Around 130 anglers took advantage of the unseasonably mild weather on New Year’s Day to try their luck at catching Ireland’s first salmon of 2019 on the River Drowes.

Unfortunately the star of the show failed to put in an appearance. So no-one had fresh salmon for dinner!

And as no-one caught a “bar of silver”, no-one got to release a “bar of silver”, so no-one got to keep a bar of silver.


Let me explain.

When a salmon first enters a river from the sea, all fresh, shiny and bright, it is often described by anglers as a “bar of silver”.

However, the fish are becoming even more scarce than the precious metal and as 2019 is the International Year of the Salmon the focus is on protecting and preserving them. Anglers are being urged to do their bit by releasing any salmon they catch.

With that in mind, Shane Gallagher, the owner of the Drowes Fishery, has unveiled a couple of new pieces of silverware to encourage anglers to practice catch-and-release. The first fisherman to catch-and-release a “bar of silver” on the river this year will be rewarded with an actual bar of silver. The one kilo ingot is worth €750. The lucky fisherman will also be presented with the newly commissioned Conservation Cup.

As Shane explains: “Catching and releasing the first salmon of the season, or any salmon during the season, is not by itself, going to address the decline in salmon numbers seen in recent years. However, it can be used to create awareness among the non-angling public of how precious a resource the salmon is.

“Clearly our salmon are precious. They are in fact more precious and more valuable than the bars of silver to which they are so often compared,” he adds. “As anglers, as people with an interest in and love for salmon, we can use 2019, the International Year of the Salmon, to be mindful of how precious salmon are and to make an extra special effort to ensure their survival and return to abundance in the future,” says Shane.