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River Suir, Early April

At the weekend i made my way down to the river Suir at Holycross in County Tipperary. This was my first outing to the river Suir for this season. The week leading up to the outing was again a cold dry one with the dreaded East wind still with us. While travelling down the M8 my thoughts were would it be worthwhile travelling the distance when the weather was so cold and  the Easterly wind was blowing hard, prospects were not too good! At least it’s raining, can’t be too bad!

Clear Water, river Suir

I arrived in Holycross shortly before 10am,  all quiet there as usual. I looked at the river and it was in great condition, with a good water height which was flowing clear. I also noted that there was no signs of fish moving and no signs of any insect life, again i thought would it be worthwhile fishing today? I headed up to Glasheens shop where i had a coffee and a hot scone. After the coffee i bought a day ticket for Thurles,  Suir & Drish Anglers’ Association club waters.

Suir above Holycross

I set up the rod with a team of wet  flies consisting of  a Waterhen Bloa on the point, a Hares Lug and Plover on the middle and one of my new patterns on the top. The new pattern is a variant of a Iron blue Nymph that i am trying out this again this season. I had some success with the same pattern last year. Those of you the regularly read my posts will know that each new season i try out several new patterns. Over the past seasons i have had some success with a few of them but i also had more patterns which failed. You cant win all the time!

Holycross Abbey

My preference when i am fishing with a team of wet flies is to walk down stream and fish each pool as i come to it. This was not the case today as the section of the river i choose was flowing towards me which would have been great had i been dry fly fishing but i was fishing wet flies. My tactics were to walk up to the head of each pool and fish the flies down and across letting them swing around in the current, fishing through the pool. This meant a lot of doubling back on myself. I cast the team into the head of the first pool i came to and on my third cast i was rewarded with a take and a hook up. My first fish of the day was caught and released, a nice wild brown trout close to a half pound in weight. I caught another five fish in the same pool before i moved on upstream to the next pool.

Holycross Bridge

Keeping with the same team of wet flies, i started to fish down through the pool and i was soon into my next fish. Another fine trout near the three quarter pound mark. The next fish i hooked into was the one that got away, a fine wild brown trout which at a guess was over two pounds in weight. After loosing that fish i caught and released three more fish including a nice one over the pound in weight. It was now time to take a break and warm up with a hot soup and a sandwich.

River Suir Trout

While i walked back up river after the break i noticed that there was a few Large Dark Olives coming off the water and there was some fish rising to the Olives. I decided try and have a go at the rising fish with a dry fly so i tied on a Light Cahill Klinkhammer. I did not last too long with this tactic as the wind was just too strong and it was blowing the wrong way. I did however manage to rise a few fish but i failed to connect with any of them. Time to change back to the wet flies! I changed back to the wets and i caught and released seven more wild brown trout before i called time out.

I had a brilliant day out on the River Suir even though the conditions were dreadful. The team of flies i used all worked on the day but the best fly was the Hares Lug and Plover. I also noted that the new pattern i was trying out accounted for five nice fish. I will be giving that pattern another wetting the next time i get out. Are we ever going to see temperature get into double figures this April? The air temperature on the day was a mere six degrees although it felt much colder with the persistent east wind blowing in my face. The water temperature was also six degrees.

This was my first outing to the wonderful river Suir this season and i have already planned a return trip before the end of May. Lets hope the awful weather has improved by then!

Easter Outings

Over the Easter holidays I managed to get out for some fishing on both the river Liffey and the Kings river. My first outing was to the river Liffey on my local club waters. I got to the river about half ten in the morning and I was planning on fishing on in to the evening. I had noticed on my previous visit, that the fish started moving to a small hatch of Large Dark Olives that appeared on the water just after midday. With this in mind I set the rod up to fish dry flies as I made my way upstream. The day was overcast and there was a cold east wind blowing. The air temperature was reading three degrees and the water temperature was five degrees. The biting east wind was blowing in to my face and was making casting my four weight line difficult. Not ideal conditions for fishing a dry fly.

