Posts Tagged ‘Trout fishing’

Fly Fishing in Wicklow: A Blustery Day

Friday, August 28th, 2015

My favourite Wicklow stream has real character, flowing peat stained down what once was at the end of the last ice age an out wash channel for glacial run off, the wide valley floor as a result now composed of rich sand and gravel deposits. Adding to the river’s personality is a series of plateau’s followed by sharp descents, combining all these features one today finds a water that meanders in a mature fashion, falls youthfully then slows and meanders again, a pattern which repeats over a number of stages until the stream exits the valley.

Fly fishing in County Wicklow, Ireland for wild brown trout.

The wide flat valley in conjunction with the glacial soil enables cattle farming alongside the usual sheep, the surrounding land has become quite fertile and this is reflected in the water which is uncharacteristically productive for a Wicklow mountain stream. Today the river glowed, topped up by a few days rain it ran clear and at a nice level. Trout were showing along its length and coming to the fly albeit short, maybe it was the wind, warm but gusting all over the place, one second off your shoulder, the next in your face.

Wicklow trout.

I set up my four weight, initially working three flies a kill devil on point, coachman and a greenwells spider. After a time due to the wind, a tangle and a fly buried beyond the barb into the back of my head, that was fun, I dropped the greenwells and worked a pair. On cue a trout took the coachman followed shortly after by another to the KDS on point. However a pattern had started which became more frequent as lunchtime morphed into early afternoon, trout coming short.

Wicklow river view.

I have to say though the trouts half hearted approach actually added to the fun, pulls, slashes, a weighty lean all very visual. Line darting straight, splashes, head & tail rises, the whole experience quite joyful. Before I knew it the clock was heading towards four pm and I had a dinner to cook. A calm evening on this stretch will definitely throw up a few fish, Sunday is looking good, I’ll be back……….

First Day on the River

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Grey clouds press down on the surrounding hills, a sharp variable easterly breeze cuts, and the threat of rain is never too far away. Only die hards fly fish County Wicklow’s mountain streams in March, trout, spent after spawning are only beginning to return to the runs and glides, with fly life, especially today marked absent. Like a magnet though our red spotted friends beckon, the rushing waters call, and before we know it a cast is unfurling, placing a weighted nymph into a likely gut.

Early season fly fishing high up in the Wicklow hills.

Peat stained water runs clear and surprisingly low given the amount of rain that has fallen since what seems like last April. At below summer level, without doubt finding a fish is going to be hard. It’s nice to be out though, pulling on the waders, sharing fishy tales, while pondering about life and fishing. Accompanying me on this first trip to the river is Mitchell Josh, an avid angler from Oregan on the USA’s west coast, visiting Dublin with his wife he fancied a day out in the country, striking a balance between sight seeing the Book of Kells and The Guinness Hop Store.

A little beauty, still thin after spawning, this trout will plump up over the coming weeks.

A deer bounds across the moor, tail up, flashing it’s white behind, a farmer spreads slurry on a nearby field, in the distance artilliary fires, quite surreal, and best of all we have the river to ourselves. Working runs downstream, a partridge and orange on the dropper partnered by a weighted nymph on the point, our day is punctuated by a few tentative pulls and one sprightly trout. It’s called fishing not catching, or so runs the cliche, I’d say it’s about being there, wouldn’t you agree?


Fly Fishing in Wicklow, Trout Under Fire.

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

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…

Avonmore Beauties

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

The Avonmore River, Co. Wicklow is noted for its wild brown trout fishing. In its upper reaches it is not an easy river to fish being untamed, characterised by rapids, rocky deep pools and overgrown banks. For the trout angler who perseveres though the rewards can be quite surprising as those dark tea coloured pools are home to some serious fish. Inaccessibility coupled with natural selection allows special fish to buck the trend and become truly giant. Adjusting their diet to feed on minnow and smaller trout they put on the pounds.

A 6.oz wild brown trout from the Avonmore River, caught by Christopher Stacey around 1993.

Christopher Stacey, who along with his wife Teresa runs Footfalls Walking Holidays likes to fish, we established this when we first met a couple of weeks ago. Discussing the Avonmore we reminisced about our experiences on the river. “I got a beauty out of it one evening in the early 1990′s”, Christopher told me. “Six pound six ounces, I have it mounted at home in the hall”. Well that was that I had to see this fish, so arrangements were made and I popped over to Trooperstown, a town land high up above Laragh.

There it was, easily two foot long and judging by the fins and overall proportions of head to body in excellent condition when caught. Christopher related the story of its capture. Fishing a particular deep, wide, pool with drop minnow just as it was getting dark he got an immediate run. On striking the fish proceeded to stay deep and bore up and down the pool always trying to gain the shelter of a sunken tree to his left. Eventually after fifteen heart stopping moments the great trout was on the bank, a fish of a lifetime preserved for posterity.

Two and a half pounds of Avonmore River, Co. Wicklow, wild trout.

Incredibly above the monster trout was another mounted fish, smaller but equally special this trout weighed 8.oz. Caught by Christopher’s son Phillip from the same pool on worm, again in the 1990′s, what a double. Yes there have been big fish extracted over the years from the Avonmore, but they are few and far between. For one family to get two of them is really special, like winning the lotto. “Let’s take a shot of the fish down by where your son caught it”, I said, and we did. With the trout season opening today I know what I will be doing tomorrow weather permitting. A marker has been set for the coming season. Belated congratulations to Christopher and Phillip on those superb fish.

Click: Fishing Information on the Avonmore and Aughrim Rivers.