Latest news from the River Roe 19/12/2013

Roe Angling Limited is pleased to announce that they have been successful in their application for grant funding from Arc Northwest. Arc Northwest are an EU based organisation which includes DARD, The Rural Development Programme, The European Development Programme and the Leader group. Their objective is to help rural areas of Northern Ireland.

The main aim of this project is to complete the second Phase of the salmon habitat enhancement of the Owenbeg River. This will improve the Salmon, Trout and Sea Trout stocks of the River Roe. This project along with the increasing number of anglers that return more and more salmon each year, will further maintain fish stock levels in the river for the benefit of anglers.

The objectives of the project are to install ten groynes to facilitate more spawning areas plus restoring habitat for greater numbers of fish. At each site we will install seventy five yards of nursery materials. This method of enhancement has been used throughout the UK and Ireland before and is now recognised as the cheapest and most productive method of increasing fish stocks. Other methods have been proven to be flawed through genetic surveys that were undertaken in the last few years by angling bodies.

When our counter was firstly installed our salmon count was that low, seventeen hundred, that no one would believe it. This year however we have surpassed the figure of four thousand. This shows our method works and stands up to scrutiny by grant agencies. Loughs-Agency has given us full support in this work. I would like to mention that this type of enhancement first started in 1998 on the Roe. A lot of work was completed manually and some work still remains, but lessons on how to improve work has been carefully scrutinised. This project when completed will leave the Owenbeg the most productive tributary on the Roe system.

The main advantage of this type of enhancement is the increase in survival rate of juvenile fish. As this increases more fish will return to use the spawning areas which we have created. As fish numbers in other rivers in the Foyle System continually decline, we have held, and mostly increased our numbers each year. We do not hear many anglers saying that salmon are scarce, but merely hard to catch. Some anglers now stop to see fish move upstream.

NIEL Challenge Fund

This fund is a new addition to the grants available to environmental groups and charities like us. The money which drives this fund comes from the revenue accrued from the charge on polythene bag sales.

We submitted an application for £9,999 to create a buffer zone along 1500 metres of the Woodburn. This consists of erecting a new fence several feet back from the burn and installing water pumps for cattle to drink. This protects the burn from sediment movement which covers salmon and trout eggs during the hatching period. The gates allow the landowner to graze the buffer at other times. This buffer also creates more insect life along the length of the burn. This will help the growth of juvenile fish too. As things progress we shall be looking at extending this project. We have installed 500 metres of buffer zone in previous years.

In summing up I think we have been very successful in our applications for grant funding this year.

However it needs to be mentioned that these grants are 75% funded and that our membership has to pay the other 25%. This shows the necessity for the sale or purchase of our Xmas Draw tickets. This is crucial in making our River a success. If we do not enhance our river then we shall go the way of the Finn. We cannot keep taking out all the time. We must manage the river. It is a small sum to pay for a seasons’ fishing.

At our AGM a loud call was made for the cessation of the killing of sea trout on our system. Some doubted this request but the members knew that sea trout were at their lowest ever. They have asked the directors to lobby Loughs-Agency to legislate for the cessation of killing sea trout. This is a clear sign that stocks have fallen away and that managing the fish stocks is paramount for future years.


The third annual clean up took place on Saturday at the country park. We had two groups this year. One in Limavady and one in Dungiven. We had four representatives from the Roe Angling Limited and representatives from Loughs Agency and NIEA. The main group consisted of around sixteen to twenty members of The Causeway Kayak Association. NIEA provided gloves and Loughs Agency provided litter picks and heavy duty bags.

We started off at 10.15am and agreed our aims and method.

The Anglers started at the old Roe Bridge and proceeded upstream on both banks. It did not take long to encounter litter. We filled the bags and tied them, leaving them at the water’s edge for collection. We had a team on the opposite bank as well so we were covering the whole stretch. By 12.30pm we had reached the Forde at Radisson. The Causeway Kayak team started to collect rubbish at O,Cahan,s weir and worked their way downstream. We had a good dry day this year. A little cold to begin with but it really heated up at 11am. We took our time on route and had a great chat. Also we made friends with members of the Kayak club and they are determined to have another clean up next year. This is a fun day out for the Kayakers but they do an excellent job of retrieving litter from trees that can not be accessed from the bank.
The Dungiven group consisted of anglers from Roe Angling Limited and representatives from NIEA and the Glenshane community group.The NIEA provided gloves and rubbish bags for everyone. The group concentrated their efforts on the Pound Burn again this year. This is a lovely place but over the years it has been the victim of continual fly tipping. There was even a commercial Coke a Cola shop fridge dumped at a steep area of the Burn. We shall need the help from our local council to remove this item.

The area identified for this year started at Millar’s car park and continued upstream for seventy yards to New Street Bridge. The volunteers spent around three hours on this stretch and the difference was amazing.

Limavady Borough Council has arranged to pick up all rubbish from both sites. We would like to thank everyone for their contribution in making this event such a success and everyone is talking about the next event. We would like to ask as many anglers as possible to give a few hours, 3 at the most to improving our environment.

We ask all anglers to give their email address to their local outlet when they buy their membership this year so that we can inform them of any upcoming events.