A sea trout tagged as part of a collaborative project led by Loughs Agency and the River Faughan Anglers has provided remarkable insights into the growth and behaviour of these elusive fish within the Lough Foyle system.
The ‘Casting for Knowledge’ initiative highlights the value of combining the expertise of local anglers and scientific researchers to unravel the mysteries of sea trout ecology.
The sea trout in question, which bore the tag number 7841, was implanted on 12th May, 2022 in the Faughan River, thanks to the generous support of the River Faughan Anglers, who purchased the tag. The fish was then caught by a member of the club in the lower reaches of the river on 3rd July, 2023.
This sea trout exhibited a unique pattern of behaviour by never venturing out to sea, and instead remaining exclusively within the Lough Foyle system.
In addition, the tagged sea trout demonstrated an impressive growth rate during this period, gaining 620 grams over the course of 14 months.
The discovery serves as a testament to the successful collaborative working between scientific researchers and angling clubs of the Faughan, Roe and Carrickmore rivers.
Dr. Diego del Villar, Senior Scientific Officer at Loughs Agency and lead scientist on the ‘Casting for Knowledge’ project, expressed excitement about these significant findings. He said: “The journey of this sea trout showcases the immense potential of collaboration between anglers and scientists. By harnessing the knowledge and expertise of local angling clubs, we can unlock crucial insights that have far-reaching implications for the management and conservation of these remarkable fish.”
Gerry Quinn, secretary at River Faughan Anglers commented: “Having sponsored several tags, we were really interested to learn that a sea trout which was tagged on 12th May last year had successfully negotiated the various perils of the Faughan's tidal stretch and Lough Foyle, and returned to the river just short of 14 months later. Indeed, the fact it was caught a few hundred yards from where it was tagged was quite the surprise.
“As fishers of the Faughan's sea-going trout and custodians of the river, we welcome the opportunity to participate in and sponsor programmes which help to inform us about the lives of these elusive children of the tides.”