It’s not often that i get to fish on two rivers in the one outing so on hearing about an opportunity to fish on the river’s Suir and Tar at Kilmaneen, i was glad to accept it. Kilmaneen Farmhouse Accommodation is a four star family run bed and breakfast along with self catering cottage. Run by Kevin and Bernadette O’Donnell it also offers fishing on both the Suir and Tar rivers to guests staying at the Farmhouse. It also offers day permits to anglers like myself that want to avail of the fishing but dont require accommodation. On arrival at the farmhouse i met with Bernadette who invited me in for tea. I had a great chat with her about the history of the place and of the fishing on the farm. Bernadette then introduced me to her husband Kevin who showed me around the farm and pointed out the extent of the fishing to be had.
After showing me around the fishery Kevin wished me luck and headed back to the house and left me to get on with the fishing. While setting up i was taken in by the beautiful setting of the fishery, the fabulous Knockmealdown mountains providing a wonderful backdrop. As Kevin was showing me around i made up my mind as to which river i would fish on first. The river Tar was flowing downstream towards the Suir so i set up the rod with a team of wet flies. The team comprised of a Yellow Jack on the point an Iron Blue pattern (trial pattern) in the middle and a Parrys spider on the top. Walking down along the river bank i came to a nice pool which had a long fast run under the the opposite bank. I started my days fishing there and i managed to catch and release a nice wild brown trout on the Yellow Jack. Moving on downstream i noticed that Kevin had done work on the fishery by providing entrance gaps in the fencing which made for easy access to the water and easy on your waders too. As i fished my way down the Tar to its confluence with the Suir, i caught and released another two trout on the way both on the Yellow Jack.
At the confluence i came across a bench seat nicely nestled in the shade so i decided to have a rest from the fishing and take in some of the fabulous scenery. A Kingfisher passed by skimming low along the river with its beak crammed with minnows heading downstream to feed its offspring. A pair of Swans then swam past, the cob displaying himself to the pen. A Sparrowhawk then appeared swooping along the bankside vegetation trying to flush out its prey. I then noticed a few fish rising to my left upstream and i wondered what they were rising to. A few minutes passed and the numbers of fish rising increased so i decided it was time to take a closer look at what they were feeding on. As i got closer i could see it was Iron Blue Duns they were busily feeding on. I then set up the rod to fish with an Iron Blue Klinkhammer. First cast and i had a fish on which i landed unhooked it and released him back to the river. The amount of Iron Blues steadily increased and so did the amount of rising fish. I was witnessing an incredible hatch of Iron Blues the likes of which i had not seen in a good many years. During the hatch which seemed to continue forever i caught and released twelve wild brown trout, the best fish going over a pound in weight. I noticed a large number of bigger fish rising to the iron Blues but i found it was hard to get them as the smaller fish were getting to the Klinkhammer first.
Hunger got the better of me so i took time out for some lunch. The only sounds i heard during my lunch break were of the song birds in the hedgerows, Ravings calling as they soared above the Knockmealdowns and the cattle as they grazed on the lush leafy grass in the next field. After lunch i changed over to fish a Light Cahill Klinkhammer as i noticed during the hatch of Iron Blues there were also some Large Dark Olives hatching. My thinking was to try target some of the larger fish i was hoping to see rising in the afternoon on both rivers. I headed off to see if i could spot a rising fish. With both rivers running pure clear, stealth was the only way i was going to have a chance of picking up a good fish. Starting with the river Tar i sneaked along the river bank casting the fly over each fish that rose. I brought up several fish on the Tar but failed to hook any.
On to the Suir applying the same sneak tactics and also casting to rising fish. It was not long before i hooked into a good fish but alas he got the better of me. I hooked and lost two more good fish before i managed to catch one, another nice fish of around the pound weight. I had one more fish before it was time to end a fabulous day. The River Suir is one of the finest wild brown trout fisheries in the country and it is well worth fishing on it. There is no finer place to experience it than at Kilmaneen where you can also sample fishing on another fine river, the Tar.
I am already planning another trip to Kilmaneen only next time i will avail of the accommodation as i want to fish on an evening rise and i have imagined myself early the following morning strolling down through the fields rod in hand to sample some early morning fishing before breakfast. My thanks to Kevin and Bernadette for a wonderful days fishing at Kilmaneen. You can contact Bernadette and Kevin for details if you are interested in fishing on their fabulous fishery.