Last day for the trout

I was tied up on 30th of the month so my last opportunity to fish for trout was on 29th. I snuck off to the Robe for a couple of hours, more in hope than expectation. Yo-yo water levels this month have seen the rivers burst their banks only to shrink back to mere trickles. I would normally have fished the Robe on numerous occasions from March until now but the 2020 season was anything but normal. I had to round up some errant fly boxes before setting off in windy and cool conditions.

I arrived at the river to find a car parked in my usual spot, a very unusual happening indeed. Tackling up I could see an old leader still attached to the end of the fly line and it seemed to be in good condition so I left it there and tied on a couple of flies. The farmer had installed a fine new gate to the first field since I was last there, one that was nice and easy to get over.

The river really was desperately low with thick slime at the edges of the water. The wind was blowing directly upstream, hampering every cast as I wanted to swing the wets down-and-across. Commencing operations at the bridge pool I worked my way downstream, planting my flies firmly into the lies along the opposite bank. It didn’t take too long for a small fish to grab the dropper fly and I had landed the first of what would turn out to be 5 brownies.

I pushed on down the river, crossing fences and casting into odd corners where I had caught fish before. I know this stretch like the back of my hand and didn’t waste any time on the pools where I rarely do well. Below the old weir I spotted a fellow angler, intent on his sighter and he fished klink-and-dink in a fast run. As I neared him I could see it was an old acquaintance of mine, Tommy Carroll. Tommy is a fine angler and one of the few who live around here who fishes the Robe. I stopped and we chatted for a while, catching up on recent fishing. Tommy said he was catching more trout today on his sighter fly than on the nymph so he decided to change and put up a dry fly only. Leaving him to it I sauntered off down the river to my favourite pools.

Beginning at the neck I carefully searched the long pool first but without so much as a touch. I shortened the line and fished ever so carefully through the fast run on the corner pool but again without interest from the fish.

Laziness got the better of me and instead of walking to the tail of the pool and fishing back upstream I simply lengthen the line, punching it hard to cut against the strong wind. Concentrating hard I sought to drop the flies as close as possible to the far bank without catching them on the bushes and grass. I was so absorbed in this work the take when it came was something of a surprise. A solid thump was followed by a short run and then some head shaking. This was a much better fish! Back and forth she swam and I gave or retrieved line as required. Tired out, she slid smoothly into my waiting net and I had her, a lovely fish of about a pound-and-a-half. After the usual snaps I popped her back into the water and she swam off strongly.

The leader was in a fankle so I snipped it off and tied a new one. A few desultory casts later though I decided to pack up. I had caught a beautiful fish and that was a fitting end to my season. Back up the river I walked, taking in the sights and sounds of a late September day. As I neared the last field I saw an angler in the river. I could tell it was not Tommy so who was this guy? He was fishing very intently so I walked past him and only spoke when he stopped casting. He turned to me and I recognised Johnny, a man I had not set eyes on these past 5 years or more! Johnny Moroney and his brother Brendan were regular visitors to these parts for many years. Skilled anglers and lovely fellas, I used to fish with them both in days gone by. We chatted about the fishing, the covid and life in general. In the end I took my leave and plodded back to the waiting VW.

And so ended not just my day on the Robe but my trout fishing season. It was short but I have had worse times chasing wild trout. Conn fished better than it had for many years and while I did not fish terribly hard I enjoyed some good days. Fingers crossed there is a further improvement in the angling on Conn again next season. The Robe seemed to be average according to the information I could glean, with a few bigger trout caught this season. So much rests on how we tackle the pandemic but I hope to be back on the Robe next spring.

For now, the whole country has moved to level 3 meaning no unnecessary movement outside your county. I’m really glad that I made the effort to start my 32 county odyssey during August/September but that will be on hold for the foreseeable future. I have some Pike fishing loosely organised locally weather permitting over the coming weeks.

Stay safe!


16 thoughts on “Last day for the trout

  1. I’m enjoying your blog output!
    I’m curious about Robe river fishing. Spend most of my time on L Corrib, but would like to try some river fishing next year. Have you advice on best stretches, club waters and permits, please?


    1. The Robe is the best river for trout in the area, good stocks of fish in the 6 – 10 inch range but much, much bigger trout are there. No permits required. Access is generally at the various bridges over the river between Claremorris and Ballinrobe. Good water at Robeen bridge, Hollymount and Crossboyne.


  2. Certainly a river I want to fish when I am in Mayo next time. I crossed the Robe so many times when I lived in Mayo and worked in Galway and never stopped for trout fishing, what a pitty. Back then I rather stopped at the Clare River for grilse fishing on the way home.
    Just found your blog today and I really appreciate your informative reports.
    Best regards and tight lines from Germany, E.


    1. Thank you fro getting in touch, I really appreciate your kind comments. The Robe is a lovely wee river with some excellent stretches. Upstream of Hollymount is as good as any. Best wishes from Mayo!


  3. Hi, I a fellow Scot, now living in NI, I will be holidaying in Balinrobe in September, chosen as I want to fish the Robe.
    I mainly fish the fly, but as I am only there for a week, if levels are high, can I fish the worm, so no days are wasted.


      1. Hi, no, this will be my first trip to the river.
        The areas you mentioned in your reply, are they best for worming if the water levels are high, or generally the best overall.


      2. Generally best over all with a mix of pools and runs so you will find deeper water for the worm. The water immediately above Ballinrobe is deep, slow and canal-like. Lots of pike there and would suit the worm of trout in high water. From Hollymount upstream is much better trout water. Past few seasons we have had very low water in September and weed growth has been a problem.


  4. Thanks for that, September is a long way of and I have no patience.
    I will let you know how I get on.
    Is September a good month on the river and can you recommend any flies for that month.


    1. In my experience September can be patchy, it all depends on the weather. Good flies include: Wets – partridge hackled spiders, black gnat, small sedge patterns. Dries – Adams, Balloon Caddis, Red spinner. Likely to be a trickle of olives and small sedges still hatching.


  5. March and April are my favourite two months on the river Robe. I find the river fishes well at the very start of the season. Hatches of LDO and stoneflies get the trout feeding and if you are prepared to be flexible with your tactics there is great sport to be had. Nymphing, swinging wets or dry fly may all be required in the space of an afternoon.


  6. As I am now retired, I now have the luxury of flexibility in my holiday times, I will watch this excellent site for others fishing reports in different months throughout the season, tight lines to all.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s