Guide Mike Drinan brought us to a spectacular small shore fishing lake 30 minutes out of Oughterard. The lake was shallow and weedy. The skies were gray and blue with wind and occasional drizzle then sunshine. Connemara ponies watched as we set up our rods then disappeared into the grassy hillsides. This was Ireland exactly the way I always imagined it to be.
Instead of running all over the lake firing casts I suggested everyone on Team USA take 50 meters of lake and fish it for three hours just like the two shoreline lake beats in the tournament will be done. I personally wanted to test my skills at managing such a small piece of water for three hours and see if I could put a few measurable fish in my net. I also wanted everyone else on my team to experience the same so our team has a chance to win next week.
Based on Thursdays practice I fished dries the first hour cautiously from shore keeping low and out of sight of these wild fish. In the second hour I went with nymphs on a floating line and cautiously waded the shallows. During the third hour I waded deep firing casts with my intermediate Stillwater Line WF6I with three different colored Wooly Buggers to try for bigger fish further out. My plan worked like a champ. I picked off three measurable brown trout on dries, three more on nymphs then ended with three more on the Buggers.
While the browns you’ve seen on the blog this week are small these are wild as wild can be. In many of the small waters here in Ireland the brown trout don’t get much bigger. Ones that do are rare. They are no less than stunning fish and test your fly fishing skills to the max. Think of the wild brown trout here like you would the wild brook trout of the Smokey Mountains and it puts this place in perspective.
We stopped in Oughterard on the way back to Galway at the same pub we ate at the first night. The food is exceptional and this was the best fish and chips I’ve ever had in my life! Tomorrow its back to Lough Corrib to try and figure out how to catch fish on what very well be the toughest beat in the entire tournament.