14/07/2020

Normality Slowly Returning

Well, it’s hard to know where to start writing this update. As you all know, it has been a few months since I have sat down and written a blog. Firstly I would like to thank you all for your patience in waiting for this and more importantly I hope you all have escaped the dreaded Corona Virus unscathed. When you think of all the technological advances in the last few years, it’s hard to believe that a simple virus (if we can call it that) has wreaked havoc on the world.
Our last overseas visitors left Delphi, early on the morning of the 20th of March. At that stage we had 15 fish landed for the season. This increased to 23 by the time we reached total lockdown. Our last Irish customers were on the 25th of March when we landed 3 fish. We had no customers between the 25th of March and the 12th of June. There were 14 fish landed in the interim, all by either Michael or myself. We finished with 21 for March, 1 for April and 9 for May. All of these were Springers with the exception of 1 fish.
I don’t know what lockdown was like for most of you but here in Delphi it was eerily quiet, which almost sounds like a stupid thing to say. What I mean is there were basically no cars on the road, absolutely no background noise, for example pots banging in the kitchen or the sound of an outboard on Finlough. Noel and myself were the only people working and I was in the hatchery most of the day and normally didn’t see him for a couple of days. It was actually that quiet, that my normally placid dogs started barking at people if they came near the hatchery as it was such a rare event. Having said all that I must say I was lucky to be in such a beautiful place and I got a chance to fish a bit here which you all know I rarely do. We did things at home that we would never have done under normal circumstances because we were always too busy. I think this pandemic has brought us all back down to earth a bit and made us value our time more. That’s all the rhetoric, back to the fishing.
Corona couldn’t have happened in a better year as April was the driest month since February 1986, with only 36mms of rain. I know I’m nearly bald but if we had fishermen I would have no hair left at all such was the beautiful weather in April and most of May. The river went off the gauge. I have seen it lower, only once, that was at the end of June 2010. Our smolts got away but we released them all bar one tank in the Whin Pool, which seemed to have worked well. There were also a series of WhatsApp videos done, including a guide to the river.
We finally got some customers back on the 12th of June, at which stage we were confined to Mayo and 20kms into Galway. The weather started to break slowly from the 14th when we got a huge thunderstorm which dumped 71.9mms on Delphi in a little over 3 hours. This put water levels up but there were numerous landslides so the normally crystal clear water was filthy for a few days. It then continued to make a good deal of rain for the remainder of the month with the June total amounting to 298.4mms(11.74”). Obviously with the water our fishing improved dramatically, which wouldn’t have been hard given the conditions. We ended up with 64 fish for June which were all really taken from the 16th on. 14 of these were Springers and 50 were Grilse. It’s very difficult to give and accurate assessment of the Spring run at this stage, especially given the conditions during April and May, but any time we got water there were fish running. The Grilse run on the other hand seems to be excellent with 50 landed in the last 2 weeks in June and as of now the 13th of July we have 83 landed for the month so far. Having said that catches vary greatly from day to day, for example with 14 landed on Friday before lunch and then nothing after and 2 on Saturday and then yesterday with relatively good conditions there was nothing caught due to dropping barometric pressure, I think!
There are as many Grilse running as I have seen in a good few years but hopefully they will be a bit more cooperative in the next few days. I’m not going to highlight individual catches as there are too many to pick from but in my next update I will revert to itemising individual highlights.
Keep safe and we look forward to seeing you all in the not to distant future. D.McEvoy