ROYAL CANAL: The Royal Canal is coming up trumps for pike anglers these days, as many of our lakes are in flood and the likes of the River Inny is also high and discolored on some stretches. We do have some smaller lakes that are not effected too much by floodwater but the high winds just make it very difficult to fly or lure fish for pike. We are blessed here in the greater Mullingar area that we have some of the best stretches of pike water on the Royal Canal system and anglers are catching some nice fish. Last Saturday I met a young French angler who had traveled down from Dublin by train to fish the Royal Canal and was rewarded with a huge pike of 92cm in length. We chatted for a while and I only got his first name and contact details. Fair play to Benoit, the young French angler sent me the picture of his prized catch and it’s a super pike from the town stretch of the Royal Canal. I also met David Murray of Longwood on Sunday morning; we featured David back in January with his River Inny Monster. David was doing a spot of dead baiting along the Royal Canal. I also wet a line Saturday and Sunday and was rewarded with some cracking pike on the fly. I rigged up some light spinning gear and some led shot on the flies to get a bit of casting distance and the pike hammered the flies. Some Canal walkers were completely surprised that pike of this size, and quality were keeping an eye on them as they walked the banks.  A big thanks to those who took a few pictures for me as I was on my own and miles from the Fish Mobile. The Royal Canal is permit free and Inland Fisheries Ireland angling regulations are in place. There is plenty of signage visible near bridges regarding these laws on fishing the Royal Canal.

CHARITY TROUT COMPETITION ON LENE: There has been good feedback from last week’s breaking news on the up and coming fly only charity trout competition on Lene. I was contacted by a number of anglers on social media and on the old reliable mobile. Gerry Heaslip of Tallagh is the contact for this competition and I spoke to Gerry last week to get a bit more info for readers. It’s an open trout only competition and it is €20 per angler but this does not cover the €15 day ticket. The competition will take place on Tuesday March 17th on St Patrick’s Day, it is an 11am start and all boats are to be back at Fagan’s Point by 6pm. All proceeds from this competition are going to the Irish Cancer Society. Gerry, who represented Ireland on the International Fly Angling scene and is a member of Lough Lene Angling Association, can be contacted on 086-2253126.

MARCH 1st OPENING DAY: Yes, it’s no time at all now until we will be out and about on the Midlands lakes and rivers as the likes of Owel, Ennell, Ree, and many rivers will also open on March 1st. Mind you, some rivers are in flood once again with our recent heavy rain. The Brosna, a popular spot for local trout anglers, will need a few days of dry weather to leave it in good condition for lure and worm anglers. All we can do is hope we have no more big storms sweeping in in the coming weeks so we can get out for a few days. You will need an I.F.I. Permit to fish the Midland lakes and rivers and they can be purchased in our local angling centers or on line from the I.F.I.