As there was no signs of fish rising, i cast the fly into the places that i thought may hold a fish or two. I managed to tempt three fish with my dry fly but i only connected with one of these fish. After an hour or so i decided to find some shelter from the wind and change the fly. While i was tying on the new fly i saw a fish rise upstream from me. I sat and watched to see if he would show again which he did as did several other fish. I moved up to the pool where they were rising and cast my fly over the nearest rising. He rose and took my imitation, a Light Cahill Klinkhammer. I caught and released two more fish before rising water put an end to the rising fish. It also put an end to my fishing on the Liffey for that day. Earlier on that day i heard news that the city council were restricting water pressure because of the lack of water. This made me wonder why there was a flood on the river due to water being released from one of the city’s main reservoirs? It didn’t make sense to me!!

I packed up my gear and headed off up into the Wicklow Mountains to have a look at the Kings river. When i got to the river i was very surprised to see it was gin clear and as low as summer levels. I had thought that all the snow melt water would have the river coloured and running high, how wrong was i? It has been a long time since i last saw the Kings river running so clear. I thought this was definitely going to be challenging fishing  and wondered what was my best approach to fish it? I would have to be stealthy and keep well back from the water out of sight. I set the rod up with a team of spiders consisting of a Yellow Jack on the point, a Hares Lug and Plover in the middle and a Winter Brown on the top.

I made my way slowly down stream keeping low and casting the team down and across and letting them drift with the current. I fished this way for a while but never got a touch so decided it was time to change tactics. What next? I decided to fish with the same team again but this time i cast them just above large submerged stones where i thought fish might be lying up. I let the team of flies drift down stream and swing in around the back of the stones. After a few casts i was rewarded with a take and hooked up a nicely marked wild brown trout.

If i thought it was cold while i was fishing down on the Liffey, that was nothing compared to the cold on the Kings river. The air temperature showed only one degree while the water temperature was a mere two degrees. I fished on for another hour or so before the cold weather got the better of me so i packed up for the day. I did however manage to catch and release three nice little wild brown trout, a good result considering the the poor conditions.

As i made my way home i was thinking about the Liffey and why was it being flooded when there is a so called shortage of drinking water. I am hoping that the lack of drinking water will bring an end to the flooding on the Liffey and we will be able to fish on it regularly. Last season was a complete washout for fishing on the Liffey as it was continually in flood. Here is hoping for a better season all round.

Back on the Liffey.

The season has now opened on the Liffey and i had my first outing on the river since last year. It seem such a long time since i last was out on the river Liffey. Last season turned out to be a washout with all the rain that fell. This made for very little fishing to be had on the Liffey for me so i was glad when the new season finally opened. For my first outing i had planned fishing on my local club waters at Kilcullen. I got to the river early so i could make the most of the day. As usual i had a good look around as i was getting set up. I noticed a few small fish rising upstream of me but i could not see if they were taking flies or not. I set the rod up with a team of wet flies to fish down and across as i made my way down stream.

River Liffey

The team i chose consisted of a Yellow Jack on the point with a Waterhen Bloa on the middle dropper and a Hares Lug and Plover on the top dropper. I fished all the likely lies and runs as i made my way slowly down stream. I like this part of the early season as i can get to fish on some of the places that become overgrown as the season progresses. These little spots are usually good for holding quality fish as they don’t get  fished much throughout the season. I was fishing for about an hour before i had my first hook up. It was a nice little fish which unfortunately i lost. He had taken the Yellow Jack. Another half hour passed before i finally had a fish in the net. A nice fish about ten inches in length hooked on the Yellow Jack.

First Trout 2013

I fished on for another while without any reward so i changed the team around keeping the Yellow Jack but changing it to the top dropper along with a Snipe and Purple on the point with a Winter Brown on the middle dropper. I was soon rewarded with my third fish of the season which took the Winter Brown. I had two more fish on the wet flies. One took the Winter Brown  the other took the Yellow Jack. I noticed a small number of Olives coming off the water that looked looked like Olive Uprights but i could not be sure of that. At this stage i had reach the point where i had planned on turning around at, so i changed over to a dry fly to fish it upstream as i made my way back to the car.

Winter on Liffey

The dry fly i chose was a Klinkhammer (Light Cahill). I fished with this for about half an hour without a response so i changed it for another Klinkhammer (Greenwells). I rose a fish with the Greenwells but i missed it. Another fish rose to the Greenwells i missed this one as well. After that i changed the flies several times but never rose another fish. In all it was a good start to the new season. The water temperature was a cool five degrees Celsius which is about average for this time of the year. I am looking forward to getting back out on the river Liffey, hopefully over the next weekend. It sure was great to be back fishing on this wonderful river.

