Declining water levels along one of Longford’s most popular fishing haunts is turning visiting anglers away in their dozens.
That’s according to concerned fisherman and regular visitor to the shores of Lough Ree in Lanesboro, Paul Waghorn.
Like umpteen others, Paul has made trips to the vibrant south Longford town an annual custom, lured by the usually deep and wide contours that make up Ireland’s longst river-The Shannon.
Now, much of that excitement has turned to one of dismay as public officials keep water levels low to lessen the risk of flooding during times of heavy rainfall.
“There is a story of a major concern over the alarming levels of the Shannon at Lanesborough,” said Mr Waghorn this week.
“It’s easy to blame the apparent recent dry spell, but further investigations have found that Lough Ree has been lowered to protect the callows downstream of Athlone.”
Mr Waghorn said the need to trim water levels has left large strands of Lough Ree unpalatable for fishing purposes, forcing many to look elsewhere.
“There is so little water in Lanesboro’s famous hot water stretch that only two or three people can fish there at any one time,” he said.
The effects of declining water levels has brought with it plenty of unwanted side-effects.
“Downstream, it is so weeded up, it’s almost impossible to fish,” said Paul, who has been a consistent visitor to the town over the past 22 years.
The Leader attempted to contact the Office of Public Works, the lead agency for flood risk management in Ireland but was informed the matter was one best directed to the ESB.
A spokesman confirmed the semi-state body managed levels on Lough Ree in accordance with its Regulations and Guidelines for the Control of the River Shannon.
“As part of the management of lake levels, the ESB has target levels for different periods of the year.
These targets balance the need to avoid flooding if possible and also the need to ensure certain minimum levels for navigation, water supply etc,” it said in a statement.