38 TOPIC • 12 April, 2018 NEWS LOUGH LENE ANGLING ASSOCIATION CELEBRATES 60th ANNIVERSARY Attracting anglers from across the world, Lough Lene is nestled between Collinstown and Castlepollard and is ideally suited for fishing, with large areas of shallows and crystal clear water. As described by the Lough Lene Angling Association, the fishing is not easy, but larger and heavier fish are common. The local season starts in March and the lake is famous for its fly fishing with Duckfly which hatches in April, and Mayfly hatches in later summer. The lake itself is quite remarkable in Ireland in that its outlets cut the country in half: on the east, a watercourse flows into the River Boyne system which makes its way to the Irish sea, and on the west an outlet navigates to the Shannon which proceeds to leave the country via the Atlantic. In May 1958, the Lough Lene Angling Association was founded by Rev P Cuff and Sgt McGowan, and since then the organisation has ensured that one of our most beloved local lakes is protected, while developing the fishing to cater for all who flock to it. The popular lake received the EU Blue Flag status in 1991 for its pollution free water, allocated with remarkable regularity due to the locals’ determination to preserve the resource and habitat for fish and wildlife. Club Chairman Tommy Fagan spoke to us about his many years behind the scenes of Lough Lene Angling: “They come from all over. Americans, Italians, Dutch, English, Scottish, Welsh, and all over Ireland. They come for weekends, long weekends, days, nights; anglers love Lough Lene.” The association does not have an easy task keeping up with the demand that Lough Lene attracts, but they accomplish it every year, and every year anglers keep coming back to enjoy the lake and its fruits. “We have to restock about 15,000 fish every year,” Tommy says. A mix of brown trout and, since 2004, rainbow trout that flourish in the ‘gin clear’ waters of Lene stocked at intervals throughout the season. Lough Lene Anglers Association reckon that 2018 will look to be about the same, pending availability, and it will all be thanks to the members who will continue to restock come angling season. Upcoming competitions (see details) are the community’s highlight of the summer months, with open season starting from 1 March and finishing up by 12 October. Access to the lake is by kind permission of landowners surrounding the lake. The Lough Lene Anglers Association’s biggest events of the year are the Interprovincial Cup coming in August, and the ITTFA fundraiser, kindly sponsored by Dave McBride for the national teams which takes place in July. The latter attracts the biggest attendance on the lake with 25 four person teams adding up to a massive 100 plus anglers making this an event not to be missed. The association also holds competitions for charity and over the past ten years have raised over €45,000 for various local charitable organisations. This year, the Chairman’s Pair’s Charity Competition will take place on Sunday, 30 September from 11am to 6pm and will be fundraising for the Friends of Mullingar Hospital’s MRI Scanner Appeal, a great cause that has attracted donations from all over the county. The Lough Lene Angling Association has a renowned membership, yet there is always a waiting list so be sure to get in touch with the association or one of its members to get your name on it as soon as possible. Lough Lene Anglers present a cheque of €7,165 to Collinstown Fore Parish: from left are Tommy Fagan, Collinstown; Very Rev Fr Patrick Donnelly, Collinstown Fore Parish; and Pat Browne, Treasurer Lough Lene Anglers Association. The late Peadar Caffrey presenting Oliver O’Neill with the Peadar Caffrey Cup at Lough Lene in 1997. Junior winners in the Paddy Dolan pike competition in 2005. LOUGH LENE, The Jewel BY TOM DOC SULLIVAN, ANGLER. There is something special about Lough Lene, something very special. Nestled as it is amidst the rolling pastureland and woods in Collinstown, it is a wonderful spectacle to behold. Even in the ‘Lake County’ of Westmeath it stands out amongst the other loughs as one of the most beautiful, its crystal-clear water, spring fed and wooded islands hold a magnetic attraction. However, it