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Home » Trout fly fishing » Shannon catchment »

Lough Derravaragh

OPEN SEASON: March 01 to October 12

Lough Derravaragh is situated in County Westmeath, north of Mullingar between Castlepollard, Crookedwood and Multyfarnham. Knockeyon, which is one of the highest ponts in Westmeath is situated on the southeastern lake shore and dominates the surrounding countryside. Lough Derravaragh sits on the River Inny which flows from Lough Sheelin on its way to the River Shannon. Shaped somewhat like Italy, this lake is popular with trout and pike anglers alike. The main public area is at Donore near Multyfarnham, where there is a caravan park and shop/restaurant which opens during the spring and summer period.

This is a rich limestone lake holding trout of an average size of about 1½ lb with fish of up to 6lb being caught annually. The northern end of the lake is wide and mostly shallow and it is in this area that the majority of the trout fishing is practiced. The southern end of the lake is narrow and deep however this end of the lake tends to produce bigger fish.

During the last 30 years the committee of Lough Derravaragh Angling Association have worked closely with Inland Fisheries Ireland, and other stakeholders, to restore the lake to its former glory. The Association have invested in the purchase of unfed trout fry which have been stocked into the Lough Derravaragh system.

Trout fishing through the season

Early season

In the early part of the season fishing over the shallows with shrimp, louse and fry patterns can be productive. The deep end of the lake gets a big hatch of Duckfly in late March and early April and this can provide some good fishing also. The Duckfly hatch is followed by the Olives and fishing with wet fly patterns like the sooty olive and golden olive bumble can be productive, however fishing with dry olive patterns such as the Klinkhammer should not be discounted.

Mayfly

The Mayfly have made a return to Derravaragh however their numbers are not as great as they were in the 1960’s and 70’s. Green Bumble, Green Drake and Wulff patterns are excellent choices when mayfly fishing and some anglers continue to practice dapping the green fly with success. The best drifts during the mayfly season are to be had in the Coolure Bay, Ballinakill and Raheens areas of the lake.

Summer fishing

The fishing tends to slow down from mid June to the beginning of August when the trout turn onto the fry. In August the sedges make an appearance and the Olives are also on the menu once again. Fishing from August until the end of the season tends to be carried out using a team of three to four wet flies however a dry daddy can also prove very useful. For the dappers a grasshopper, a daddy or a combination of both always seems to be capable of bringing up a trout.

The River Inny enters the lake at Clonave and this area is extremely shallow and tends to discolour in moderate to strong winds. The water levels in Derravaragh tend to fluctuate rapidly which can also have an adverse effect on the quality of the fishing.

Conservation

The tributaries of Lough Derravaragh are nursery and spawning habitat which contain mainly juvenile trout, almost all of which are less than the 12” / 30cm size limit. Anglers are asked to refrain from fishing these tributaries.
Whilst the lake is very popular with pike anglers it is very much under estimated as a trout fishery and is often over shadowed by other trout fisheries in the area. Anglers should bear in mind that Lough Derravaragh is not stocked and holds wild trout only. Wild trout can always prove difficult to catch regardless of the venue and for those who persist there can be great satisfaction.

The Lough Derravaragh Angling Association encourages all anglers to practice catch and release to encourage the continued recovery of this beautiful wild trout fishery.

Angling regulations

 BYE-LAW 949 strictly prohibits:

PERMISSION TO FISH

This fishery is part of Inland Fisheries Ireland's 'Midland Fisheries Group' of managed waters and anglers require a fishing permit (ticket charge) to fish here.

Permits can also be purchased from the following outlets - please click this link.

Other useful information

ACCESS

The best access points to the lake are at Donore, Coolure, Faughanstown and Clintons Bay where boats can be moored free of charge.

Lough Derravaragh Angling Association

The Lough Derravaragh Angling Association was established in the late 19th century is one of the longest established angling clubs in Ireland. The Association promotes and encourages angling in the Lough Derravaragh system and assists in the protection of the waters from pollution and illegal fishing, with a view to improving wild brown trout stocks within the Lough Derravaragh system. The Association respects the diverse nature of modern Irish society and membership is open to all persons who are of good character regardless of their geographical location or their place of residence. The Association hosts four trout and four pike angling competitions per annum and entry to these competitions is open to every members. Membership of the club is inclusive of the cost of public liability insurance and anglers are requested to support the club. 

The Association has completed a number of enhancement projects on the Derravaragh nursery streams in the recent past and the Association is also conducting a genetic study of Derravaragh trout in conjunction with Inland Fisheries Ireland. The Association intends to carry out further enhancement work in the very near future.

The committee of Lough Derravaragh Angling Association are pleased with the improvement in trout angling and they are asking anglers to assist them in the restoration and recovery of the lake. For further information you may contact Inland Fisheries Ireland, any committee member or the club secretary, Joe Keena, at 086 8722449.

Lake surveys

Results from tests carried out by Inland Fisheries Ireland indicate an overall improvement in water quality, a collapse in coarse fish numbers, stabilization in pike numbers and an increase in brown trout numbers within the Derravaragh system.  Overall the water quality within the Derravaragh system in improving and the spawning and nursery habitat is being slowly rehabilitated. The committee of Lough Derravaragh Angling Association continue to work to restore the lake and are optimistic that this trend will continue.

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