THE River Ilen Anglers Cub is keen to encourage local fishers to enjoy a valuable resource right on their doorstep. The club has experienced members who are happy to get beginners started and point those new to the river in the right direction.
It also welcomes visiting fishers to the river, which runs through the heart of West Cork like an artery, coming down the slopes of Nowen Hill and Mullaghmesha Mountain and flowing from Castledonovan to Drimoleague and Skibbereen where it dissolves into the Atlantic at Baltimore.
The river has been providing clean water for people, animals and the land for many centuries, and still is today. The Ilen has a reputation for being one of the best and most scenic salmon rivers in Ireland.
For more than fifty years the River Ilen Angling Club has played a major role in the conservation of the river in conjunction with farmers and Inland Fisheries Ireland, which many will remember as the Central Fisheries Board. Over the years the club has always been pro-active in trying to improve and develop the river as a community asset.
As a result of the recommendations made in two scientific reports in the 1990s, several thousands of hours of voluntary work were carried out, mainly in clearing obstacles to the salmons’ migration, improving spawning beds and nursery areas as well as providing better access for angling with stiles and ladders. The River Ilen Angling Club also publishes maps and brochures for tourist promotion. Another important development by the club came with the opening of the Disabled Anglers’ Stand at Ballyhilty Bridge. The stand was originally the idea of Mr Derry O’Donovan of Castlehaven, who as the owner of the piece of land on which it was subsequently built, suggested to the club that it would be ideal for such a worthy project.
Access to the stand is free of charge to disabled anglers who are provided with a club ticket so as to comply with insurance requirements. This cover is provided through the national body – the Federation of Irish Sea-Trout and Salmon Anglers and is very comprehensive, as it includes personal accident, employers’ and public liability, however, it is essential to have a valid, completed and paid-for members’ card or period ticket to be covered before entering club waters.
Research has shown that every salmon caught by a tourist is worth between €1,000 and €2,000 to the local economy in terms of what an angler would spend whilst on holiday. This makes the River Ilen a very valuable asset in helping to encourage tourism to the region.
For further information on the River Ilen Angling Club, contact the secretary Steve Rourke, on 087-3146077, email [email protected] or visit: www.riverilenanglersclub.ie