is not beauty alone that draws me and so many other anglers to Lene, it is the matter that it also offers the trout fisherman some of the finest sport in Ireland. This is due entirely to the magnificent work that is done by the Lough Lene Anglers Association in managing the Lough as a fishery. Lene is not blessed with an abundance of nursery streams for the indigenous trout to regenerate the lake naturally. The association has long realised this and has always had to augment the natural population with a stocking policy. A number of years ago they had the foresight to start stocking, along with brown Tommy Fagan presenting Tom O’Neill with the Lough Lene Cup. trout, rainbow trout. The proverbial statement ‘duck to water’ springs to mind and the rainbows thrive in the rich feeding that the waters of the lough provide. Within a couple of weeks after they are stocked into the lough, these rainbows become solid bars of silver, sleek and muscular they flourish in their new environment and become a challenging quarry for we anglers. If I can impress on people how good Lene is I tell them this, I am fortunate enough to live in another beautiful place, at the foot of the Maamturk Mountains, in Joyce Country on the shores of Lough Corrib, itself a wonderful fishery. I will, however, happily get into my car and drive the two and a half hours’ journey to Lene to savour its fishing. The thought of drifting Fagan’s shore with my dry fly out before me. Watching it disappear in under the tiniest little dimple on the surface and as I tighten my line, it all explodes in a myriad of bright silver trout flank betwixt a cascade of splashing water and the rod buckles under the strain of a fighting fit grown on Lough Lene Rainbow. Now that’s a little bit of heaven! Congratulations on your 60th Anniversary from Congratulations to Lough Lene Anglers on 60 years Now stocking even more of the top brands Congratulations from Congratulations and continued success from COLLINSTOWN Southgate Cork Street Dublin 8 (01) 4530266 www.southsideangling.ie ABSOLUTELY BEST PRICES GUARANTEED Wild Total Outdoors 1 Friars Mill Road, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath Tel: 044 9301133 • Open 7 days Carrick Mill, Lough Bawn, Collinstown, Co. 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TOPIC • 12 April, 2018 LOUGH LENE ANGLING ASSOCIATION CELEBRATES 60th ANNIVERSARY FEATURE/NEWS 39 HEN PARTY FOR ROSEMARY McANDREW • Contd. from page 33 Sharon Scally, Shannon McAndrew, Frank Dalton, and Avril Daly pictured at Clarke’s for the celebrations. UPCOMING COMPETITION DATES FOR 2018 THE WARDELL CUP/BOB BERRY SHIELD (Pike) Sunday, 13 May from 11am to 6pm Eugene Fagan, Andy Young, Michael Hayes, and Fr Alfonso Izco after a good day on Lough Lene. THE PADDY DOLAN TROPHY/PADDY DOLAN SHIELD (Pike) Sunday, 10 June from 11am to 6pm THE MICHAEL HEALY MEMORIAL CUP (Fly and trout only) Sponsored by CLF Transport Friday, 13 July from 7pm to 11:15pm THE LARRY MULLIGAN CUP (Fly and trout only) Friday, 10 August, from 7pm to 11pm CHAIRMAN’S PAIRS CHARITY COMPETI- TION (Fly and trout only) in aid of the Mullingar Hospital MRI Scanner Appeal Sunday, 30 September from 11am to 6pm David O’Neill receiving the Peadar Caffrey Cup from the late Peadar Caffrey, long time member of Lene Angling Association. Trisha Daly and Josie Moran pictured with Rosemary at Clarke’s for the hen party. A rack of fish from the First Interprovincial Competition held on Lough Lene in 1997 Congratulations to Lough Lene Anglers Club from GET YOUR FISHING TACKLE & FISHING EQUIPMENT ONLINE FROM VIKING TACKLE based in Bray, Co. Wicklow. Viking Tackle specialises in Pike fishing tackle, Trout & Salmon fishing tackle and Sea fishing tackle www.vikingtackle.ie David O’Malley 33 Dominick Street, Mullingar 044 9348300 Watchmaker • Jewellers Fishing Tackle Specialists Firearms & Ammunition WE STOCK A LARGE SELECTION OF FISHING TACKLE FOR THE GAME & COARSE ANGLER Congratulations on 60 years to Lough Lene Anglers Club (Above) Siobhan Connolly, Tracey Connolly, Collette Scally, and Karen Connolly pictured in Clarke’s for Rosemary McAndrew’s hen night. (Left) Michelle Dalton and Jackie Keena pictured in Clarke’s for the 80s themed hen night.