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Fish Stock Survey of Maumwee Lough, June 2022

Maumwee Lough is situated in the Corrib catchment, approximately 2km north of Maam Cross, Co. Galway (Plate 1.1, Figure 1.1). It has a surface area of 27.5ha, mean depth of 2.1m, maximum depth of 8.8m (WRFB, 2006) and falls into typology class 1 (as designated by the EPA for the Water Framework Directive), i.e., shallow (<4m), less than 50ha and low alkalinity (<20mg/l CaCO3).

Maumwee Lough is located in the Maumturk Mountains Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Most of the mountains in the SAC exceed 600m in height and the majority of the land within the site lies above an altitude of 250m. The main bedrock in the south of the SAC is made up of quartzite and in the north of the SAC the bedrock is generally comprised of shales and slates (NPWS, 2013).

The site includes blanket bog, lowland oligotrophic lakes, alpine heath, siliceous rock and Rhynchosporion, all habitats listed on Annex I of the E.U. Habitats Directive (NPWS, 2013). The SAC is also selected for containing slender naiad (Najas flexilis) and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), both species listed on Annex II of the same Directive. Species listed in the Red Data Book which are located in the SAC include the Irish hare (Lepus timidus hibernicus) and the common frog (Rana temporaria). Birdlife in the area includes the dipper (C. cinclus hibernicus), grey heron (Ardea cinerea), kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis), raven (Corvus corax), snipe (Gallinago gallinago), stonechat (Saxicola rubicola), wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) and woodcock (Scolopax rusticola). The Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), a species listed on Annex I of the EU Birds Directive also occurs within the SAC (NPWS, 2013).

Oligotrophic lakes are well represented within the Maumturk Mountains SAC, occurring mainly to the south-east near Maam Cross. The main lakes within the SAC are Lough Shindilla, Loughanillaun, Lough Nambrackboy, Lough Shannagrena, Maumwee Lough and Lehanagh Lough. Most of these are good quality, small to medium sized lakes that contain typical oligotrophic aquatic species, including quillwort (Isoetes lacustris), pipewort (Eriocaulon aquaticum), water lobelia (Lobelia dortmanna), shoreweed (Littorella uniflora) and water milfoil (Myriophyllum alterniflorum).

Damaging activities and threats to the Maumturk Mountains SAC include overgrazing, peat-cutting and afforestation. Grazing, in particular by sheep, is quite severe within the site and has resulted in the erosion of both lowland and mountain blanket bog (NPWS, 2013).

Salmon and trout (Salmo trutta) spawning are known to occur in Maumwee Lough. The rivers, in particular those of the Bealnabrack system flowing into the north-west corner of Lough Corrib, provide high quality spawning and nursery grounds for salmon. The lake holds a stock of small brown trout and adult salmon can be captured in the lake during July and August (O’Reilly, 2007).

Maumwee Lough was previously surveyed in 2007, 2010, and 2013 as part of the WFD surveillance monitoring programme (Kelly and Connor, 2007, Kelly et al., 2011 and 2014).

This report summarises the results of the 2022 fish stock survey carried out on the lake using Inland Fisheries Ireland’s fish in lakes monitoring protocol. The protocol is WFD compliant and provides insight into fish stock status in the lake.

Topics: Lake Surveys 2022 , |