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Fishing Journal

Photos - walking the river in March 2003 here and more from the woods here.


We were not optimistic at the opening because the river was low, we'd had cold weather for a few days and in fact saw snow on the second day, and it was blowing. But our team of dedicated sports enthusiasts did not linger over their lunch too long and by the end of day one a beaufiful 8 pounder was on the banks. Congratulations Mrs Cunningham!

 Here's the roundup after the first week by Robin:

River Slaney : Ballin Temple Beat Fishing Report 20th March

The Beat opened on the 10th March with the quality of the water in excellent condition, measuring two feet in height at the gauge, the water temperature when read at 10.00am was 46F.

The Horse Pool gave up the first salmon, a bar of silver, weight 7.25lbs, landed around 11.00am, taken on a sinking tip line with an old favourite “Gary Dog”, size hook 6.   The Middle Hazels gave up the next salmon, not as fresh as the first, but in prime condition, caught on a Flying “C”, weight 7.00lbs. In the afternoon a 9.5lb fresh and firm salmon was landed from the Thorn Bush, method Flying “C”.

The following day saw a very different river, waters rising, strong easterly wind, driving rain and jolly cold, water temperature fell to 40F, Persistent fishing using a Flying “C” yielded yet another 9.5lb fresh fish from the Church Stream.

To date 20th March the catch is 13 salmon and three Trout. Heaviest Salmon weighed in at 14lbs, caught on a sinking tip line, and a large Gary Dog.
Water temperature has risen to between 48 and 50F. and is in good condition. However the weather forecast is for heavy rain and strong Westerly winds.


Ballin Temple Lodge opened for the first time in 2003 as one of the Great Fishing Houses of Ireland, the top 20 places to stay if you wish to fish in Ireland. It got off to a great start in March when our first guests landed a fine fresh salmon from the Trout Stream pool on our River Slaney beat. During the year the Lodge received guests from America, Austria, Denmark, England, Ireland, Scotland and Switzerland.We enjoyed good fishing with a total catch of over 50 wild salmon by the end of the season (31st August) and many very satisfied customers. The pool named the Four Black Rocks yielded up the heaviest salmon, weighing in at 12 lbs (5.5 kg), a bar of silver and caught on a Blue Shrimp. 13 of the 20 named pools gave up salmon during the course of the season.

March continued to be productive but April was slow due to very low water levels with no rain falling in the catchment area. However, after a rainy spell in early May, good fishing was experienced as the salmon moved up from the estuary. The summer months continued to yield salmon and there was a fine run of sea trout in July. During the season the Angling Columnist of The Irish Times caught his first salmon on the fly on our water! (Article dated 9 June is here).

Peter O'Reilly Fishing Course

We were fortunate to host a course led by Peter O'Reilly the renown sportsman and authour. Here are some snaps from a day enjoyed by all ...

A talk indoors to set the scene ...

Outdoor demonstrations ...

One on one tips ...

Discussions at lunch

Peter ...

and the group ..

And a great sunset to end the day ...

Opening Week

Opening week was great fun. Beautiful catches for a few, and fine weather made the days pleasant for the rest.

The new lodge was open on time (against the gods!) to offer comfortable living and delicious food (thanks to Mickey ffrench-Davis). The week was capped by a beautiful catch by our first guests! Now, back to work on the farm ...

At the end of 2003 in November, Tony Sweeney, who often ghillies here, found a dead cock salmon downstream. Apparently speared and left or lost, it weighed in at just under 30lbs. He found another closer to 40 lbs in the Glen of Imaal. Here is with the smaller fish ...


The opening of the season was a fine success with four salmon landed in the first weekend as well as a number of trout hooked.

The water has fluctuated quite widely as a dry spell in March was followed by a week of downpours but the water settled well in late May and salmon are being pulled in by cottage guests and beat members alike - although there are no guarantees!

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The 2001 season was to open on 10 March 2001. However, because of concern about foot and mouth disease being spread by international movements, all fishing was curtailed until May. We are fortunate that because of controlled access through non-farm grounds, the risk of disease spread was low. Although the season started late a number of salmon and trout of fair size were landed.

2000 - Photo Album

The opening weekend was fun and successful for all.

working Wilsons Pool tea hut congregation

Sunshine warmed up the spring day.

Fishing guests and friends discussed the strategy while refuelling at the tea hut.

small start getting bigger

Brown trout were landed ...

... and then salmon joined the party!

landing a big one

Trying to land a BIG ONE!

The Catch Records

Actual catch records are beinhg compiled slowly. Original records from early 1900s are available for viewing at the lodge.

In the 1980s and 1990s stocks had been depleted by commercial net fishing near the estuaries of Ireland's rivers. Fortunately this practice has been reduced and we have seen increasing salmon catches recently.


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