"Out of order" is the catchphrase at the moment, as prolonged high water has made fishing impossible at Galway. With 16 sluice gates open on the weir, and Lough Corrib dropping only very slowly upstream, this is one of the wettest starts to the season for many years, and no one has even wet a line yet on the fishery. Unless we get a long dry spell I would say high water will prevail for weeks to come yet, and fishing prospects are non-existent currently. The Clare River upstream is dropping nicely and while some anglers were out over the bank holiday weekend, I have no reports of any fresh fish yet. Anglers are reminded that they are likely to encounter kelts (spent fish) at this time of year, and these fish should be handled as little as possible, and returned immediately to the water. The Cong River is also open for fishing now, and after last year's excellent grilse run here, hopes are high for a good spring run this year.
Lough Corrib has seen a slow start to the early season, with high water levels and stormy weather in the first couple of weeks keeping most anglers off the lake. Since the end of February, conditions have improved, and fishing has been reasonably good for those anglers venturing out.
Opening day was quitter than normal, due to the inclement weather leading up to the season start, but fishing on the day proved very productive. The Langan Cup, held by the Collinamuck Anglers, produced some great catches, particularly for John and Frank Butler who took top honours with 8 trout for 12.84kgs. The team of Bernard Halloran, Brian Noonan and Ger Regan finished in second, with 5 trout for 7.40kgs. Overall 17 anglers landed 18 trout for 28.25kgs, with the heaviest fish caught by Ger Reilly, a trout of 2.12kgs.
Elsewhere, opening day fished well for anglers trolling in the Oughterard area, with Gerry Molloy, Kevin Molloy and Emmet McGloin landing 9 trout for 13.5lbs. Rory and Mark McGauley had 4 trout for 8lbs, including a fine fish of 4lbs, while Tommy Tuck and Kenneth Ferguson reported 4 good trout to their boat.
Over the following week, strong winds prevented many anglers from fishing, with the only activity in the Oughterard area, Mark and Eamon O Brien landing 5 trout for 10lbs on fly. James Kelly and Cillian Tierney, also fly fishing, landed 4 trout for 6lbs. Raymond Lee landed 3 trout for 5.5lbs while trolling for a day. Donal Connolly reported that he school mid-term break was put to good use by Paul & Shane Joyce, Liam Butler and Cillian Tierney, with some lovely fish being caught over 2 days. They ended up with over 12 fish - best was a nice 3lbs fish but several more in the 2 to 2.5 lb bracket were also caught, nice fishing!
Over the turn of the month the high water levels prevailed, preventing many anglers from even launching their boats, however some anglers enjoyed good fishing, again mainly around Oughterard, Patrick Molloy landing 8 trout for two days trolling. Harold O'Toole 2 trout for 4lbs on the fly, while Kenny O'Toole and a friend landed 5 trout for 8lbs while trolling for one day. Dermot Fitzpatrick from Ballinrobe also landed and returned a cracking trout of 7.5lbs while spinning in Ashford Bay, Cong.
As March came in, the good fishing has continued in spite of the conditions. Mike Shanks from Cornamona fished for 1 day and had a nice trout on fly. Patrick and Kevin Molloy from Oughterard, had 6 trout for 10lbs trolling for one day. Aidan Kelly, also Oughterard, had 2 trout for 3lbs to the fly. Joe Trill, fly fishing the lower lake, reported that the fishing was very good and for 5 days he landed 20 trout up to 3lbs. The T.A.F.I. Connaught Youth Fly Tying qualifier was held on Sunday the 3rd March in Headford. 1st was Caran Reilly, Loughrea. 2nd was Oisin Reilly, Glencorrib. Joint 3rd was Blaine and Matthew Barry, Clifden.
Donal Connolly was again in touch to report on Had a lovely day on Corrib with Nathan and Katie Eberly from Michigan in the U.S We ended up boating 4 good fish for an average just under 2 lb., and we got another 6 or 7 takes but the fish just didn't hold. Katie caught the best fish of the day, a lovely fish of just over 2lbs. To book fishing, boat hire or accommodation with Donal, check the website at www.fishingcorrib.com or give him a call at 085 7364830.
