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River Slaney

Last Saturday i had an outing to the River Slaney in County Wicklow. It was my first outing so far this season to the Slaney. I got to my chosen place about eleven thirty only to find the river was running very low and gin clear. It was a bright sunny day with little or no cloud cover and a soft warm breeze blowing downstream. Being the first time on the river i had no idea as to what to expect so i set up the rod to fish a team of wet flies. The team i chose was a Hares Lug and Plover on the point with a Snipe and Purple in the middle and a Dark Watchet on the top dropper.

River Slaney

My plan was to fish the team downstream through the riffles and runs checking out all the likely looking holding places. Keeping tight into the river bank i sneaked my way down river casting as i went. It was not long before i was rewarded with a beautifully marked wild brown trout which took the Snipe and Purple. After taking a photo of the fish i released him back safely to the water.

Wild Brown Trout

I was fishing for about half an hour when i noticed a lot of fish rising in the pools up ahead of me. I thought it may be a good idea to sneak up and have a closer look at what was going down. On my way up i noticed a lot of different fly life coming off the water. There was Large Dark Olives, Small Brown Stoneflies, March Browns and Iron Blue Duns all lifting off the water and making for the bankside vegetation. On closer inspection of the rising fish i saw through my binoculars they were taking the hatching flies off the water and they had a particular liking for the Iron Blues.

Iron Blue Dun

After seeing what the fish were feeding on i just had to have a go at them so i changed over to fish a dry fly, a Klinkhammer variant pattern that i use when there are Iron Blues about. Keeping well back from the waters edge i cast the fly upstream to cover a fish that i had been watching. I could see the fish rise to the fly in the clear water but it only came up to have a look and went down again. Something wrong i thought so i pulled in the fly to check it out for myself. Inspecting the fly i could not see anything out of place with it so i again degreased the leader and cast it to the same fish. He came up again and this time he took the Klinkhammer. After a short fight i had him in the net, another beautiful fish with lots of bright red spots.

River Slaney Trout

Over the period of three quarters of an hour i caught and released fifteen more wild brown trout. Things then started to quieten down with only one or two fish showing in the pools. I then put the fishing rod down and took the camera out to try get some more photos for my Entomology page. I succeeded in getting some good photos of the insects that i mentioned earlier. I will be posting them on the Entomology page during the coming week or so. I will also be updating the Fly Tying page as to what flies i am using at this time of the season.

March Brown

After my photo shoot i decided to have another few casts as i made my way back to the car. This time i opted to fish New Zealand style with an Iron Blue nymph size sixteen tied off the bend of a large sized Klinkhammer. Fishing this nymph through the runs and riffles as i made my way, another six fish were taken on the little nymph. A great way to end this outing.

Ballyhubbock Bridge

The river Slaney is a real favourite of mine and is one of the rivers that always throws up a surprise or two during the season for me. At the moment the river Slaney is crying out for some much needed rainfall as the water level in it is at mid summer level. The water temperature on the day was in double figures at eleven degrees Celcius. With all the fly life about, it goes to show that even with low water the River Slaney is in great condition. I will be back again during the season for hopefully another few great outings to the beautiful river Slaney.

3 Responses to “River Slaney”

  1. David says:

    Your knowledge of insect life and the ability to identify them out on the river really amazes me. What would you recommend to improve my own identification skills, any particular books, websites etc. I suppose just putting the time in looking at insect and fly life on the river is the key?
    Great report of the days fishing along with some excellent photographs, always a pleasure to read. David.

  2. wgsten says:

    Thanks David. I have been interested in Entomology since i first started fishing which is not today or yesterday now. One of the first book i acquired on Entomology was An Anglers Entomology by J.R. Harris which even at a young age i found it fascinating and i still refer to it today. As a teenager i used to catch the insects and bring them with me to school so as to have a look at them under the school microscope. There are several other books on the market today which contain photos of the insects and a description which helps with identification of many of the insects an angler may encounter. These days when i go fishing i would still spend a lot of my time observing the fly life of the rivers or lakes as i still find it fascinating and it gives me a good insight as to the condition of the water. If you would like i can email you the titles of some other books on Fly fishers Entomology.

  3. bobby says:

    anothe incredible report you should write a book on your excursions I for
    one would buy it the more I read your report’s the more I am convinced that I should visit your part of the world, the brown trout has and will remain my favourit trout to cast a fly for, especially if they are native and wild I cannot imagin any thing better, especially if one is Identifying and choosing the flies to be used again, I thank you for I am leaving your website feeling it was again well worth the visit and an exceptional read I do so enjoy them tight lines wgsten,
    bobby

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