, Salmon Watch Ireland, a recognised authority on salmon, said the poor season this year was mainly down to
The lack of rain and months of the Nore in a drought condition. “Only the hardiest of grilse (young salmon) could make any headway up the river so it is difficult to get a real picture of 2013 but the snapnet fishermen in the estuary did alright though,” he said, adding to the runs of salmon are falling year on year is down to mortality at sea.