To address the declining stocks of salmon, a number of Moyola Anglers came together to build a hatchery approximately 15 years ago.
Situated high in the Sperrin Mountains, the hatchery was built and plumbed by anglers much of it at their own expense and time. The hatchery is built on the land of Paddy Grey, where it is fed by the emerging Whitewater tributary of the Moyola.
The Moyola Hatchery in the heart of the Sperrins
The hatchery is run on a voluntary basis, with anglers taking it in turn each day to check on the fish and eggs.
This daily routine changes, from when the adult fish are brought in from the river, through the removal of dead eggs throughout the cold winter months, and finally with the hatching of the salmon and dollaghan fry.
The Hatchery inlet pipe which runs alongside the Whitewater River
The Moyola Hatchery has in recent years kept salmon fry for up to one year, in the hope that the larger parr and smolts will increase the percentage return of adult salmon.
The Moyola Angling Association are greatly indebted to the generosity of Draperstown-based company Heron Bros who have been more than generous in their contribution of materials for the hatchery and many of the environmental projects carried out along the river over the years.
The activities of the Hatchery is not a solution in itself to returning salmon stocks to their former levels. But it is hoped that this 'helping hand' to nature, together with the restoration and ehancement of the countless miles of salmon nursery streams, will see the Moyola reach it's full potential.