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River Dodder

These days most of my fishing has been done on the wonderful little river Dodder. I have the opportunity to stay over night in Dublin, this gives me the time to fish the evening rises. Before I go into the detail of my outings I must say that fishing on the Dodder evokes many happy memories for me. It was on the Dodder where I took my first cast into the wonderful world of fly fishing. The year of this first cast was nineteen seventy three, I was in my early teens then. As a boy growing up in south Dublin only a stones throw from the Dodder I had no idea that there was wild Brown trout to be fished for in the river Dodder.

River Dodder


It was when I was in primary school where I first hear about the wild Brown Trout in the Dodder.Back then I had a fabulous school teacher who would tell us of his fishing escapades on the Dodder and to Glenasmole Valley. He could paint with words a beautiful picture of these escapades which captivated my mind and filled it with wonderful thoughts of catching fish in these beautiful places. With these thoughts in my mind my heart was set on catching my first wild Brown Trout. I had been sea fishing ever since I was a young boy with a small spinning rod. I first tried my hand at Trout fishing with this little spinning rod. It tried many times to catch my first wild Brown Trout with the same little rod, I never had any success so I put my Trout fishing plans on hold until I saved up enough money to buy my first fly fishing set up.



I got myself a summer job as a messenger boy delivering groceries for the local Greengrocers. This job allowed me to put some money by for my fly fishing kit. It was in the following year when I had gathered enough money together for my prize purchase. I headed into the city to Rory’s of Temple Bar to get my first fly fishing kit. After listening to Rory’s advice I bought myself a six weight rod along with a reel and matching line. He threw in a few free flies and some Maxima leader line to get me started. He also advised me as to purchasing an annual permit for the river Dodder. I was all set and ready for my first cast at catching a wild Brown Trout.

River Dodder

Milltown Weir

At first I did not know how to cast a fly rod or how to even set up a leader line. It was a lot harder back then to get information about fly fishing, the great information highway was not even heard of then. I joined the local library where I had access to a wide variety of fly fishing books, I spent many hours reading these books. I fished the river Dodder all through that first season without even rising a single fish, fly fishing was a lot harder than I ever imagined. I continued visiting the library and gathered as much information as I could during the closed season, I was determined to be ready for the next open season. It was in mid April of the new season when I caught my first wild Brown Trout, a little fish of fifteen Centimeters. I was hooked on fly fishing forever.

Fishing permit

Dodder Anglers

A lot of water has flowed under the many bridges of the river Dodder since I had my first cast on it. The Dodder has suffered a lot from pollution and litter. As recently as last year (2013) there was an incident of pollution where chlorinated water was released into a feeder stream of the Dodder resulting in a major fish kill. The culprit, a construction company was convicted and received a fine over this incident. Litter is still a big problem on the Dodder especially after a flood. In the past few years a new group has been formed, called Dodder Action this group organizes volunteers who regularly clean up the litter. The river has truly benefited from these regular clean ups.

River Dodder

Grey Heron

I fished on the river Dodder many many times since I caught my first Trout. I moved out from the city in the Early eighties so my trips to the river Dodder were limited to just a few outings during each open season. I have been lucky this season as to being able to fish on the Dodder for several evening rises,this is the first time in many years that I could do this. This year I have been able to observe more closely the hatches of insects that occur on the Dodder. When I compared these hatches to the river (Liffey) I now regularly fish I noticed that the hatches from the Dodder are generally larger. The hatches of Blue Winged Olives I observed this year on the river Dodder were the biggest hatches of this fly (BWO) I have seen in many years. I have been noting the decline in numbers of this fly (BWO) as well as many other flies on the river Liffey over the past number of seasons.  I have been puzzling over the decline in fly numbers and I am working on one particular theory  as to why such declines occur.

Orwell Footbridge

Orwell Footbridge

I have had several good outings this season on the Dodder. I caught and released a lot of wild brown trout on these outings. I fished only using dry flies, Klinkhammers proving the best results. The river Dodder is in great condition and is a fabulous amenity to have on ones doorstep. I will certainly be looking forward to the opening day of next season on the wonderful river Dodder.

Dodder Weir

Dodder Weir





One Response to “River Dodder”

  1. Colm says:

    Lovely to read your piece Liam about my local river and the one on which I continue to learn the most while often catching the least. In 2014 I found the fast shallow riffles the most productive when the levels dropped to nothing. I figured the better fish were looking for oxygen as much as food, and swinging a PTN across the riffles paid off for better fish, aggressive takes and lovely sport. March 17th can’t come fast enough!

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