The honour of landing the first salmon of the New Year has been won jointly by two anglers who landed their fish at almost exactly the same time, but almost four miles apart.
The River Drowes is one of Ireland’s premier spring and summer Salmon Fisheries and in addition, holds good stocks of wild brown trout. It has accounted for the first recorded Irish Salmon of the season caught on rod and line on numerous occasions over the past 20 years.
This year proved no exception with two salmon landed at almost exactly the same time. Timothy Dalton from Omagh was landing his 10lbs salmon at the Blackwater while four miles downstream, Colin Gardiner from Lurgan was landing his 4.5lbs fish from the Wee Drain. Both fish were caught on a “flying c” and were verified by staff from Inland Fisheries in Ballyshannon.
Colin and Timothy will share the prize and will hold the Drowes Perpetual Cup for six months each. This was not the first time that 56-year-old Colin Gardiner landed the first salmon in the country. The Lurgan man caught the first fish in Ireland back in 2002 and then again in 2005.
With the relatively good weather on the day, the turnout was up on last year, with 120 anglers braving heavy showers but not encountering any of the Baltic conditions experienced in previous years.
There was also a number of Kelts (a salmon that has already spawned) caught on the day, one of which was caught by Sean Carty of Land and Sea Sports.
The Bundoran man also caught the largest fish on the Drowes last year - a fresh salmon weighing 18lb 2oz.