Fishing in Ireland, fly tying, trout fishing, wetfly

Flies for Lough Conn, part 3

I hope you are enjoying this series of posts about the flies I recommend for Lough Conn. Today I will take a look at patterns which fish well from May onwards, an exciting period for us fishers in Western Ireland. The Lake Olives will still be hatching and the Mayfly will start to appear any time from the first week of the month depending on the weather.

My Light Golden Olive Bumble.


I finally arrived at this pattern after years of tinkering with the standard GOB. My reasoning is that during May/June the trout must see scores, if not hundreds, of standard GOB’s as most anglers give the pattern a try when the Mayfly is on the water. I wanted something just a little bit different and numerous small (and not so small) variations have been created and then rejected. This fly however has eared its corn and delivered some excellent catches for me on all the local lakes, so I can heartily recommend it to you.


My Light Golden Olive Bumble


Tail: a GP topping

Rib: Fine oval gold tinsel

Butt:light claret seal’s fur or synthetic dubbing

Body: pale golden olive seal’s fur or synthetic dubbing

Body hackles: a pale golden olive cock and ginger cock hackle wound together

Head hackle: A guinea fowl body feather dyed pale yellow

Tying silk: olive


Hackles tied in, Topping tied in and butt trimmed


Rib tied in and butt/body dubbed and wound


Almost there, body hackles and rib are wound and now just the waste to trim off and wind the head hackle.

The method of tying is exactly the same as a normal bumble pattern, just watch out for not leaving enough space at the eye for winding the hackles. I use size 10 and 12 hooks for this one. Fish this one as a bob fly and keep it moving though the waves.

Claret Murrough


Claret Murrough

A really popular fly on the Conn, this will catch you a trout or two any time from may to the end of the season. I think the colour of the hackles is important, they should ‘glow’ with a red tinge in my opinion.

Tag: bright orange seal’s fur

Body: medium claret seal’s fur

Rib: fine oval gold tinsel or yellow fl. thread

Body hackle: rich chocolate brown cock hackle, palmered

Wing: a slim bunch of red squirrel tail hair under paired woodcock slips

Head hackle: same as the body hackle but longer in fibre

Horns (optional): 2 strands of cock or hen pheasant tail tied forward.

Silk: brown


Horns are optional


Chocolate CDC Sedge


Finally for today here is a dry fly pattern which has seen good days on Lough Conn. Funnily enough I can’t recall using it on any other lake, so there is room for experiment on Mask and Carra. My Chocolate CDC Sedge is a grand floater thanks to the CDC wings and is very east to tie. You could use the same method to tie sedges in a range of different colours but I like this dark brown version as it matches those smallish dark  caddis which hatch steadily during May and June.

Hook: size 12 dry fly hook

Tying Silk: Brown or black

Body: dark chocolate brown synthetic dubbing

Wings: 4 dark grey CDC plumes tied down close to the back

Hackle: A small grizzle cock hackle wound in front of the wings

In use I carefully apply a small amount of Gink to the body and hackle only, NOT the wings. Fish it singly or in tandem with a dry mayfly. You may be surprised how many trout take the sedge even though they are mopping hatching Mays from the surface!

Chocolate CDC sedge

Chocolate CDC Sedge


Sun going down over Lough Conn


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Fishing in Ireland

Flies for Lough Conn, part 2

Following on from a previous post I will discuss a few more patterns which have worked on Lough Conn for me over the years.

  1. Malloch’s Favourite

Malloch’s Favourite

Firstly we will take a look at a Scottish fly which has worked for me during the olive hatch. Each spring the Western lakes get good hatches of lake olives which in turn get the trout feeding high up in the water column. Many trout anglers will tell you this is the most frustrating time of the year with fish showing but unwilling to take the anglers flies. On a rough day Bumbles and various other bushy patterns will produce the goods, but in a small ripple things get a bit tougher. This is when I turn to the Malloch’s Favourite. Originally invented for use on the lochs of Scotland’s central belt, including Loch Leven, this old stalwart has fooled trout for me on days when little else would stir a fish. Back in Scotland I fished this fly in sizes 14 and 16, but a size 12 is about right for imitating Lake Olives.

The dressing is:

Silk: Brown or black

Tail: a few fibres of bronze mallard

Tip: two turns of flat silver tinsel

Body: Stripped peacock herl. I varnish the body before winding the hackle

Hackle: Blue Dun

Wings: Matching slips taken from Woodcock primaries

Cast to rising trout this fly can be lethal. I probably fish it most often as a middle dropper.

2. My Ginger Sedge


My Ginger Sedge

I first tied the next pattern as a general sedge imitation about 15 years ago and it has proved to be a consistent killer of fish. It’s easy to tie and uses materials which are readily available.

Hook: all sizes from 8 down to 16, standard wet fly hook such as the Kamasan B175

Tying silk: Brown

Body: Ginger seals fur, dubbed fairly heavily

Rib: UNI Fl. 1/0 thread in either yellow or chartreuse

Body hackle: A good quality ginger cock hackle, palmered

Wings: Cinnamon hen quill

Head hackle: Ginger cock, longer in fibre than the body hackle


1/0 UNI thread

I like the yellow ribbed version better but the green ones are good in the gloaming. Tied on a size 14 hook and with Woodcock wings it works very well on the rivers too, often fooling large trout as the sun dips below the horizon.

3. Bloody Kate


A size 12 Bloody Kate

Next we have the one of my patters which grew out of pottering about at the vice a couple of seasons ago. Back in my native Scotland the Kate McLaren enjoys almost universal use for browns, ‘bows and sea trout. Here in Ireland it is rarely used and while I have boated a few trout on it over the years I can’t say it was a consistent killer. So I started playing around with the tying to try to make it more attractive to the lough trout of Conn and Cullin. Different coloured head hackles were tried and rejected, as were new tails and additional tags. Adding some legs seemed to make an improvement but that is hardly a ground-breaking innovation. I finally hit on this pattern when I substituted the normal GP topping tail with a piece of Globrite no.4. The fly seemed to require more red and I swapped the usual red game hackle and replaced it with a hen hackle dyed fl. scarlet. The result was an instant success and this fly has been a steady supplier of trout for me since its inception. Dark, stormy days with big waves are when I reach for the Bloody Kate.

Hook: heavy weight wet fly, size 12

Silk: black

Tail: a piece of Globrite no.4 floss

Rib: fine oval gold tinsel

Body: black fur

Body hackle: black cock

Head hackle: a long fibred hen hackle dyed fl. scarlet, 4 or 5 turns.

So there you go, 3 flies worth a cast on Lough Conn. Feedback is always welcome so please let me know what you think of these flies and any others here on the blog.



Brown’s Bay, Lough Conn with Nephin as a backdrop