In recent weeks the Agency has been undertaking netting and electrofishing operations in order to remove escaped rainbow trout from the Foyle river system at a number of targeted locations. There has been a noticeable decline in the numbers of rainbow trout recaptured over this period.
As the Atlantic salmon and sea trout smolts have commenced their descent downstream for their seaward migration, the Agency will not be undertaking any further targeted recovery effort until the smolt run has ended. At this point in the season we would encourage anglers to exercise extreme caution if handling smolts caught as by-catch and return them quickly and carefully to the river.
Anglers are urged to remove all rainbow trout caught on rivers. Please do not return these fish to rivers. We would also ask anglers to report their catches (including rainbow trout) to Loughs Agency. A reporting sheet is available from the Loughs Agency website and at local licence distributors. This sheet is only to be used for reporting on catches of rainbow trout in rivers within the Foyle system and excludes still water lakes. This information will be used to monitor how many fish have been removed, their size and distribution. Any rainbow trout which are over 30cm in length should be given to the Agency so that we can conduct further analysis. Please contact the Agency directly on 02871 342100 if you catch a fish of this size to arrange for collection.
Analysis on rainbow trout that have been retrieved or surrendered to the Agency have shown that they continue to predate upon a wide variety of non-food items including twigs, stones and vegetation.
Anglers are also asked not to discard rainbow trout on the river banks as this can lead to an increase in predator pressures. If there are disposal issues, Loughs Agency Fishery Officers will, if possible, collect fish that have been captured. Anglers are asked to contact the Agency directly on 02871 342100 to make arrangements.