A father and son hoping to land the first salmon of the year on the Drowse
Anglers from afar afield as Germany have not yet managed to land the first salmon of the year in Donegal, or Ireland, for that matter.
The Drowes fishery, on the border of Donegal and Leitrim has a great tradition of yielding up the prized first salmon of the year.
As the Drowes Fishery manager Shane Gallagher explains, "Ireland has a great reputation for early spring salmon. We have the earliest season opening, New Year's Day, in Europe. The season doesn't open in Scotland until the 15th."
On New Year's Day, over one hundred anglers wetted a line on the Drowes. Conditions were near perfect but, apart from reports of a couple of fish lost, none were landed.
Unfortunately, that has been the story so far and it's likely to stay that way, with salmon arriving later than ever before," Shane warns.
"There have been a couple of fish hooked and lost, but we haven't seen the numbers we would be expecting.
"It has so far been a disappointing start to the new season, given that there have been good numbers of rods out in good weather and water conditions.
"There seems to be a definite trend to later runs of both spring fish and grilse.
"What factors are influencing the timing of fish runs, whether ocean warming, climate change or other variables is a matter for debate. What is undeniable is that Atlantic salmon are a key indicator species and all the indications point to major changes at sea which are having a major impact on salmon behaviour and survival."
These changes, he adds, mean that the salmon's traditional feeding grounds have changed and the salmon have to travel further at sea. So they are running later than before.
"If this trend continues," he observed, "more people will have walked on the moon than will have caught an Atlantic salmon in Donegal in January."