Katie Eberly from Michigan, USA, with a nice early season trout from Lough Corrib, caught while fishing with guide Donal Connolly
The guys at Corrib Predator Team have been out as well, and as ever producing some fine fish for their clients. Over the first couple of weeks fishing was tough, but they landed several ferox trout into the low double figures. At the start of March, they had their first group of Czech clients, and what a trip it was for Radek Vyhlidal, who struck into his first ever ferox trout, not realising just how big this fish was. After a hectic fight, the magnificent fish was finally netted, and after being measured and photographed, quickly released again. The fish was a monstrous 93cm long, probably well over 20lbs, although it was not weighed, with the priority being to release it safely. Full credit to the Predator Team guys for this commitment to looking after their fish.
Radek Vyhlidaal 93cm Ferox Mar 2014_100mm
Radek Vyhlidaal from the Czech Republic, with his magnificent 93cm ferox trout that he caught and released from Lough Corrib.
A couple of days later the guys were back it, and after doing a bit of spinning for trout, landing 7 up to 50cm, they went back trolling for the big guns again. Client Robert Maslanka had two good fish, one of 60cm and the other a massive 84cm. Once again the Corrib Predator Team guides are producing the goods. To book fishing, contact Tomi on 085 7318541 or Jack on 085 7741578, or search Corrib Predator Team on Facebook.
Robert Maslanka with a beautifully marked 84cm ferox from Lough Corrib, March 2014
Fishery manager updated us from Delphi on the fishing so far. It was a very wet February at Delphi, as everywhere else, but they did manage to winkle out two nice salmon. The first of the season was taken by ghillie David Duffy, a much more accomplished lake angler, but under the expert guidance of Peter Joyce, he managed to hook and land a fine fish of 11lbs 14oz in the Meadow pool on a Willie Gunn. The other fish was a first ever salmon for 17 year old Colm O'Leary from Ballina, Co. Tipp. It weighed in at 9lbs11ozs and was taken on a Collie Dog in Finlough. What made it all the more special was that all the family were in the boat with Colm on his big day!
David Duffy with the first salmon of the season off Delphi, February 2014
The first week of March proved more fruitful, with 3 fish landed in more benign water conditions by a party of Bavarian anglers. The first was a fish of approx. 10lbs taken off Finlough on a Collie Dog. The second, taken the same day, came off the Waterfall pool and weighed in at 8lbs 4oz, was dead fresh and was taken on a Black and Yellow tube. The third was a sea-liced fish of 8lbs 7oz from the Horseshoe pool on a Sunray conehead.
Last week proved slightly more fruitful again, with 4 fish landed in much more pleasant weather. The first was taken on Monday by Joe Hosey who travelled from Abbeyleix for the day. The fish was taken off Fin on a Collie Dog and weighed in at 11lbs 5oz. There was a very light breeze at the time which in the early part of the year allows one to fish the lies more carefully. The second and third fish were taken off Doolough by two of a group of enthusiastic German anglers. The fish were approx. 9 and 7lbs and were taken by Jacob Tax and Bernd Bieber respectively. Both fish were landed at the Sunk Rock on a Willie Gunn copper tube. The fourth fish was also taken by Bernd Bieber at Butler's Point on Finlough on a Collie Dog, weighing in at approx. 8lbs.
Since the weekend, a very experienced group of Swedish anglers have been in residence, with most of them not having much luck so far, but Kenneth Nordia had a small fish of approx. 5lbs on Monday from Wrens Point off Finlough. The fish was taken on a non descript. It was Lisa Engbert, however, who showed all the boys how to do it on Tuesday, when she landed a beautiful 11lbs 15oz fresh fish off Finlough. The fish was taken on a Breakfast fly, never heard of before at Delphi but it's basically a black and orange tube. Lisa it must be said had an excellent ghillie in her husband Nils. Lisa is therefore well in the lead on the score sheet as we speak. The river is currently holding at 25 on the gauge, with rain forecast which should bring in some fresh fish.
Lisa Engbert from Sweden with a fine 11lbs 15oz Delphi spring salmon, March 2014
To book fishing and accommodation at Delphi, check www.delphilodge.ie or call 095 42222