Liffey Trout

2013 Looking Forward.

It has been quite a while since i have written any new articles to update the blog. Before i start to look forward to the twenty thirteen season, i first would like to reflect on the past season of twenty twelve. At the start of last season i had made many plans about my fishing for the new season. I drew up a list of places and fisheries that i had never fished on. I did some research on where to purchase the necessary permits and permissions from land owners. I also researched on what time of year was best for each fishery and what fly life i could expect to find there during the season. I then set about tying up some suitable patterns to use on these new fisheries. I was all set and was looking forward to fishing on new waters.

Liffey Trout

During the previous season (2011), i had received several enquiries from readers of the blog, some were enquiring about the flies i use and others enquired about whether i would do some guiding for them. Others enquired as to whether i would tie up some flies for them. I thought about the enquiries for some time before deciding what to do. In the end i decided that i would tie up flies to order for any reader that wanted flies, i also offered to do some guiding on a part time basis at weekends. I set a page up here where i listed the fly patterns i use through out the season, the readers could choose what patterns they wanted to order. As to the guiding, any reader that wished to be taken out for guiding they got in touch with me through the contact page at the top of the blog.


The season got off to a good start as i was able to get out on the river Liffey at the weekends. I also took several anglers out for the day on the Liffey from which i received good feedback from the anglers. The fly tying to order also kept me busy in the early part of the season. As the season progressed the weather changed for the worst. The almost constant rain raised the water levels on most fisheries leaving them too high to fish on. Eventually a break came in the weather and i was able to fish on the river Suir at Kilnameen Farmhouse in Co. Tipperary. I had a great outing at Kilnameen. After that the weather again turned for the worst, my local waters on the river Liffey were in constant flood every day. My best made plans were not to be. The rest of the season was very poor as a result of the persistent  bad weather.

River Suir, Kilnameen

It is now time to look forward to the approaching new season with renewed hope for last seasons plans. I am going to keep my plans of last season and i may add another few fisheries to them. There will also be another trip to St Mullins for the Twaite Shad when they appear back in the river Barrow. It was a memorable occasion from last season, my first Shad on the fly. As to fly fishing for other species, i have been invited out to fish for Bass and Mullet. I must say i am really looking forward to that. Artic Char is another species on my list of species to fly fish for. When it comes to fishing for the Char you are very limited in this country so i booked a fishing trip to Iceland in August with MBBfishing. I have never fished in any where other than Ireland so fishing in Iceland will be a new experience for me, one that i am so looking forward to.

Mullicháin Cafe

During the closed season i have been tying up several new patterns to try out when the season opens. Over the years i have had mixed results when it comes to my experimental patterns, some have proved worthwhile other not so much. As for tying flies to order, i am still doing so with a few orders already received. I also have received a few enquiries about guiding from visiting anglers. Lets hope the weather will be kinder and allow for more fishing during the season. Tight lines to all.

Sneem River

The dreadful weather that we have been having throughout this open season had all too often put an end to my plans of river fishing. My local river the Liffey is being flooded on a regular basis with water released by the dam at Golden Falls, leaving me having to go elsewhere to get some fishing done. The other rivers that are local to me are also  suffering with the the heavy rain fall which leaves them out of condition for fly fishing. I have tried to make plans to fish on other rivers that are within a couple of hours drive from me but as yet i have not been able to fish on these, again due to high coloured water.

Adaire Springs

When the fishing season is open i usually fish for wild brown trout on as many different rivers and lakes as i can throughout the season along with fishing on my local river. I have now found myself looking to the stocked fisheries in order to get some fishing done. One of the fisheries i have recently fished on is Adaire Springs in Mooncoin County Kilkenny. I first heard about Adaire Springs from a friend of mine who recommended i should check it out as he said “there is quality fishing to be had for both Rainbow and Brown Trout into double figures”. With this in mind i made my plans for a days outing to the fishery.

Rainbows end

On arrival at the fishery i met with Ned Maher who is the owner of Adaire Springs. Ned put on the kettle and we sat down and had a chat about the fishery over several cups of tea. I noticed while looking at the photo gallery there is some very nice double figure fish on display along with some very proud anglers. I also noticed that there were several fish rising out in the lake and i wondered what they were rising to. After the tea , i got set up for the fishing, i started off with a five weight rod and floating line to which i tied on a dry fly in a size fourteen. The fly i chose was one of my own tyings which i tie up to represent several different naturals, a general all rounder.

