Posts Tagged ‘Wicklow killer’

Fly Fishing in Wicklow, Dabbling in Roundwood

Friday, March 16th, 2012

A grey heaviness enveloped Roundwood as, pushed by a warmish southerly breeze, we drifted down the annexe. Lines swished rhythmically and casts, ahead of the moving boat, uncoiled across the surface, sinking a foot before being stripped back at a pace. Top dropper dibbled for a few seconds creating a wake, then lifted for the procedure to start again. Yes, I’ve got one, my fishing partners rod bends to a nice fish which takes to leaping and hopping before diving down so pulling the tip over hard.

The annexe dam at Roundwood reservoir, Co.Wicklow, Ireland.

Played, brought to hand plump and in great condition, a little over half a pound the trout was quickly photographed then gently released to fight another day. The first of three trout and a couple of rises all to a silver dabbler, my card was marked. Swapping a wicklow killer point fly for a size 10 dabbler I recast. Instantly a pull coupled with a surface bulge, recasting, stripping, dibbling, another hard pull. Lifting, recasting, stripping fast my line locks, a trouty splash, fish on. Boring deep but soon in my hand, another half pounder to you’ve got it, the dabbler.

Trout on the dabbler.

Later my rod took another similar fish this time to the wicklow killer, in position now on the middle dropper. With himself landing four and both of us rising numerous fish it had been a busy three hours. Six fish to the boat and it not St.Patrick’s day yet, what has happened to the world. Roundwood they say is a dour lake not prone to giving up its inhabitants easy, it does though as you have learned have its good days, and as for large bushy flies, sacred heart sure what would you be wanting to use them for….

Fly Fishing in Co.Wicklow, Hailstones and Trout.

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Sporting early summer colours Lough Dan looked beautiful as we drifted along its eastern shore pushed by a stiff north/north west breeze. The unseasonal warm weather of recent weeks has morphed into a chilly showery pattern more akin with April than May. In between when the sun shines temperatures can reach 16 – 17 degrees, but boy when the wind blows and the grey clouds close in, it bites. Around lunchtime today a haymaker passed over bombarding Gary and I with hailstones, any wonder the trout dived for cover.

Lunchtime on Lough Dan Co. Wicklow, or could it be an olive grove in the Med'.

The lake has a personality that changes with the wind, fly fishing being totally at its whim. Last week we were drifting up the lake in front of a south east breeze, today a stiff wind from the north west pushed us in the opposite direction. Located high up in a steep sided glaciated Wicklow valley, Lough Dan, the largest natural lake in the county, is dog legged shaped and this feature allied to a number of conjoining valleys causes the wind to behave in mysterious ways. Respect is the key word on the water.

A half pounder from Lough Dan, Co. Wicklow, typical for the water.

We had a great day, fishing a number of drifts all told we had a dozen trout to the boat supplemented with visual displays of every rise imaginable from boils and swirls to full on splashy rises to Polaris missile becomes flying fish. Now that was special, the trout¬† clearing the water by at least six inches while arking over a metre through the air, missing the flies of course. I recast in the vicinity receiving an immediate savage take but failed to set the hook. Lough Dan trout are free rising and fight hard, give me this kind of lake fishing any day. You could drive to the west and flog away on more famous waters for one or two larger trout, or experience regular fireworks in a gorgeous lightly fished location less than an hour from home, for me it’s a no brainer.

Click on: Lough Dan.

Click on: Becalmed on Lough Dan.

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.

Fly Fishing in Ireland, Roundwood Lakes, Co. Wicklow

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

A request to help take a group of visiting Finnish anglers out on Roundwood lakes resulted in a fine days sport in good company. With the lakes low, the day dull, and a warm south west breeze creating a nice wave, conditions looked promising. Driving to the Knockatemple shore we loaded the boats with what seemed to be a mountain of gear and set off.

Roundwood, Co. Wicklow, brownie.

My guest for the day was named Essa and we hit it off straight away, a salmon angler back in Finland, he wanted to experience traditional Irish lough fishing. Choosing a drift across a shallow point, first cast a trout snatched at my bob fly, a bibio. Two casts later stripping fast a plump brownie took the watsons on the middle dropper with a bang. Launching itself into the air a spirited fight ensued, golden brown and well spotted, a great start to the day.

Happy anglers on a Roundwood, Co. Wicklow shore.

Mid afternoon we all met up for lunch. The kelly kettles were fired up, plenty of hot tea, wine, nips of Jameson, and the grub of course. Lots of banter and getting to know each other, how the fishing was going, what flies were working, which drifts, an hour flew by. Back on the water fishing was slow. Adjusting traces and changing flies brought no joy. The surroundings made up for the lack of sport and conversation flowed. In jig time dusk was upon us, the day had just disappeared.

Roundwood brownie nailed by a Wicklow Killer.

Suddenly the lake surface came alive as trout were head and tailing all around us. A hatch of small silverhorn sedges had got the fish moving. Just prior to this activity I had replaced a Peter Ross on the point with a Wicklow Killer. Bang it was nailed and a couple of minutes later another fine brownie graced the boards.

Wicklow Killer.

Essa and I fished on, trout were snatching at our flies, diving at the bob which was great fun to see. Essa had a fish on only for the hook to be thrown. Earlier in the day he had been broken by a take, losing his point fly. Finally in the midst of this great hatch Essa landed his first Irish brownie. By now it was dark, the hatch petered out, so we headed tired but also exhilarated by what we had witnessed to the mooring.

Kimo, with a fine catch of wild Roundwood trout.

Tying up the boats and packing away the gear we exchanged stories of the day. A few nice trout had been kept, mainly encountered during the evening rise of silverhorns. Tales of fish lost at the net, now of course twice the size they really were. But that is what it is all about. A great day in good company, memories to cherish.

Click on: Guided Lough Fly Fishing in Co. Wicklow.