Posts Tagged ‘Lough Dan’

Fly Fishing in County Wicklow, Becalmed on Lough Dan.

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Sometimes it’s not just about the fishing, being there is enough. After weeks of interminable wind Ireland’s weather appears to be settling down and a day on the lake seemed like a good plan. Lough Dan looked fantastic in the early June sunshine, but talk about the sublime to the ridiculous. Last week the water was a maelstrom of wind and waves with even an eye witness report of a waterspout tracking its way up the lake, eventually collapsing “as described to me” in an explosion of water falling out of the sky. Today Lough Dan is mirror calm with just occasional zephyrs wafting down from the surrounding hills to ruffle the surface.

A desert island maybe? Or a lake side beach in Co. Wicklow.

Meeting Dan and Gary on the beach we set out and crossed the lake to fish a drift along the boat house shore. On arrival we observed a hatch of sedges with trout rising everywhere. Happy days within five minutes three fish graced the boards, trout typical of the water heavily spotted, dark backed, and yellow bellied.  Then whatever breeze was there died, the sun came out beating down from an almost cloudless sky and the trout retreated  to shade or deeper water.

Casting a line towards a shaded bank, Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

From then on the fishing was slow, trying different methods Gary found some success tying a buzzer three foot below a klinkhammer which he casted into shady spots along the shore. It was fun to see the dry fly suddenly disappear as a trout sucked in the nymph pattern below with occasionally a fish rising to the klinkhammer. Improvisation was the key as standard methods were ruled out by the mirror calm surface.

Firing up the Kelly for a brew, Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

A crowning feature of the lake is a secluded beach created by deposition from the Inchavore River, made up of fine granite and quartz pebbles with mature birch trees providing shade it is a beautiful spot to haul up and have a picnic. Today we met and chatted with Sean Byrne of Lough Dan House B/B, and three of his patrons from Australia, Canada, and the USA respectively. Out walking and enjoying the scenery they headed off eventually following the river up the valley.

At the helm on Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

With lunch over and having said our goodbyes to Sean and his group we climbed aboard and headed to some more shady spots, the trout played hard ball for the afternoon but hey that’s fishing, we were out on the water enjoying each others company in a beautiful unique location, heaven….

Click on: Lough Dan.

Click on: Hailstones and Trout.

Fly Fishing in Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Evening on Lough Dan.

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Easing away from the beach around 16.30pm a strong north easterly breeze was blowing down the lake producing a nice wave. Heading towards the boathouse shore, Gary and I aimed to work a drift close to the tree line on the assumption that terrestrial flies would be blown onto the water. Gary fished a wet cell three with a Bibio on the top dropper followed by a Connamara Black and an Alexandra on the point, whereas I fished a floating line with a Bibio on the top followed by a Watsons and a Wicklow Killer on the point.

Casting a line, evening on Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Lough Dan is home to free rising wild mountain trout averaging 6 – 8 ozs, plump and dark they fight well above their weight. Closest to the bank, about ten meters out, I connected with the first trout who took the Watsons. Sprightly and game on that first drift I landed four trout to Gary’s one. We both rose a number of fish and close to a rock at the end of the drift I brought up one of the Lough’s biggies but failed to set the hook. Motoring up for the second drift it became apparent that the breeze was easing.

A brace of Lough Dan trout.

This time around roles were reversed with Gary landing four trout to my one. Again plenty of trout rose to the flies, some head and tailing which was great fun to watch. On connecting the trout would jump clear, tail walk, and bore deep, great sport the action was non stop that is until the wind died. It took a while, we managed to eke out another drift, but by 19.00pm the lake was mirror calm and the trout lost interest. As the sun disappeared behind the mountains it got decidedly chilly so we called it a day. Twelve trout to the boat and plenty of rises, a typical Lough Dan foray.

Wild Trout Fishing in Ireland, Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow.

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Lough Dan, the largest natural lake in Co. Wicklow, situated in a spectacular location close to the village of Roundwood is absolutely stuffed with free rising wild trout. With the average size knocking six – eight ounces, one in a dozen will head towards a pound+, with over the years an occasional monster up to five pounds in weight being recorded. Dark in colouration, these trout hit the fly like a steam train, fight well above their weight, and on a four weight rod provide wonderful sport.

Wild brownie tempted by a daddy long legs, Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Access to Lough Dan is limited due to most of the surrounding land being in private ownership, a feature which helps to preserve the fishing and contribute to a very unique and productive water. Having recently purchased an electric outboard motor and due its maiden voyage,  Gary had suggested Lough Dan and not having fished the lake this summer, it seemed like a good plan.

Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow, looking north towards the Cloghoge river valley.

Lough Dan is situated in a glacial valley, part of a ribbon lake system that includes Lough Tay to the north. Linked by the Cloghoge River, overlooked by Knocknacloghogue mountain, and source of the Avonmore River, the lake once was home to a strain of arctic char. I say once only because the last recorded specimen was captured in 1988. Given that these fish normally live at depth, and that the lake is lightly fished using top surface fly fishing methods, there is a possibility that the species still frequents the Lough. Peregrine falcons nest in the steep cliffs surrounding the lake, and broad leaf oak woodland extends upwards from the shoreline, painting a picture of what the Irish landscape might have looked like at the time of the first settlers.

Gary casting a team of wet flies, Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow.

The day was warm with a steady southerly breeze blowing up the lake providing ideal conditions to drift the eastern shore. Putting up a team of wet flies to include a Wicklow Killer on the point, Daddy Long Legs on the middle dropper, and a Bibio on the top, Gary fished with a Peter Ross on the point, a daddy in the middle, and a small Silver Dabbler on the top. Choosing a drift starting at the mouth of the Avonmore we were pushed north at a fair clip by the breeze. Adjusting the line of drift by occasional reverse or forward touches on the engine we contacted fish immediately setting a pattern which lasted all day.

Wild trout, Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.

Casting long and stripping fast trout rose to the flies in spectacular fashion, head and tailing, sub surface boils, and mini explosions of water. They took the point fly on the strip, the top dropper on the dibble, even snatched at flies as they were being raised to recast. On hooking the fish felt twice their weight, plump and strong, Gary and I lost count of how many we caught. Top flies on the day were the daddy long legs and the silver dabbler indicating a September diet of fry and terrestrials. At five pm with the skies clouding over we called it a day. Wild trout fishing is not always about big fish. The great western lakes of Corrib and Mask may steal all the glory in terms of large trout and mayfly hatches, but for rapid fire bread and butter wild trout fishing in a glorious location Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow is hard to beat.

Click on: Hailstones and Trout.