Fishing in Ireland, salmon fishing, sea trout fishing

Sticks and stones

Day 2 on Lagduff and the drought continues. There was some mist in the morning which we all prayed would develop into a deluge but it petered out without making any difference to the water level in the Owenduff river. I elected to try fishing down at the bottom of the beat and set of with rod and wading stick along the side of the shrunken stream. The wading stick was an essential bit of kit as the bottom of the river consists of rounded stones covered in very slippery algae.

All the way down the river was a sad shadow of a river, more stones than water.

I fished the deeper pools but this was hard work as there was so little flow the flies were virtually lifeless. A couple of very small sea trout jumped in one pool but it was quiet apart from that. I was picked up at lunchtime and caught up with the rest of the party who all had similar tales of woe. The only salmon we saw all morning were in the photographs on the walls of the lodge.

After a bite to eat I strolled up river to the Rock Pool. A slight increase in the wind ruffled the surface at the top of the pool but because it was coming from the North the main body of the pool was flat calm – not ideal conditions.

As I fished down a grilse jumped some 20 yards below me giving a degree of encouragement. I covered the lie without success but some small sea trout started to jump hard against the far bank. Julian appeared from upstream where he had fished without seeing any signs of fish. He worked his way down the pool and near the tail another grilse jumped close to him. We fished on for a while but could not stir the salmon so Julian went back to the lodge for a well earned cuppa.

Two more grilse jumped in quick succession but these all looked like fish which had been in the river for a while and were highly unlikely  to be takers. I called it a day and made my way back to Lagduff Lodge where it was my turn to make the dinner. Maybe Friday will see a change in fortune for us.

Fishing in Ireland, salmon fishing

No water on the Owenduff

The Owenduff. Just the name is enough to set the pulse of any salmon fisher racing. This lovely stream flows through some stunning scenery in North Mayo and I am  lucky enough to be fishing it for a few days this week. I’m staying at Lagduff lodge in the company of 3 other like minded souls and casting small flies for salmon and sea trout.

I drove up in the morning and met the rest of the guys as they were tackling up outside the fine old lodge. The news was not good however as the river was at extreme low summer level with no forecast of any rain to come. This was not unexpected but disappointing all the same as the river has fished well this season when there has been a spate. High pressure has settled over the country and any chance of rain looks to be remote. The river is down to its bare bones.

Undaunted by the challenges I set off to the top of the beat. The river is well managed and provided with bridges to cross the river.

I fished down from the top of the beat to the famous Rock Pool, covering some lovely water with the flies but there was no signs of fishy activity beyond a couple of yellowfin (junior sea trout). The low water levels meant the flow was weak and the flies had to be hand-lined back to impart some degree of life to them.

Julian (that’s him in the photo at the top of this post) saw a small fish move in the Rock Pool when he approached it first thing in the morning and covered the rise without any reaction. He had a lovely 3 pound Sea Trout last Saturday but the river was showing 6 inched on the gauge that day, now it was below the gauge completely.

I  fished on through the middle pools and then headed back tot he lodge for a bite to eat. Julian had beaten me back to the lodge and was catching up on some work beside the fire.

After a spot of lunch it was time to try some pools further downstream. My arthritic ankles precluded much in the way of exploring and I had to be satisfied with a short walk down the river casting into the likely looking spots where a salmon or sea trout could be sheltering. I was using my faithful old hardy rod – the one which I repaired the handle on earlier this year.

For flies the choice was tiny single hood offerings like the Black Pennel.

At the end of the day we all gathered back at the lodge, each with the same tales of no water and no fish. A hearty dinner and a few glasses of wine restored some degree of hope for the next day and we retired for a good night sleep. Tomorrow would be another day……………….