Go Deep or go Home!

I had heard a few times that the western Lough’s can fish well at the end of the season to daphnia feeding fish in the deeps. There can also be a chance of dry fly fishing with sedges and daddies.

With this in mind I contacted my pal and Corrib boatman Tom Doc Sullivan to see if a trip would be worthwhile. Tom really knows his stuff and he told me to make the journey. However I wouldn’t be fishing any of the drifts I had fished on previous trips. It seemed like – go deep or go home!

I was joined by my mate Dave who has also fished the lake before but never at this time of year. Preparation had gone well and I was armed with a Mackenzie FX1 10ft #6 and #7wt. Tom had recommended tying up some bright daphnia patterns to pull on an Airflo Fast Intermediate line. As usual he was spot on.

We didn’t know what to expect but followed Tom’s advice and with good conditions we had great sport catching beautiful wild Irish trout in a fantastic location. 24 trout landed in 2.5days fishing is awesome.

We learned a lot about fishing the lake at this time of year and it was brilliant to have several nice trout take our dry flies.

There is still a month left and the great thing was there wasn’t as many boats out compared to mayfly time. The weather was much milder than some of our early season duckfly and olive fishing trips too.

We will definitely be contacting Tom around this time next year and if prospects are good we will be back.

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Lough Corrib 2018

This year a pal and I delayed our visit to Lough Corrib until late April due to the abnormally cold spring. It proved to be a good move as the weather was horrible all March. We knew we had missed the duckfly hatch but were hoping for Olives and large buzzer. Once again we stayed at Grasshopper cottage Cornamona near Clonbur.

We hired a boat and engine from our good pal and top guide Tom Doc Sullivan. Unfortunately we were too early for Olives this time. Our approach was to fish the conditions as there was no significant hatch. On the morning s the Lough was calm and the sun was high although it was cool enough with a Northeast wind.

In these conditions we fished buzzers. I was really impressed with my Mackenzie FX1 10ft 6wt for this method. Luckily we managed to boat some nice trout with the largest 58cm and in prime condition.

In the mid afternoon the wind picked up and we tried pulling traditional wet flies and dabblers on intermediate lines. This was productive especially around shallow areas. We had a mixture of small trout with some better fish to just over 2lbs and quite a few missed takes also.

Overall we had a great weekend and are really looking forward to next year already.

1 Day Stillwater Fly Fishing Course

Building on the success of last years fly fishing courses I will be holding a stillwater fly fishing course at the purpose built fly fishing lake, fishing lodge and tackle room at Ardaire Springs Fishery, Mooncoin, Kilkenny on February 15th 2015.  This is an ideal course for those new to fly fishing and also for those wanting to improve upon their stillwater fishing techniques.  Based on very positive feedback from last year I have decided to maintain the same affordable price of just €60 (including lunch).

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The course covers all the standard fishing techniques (lures, wets, nymphs and dries).  There will be lots of helpful hints and tips relating to tackle set up and fly selection to help you catch that “big one”.

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There will also be time for participants to put some new methods to practice themselves before the day ends. This worked well last year with some participants catching their personal best trout on the day!

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In addition to being a Pro Guide and International Federation of Fly Fishers Casting Instructor I have also completed a Child Welfare & Protection in Sport Awareness Training Course and have been Garda Vetted for coaching.

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Given the date of this course it would make an ideal Valentines gift for the angler in your life.  If you would like to book a place on this course just send me an e-mail at: gamefishingireland@gmail.com or phone: 087-2965712.

Course Update

So far we have had a great response to the Matching the Hatch Course to run in Courtlough Fishery on January 18th. Further to Derek Evans article in todays’ Irish Times angling column please find below some additional detail on the course content:

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Phase 1: (classroom) – slides and images as an introduction to small still water entomology, including images of what we may find in the lake. A summary of the various life cycles (including fry) and the sequence of insect hatches throughout the season.  Details of important terrestrials likely to feature on the trouts diet during the year.

Getting prepared in the seminar room.

Phase 2: – collecting and sorting the insects into groups along the lake shore

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LUNCH BREAK

Phase 3: – going through the fly boxes and tying in the imitations with the natural animals. Emphasis will be placed on how the insects, crustaceans / snails move and how the flies move in the water and at what depth.

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Fry imitation Articulated Zonker with diving vane

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Shrimp Imitation

Phase 4: – angling approaches, equipment and tackle, techniques and set ups

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A place on the course would make an ideal Christmas gift!

Monsters on the Move

The MONSTER Waterford browns have been active in the last two weeks. We have had some cracking sessions on both Carrigavantry and Knockaderry. With the warmer weather hatches have increased resulting in good surface activity on the calmer days. Expect to see black and grey buzzers hatching on the mild calm days and lake olives on the less pleasant days. The first of the damsel nymphs are also making an appearance on the trouts diet. On my last trip to Knockaderry I had some fine brown trout on both wet fly and on buzzer.

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Carrigavantry also fished very well to light buzzers and dries. I had two days there recently taking Kuba and Martin out on different occassions. Kuba managed some lovely browns on his trip.

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Martin and I landed a mixture of rainbows and browns on dry flies when I took him out.

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Waterford Lakes

The Waterford lakes have been fishing well of late.  When the temperature is up and the winds light there has been a great midge hatch.  Emergers have been working well for the large browns averaging 5lbs.

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Dabblers and bumbles are always good at this time of year.  Be sure to use strong tippet for the hard hitting Knockaderry bows.  Some of these are 4lbs plus!

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When conditions are suitable Carrigavantry is a super buzzer lake.  If the midge are hatching keep an eye out for rising trout sheltered areas.

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The big bows put up an awesome scrap on a 5wt.

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These lakes are well worth a try in the coming weeks. Details on permits etc are available on the club website. Www.waterfordflyfishing.com

Corrib Duckfly Weekend 2014

We spent the weekend on Lough Corrib. As usual we stayed in Grasshopper Cottage, Dooros.  For us, this is an ideal guesthouse, overlooking the lake, and where the owner knows his fishing on the Lough. It is also just over the road from where our good friend Tom Sullivan lives. He is always a great help to us when we go to Corrib. We like fishing around Cornamona, you can generally find a sheltered bay somewhere!

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The start of the weekend was horrible weatherwise, bitterly cold and strong winds. We knew from last year that with little duckfly hatching in such conditions the fish might be feeding on hoglouse.

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This proved to be the case as is evident from the photo above, and we caught on dabblers and hoglouse patterns. 

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The Sage One 7wt performed great for pulling wets. I think the 6wt would be an ideal “all round” rod.

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The forecast was much better for Sunday – warmer weather, light winds, and no rain.  Time to change tactics.  We set up the 7wts with smaller wets (duckfly emergers). The fast intermediate lines were replaced with slow intermediates and hover lines.  On the Sage One 5wt it was a full floater and buzzers.  I also prepared a leader with 2 CDC dry duckfly patterns in case there was a good rise.

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Conditions were very good and a lot of fly hatched. We caught on wets and buzzers.

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After lunch the lake went calm and we spotted trout rising in one corner of a bay.  We switched from buzzers to dries.  I hooked one trout on a shuttlecock fly but failed to land it. It was a good days fishing where we kept two trout that we had spooned.  They had been feeding on buzzers rather than hoglouse.

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Lessons learned:
– there is no guarantee of good conditions in March so be prepared for tough weather and fishing
– you have to adapt to the conditions and what the trout are likely to be feeding on
– when the conditions are good the potential for great fishing is certainly there
– make sure your digital camera is properly charged for the weekend so that you don’t have to use your phone (oops!)
We will back again around the same time next year. Hopefully we get a full weekend of good weather.