Ireland is blessed with large crystal-clear limestone loughs, particularly in the west of the country, that support a massive population of wild brown trout and provide a unique fly fishing experience for anglers of all skill levels. These trout are some of the fittest and strongest you will catch anywhere and fight far beyond their size. You will have the chance to catch the trout of a lifetime and fish over 10lbs are taken on the fly every year with trout of 5lbs to 7lbs not uncommon. There is, also, an opportunity to catch large ferrox trout but these are normally only caught deep trolling (the Corrib record was broken in 2004 with a fish of almost 22lbs).
The fly fishing season on these loughs falls into distinctive periods when certain methods far-out fish others. From opening day on 15th February wet fly fishing is the norm when the fish can be found feeding on shrimp, hoglouse and small fry. This is followed by the duck-fly which usually starts in mid-March and continues to mid-April. At this time buzzer fishing is by far the best method but dries and small wets can also work.
From mid-April to mid-May there is ‘Olive’ fishing on wet, dry and nymphs during which time buzzer can also play a major part. Early May to mid-June brings the famous ‘Mayfly’ hatches. The fishing at this time can be superb for both wet fly and dry fly, as well as dapping the live insects. Hatching throughout the olive and mayfly hatches are massive ‘greyboy’ and ’campo’ buzzers which trout also feed on. An evening spent gnat fishing or ‘ball and buzzer’ fishing is also highly recommended.
June to mid-August daytime trout fly fishing depends on weather conditions, whereby early morning and late evening fly fishing can be more productive when sedges hatch in large numbers. Mid-August through to the end of the season trout can be found over deep water feeding on daphnia as well as on sedges and fry in the shallows.
Refer to our list of favorite fishing spots for more detailed information about some of our favorite private fly fishing locations in the country.
Ireland has 16,000 km of main river channel and 10,000 km of tributary which are unspoilt and relatively unpolluted. Irish rivers can sub divided into acidic and limestone. The limestone rivers generally fish best to upstream dry fly or nymph. On the occasions when large numbers of fish are rising, the angler is spoilt for choice. Acidic streams tend to favour wet fly fishing – usually downstream and across. Over the last few seasons Czech nymphing has become more popular and is an effective method of taking fish on all Irish rivers.
The evening rise is particularly important for the angler from the end of June. The daytime rises usually diminish during the summer months but there is compensation in the hours of intensive fly fishing sport from early evening to 11pm or beyond. The rise begins with trout moving to small fly such as pale wateries from about 6pm; then the blue winged olive appears and can bring up heavy fish, which feed into dusk. Finally the sedge species hatch and the trout rise to these until after midnight in July and onward. Very good fish may be taken during that last phase of the evening rise.
Refer to the hatch charts for more detailed information about what flies to use and when on Irish lakes.
Fly Fishing for Beginners
When you’re learning a new skill or taking up a new hobby, the hardest part is sometimes figuring out the basics. In our starting out series of blog posts, we take a few minutes to discuss a few basic principles of fly fishing to help any beginner get up and running as quickly as possible.