The Aughrim River is alive again, down to its bones with the summer drought, yesterday it was fresh and fizzing, having levelled off after the recent rains and running clear with that tea coloured peaty tinge. Parking in the village of Aughrim outside Lawless’s Hotel, closed for renovation after a fire gutted part of the building, I walk down the ramp to fish the weir pool below the bridge. A showery warm day in mid July with a good head of water in the system, sea trout must be running. Up went a Kill Devil Spider (size 14) on the point accompanied by a Butcher (size 10), it might be unorthodox fishing for sea trout in daylight, but for the sake of research why not.
Trout lie in the fast oxygenated water below the weir. There is a pocket on the near side that usually holds a good fish. Wading and positioning a rod length upstream I crouch and cast the flies working the seams either side of the main run. The line twitches, a parr, recast it twitches again, this time a small rainbow. Dibbling the flies once more on a short line the rod kicks over to a sprightly half pound brownie that feels twice the weight in the fast water. Staying deep while swimming backwards and forwards along the face of the weir, I eventually manage to unceremoniously lift the trout up and over the falling water, my only option due to leaving the landing net at home. Golden olive flanked with black and red spots rimmed with white, a nice fish for this river tempted by the Kill Devil.
A couple more smaller fish then a move to the deep run below the larger weir upstream of the bridge, constructed to supply water to the mill race which is now used by the local fish farm as a source of water. Good trout definitely reside here unfortunately a large branch is caught in the middle of the run causing an obstruction, it will have to wait until the next flood. On to the Stonecutter for a bowl of homemade tomato soup and brown bread. Ken and Louise run a fine restaurant and coffee shop, all fresh ingredients cooked and served to a very high standard.
Mid afternoon working a favourite pool that always holds a pod of white trout in season, I feel a pluck. Recasting the fly swings a round and bang the rod heels over and locks, sea trout. Hooked on the dangle the fish swims deep in the pool before being coaxed towards me. A flash of a silver flank in the fast water, “how I need a net now”, the trout kicks and it’s gone. Further casts produce no interest, “I’ll work the pool again later”.
At Woodenbridge the Aughrim meets the Avoca river putting life into the dead water that runs past the old mine workings upstream. Salmon and seatrout hang a left here on their journey to the redds. It’s six pm now and I have to leave the river. No more white trout showed, activity confined to small brownies and a solitary rainbow. However with heavy rain forecast giving the promise of more fish entering the system, a dusk session is pencilled in for the coming week.