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Over the weekend i was down fishing on the river Suir near Ballymacarbry in Co. Waterford. The river Suir is Ireland’s second longest river, one hundred and fourteen miles long. It is a Limestone river with clear water and it is an excellent river for fly fishing. It is gravel based which makes for some easy wading, however i would recommend chest waders as there are many deep runs to it. There is plenty of fly life in it with regular hatches of olives throughout the season. The trout from it average from 20 – 40 cms with many larger fish produced each season.

River Suir

The stretch of water i planned to fish is part of the Clonanav Fisheries. Permits can be purchased from the tackle shop in Ballymacarbry. There is also a guiding service available. I arrived at the tackle shop about ten thirty am and was greeted by the owner Andrew Ryan. I have been to Clonanav several times before now but this was my first time to see the new tackle shop. I spent at least three quarters of an hour chatting and having a look around the well stocked shop before i headed off to the river. Andrew informed me as to what was happening fishing wise on the river and where best to find the fish.

Black Gnat

When i got to the river i decided to set the rod up for to fish an Olive Klinkhammer dry. Looking at the water from the river bank i could see that there was several fish rising and taking something from the surface. My first cast was to a fish i observed rising regularly a few meters out from the bank. I took several casts to this fish but my Klinkhammer was ignored, time to change fly. As i had seen some Iron Blue Duns coming off the water, i tied on a Klinkhammer in a pattern i use when the Blue Duns are about. I picked out another rising fish and cast the fly over it, on the second cast the fish rose to the fly but turned away again. I cast the Iron Blue to a few more fish but to no avail so another change was called for.

Wild Brown Trout

I had noticed some small groups of Black Gnats skitting about above the water surface so i tied on my imitation of a Black Gnat to see if that was the fly to tempt a take. I moved on down stream to where i has seen the Gnats and watched to see was there any fish rising to them. A couple of fish rose just at the edge of a riffle so i had a go at these. On my first cast to them one of them rose and took the Gnat but got off after a small struggle. It felt like a good fish as it had weight to it. After a few more casts i eventually had a fish on. It was a good fish that fought hard using the current to his advantage. After a good long battle i netted a fabulous fish of over a pound and a half. I took a few photos before i released him back safely to the water.

River Suir

I had several more small fish to the Black Gnat before the wind picked up and blew the Gnats off the water. I then changed over to fish New Zealand style (duo). This brought me more success with four more fish falling for the Pheasant tail nymph. While i was making my way back to the car i noticed a small number of Mayflies (E. danica) coming off the water so i thought i may tie on an imitation i use when Mayfly are about. I then saw a good fish rising up ahead of me so i sneaked up to have a cast to him. First cast and wallop, a great fish on which fought really hard and i realised that there was no way i was going to land this fish. First of all i only had a two pound tippet on and the river bank was about two metres above the river which was also about two metres deep at that spot. After about five minutes the hook hold gave way and the fish was lost. I did however get a good look at him and i can estimate him at been over the two pound mark. Next time i will be taking my long handle landing net with me.

Yellow Sally

While i was there also i noticed lots of fly life about including Mayflies, Yellow May Duns, Iron Blue Duns, Black Gnats along with some of the Caddis flies (Sedges). I am already making plans to fish again on the Suir, only next time i will be staying over night at Clonanav Lodge with the intentions of fishing during the evening rise. The river Suir is one of the best wild brown trout fisheries this country has to offer and it is a must fish for any angler whether they are a local or a tourist.

Clonanav Tackle Shop


There is a lot on offer at Clonanav including the fabulous tackle shop with it online shopping facility. Andrew also offers casting instruction for both beginners and experienced anglers, in single handed or double handed spey casting. A guiding service is also available on all of the Clonanav fisheries these include the rivers Suir, Nire and the Tar. I can certainly recommend a visit to Clonanav Fishing Centre. A must do for every angler.

I would also recommend following Clonanav on Facebook.


6 Responses to “River Suir, Ballymacarbry Co. Waterford.”

  1. Robbie says:

    Hi Liam,
    Excellent report, I have never fished the river suir, Yet… but it does look quite tempting…. and to catch an evening rise could be fun..
    Is there a chance you could show a picture of the Pheasant tail nymph that you were using NZ style?
    Regards Robbie

  2. bobby says:

    wgsten you done it again as always an exceptional read I just know that one day I will have a vacation fly fishing for these trout that you write about and I cant wait to do it a lot of people forget about the black gnat we have all fished it in our time and nice to see a picture of another old friend the yellow sally another old standard I am so glad that you found us again m8 real pleased, keep doing what you do I so look forward to your blogs cheers and all the best

  3. wgsten says:

    Thanks bobby, there are lots more fisheries that i have planned to visit this season. I will keep you posted on the outings.

  4. wgsten says:

    Thanks Robbie. You should include an outing to fish the Suir this season it’s a fabulous river for flyfishing. I have posted photo’s of the nymph on Irish Flyfishers Facebook page.

  5. pearse says:

    hi, firstly let me say i read your blog almost daily to see if anything is added, i think its a great informative read. im going to be heading to the suir for the 1st week in may, was just wondering could i ask you what flies should i stock up on. also i was wondering if youve fished any of the tributaries of the suir, the tar, the nire, the ghoul or the erkina, or if you could point me in the direction of a nice river to fish for brown trout thats local to the suir.
    thanks for looking.
    best regards,


  6. wgsten says:

    Hi Pearse, i have sent you a reply by email.

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