Mixed fortunes on Lough Conn

The big southerly wind we were promised on the forecast didn’t really materialise after all. A steady force 5 brought mild, damp air up over Ireland and a good day for fishing. I had semi-packed the gear the night before so it was just some last minute additions that had to be slung into the VW before heading off for Pike Bay. Mayo was verdant and lush around me as I wound along the Lahardaun road with Conn on my right. The car park at Brown’s Bay was busy and lots of boats were already hard at it along the Massbrook shore.

Parked up close to the boat, I donned my gear in a heavy shower. This would be the pattern for the day, steady winds and occasional heavy showers. I trolled my way out of the bay and turned left into Castlehill, scanning the surface for any activity as I progressed deep into the shallow waters. No signs of life that I could see but some boats were covering drifts at the extreme edge of the bay close to the reeds beyond the mouth of the Addergoole river. I joined the queue but still can’t figure out why they were combing the water there – not a sign of fly or fish was to be seen! I gave it a couple of drifts then headed out of Castlehill and trolled down towards Massbrook. I saw my first mayfly of the day a few yards from the start of the Cornekillew shore, quickly followed by the first rise too. I pushed on down the shore a bit further before stowing the trolling rod and  setting up for a drift to take me back over the spot where I had seen the rise.

coming out of Castlehill bay

The wind was difficult as I was alone in the boat and with my weight at one end and just fresh air at the other she tended to dig in by the stern and slip sideways on the wind. I like to use this to my advantage when wet fly fishing on my own and ‘hang’ the bob fly for a long time as each cast fishes out. The wind forms a sag in the line as I am crossing it, giving the fish that extra few seconds to grab the flies. That tactic worked a treat today with browns nabbing a Green Peter on the the bob fly and hooking themselves in the scissors. A couple of smallish lads were quickly hussled to the boat before a better fish made a mistake and walloped the size 12 Connemara Black in the middle. I was thoroughly enjoying myself up until now, but then my good fortune deserted me.

a well proportioned brown
a bit thin but still a good trout

I had reached the end of the drift and wound in. Pulling the starter cord on the old Evenrude elicited only a cough and a splutter. I repeated the pull, the engine gave me a similar reply. Hmm, maybe she is cold and needs some choke? Nope, that didn’t work and by now I am well out in the deep water, a few hundred yards from shore. Maybe swearing at the inanimate object might help? Surprisingly, this had absolutely no effect what so ever! Nothing else for it, so I grabbed the oars and bent my back into turning the boat into the wind and rowing hard into the stiff breeze. Some fellow anglers from the midlands who had watched my antics came to congratulate me on my sterling efforts and to see if they could help in any way. I declined the offer as there were fish moving and those lads should be covering trout not ripping an engine apart. Being the owner of old engines I habitually carry spares and tools so I had the Evinrude’s spark plugs out in a jiffy (thinking that she had possibly oiled the plugs). The spark plugs looked good so I decided to call it a day and head back home. It was 2.30pm and I figured I was not going to lose much by that time of the day. Driving home I had time to think about the problem and a duff coil would seem to be the likely culprit today.

a few minutes after this photo was taken the old girl packed in

While it was a shame the day was cut short by mechanical failure I still enjoyed my time on the lough. Mayfly are still scarce but a few are fluttering around now. I will get the engine repaired during the week and be ready to hit the lough again next weekend.

even the Perch were taking the fly today

The lough is fishing well so if any of you are contemplating a wee trip to Conn the next couple of weeks should be good.


Late update: I hear the Castlebar Anglers club held a competition on Conn today. 18 anglers caught 7 trout between them.


9 thoughts on “Mixed fortunes on Lough Conn

    1. Hi Richard, I don’t think the engine is a big problem and I will be back in action soon. I am also hearing your side of the lake is fishing very well along Brackwanshagh shore.


      1. Good stuff! The fishing is very good at the moment. I was out myself for a cheeky couple of hours yesterday with my dad and we managed to boat five small ones up to 12 inches around glass island and moved a lot more. There’s a noticeable lack of fly life around the lake for the time of year at the moment though (and given the mild year we’ve had so far). Hopefully it’s still just a wee bit early yet and there’s nothing too sinister at play!


  1. Coming down on Saturday for a week. Fishing out of Tolan’s bay at the top of the lough. Ive been keeping an eye on your reports so many thanks for keeping me posted. We should hit it right for the fly but heres hoping we get a bit of cloud…..


      1. I might need a boat for up to 6 days next week. Have you any contacts as some of the quotes are serious…I reckon I could buy a boat for what some people are asking lol.


    1. Many thanks. I was able to secure my usual boat in the end. The fishing was poor with hot sun and flat calm at the start of the week and nice conditions later on in the week but no fly. We all got fish but they were invariably small apart from the occasional bigger fish up to 1.5lbs. Not complaining though. We had a great time and my 10 yr old caught his first ever fish on fly.


      1. Hi Tony, really glad to hear your young fella caught his first on the fly. We just don’t see enough kids taking up the sport these days. A run of salmon has come into Conn over the past week with a few being boated from the usual lies. As always, I am not around (very busy with work in Dublin – sigh!).


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