Friday, 2 January 2015

A Drive Along the River Leannan System.

Myself and angling buddy, James took an exploratory drive today along the River Leannan in Co Donegal. The Leannan is open to angling on a catch and release basis for 2015. The Leannan was always a renowned spring salmon fishery which regularly produced opening day salmon on the 1st of January. It has however, been closed to salmon angling for a number of years. I, personally disagree with closing fisheries entirely because this leaves unoccupied fisheries open to unscrupulous poachers. It's welcome news indeed that the Leannan is open for catch and release hopefully and indication that salmon numbers are on the increase.
We began our trip at the famous Watt's Pool on the Lower River. Watt's Pool is a private fishery below a substantial weir just above the town of Ramelton. Prior to its closure, Watts Pool regularly produced spring salmon in early January; the weir holding lethargic springers back in the large pool itself. Today was my first time seeing the pool, a large inviting looking pool. There's a fast flowing neck which spreads out into a wide pool with a nice steady draw. 
   Watts Pool
I have no idea about how to go about purchasing a permit to fish Watts Pool or indeed if it is possible to do so. Perhaps the owners will provide information in the coming season.

                                                  Middle Section of the Lower River Leannan
We drove upstream along the river towards Lough Fern, Lough Fern divides the upper and lower sections of the Leannan and is a popular destination for trout fishers in Donegal. 
 Middle section of the Lower River

  Middle section of the Lower River
The upper section of the Leannan, above Lough Fern, is considerably longer than the lower river and flows through fairly rough pasture. Many of the fields were flooded in the high water and the river meanders for most of its way from Gartan Lough down to the Fern.
     The Upper River Leannan above Lough Fern

     The Upper River Leannan above Lough Fern

                                                The Upper River Leannan above Lough Fern

Lough Gartan and the start of the River Leannan.
Our tour of the Leannan system ended where the river begins, pictured here at the outflow from Gartan Lough, near Churchill. There is some great trout fishing to be had in numerous loughs in the Churchill area. 
All in all it was enjoyable taking a drive up along the Leannan system, which I had never previously scoped out. Perhaps I'll give it a throw in the not too distant future. 

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