Glenicmurrin Lough

Fishing instructor, fly fishing tuition and fishing trips based in Scotland. Salmon and trout fishing advice, flies and articles.

Sea trout fishing on Glenicmurrin

Netting a Glenicmurrin sea trout
Netting a Glenicmurrin sea trout

I fished at Costello and Fermoyle for two days the first of which was on the lowest and largest of the loughs, Glenicmurrin which lies in a fairly flat plain of peat bog punctuated by rock and hillocks its waters mostly shallow and festooned with boulders above and below the surface and several islands one of which contains a lunch hut of some antiquity demonstrating the importance of the fishery as far back as the nineteenth century. A square of dimension 1.5 miles would contain the whole lough but its contorted and convoluted shoreline of bays, inlets and peninsulas apparently extends to about 12 miles making it an interesting and engaging place to fish whilst exploring its many inlets and rock guarded bays. Sea trout and salmon often lie close to structure such as shorelines, outcrops and islands in loughs and Glenicmurrin has no shortage of these. No petrol outboards are allowed and the fishing is by fly only. Fortunately my companion, local expert Kevin Crowley and I had the services of local ghillie Sean Costello to handle the boat, give advice and share his intimate knowledge garnered perhaps from boyhood days when he lived within sight of the lough and it no doubt featured in many of his early fishing escapades. Sean is one of the strongest rowers of a boat I have ever met, indefatigable and competent whatever the weather threw at us and our day on the lough was let’s say a little inclement! Sean recommended floating lines which I’m sure would have been fine but in the strong wind Kevin chose a clear intermediate and I strung up my 10ft rod with a new #7 Rio Hover line which I thought would be a nice sub-surface compromise and it proved to be ideal. As we attempted to drift constantly changing gusts of wind met us from every direction, usually changing at the least convenient times and it seemed to blast harder when we thought that we might be nearing a hot spot. The blue sky was often interrupted by violent rain showers that stung us like buckshot and briefly soaked us whilst Sean rowed through all of it with an open neck and a woolly beanie hat without complaint and made me feel like a real wimp warmly wrapped in a hooded Patagonia jacket. After skidding before the wind on our first drift we elected where possible to employ a drogue to slow down progress and save Sean more frantic rowing than otherwise would be necessary however the loss of the boat’s manoeuvrability due to the restraint of the drogue was neither ideal nor to his liking. Open wind strewn and hazard free parts of the lough produced little or no sport and soon we realised that it was only when we encountered boulder strewn shallows that our expectations were raised and sea trout and their smaller resident cousins attacked the flies gamely.

Ally with a Glenicmurrin sea trout
Ally with a Glenicmurrin sea trout

To begin with my three-fly cast consisted of a Kate McLaren, Jungle Bunny and a Pearl Invicta. Curiously only the Jungle Bunny appealed to the sea trout so I started to make changes. Firstly the Kate McLaren on the bob (one of my favourite loch flies) was demoted in favour of a dark claret bodied Muddler which did not receive Sean’s approval but proved its worth by catching more fish. The tail fly which I usually think of as being in prime position on the cast attracted very little interest despite it being substituted several times with Black Pennel, Green Peter, Peter Ross and then finally to a KeHe which brought instant success with a couple of nice trout. Why didn’t I think of that earlier? Indeed afterwards reading Kingsmill Moore’s writings I thought why didn’t I try a Worm Fly? It’s a wise man that has his afterthoughts first! If only. Next time I fish in Ireland I will make sure that I have some of these to hand when fishing stormy water although why fish take a Worm Fly has always intrigued me more than any other fly in my boxes. To me its tandem form looks strange, but ultimately the fish choose their poison and the Worm Fly has a well-deserved fearsome reputation in rough conditions, if only I had thought of that at the time.
The drogue was useless in the hazard littered shallows. At times our biggest challenge was just keeping the flies from being blown out of the water by sudden gusts, casting too was inevitably haphazard when a blast hit destroying our best efforts. That coupled with the irregular progress of the boat even with Sean’s brilliant work on the oars meant that often we would approach likely spots and be quickly pushed past them or on occasions risk being bashed onto the shore. Several times one of us would hook a fish close to the edge and Sean had to struggle to keep the boat off rocks before it could be safely landed. Excuses perhaps but I don’t doubt that a steady moderate warm breeze would have made life a lot easier. How seldom do we enjoy perfect conditions? My 2X Soft Plus fluorocarbon leader was the outstanding performer of the day unbelievably resulting in no tangles when much worse could have been expected.

Recommended “must have” lough flies for Costello & Fermoyle include the bumbles especially the Golden Olive, Claret, Fiery Brown and Magenta versions. Clan Chief, Black Pennel, Silver Invicta, Connemara Black, Watson’s Fancy, Bibio, Grey & Black Stimulator, Muddlers and inevitably in Ireland the Red Arsed Green Peter.

Despite the atrocious weather surprisingly our day produced a decent catch of eight sea trout and a fair number of smaller fish including a few nice brown trout. Undoubtedly we would have covered grilse and salmon but unfortunately without response. Glenicmurrin with its plenitude of feature is a beautiful and hugely interesting place to fish and it’s on my card for a return visit hopefully on a perfect July day.

Page 1 - Costello and Fermoyle Fishery
Page 3 - River Cashla
Page 4 - Costello Flies, credits and contact

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Copyright 2007 Alastair Gowans AAPGAI and FFF Master and THCI, APGAI. All rights reserved.