My first wild brown trout trip of the year usually sees me crossing the Irish Sea, late March or early April, in pursuit of the great trout in Lough Corrib – “It’s Duckfly time“. Albeit it is still early season, the wild brown trout in Lough Corrib are already in prime condition, partly because of the abundance of natural food in the Lough and also because the trout population have evolved in such a way that they spawn by-annually, ensuring that there is always a healthy head of trout actively feeding and in good condition.
Wet fly fishing begins mid February for those brave enough to be out on the water, but by late March, given a slight rise in temperature, the first hatches of Duckfly begin. As the hatches increase, the trout that have been feeding in and around the shallows begin to move out into the deeper or ‘black’ water – Duckfly holes as they are referred to locally – as a rough guide, water between six and fifteen foot deep being the preferred depth.
Albeit it is still only late March or early April, the most successful method for catching Lough Corrib trout demands nothing more dramatic than a floating line and a team of epoxy buzzers – something every man and his dog that can cast a fly, should be able to handle. My own buzzers and those of other Corrib regulars have been tied up to perfection and are all available from Fulling Mill dealers and outlets – just cross the Irish Sea and gently ease your way into the new season…
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Perhaps the two most important issues for the angler, given the excellent clarity of the water are, to use buzzers that closely resemble the natural insect and not use too heavy a leader – I like to use 6lb fluorocarbon. A three fly cast would be normal but I occasionally favour four. Another consideration out on the water is to keep the noise in the boat to a minimum – banging and thumping I refer to – and when motoring into an area to be fished, cut the revs on the engine well short of the drift and tick in quietly. Corrib trout don’t like noise, so the quiet steady approach will always get you more fish in the boat than the boy racers. Rods for this type of fishing have become lighter and softer during the last ten years – I use a 9’ 6” with a middle to tip action – 5 / 6 rating.
The great thing about Lough Corrib is, there is always somewhere to find shelter in the bays and behind any of its reported 365 islands (one for every day of the year) no matter how strong or cold the wind is. For those thinking of a first visit, likely the middle lake gives the easiest access to lots of Duckfly areas – get a local boatman for the first couple of days to show you some holes and you should then manage ok on your own.
I personally believe that Lough Corrib is without question the best wild brown trout water in Europe, an opinion rightly seconded on a large, highly visible road sign as you drive into Oughterard, a town steeped in fishing history. It would be stupid to suggest that catching Corrib trout is easy, its not, but the rewards provide great memories. A brace of trout a day makes for a happy trip and a happy angler – but it does give up special days, often when least expected. My best day was 14 fish, between a pound and a half and three and a half – nine taken in an hour on a half mile drift behind Inchiqinn. Our best bag to the boat priced eight trout for thirty-two pounds – the best going seven-three on the scales.