Adaire, Brown Trout

I set off around the lake and started casting to the fish that were actively feeding at the surface. On my third cast a fish rose and took the fly but unfortunately i failed to connect with it. Moving on to the next stand i could see a few more fish at the surface. I cast the fly over these and another fish rose and took the fly, this time i connected with it. After a good tussle i had a nice Rainbow trout in the net, a nice full finned fish of about three pounds weight. I replaced the fly with another of the same pattern. I generally change flies after each catch as the fly gets soaked and therefore does not float as it should. I was soon into another hard fighting Rainbow trout which i landed and released.

Iggy with a nice Brownie

As i moved on around the lake i was casting to the fish that i saw rising, i caught and released two more nice Rainbow trout before i took a break for a bit of lunch. While having my lunch i got talking to some of the anglers who regularly fish at Adaire. They talked about some of the big brown trout that are present in lake and of the tactics they use to catch them. They also talked about their fishing adventure to Canada with MBB Fishing. The Canadian fishing trips sounded great, so much so that i am now pencilled in for one of the next Canadian ventures. Something that i will be looking forward to as i have never fished in Canada.

Ned Maher with a big Rainbow Trout

After lunch i set up a six weight rod with a sinking line and tied on a lure (Cats Whisker). One of the regulars Iggy swears by the Cats Whisker so i just had to give it a go. I fished this method for a while before i got the hang of it. I caught another four fish with the Cat all good hard fighting Rainbows. I then changed back to fishing with the five weight rod and a dry fly. I wanted to catch myself one of the much talked about big brown trout. I caught another two more Rainbow trout with the dry fly but the big brownies proved elusive. It was soon time to call an end to a great day out at Adaire Springs.

Adaire Springs

Before i set off for home i had another chat with Ned about the fishery and about having family day out there. Family are very welcome at Adaire and there is full facilities on site to cater for the young angler. Rod hire is available along with all the other bits and bobs that are needed for a day out. There is an on site BBQ which is available for any one fishing to use. Life jackets are compulsory for under fourteens and these are provided on site when you purchase a day ticket. Tuition is given freely to all junior anglers who require it.

5 year old Alex Brady with a big Brownie

Family  day :

The following weekend i headed back down to Adaire Springs, this time i was accompanied by two of my nephews along with my sister and her husband, my brother and with his wife. We were all set for a family day out and we were hoping for some good weather. On arrival i introduced everyone to the fishery owner Ned. The two young lads were excited and were anxious to get out on the lake to get fishing. We got the lads set up and cast their bait out into the lake and we did not have too long of a wait before the first fish was on. A real excited 8 year old Dylan reeled in his first Rainbow trout.

Dylan and Ritchie

We unhooked the fish and took a few pics of Dylan with it before we released it back to the lake. It was not long before the next fish was on, this time it was Gavins turn to reel in his first Rainbow trout. The lads kept me busy baiting and unhooking so I did not get much time to set up a fly rod for my brother in law until Iggy came along and gave me a hand with the lads. Iggy is one of the Springs regulars and he is always willing to help out with the younger anglers. While Iggy was guiding the lads, i set up the fly rod for Joe and gave him some tuition on how to cast and do a simple retrieve. I left Joe to fish away and went back to the lads. Iggy had everything under control in his easy going way. The lads enjoyed the guiding from Iggy.

Gavin with his first fish

While i was helping out with the lads another Springs regular Fergal called Dylan over. Fergal had a fish hooked on his fly rod and he passed the rod over to Dylan to get a taste of a big trout on a fly rod. It was fun to watch the young lad trying to land the fish, unfortunately for Dylan the fish was too strong and broke the leader. The lads traded fish for fish right up until we had a break for a bit of food. The girls had prepared a nice barbeque for  everyone. At this stage the total count of fish landed and released was nine fish for Gavin, eight for Dylan, four for Ritchie and none for Joe and myself. The young ones were showing me how to do it. After we finished our food i said to the lads “will we try get into double figures with the fish totals”. They were all on for that.

