Over the past few weeks i have been busy with lots of fishing. I spent Easter week down in the “Kingdom” Kerry, where i was staying in the Kenmare area. My first outing in the Kingdom was to Cloonee Lakes which are situated about eight Kilometres from Kenmare on the Bearra Road. There is boat hire available from the nearby Cloonee Lake House. The day of the outing was one of mixed weather with a strong wind blowing up the lake and bright sunshine along with some cloud cover. The lake, at the time i was fishing on it, was at a very low water level. It is a shallow lake which has a lot of rocky out crops which calls for great care when boating on it.
I had no success on the first few drifts of the day. I stopped on the island for lunch which has a well sheltered anglers hut on it. After the lunch things picked up and i had fish on several of the afternoon drifts. In all it was a good day out on Cloonee. I would like to fish on it again only next time for to have a higher water level and maybe later in the season.
The next outing i had was to another lake called Gleninchaquin. It is a wonderful lake set in a beautiful location among the mountains and again not too far from Kenmare. I purchased a day permit from the local tackle dealer John O’Hare who also gave me some good information on the lake, directions, flies to use and where was fishing best. It was another day of mixed weather with conditions similar to the previous day. Kenmare Trout Anglers Club have a boat on this lake but you have to be accompanied by a member to use the boat so i was bank fishing for the day.
I set up the rod with a team of wet flies consisting of a Claret Dabbler on the point, Bibio middle dropper and Zulu top dropper. I had a few fish during the morning to each of the flies, best fish being about the half pound mark. After lunch i changed the team of flies to include an Olive Dabbler on the point, a Hot spot Duck fly on the middle and a Sooty Olive on the top. I choose to tie on the Duckfly pattern as i had seen some Duckfly as i walked along the bank. I set off along the opposite bank casting as i walked. The fishing picked up. I was catching some nice fish on the Duckfly and the Dabbler. When things were getting good my fishing day unexpectantly ended abruptly. I packed up and headed off feeling rather disappointed at the way the day had ended. I have reserved my opinion on this and i will spare you the details of the abrupt ending.
After the disappointing end to the previous day i decided to travel over to Macroom to have a look at the river Sullane. I have never fished on the Sullane so i was hoping the water level would be good and i may get some fishing done. The last time i checked out the Sullane it was in flood. On arrival at the river i was delighted to see it was in great condition and there was some fish rising. Time to get me a day ticket so i headed out to Masseytown to Mary Annes Bar. You can get your day tickets from the bar or phone Tom Sweeney on 026 41566. It is best to phone first as i found out the bar was closed when i got there. It seems it opens later these days. It was off to the Main Street to Macartys shop which also sell day tickets. I eventually got my day ticket and headed back to the river.
I had noticed when i first looked at the river there was some Large Dark Olives about so i set up the rod with an Olive Klinkhammer to fish dry. The first pool i checked out was just below the bridge and i could see some nice fish rising to take the Olives which were hatching. I cast my Klinkhammer upstream towards a rising fish but i soon found out there was a strong wind swirling under the bridge which messed up my casting. The weather again was mixed with sunshine, strong winds accompanied with heavy showers. I managed to catch some nice wild fish here before i had to take shelter from a very heavy shower. While sheltering i changed over to a team of wet flies consisting of a trial pattern (Yellow Jack) on the point another trial pattern in the middle (iron blue) and my old favourite the Waterhen Bloa on the top.
When the rain cleared i started to fish with the wet flies casting them down and across the river. On my third cast i was rewarded with a nice wild brown trout of about half pound weight which took the Yellow Jack. After about tens minutes i noticed plenty of flies coming off the water, Large Dark Olives along with Iron Blue Duns. It was not long before the flies drew the attention of the Sullane Trout. The river burst to life with fish rising all along the river. They were taking both the Dark Olives and the Iron Blues. I was having a fish on nearly ever cast and some casts produced a double hook up. I fished on for most of the afternoon and had fish after fish as i made my way down stream. I finished the day with over fifty wild brown trout caught and released, the best fish being a pound and a quarter. The Yellow Jack produced most of the fish on the day with the Iron Blue pattern second best.
On the next day which was the last day of the holiday i was wondering where i should head to for fishing, thinking of the wonderful day previous on the river Sullane i decided to give it another go. Sure who knows when i will be down this way again. It was off to the Sullane i headed and into McCartys for another day permit. On getting to the river i had a look about to check on what way the wind was blowing and to look for any signs of life, fish or fly. My luck was in as the wind was a lot slacker than the day before and it was blowing across the river, just what what i wanted for fishing dry flies. I set up the rod with a Klinkhammer (Greenwell) and headed for the nearest run. There was a few fish rising in the run i chose so i cast the Klinkhammer up over them to see could i fool any of them. I caught five fish in this run before i moved on to the next one. I changed the fly to another Klinkhammer but this time i tied on the Light Cahill. My first cast in this run was taken by a nice fish of about three quarters of a pound. After about an hour or so a hatch of Large Dark Olives started to happen which brought on a lot of fish feeding. Another great day on the Sullane followed, i caught and released over forty fish. All of the fish were caught on the dry fly. The best fly on the day was the Light Cahill Klinkhammer. I had to renew the fly five times during the course of the day the trout chewed them up. I had to do the same the previous day with the wet flies. While on my way back to the car i met the club water keeper while he was out doing a check on permits. It is always good to see a club being active on their waters with regular checks on permits, this discourages the illegal anglers/poachers. In all i had two great days fishing on the wonderful Sullane river both to wet and dry flies. I was delighted with how the Yellow Jack fished so much so that i have now added it to the list.
