Fly Fishing in Wicklow, Trout Under Fire.

The rumble of artillery rolled across the hills as shell after shell thudded into the boggy landscape, interspersed with heavy machine gun fire I now have an idea what the poor unfortunates dug into their trenches in Flanders fields had to endure close on 100 years ago. Carried by a south east wind from nearby Glen of Imaal where the army were on manouvers, the noise on occasions was very loud and the air shook, God knows what it was like for those living in the vicinity. A weak sun shone through the haze and it was bloody cold, my chosen stream was decidedly low now due to the current dry spell, in short fishing was tough.

Casting for Wicklow mountain trout in drought conditions.

On the other hand it couldn’t escape me that I was out and about in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains, glaciated dome shaped granite covered by a green, russet, and purple blanket. Coconut scented gorse flowering, lambs everywhere, farmers going about their business, the river snaking through, and me, 20 miles from O’Connell St alone with the trout. Walking upstream to fish wets back down, it being fruitless to dry fly due to the sharp east wind blowing in my face, I chose a run flowing out of a boulder field into a long flat and commenced.

Flies for a mountain stream, kill devil spider, greenwells spider, and a coachman.

Immediately a head and tail rise followed by a tug, instinctively setting I missed but continued the movement recasting to the same spot. The trout came again and this time took the kill devil on the point, diving and darting in the swift current, silver with black and red spots it could have been a sea trout, unusual. Returned, I connected with another standard coloured fish from this lie before moving on.

A yellow bellied Wicklow mountain trout averaging six ounces.

Shrunk due to the lack of rain, clear with that reddish tinge, if I was a trout the deep holes and flats is where I would be. The strong wind made upstream fishing practically impossible so I persevered on down. At days end my rod took five wild fish averaging six ounces, with a number of rises and tugs to keep interest. The kill devil, coachman, and greenwells all scored, and other than a couple of stone flies and a lone sedge I saw no fly life. Happy with my lot and heading for the car I considered the different personalities of the stream, all connected with one unifying strand, rain…

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