Gina and Breda

I baited up the rods again and the lads started to fish, meanwhile Joe was busy trying to hook himself a Rainbow. The weather was absolutely fabulous all day with a nice warm breeze and full sun shine. The fish were proving more of a challenge as the were keeping down out of the sun. Next one to catch a fish was Joe, his patience paid off as he landed a nice Rainbow Trout. Another fish was landed soon after by Gavin bringing his total now to the magic double figure of ten. Dylan had one more fish to make his total nine, it was then time to call it a day.

A Rainbow for Joe

We packed up all the gear and said our good byes to all at Adaire and thanked them for helping us all with having a great day out. The lads were completely worn out and they soon fell asleep in the car on the way home. A special thank you from myself to Ned, Iggy and Fergal for all the help making it a special day out for the young lads. They are now well and truly hooked, thank you.

Thanks also to Ned and Joe for the use of their photos here.








Ever since i was a young lad i have been hearing about and from anglers who fish for Twaite Shad at Saint Mullins in Carlow. Over the years i have thought many times of heading down to Saint Mullins and having a go at fishing for the Shad. Each year has come and gone since then but alas i have never got to fish for them. During last year i drew up a list of places and species to fish for my “wish to fish list”. I have ticked off a few places on the list so far and Saint Mullins and the Shad have now also been ticked off the list.

River Barrow

I had been doing  lot of research on Shad fishing over the past couple of weeks and what i found out was that most anglers use light spinning gear and the most popular lure seems to be a blue/silver Tasmanian Devil. While i was researching I did not come across much information regarding fly fishing for the Shad. My thoughts were of fishing for them on the fly rod, but how would i go about doing this? I started preparing for my planned weekend trip to Saint Mullins in the week prior to it. I checked out for the times of the tides and the weather forecast. Everything was right with the exception of what type of lure would i use  and which weight of fly rod would suit for the day.

Early morning mist on the Scar.

My thoughts on a lure for Shad were based on tying up some type of minnow fly but i had to decide what materials and what colors would be best suited to use. I eventually settled on using Bucktail along with crystal flash tied up in an assortment of colours on a size eight straight eyed lure hook. I tied up three different color combinations of lures to try out on the Shad. I wanted to use as light a rod as i could but i was restricted to using a minimum of a seven weight as i needed at least that weight to turn over the large lures i would be using. I matched the rod with a fast sinking line as this would get the lure down in the water quickly. The night before my outing i got everything ready for an early start on the following morning. The morning started off with clearing the ice from the windscreen of the car. It was a clear cold morning with no breeze at all and the air temperature was at minus one degree.

Flat calm Barrow

After a drive of an hour and a half i arrived at Saint Mullins and i was not the first angler there. I was greeted with the sight of several anglers setting up their gear beside the tents they had pitched on the green. I drove on down the hill to the river and met with more anglers who were already spinning away. As i had checked on the tides i knew i had a few hours at low which according to all reports is the best time to fish for Shad. Before i got set up i had a chat with some of the other anglers enquiring about how the fishing was going. I must say i was a little disappointed to hear there was very little action about. I was feeling a little disheartened as i set up the rod but it was a nice day and i was in a beautiful place so i carried on getting ready. As i always say “if the fly is not in the water you are not fishing …. so get fishing”.

Blue/White Minnow

I decided to use a short fluorocarbon leader of six pounds breaking strain about a meter in length. My thinking on this was a short leader would help turn the heavy fly over and i would also help with getting the fly down quickly in the water. The first minnow fly i tied on was a Blue and white one. I cast this up and across the river to give it a chance to sink before i started to retrieve it using various retrieves from slow to fast and including a figure of eight. I fished with this fly for about  half an hour without as much as a pluck on it. I changed over to a Black and Yellow one and had the same result with this  one, things were not going as i thought they should. I took a break and went for a wander up river to see if there was any fish getting caught up that way. Reports were not good with only a few fish getting caught. I again changed over the lure, this time choose  an Olive and White one. I fished on with this for another half an hour or so but this time i did get  a small pluck on the lure. I could see the tide was now rising behind the Scar and thought my time was running out for catching a Shad. I fished on for a while more and then just as the tide made it over the Scar i hooked into a fish. Was it a Shad i wondered? I soon knew it was a Shad as it leaped clear of the water and tail walked, much like its larger relation the mighty Tarpon. After a good fight i soon had my first Twaite Shad safely in the landing net. I took  a few pictures of it before i released it back to the Barrow.

