Fly Fishing in County Wicklow, Calm Before the Storm

With boats taking precedence over the last few weeks it was nice to get out on the river again. Recent falls of rain had both freshened the water and raised levels slightly. Pushing along nicely and running clear albeit with a tinge of dark tea, the river screamed fish and I was not disappointed.

Casting a short line in Co. Wicklow.

Setting up an eight foot, four weight rod I made my way upstream to work a team of wets back down. Overcast, a cool north easterly blew down the valley making it impossible to upstream fish, besides other than spotting and photographing what I am certain was a mayfly there was no hatch of any description. Nymphing may have been an option but even that would have proved difficult. So putting up a beaded pheasant tail on the point and a greenwells spider on the dropper I commenced working the runs and pots.

What I believe is a mayfly, unusual for the Wicklow river that I was fishing.

Very quickly I connected with a nice 10 inch fish to the greenwells, closely followed by a similar trout on the pheasant tail. The first held station along a seam on the far bank, slashing at my flies as they swung across, the second fish took deep in the run tail, both giving a good account on my light rod. So a taking pattern developed criss crossing between the pheasant tail and the greenwells with at days end the greenwells just shading it.

A nice plump early season wild brownie from a mountain stream, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

An interesting aspect of fishing this particular stream is how it changes from visit to visit, no two days being the same. Given its rain fed almost spate like nature the water rises and falls all the time, steady flow maintained to a degree by the bog higher up, however in long dry spells like Ireland has just experienced the sponge drys up with subsequent dramatic effects on the river below. Today however it had come alive and tomorrow it will flow in a torrent a resultant of the forecast heavy rain.

Rolling and tumbling, a mountain stream, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Trout had moved out of the deep slacks and positioned themselves in ambush points behind rocks, along seams and guts, in fact just about everywhere you might expect them to be. Two fish in quick succession here, one trout there, head and tail rises, pulls, the day went in a blur, only my gnawing stomach told me it might be time to go home. At least a dozen trout caught and released with as many more slashing, pulling, and cavorting. This river is special and I never tire of it, the trout are not big, but they are beautiful, big spotted and yellow bellied providing wonderful sport in a breathtaking location.

Further reading: In the Footsteps of A.A. Luce.

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