Speaking after visiting Ballylough lake, a trout fishery near Castlewellan, to see first-hand the work undertaken by its members, South Down MP Margaret Ritchie said: “I was delighted to assist Castlewellan and Annsborough Angling Club in bringing forward this project to assist with the development of angling facilities for local and visiting anglers to Ballylough Lake.”[caption id="attachment_54474" align="aligncenter" width="540"] Ken Pressagh, Secretary of the Castlewellan and Annsborough Angling Club, South Down MP Margaret Ritchie, Nicky Brown, LCF Grants Officer with the Ulster Wildlife Trust, and Club Chairman Peter McKee, at Ballylough Lake near Castlewellan.[/caption]
The lake is club owned and managed and offers a premier angling venue in the heartland of tourism in County Down.
Ms Ritchie added: “Congratulations and praise must go to the Committee of Castlewellan & Annsborough Angling Club, who have for many years successfully managed Ballylough lake for local and visiting anglers, and have now brought this £11000 of investment to the infrastructure of the lake through their successful application to the Landfill Communities Trust funded by DDC and administered by the Ulster Wildlife Trust.
“Thanks must also go to Down District Council and Ulster Wildlife Fund for bringing this fund and investment into the local community and I would hope that this funding will continue in future years for community groups throughout the constituency South Down.”
Club Secretary Ken Pressagh said: “We are delighted to have received the grant for £11950 from the Landfill Communities Trust. This is a fund which raises money for local groups within a ten mile radius of the Ballykelly landfill site at Seaforde.
“We spent £5000 upgrading the walkway around the lake and now it is much more accessible, especially for the elderly and disabled. There was a real health and safety issue when our members had to go on to the main road to get round the lake. On a few occasions passing cars actually smashed anglers rods. There was always the risk of an accident. Now we have a walkway next to the water which is safe.
“Improvements have also been made to the boathouse. We have to feed the fish weekly and the old boathouse was leaking and the boat used to fill with water. We also managed to raise the roof as it was too low. We have the bumps on our heads to prove it! It would have been nice to pit a pontoon on the lake but that was going to prove too costly.
“Ballylough Lake is stocked three times a year and last year we put in 3700 brown trout and rainbows from 1 1/2 – 2 pounds in weight. The season begins again on the 1st March and to fish the lake you need a DCAL licence and then you can buy a day permit for £15 from Paula’s Shop, the Stables Hotel or Hillyard House in Castlewellan.
“You can keep two trout and are allowed to land four altogether on the ticket. And it is fly fishing only from the bank. You can fish all round the lake, but Ritchie’s Field opposite the car park is a favourite spot.
“We are keen to take on juvenile members. Currently we have around 120 adults and 30 juveniles on our books. If you live within ten miles of the lake you can apply to become a member. It is a growing sport and a great way to get away from the bustle of life for a few hours.”[caption id="attachment_54478" align="aligncenter" width="540"] A beautiful setting at Ballyloiugh Lake near Castlewellan.[/caption] ]]>