This morning she has the look of an English chalk stream, running clear, the first vestiges of ranunculus (a curse later in the season) waving in the current. A sharp, cold south easterly breeze blows upstream, not a rise to be seen, the trout are keeping their neb’s down and who would blame them. In the distance snow lies on Lugnaquilla, Leinster’s highest mountain, like a dome shaped Mount Fuji, standing sentinel over the surrounding countryside.
Making my way down to a get in point below the bridge I slip into the water, cold seeping through my waders, fishing just might be slow. Set up with a four weight rig, kill devil spider on point, greenwells spider covering center, with a partridge and orange taking up the rear, I cast at a 45 degree angle towards the far bank, throwing a mend before letting the flies swing around. Lengthening the line, third cast a pull, splash, and hop, diving and skittering towards my hand, a beautifully spotted 10 inch trout.
Spring regularly finds me on this river, flowing off Wicklow granite she first runs across bleak moorland before dropping quickly onto a rich agricultural hinterland where she meanders gently, eventually linking with her parent River Slaney. With a river bed comprising coarse sand and gravel ideally suited for constructing redds, this stream enjoys a run of salmon and it is not unheard of for early season trout fishers to unexpectedly connect with the king of fish. My five minutes in the sun occuring a few years ago while fishing a 1/0 copper Mepps with trout in mind, four pound b/s line being no match for a spring salmon when it decides to get its head down.
Back to the present, after my initial success things went quite, a couple more pulls signaled interest but nothing definite ensued. Flattering to deceive the day looked glorious, blue skies and fluffy clouds creating an impression of spring warmth when in reality it was Baltic. Time to go down, replacing the kill devil with a weighted nymph, instant success, of a similar 10 inch size, the trout shook itself free after thirty seconds.
Persevering down stream with no more joy I changed over to a dry fly set up tying on a dark olive klinkhammer, working a few runs on my way back towards the car seemed like a plan. With still not a rise in sight and fishing water more in hope then design I signed off, it being well past the witching mid day hours so important to fly fishing in early March. Tomorrow is another day with the Liffey, Mr Irish Fly Fisher Liam Stenson, and a master class in fishing the dry fly beckoning, bring it on…….