Olive/White Minnow

In the next ten minutes i hooked and landed two more Shad before all went quiet again. The best fish on the day tipped the scales to nearly three pounds in weight. It was a new experience for me to catch a Shad and especially catching one on the fly rod using a lure that i tied up myself. It gave me the lift i needed. These little fish arrive in the River Barrow to spawn each year around the time of the first spring tides near the end of April into early May. They should be treated with care and make sure they are fully recovered in the water before you release them. Some of them will take time before they are fully recovered after they are caught. Treat them with respect as they are a rare species. I certainly will be looking forward to their arrival again next year. It turned out to be a great days fishing for me  in the end.

Twaite Shad

This was not my first time being in Saint Mullins as i spent a few hours there last year although i was not fishing that time. I spent a morning there taking photos of the wildlife and wild flowers as i strolled up though the Barrow Valley towards Graiguenamanagh and back then to the Mullicháin Cafe. I passed some time outside the cafe relaxing over a Coffee and a hot fresh scone while reading the complimentary broad sheet. It is worth while visiting St. Mullins even just to admire the beautiful scenery that it has to offer along the Barrow valley.



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.

Kilmaneen Farmhouse

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.

Suir tranquility

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.

Large dark olive, Iron blue dun

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.

River Suir Trout

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.

River 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.

Mixed Reports

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.

River Sullane

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.

Sullane Trout

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.

Large Dark Olive

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.

Lakes of Kilarney

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.

Boat Launch

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.

Roundwood lake

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 Trout

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.

River Suir

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.

Suir Trout

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.

River Suir Holycross

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.

Roundwood Lake

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.

River Liffey Early March

I spent my first two days of the season fishing on the wonderful River Liffey in Co. Kildare.  I had been looking forward to getting out for some fishing for some time now so when the weekend arrived i was all set to go. The first day i spent in the excellent company of Ashley Hayden, a fellow angling enthusiast and guide. We arrived at the river Liffey shortly after midday and got ourselves set up to head upstream. I set my rod up a Klinkhammer to fish dry and Ashley set his up with a team of wet flies. The day was cold with bright sunshine along with a strong upstream wind. The weather conditions were to make the fishing hard going on the day. Ashley wrote a full report for the day on his website.

Early season Trout

The next day i headed out to the same part of the river, this time unaccompanied. I arrived at the river and started to get set up. While i was setting up i wondered if i should start off with the same set up i used the day previous. I decided to start off using a dry fly and wondered which one should i choose? I chose to tie on one of the experimental patterns that i had tied up during the off season. Each year i tie up a few patterns for trial during the open season. I have had some degree of success with a few of these trial patterns over the years along with some failures. The trial pattern i tied on was tied Klinkhammer style to imitate an emerging Olive, a light coloured one.

Bright day on the Liffey

The weather conditions were similiar to the previous day only for the wind was stronger and a lot colder. While i was checking out the first pool i arrived at, i noticed a fish rising close to the far bank. I had to have a go for this. The wind was blowing strong up and across  the river which made covering the fish rather difficult. I made several casts to this fish before i rose and hooked him. A nice little fish near the half pound mark which i safely returned. I rose two more fish in that pool before the wind got the better of me and i moved on. I was a good start to the day and the trial pattern was successful, the day was full of promise! Moving on upstream to the next pool, i tried a few casts to check it out. I stirred nothing in that pool so on to the next one all the while the wind was getting colder and stronger. I fished on for another hour and a half without stirring a single fish, the promise had gone from the day. If i thought the previous day was hard going this day was even harder going.

Moon over the Liffey

I moved on upstream towards a sheltered pool where i noticed a few Olives coming off the water so i had to have a few casts here. On my way upstream i was changing from a single dry fly to a team of wet flies to see if i could manage to tempt a fish or two. To fish this pool i tied on a new team of wet flies to include a Waterhen Bloa, a Winter Brown and a Hares Lug and Plover. I fished these down and across the pool and on my third cast i was rewarded with a nice little fish which took the Hares Lug. I caught and released two more fish in this pool before moving on. I headed on further upstream to where it was even more sheltered. There i came upon a a nice stretch of water which had a high bank on one side and overhanging Beech trees along the other side. I noticed a few fish stirring under the Beech trees but to cast over these fish was not going to be easy. My only option was to cast a team of wets across the river and let them drift down over the fish. I changed the team of wets around keeping the Hares Lug on the point and changing the other flies for a Snipe and Purple and one of my trial flies. Keeping low i sneaked up to where i could make a cast to these fish. I made several casts before i got a take but i failed to connect with the fish. Casting again i let the flies drift down over the fish and when the flies were almost straightened out i pulled back the rod to raise the flies up through the water level to try induce a take. After several other casts i eventually got a tug and tightened into a nice fish. A fish of almost a pound weight which was in fair condition for this time of the season. This fish was tempted by the trial pattern another success for this same pattern. I caught another fish using this method, it was tempted by the Hares Lug.

