Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Lough Derg Brown Trout on Spent Gnat

Was up in Clare last weekend and had an unexpected trip out on the boat on Lough Derg with a friend. Mayfly fishing is only beginning to gather momentum now, on the Derg at least. Fishing has been tough going and it has started later than usual, with fisherman suggesting the hatch could last another 3 weeks. Fortunately the evening I got the opportunity to venture out the weather was relatively kind to us in that we had an overcast sky and a gentle south westerly wind. I've fished this lake on the boat before a couple of times during the mayfly hatch, but to no avail in less than good conditions.

Last Saturday we set off at 6.30 on our search for a trout. On our first stop we saw a good few gnat coming out but very little coming up to take them. We persisted for a while though, tracked a couple of fish and Mike was the first to hook up. If you intend to keep a trout on Lough Derg it must be over 14 inches and this fish didn't quite make it so we slipped it back without fuss.
Not wasting any more time on a relatively unproductive spot we made for another spot, slowing down at a couple of slicks on the way. These slicks are glassy looking lanes of water and it's always worth a look here as fly often accumulate and feeding trout are quite easy to spot. Making our way slowly along the next stretch we spotted quite a few spent gnat coming out so we set up a drift. Almost immediately we found cruising trout sipping fly off the top of the water. Now, I hardly ever fish dry flies but watching these trout picking flies off of the surface film and casting out for them is really exciting, edge of your boat seat stuff! It's all visual and you have to keep your nerve and deliver a perfect cast to have a chance to fool one of these spotty creatures. Around 20 minutes into the drift and I had my first take. The fish played strong and after the initial strike and jump stayed deep. A few minutes later and I slipped the net under the beauty below.

Measuring over 14 inches I estimated the trout to be a pound and a half. Best trout I've had off the lake, happy days! Obviously there are much bigger trout in the lake, but I was delighted to catch this and on a method I don't often use. Fishing on I caught one more trout, a bit smaller than this one so it went back and Mike also lost one more, which looked like it would have passed the size limit. After this a light drizzle descended and even though we tried a couple more spots nothing was happening.
If I was a bit more clued into this fishing I could have had a couple of more. One lesson I learnt, always cast upwind to a travelling trout. This is the way they usually run as the fly are being blown towards them and if they turn downstream its easier to recast that way. Having 2 in a boat, our tactic was to target one fish at a time, one casting upwind and the other downwind. Since there wasn't too much ripple on the water I used a long, tapered leader consisting of 6 foot 14 lb, 4 foot 12 lb and 4 foot 8 lb fluorocarbon.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Spring Salmon on the Lee

Last night the Bandon rose, was falling this morning but was on the way up again by late morning. A quick cast this afternoon confirmed it would be an uphill struggle, with the water visibility 6 inches to a foot at best. It's been quite lately on the salmon and sea trout front, some are running and I saw a salmon jumping the weir this afternoon. These latest floods fining down with the impending blast of warm air will see sport pick up.
So with the Bandon out of order my attention turned to the Lee. I have been meaning to fish it this spring but have just not got around to it so this evening I thought no time like the present! Passing over the bridge in Ballincollig on the way to the petrol station to get my permit I could see that the river was bowling down. I wasn't deterred by this though, at least I knew fish would be there and anything that was in the river would be headed up towards the dam.

Arriving at the dam  the water was huge, creating a massive back eddy on my side of the river. In this type of water it's hard to keep in contact with your lure at times but it's imperative you try to keep in contact with your lure as much as you can otherwise you'll end up snagging the bottom, your will lure not work properly or worse of all you'll miss a take. Working my way down, I spun using a size 4 flying c in various colour and blade combinations. For the first hour or so the place was quite enough until I noticed a splash a few yards down the river. Working my way down I saw another one so it was obvious a few fish were coming in. It was overcast now and with the colour in the water I put up a black and copper flying c. Casting upwards and bringing the lure through the back eddy the line stopped. Lifting the rod I met resistance and the line screaming off, I was into my first fish of the year. Like the strong swirl of the river, the salmon was surging around in circles. Twice he threatened to go down river but luckily before he got anywhere I managed to turn him. Now the the realisation struck me, I forgot the net! Ah well I don't usually have it with me but in a new place like this it would have been very handy. Tiring the fish out a bit more I eventually got him in close and tailed him. Relief!

Over the moon is an understatement, at last I caught a springer! I've never had enough time to put in the effort due to school, college, work, travelling etc etc but this year I've put in a decent effort and its nice to have the effort pay off. I thought the fish was 9 or 10lbs weight but the scales back home read just over 12, good, broad fish. I fished on for another couple of hours to no avail. No one else caught anything either, but I did have the pleasure of meeting Paul Hanley. He missed 2 and caught a pike also. His knowledge of the river and the Inniscarra stretch is encyclopedic, he knows every inch of it. He has been having a good season so far and you can read his blog here. 
Back broken now, if the water drops the fly rod will be out, 13 days left to get a springer on the fly rod!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Argideen Silver

Having fished fruitlessly for bass yesterday on very weak tides I decided to just have a drive around looking for marks to fish when the tides get better. The mild weather has got the bass going a bit again and with just over a week left to fish for them until the ban is in its worth making the effort to catch while you can!
Pondering wheter I would have another cast somewhere on the dropping tide I thought to myself maybe a look at the Argideen river could be worthwhile. Walking some of the banks familiarising myself with some of the pools I spotted a few trout and that was my evening planned!
Home to get the fly rod, rig up and out again to get my permit at Inchy Bridge from Argideen Anglers Association. I fished here years ago with the worm during the day but night time on the fly would be a totally different kettle of fish. I would have to recommend having a walk along the banks here during the day if you are intending on going out at night time. Its safer and it is going to save an you an awful lot of hassle with getting flies stuck in trees and the likes.
After much talk of fishing up at the bridge first cast was at 10.30. I chose a small size 10 fly with a weighted body fished off a long leader and floating line to start off with. A few plucks from small trout coming down the pool until I got to the tail and BANG. Line screaming, water erupting and all in the pitch black, you just can't beat fly fishing at night for sea trout. Playing the trout hard it still took the best part of 5 minutes to draw it to the bank, a 2lb sea liced bar of silver.

I took a quick photo and brought it back into the water and held it for while so it could regain its energy. A flick of the tail and away she went. The Argideen is C&R this year with single barbless hooks, no worms allowed. I fished on for another couple of hours changing tactics but to no avail, just missing one more trout and a few more half hearted plucks. Starting earlier in the night could have yielded better results, especially at this time of year as although the weather is milder you still wouldn't call it balmy...not a single trout rose all night.