The north west’s fishing community have raised concerns that illegal netting might be to blame for the lack of fish being caught at a popular local lough.
The fishing enthusiasts gathered at Enagh Lough on Sunday afternoon with their rods to demonstrate the lack of pike and other fish there.
They have raised fears that something has gone badly wrong which has resulted in the fish population being decimated in the lough.
Anglers currently pay a licence fee of £16 a year for the privilege of fishing at Enagh. But some are now questioning why they are bothering to pay when they are barely getting a bite on their line.
A Facebook page entitled ‘Help Save Pike In Enagh Lough’ has now been set up to try and highlight the problem on the lough, which is catch and release to ensure its sustinability.
A Waterside man who has been fishing the lough since boyhood said there was widespread frustration over the issue.
“I would be there frequent enough,” he said.
“I was out there for a full week, trying everything, all different baits and that, but nothing. Usually if it’s calm weather you would see fish coming up to the top but there is nothing showing.
“What is the point of paying for a licensc?”
The fisherman, who has asked not to be named, said there were also concerns over the policing of fishing on the lough and whether everyone there is licensed to do so and acting within the law.
“I would like to see an investigation. I am even thinking of hiring a boat to see if I can drag a net out myself, but I would be hopeful somebody else would be able to do it.”
At time of going to press, the Loughs Agency had not responded to the angler’s comments.
Enagh Lake consists of two lakes in the Maydown area of Derry, and are an important geological and historical site.
The name of the lough comes from the Gaelige and means ‘marshy lake’.
The lake and surrounding area are home to important species such as the red squirrel, bats and native plants and aquatic species.
There is also an ancient island on the lough and it is believed the area was an important settlement for ancient native people.
There was an O’Cahan Clan towerhouse in the area centuries ago and the remains of ancient church settlements have been found over recent decades.