The fish trapping facilities in Burrishoole are unique, having been in operation since 1958, with full trapping since 1970. “The Burrishoole Fishery is unusual in that it forms part of a catchment dedicated to scientific research. The catch and information from the fishery form a vital component of the scientific returns and for this reason the fishery is highly regulated,” explained Pat Hughes who is the Burrishoole Fishery manager.
These regulations have enabled a full census to be made of all migratory fish movements upstream and downstream since 1970. As a result the Burrishoole System is utilised as one of the key index systems for salmon, sea trout and eel. Data about the fish collected from the Burrishoole system is used extensively by ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Seas) to gauge the overall status of the Irish stocks on an annual basis.
Mr Bill Bullick from Belfast has been returning to Newport to fish in the area for nearly 40 years, since he was a child and has developed a passion for the Burrishoole fishery. “Lough Furnace, the Neck fishery and Lough Feeagh all offer perfect fishing conditions. Like all wild fishing, it is rarely easy and sometimes, can be impossible. But, when the day is right, it is magic. The quality in Furnace would attract anglers from anywhere in the world. And if you want to catch salmon from a boat, there is no better place, nor are there better people to do it with,” he said.
“Real friendships with the fisheries management and the ghillies have also been established over the years. These men are not mere boat-men, but professionals, who have learned their trades over a life-time,” explained Mr Bill Bullick. The Burrishoole Fishery which is primarily based on the two lower Loughs of the Burrishoole System includes Lough Furnace and Lough Feagh. There are two channels through which the outflow from Lough Feeagh discharges into Lough Furnace, one is a natural rock gorge about 15m wide, which is known locally as the “Salmon Leap”. The other is an artificial channel about 8m wide, which is known locally as the “Mill Race”.