Feed on

With the end of the season fast approaching i managed to get out for a few hours on the River Liffey (upper). I had been quite some time since i had fished on this particular stretch of the river so i was glad of this opportunity to wet a line on it. I had been over a few times during the mid season to check it out but each time i did the river was running low and looked very stale so i considered it not worthwhile to fish on. This time however i was pleasantly surprised to see the river was in great condition, flowing nicely with plenty of fresh water which added a rich amber colour to it.


On seeing the river with a strong flow to it i decided to set up the rod to fish a team of North Country wets flies and fish the team down and across as i made my way downstream. The day itself was one of very mixed weather conditions which included heavy showers some sunshine and a strong warm breeze. The strong breeze mostly favoured my choice of method as it was blowing downstream for most of the day. Fishing through the first pool on my third cast i was rewarded with a small wild Brown Trout of about twelve centimeteres which took the point fly as it swung across the riffles.


The team of flies i had chosen consisted of a Hares Lug and Plover on the point,  a Waterhen Bloa on the middle dropper and a Snipe and Purple on the top dropper. I caught another four small fish in this pool before i moved downstream. As i was moving downstream i noticed some small Olives appearing from the water. The Olives were very small and not having my insect net with me to capture one to identify it, i chose to change the Waterhen Bloa for a smaller sized one (sz.16). This change brought instant results with seven more small wild fish falling for it. The day was looking good so far and i had only started fishing.

Wild Brown Trout

On reaching a stretch of broken water which is fast flowing over a stony bed, i noticed a lot of Needle flies coming off the water. On seeing these Needle flies i change the Snipe and Purple which had not been successful for a Dark Spanish Needle fly. This is a fly pattern that i mostly use late in the season or when there are Needle flies or Willow flies about. The Dark Spanish Needle is another North Country Spider pattern of which i always keep a few in the fly box. I managed to catch two more fish with the Needle pattern. Looking further downstream i could see a few fish rising in a slower stretch of water. Taking a closer look at the rising fish through my binoculars i could see they were taking what looked to me like an Olive which was larger than the first Olive i noticed.

Needle Fly

My first thought on seeing the rising fish was of setting up the rod to fish a dry fly but when i got to the fish i realised dry fly fishing with my four weight line was out of the question because the high wind was blowing the wrong direction for it. I tried a few casts over the rising fish with the team of wet flies but i only succeeded in putting the fish down. Before moving on i again changed the Waterhen Bloa to a larger size (sz.14) to match the size of the larger Olives that i had seen. I fished the team through a fast run and caught another seven fish, five to the Hares Lug and Plover and two to the Waterhen Bloa. With so many fish taking the Hares Lug i decided to change the Needle fly for another Hares Lug to see would this combination attract more fish.


The next stretch of water i fished on was a long pool which was fast flowing and had a lot of overhanging broad leaved trees over hanging it. It is usually a productive stretch on which i often caught the best fish of the day. After a few casts i hooked into a good fish which fought hard using the strong current resulting in me loosing it. I caught another few nice fish before i again was into another good fish which i also lost. I had several more fish before i hooked another nice fish only this time i landed it a beautiful wild Brown Trout of about a pound in weight. I had many more fish from this stretch before it was time to call a halt to the fishing. All of the fish were taken on the Hares Lug and Plover on either the point fly or the top dropper. In all it was a great outing on the beautiful upper River Liffey.

River Liffey (upper)

Tying flies to order :

Ever since i started writing this blog i have been receiving requests about the flies i use when i am fishing. A lot of these requests ask about where do i get these flies or where can anglers buy them. During this season i met several young anglers who were only starting to get into fly fishing and were asking the usual questions including where do i get the flies that i was using. A few of these anglers asked me would i tie up some flies for them and also would i not consider tying up flies during the closed season and offer them to other anglers through my blog site.

I started thinking about his suggestion and i have now decided to tie up flies to order through my blog. The flies i will tie up are only the flies i have had success with and have mentioned them in my blog posts. Naturally i will have to add a charge for the flies to cover my expenses. I am not tying up flies for a money making excercise. The flies will be all hand tied by myself and not cheap imports from other countries. At the moment i am in the process of setting up a page dedicated to the ordering of these flies. In  the meantime any anglers who may wish to order some flies can get in touch with me through the contact page at the top of this site or email irishflyfisher@gmail.com.

3 Responses to “Late Season, River Liffey (Upper)”

  1. Nice blog thanks, will drop in from time to time.

  2. Anthony says:

    Hi Liam,

    Great article. Could i use this in this months e-zine?


  3. Frank Farrell says:

    Hi Liam,

    Great end of season dénouement!! The tips on this site are fantastic..worth a few pints I would say..an awful pity I cannot wet fly fish though… I will have to stick to dry!


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