Later that evening while i was packing up my gear i received a phone call “how are you fixed for Roundwood on Sunday”? It was Ashley Hayden inviting me to the launch of his guiding service on Roundwood Lake. Without hesitation i answered “yes indeed”. Roundwood Lake is one of those places that is high on my to fish list and this was an excellent opportunity to fish on it from a boat. I have fished Roundwood many times but never fished on it from a boat. In the past i have enquired about fishing on it from a boat and found that the boating on it was under control of Wicklow Anglers association. To fish on it by boat you had to be a member of the Association or be accompanied by a member, this criteria unfortunately ruled it out for me.
Another call from Ashley the following day “have you got any Silver Dabblers, you are going to need them size ten”. ” Size ten, is that not too big” i enquired? “No tens it is” said Ashley. We finalised the arrangements for the following morning. I then tied up the Dabblers in size ten. After meeting up at our destination we got the boat and gear ready, the set off on our first drift. The weather on the morning was cold, wet and wild with some sun and cloud cover. The morning drifts were unproductive for us with only one fish showing any interest so we headed to the shore for some lunch. During lunch i changed around my team of wet flies to having the Silver Dabbler on the point a Zulu in the middle and an atractor pattern on the top. Ashley said we should take some different drifts along the near shore as it usually fishes well this early in the season. We finished up our lunch and headed out towards the near shore.
It was not long before Ashley was into a fish a nice wild brown trout of about which we photographed and then released. Then it was my time to get into another Roundwood trout which again was released. Ashley then suggested we should try another drift off the point so we headed to fish there. We both had fish on that drift all of which took the Silver Dabbler. We finished up the day with five fish caught and released. Ashleys knowledge of the lake and of the choice of flies added to the enjoyment of the day. My first time to fish on Roundwood Lake was thoroughly enjoyable spent in excellent company. The boat is a nineteen foot Lough Arrow built and is very comfortable with a snag free clean floor which drifts nicely along no matter what the conditions are.
Roundwood Lake is fly fishing only and a permit is required to fish on it. I would like to thank Ashley for a wonderful day out on the lake, it was a place that i always wanted to fish on from a boat. I also want to wish him all of the best this new service he is providing on Roundwood. Whether you are a resident or visiting angler i can highly recommend spending a day out in the beautiful and tranquil surroundings of Roundwood lake. Ashley has secure permission to provide his services on the lake through all proper procedure with the stipulation of fishing on a catch and release basis. Contact Ashley on 086 869 7370. Best of luck Ashley.
My next outing was a return trip to fish on the beautiful river Suir near Holycross in Tipperary. Since fishing on this water last year i have wanted to get back down to fish on it before the weed growth got too high. I got to Holycross shortly after ten am and organised my day permit for the Thurles Suir and Drish Anglers Association. Having a look about before setting up the rod i noticed a few fish rising but i could not see what they were rising to. I then decided to set up the rod for fishing dry flies, i started with a Light Cahill Klinkhammer. I managed to rise a few fish to the Light Cahill but failed to connect with any of them. The weather on the day was typical Irish weather giving all of the seasons in one day. The wind was not in my favour for fishing dry flies but i kept at is as i could see there was several good fish rising.
I saw a few Iron Blue Duns about so i changed over to an Iron Blue Klinkhammer which i cast to the next fish i saw rise. This time i managed to connect with a nice wild brown trout of about half pound weight. After i released the trout i cast again to another rising fish, missed that one. I got two more fish on the Iron Blue before things went quiet. I moved on upstream looking out for more rising fish. While moving upstream i came upon a lot of fish rising at the head of a fast run so i watched them for a while to see what they were taking. As i watched the fish i noticed that there was Large Dark Olives coming off the water so on seeing the Olives i again changed the fly. The next fly i tied on was the Greenwell Klinkhammer, this was the fly the fish were on. I caught and released seven nice fish from that run all on the Greenwell, best fish pictured above nearly a pound in weight. It was time for some lunch by the river.
After the lunch the wind had got stronger and was blowing full downstream so i changed over to fish a team of wet flies. I tied on the Yellow Jack on the point, a Iron blue spider (trial pattern) on the middle dropper and a Waterhen Bloa on the top dropper. I fished the team down and across the river, on the third cast i caught a nice fish which went for the Yellow Jack. During the afternoon i caught and released twelve more wild brown trout. The Yellow Jack accounted for nine out of the twelve fish. All too soon it was time to pack up and head for home. I have plans to get back down to fish on the river Suir in early May when i will fish the Thurles Holycross and Ballycamus anglers waters. Already i am looking forward to it.
After receiving some discouraging information Ashley Hayden has withdrawn his service as a ghille on the lake. I am saddened to hear of this news. I think the service Ashley offered was first class and a benefit to both the resident anglers and the tourist anglers. I had waited many years to have the opportunity to fish on Roundwood from a boat and was looking forward to a second outing on it. Ashley has put a lot of effort into this and went through all proper procedures to secure permission on the lake for his services. I hope that i will see his services once again on Roundwood Lake in the near future. I am so disappointed on hearing this news.