Early Wild Brown Trout

After i finished fishing that pool i decided to call it a day and make my way back to the car. Thinking over the weekend as i walked back to the car, it was great to be back out on the river again. As far as the fishing went it was hard going but it is only the start of the season so there will be better days than these. The water temperature  (8 degrees Celcius) on the last day was warmer than the air temperature (5 degrees Celcius). I have not come across many of those days. On the results with the trial patterns i was quite pleased but again it is early days, i will be trying them out again throughout the season. Already i am looking forward to my next outing.

Co. Kildare

Lastly i would like to thank those readers who have supported the blog by purchasing flies from me. I am only tying up the flies for readers of the blog, if there any readers who would like to purchase flies you may do so through the contact page at the top of the site.

Looking Forward.

As the 1st of March approaches, i am looking forward to to the new season ahead. But before i look ahead too much i feel i should have a look back at last year. It was a year that i wish i could skip as i had many set backs and great losses during it. Early in the year my wonderful partner of seven years decided to call it a day and move out, this totally devastated me. Once again in my life i was left alone and wondered could i manage to get through it again. Lots of self questioning and not many answers! I tried to keep myself busy with work and with fishing but my heart was not in it. Yes i did go fishing both locally and up and down the country but i was not getting anything from it. It felt like i was only going through the motions.

My sadness and emptiness was added to in May by the sad loss of my dear father. A second bright light in my life had gone out, things were dull now. Very dull indeed. As the year progressed the financial pressure of running a household alone became a major strain on the purse strings. Time for cut backs and change, all outgoing expenses were looked at and all luxuries were done away with. One of the things which was looked at is this Blog. Would i have to cancel it? I considered cancelling it as i was not keeping it updated and in general it seemed like i had lost interest in it.

While looking back through the Blog along with all the comments, messages and emails i received through the Blog, i noticed that i had several requests from readers asking would i tie up flies and sell them to readers of the Blog. I also had a few requests asking about guiding on some of the waters i write about. Noticing these requests set me thinking “would it be a good idea to make up flies and maybe do some part time guiding”? The money generated by doing this could got to off setting the costs of running the Blog i.e. hosting, domain registration, broadband fees etc.

I gave mention about tying flies to order in one of the posts late last year and thankfully i have received some orders for them. I am now thing of setting up a page for buying flies. In the mean time for any reader who wishes to support the Blog by buying flies you can contact irishflyfisher[at]gmail.com for details or click on the contact page here. On the idea of guiding i will be doing it on a part time basis throughout the season i.e. weekends, half days or full days. I will also be guiding on the longer week day evenings during the peak season.

I want to thank all those who have supported me this far and thank all for their well wishes and kind words of support.

Time now to look forward to the approaching new season and to some of the places i would like to get to fish on this year. On my “to fish wish list” there are lots of places some of which i have never fished on before and some places to which i want to revisit. Places i have not yet fished on include the Erkina river, Blackwater at Kells, River Nore, and the Little Brosna to mention just a few.

Lough Dan is another place which is high on my list and this year i have an invitation to fish on it with Ashley Hayden. It will be one of my highlights of the season. Another place that i have a longing to return to fish on is Vartry reservoir (Roundwood Lake). It has been a long time since i have fished on there. In the past i have fished many times on Roundwood always fishing it from the bank. This year i will be fishing it from a boat, thanks again to Ashley for this wonderful opportunity. Ashley offers a guiding service on both of these lakes and further information can be found here.

There are many other places on my list that i may get to fish on this season, for the moment however i will be trying to get to the few i have mentioned earlier. I would be grateful for any information on those places or any other places , day tickets, permits , best places to enter from and safe parking etc.

Tight lines to all and here’s to a successful 2012.

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