A great fishing house


THE ROCK House fishery report from April to August offers some very interesting reading. The fishery is the uppermost beat on the Owenduff River at Ballycroy, Co Mayo. I spent a few days recently at this delightful 1820 lodge and can vouch for its worthiness as one of the Great Fishing Houses of Ireland.

During the first two weeks of April a perfect spate (flood) negotiated its way through the remote beauty of Ballycroy National Park allowing Sean May from Sligo to skilfully steer a 4.3kg (9.5lb) spring salmon to the emerald bank. On April 13th, a German angler caught two of 5.4kg (12lb) and 4.5kg (10lb).

May was very wet for the most part. The first fish was caught on the 10th by John Fitzgerald, and Frank Hughes caught two. On the same day Chris Huxley had an 11 pounder and lost another.

Later in the month Declan Little had three of 4.1kg, 5kg, 5.9kg and one sea trout. Total catch for May was a respectable 30 salmon and three sea trout.

June did not prove as wet as May and almost every decent spate produced fish. On their first trip to Ireland, Mr Fouquoire and Mr Sudre from France had seven salmon and four sea trout.

July is truly grilse time. In among some dry days, the Ryan party got some thundery rain on the first week to catch four salmon and release seven sea trout.

Bob Brenann had four salmon and released three, and also released 13 sea trout. He totalled 20 salmon and 30 sea trout by the 19th, the last good spate. August had some large spates but not many fresh grilse.

Overall, however, there was evidence of good numbers of fish showing in most holding pools throughout the system.

On the 11th, young Archie and Hamish McAuley took the first fish in wet and midgy conditions, landing seven sea trout and two salmon. Jim Clelland and Jim Haughey released four sea trout and one salmon and kept another on the 27th, the last day worth fishing. Catch for August was 12 salmon and 27 sea trout.

“Drift netting laws appear to be having a positive effect. At last common sense might prevail – governments may have realised that the time to conserve our salmon and sea trout is while we still have them. The economic benefits of angling far outweigh, per fish, the ecological suicide being perpetrated on our oceans,” Sibylle Geffroy, said.

Rock House is not only a fishing lodge, those wishing to get involved in other outdoor activities such as cycling, walking, golf, etc, are welcome. The house is also an ideal venue for a short weekend break (or longer stay) in the still unspoilt landscape of the west of Ireland. Contact: rockhouseestate@gmail.com and rockhouse-estate.com and 085-2121564.

The Leinster qualifier for the 2012 National Championships were held last weekend on Lough Owel. In challenging conditions, 115 competitors braved the elements and 39 weighed in with a total of 54 fish. Results: 1, P Ward (Derravaragh); 2, M O’Regan (Trim/Athboy); 3, P Berns (Wicklow).

The Daddy Long Legs (above) is a pattern that almost every fly fisherman has found useful at some stage. It is a great pattern from late July through to September for brown trout and rainbows and even sea trout and salmon.

“It’s fascinating to see these flies blown onto the water and then quickly disappear when taken by a trout. It is a big fly and a bonus for any feeding trout,” according to fly tyer Jimmy Tyrrell. Available at irishflycraft@gmail.com and 086-8451257.