Courtlough Trout Fishery near Balbriggan held the final of their winter fly fishing competition on Sunday 10th of March.
Despite the bitingly cold weather and gale force winds, 23 hardy anglers who had previously qualified for the event  turned up to compete for the inaugural title of Courtlough Winter series champion. Qualifying heats had been held once a month since august with the top 4 anglers from each leg qualifying for the final, with qualifiers travelling from all corners of the country.

Paul Ford Balbriggan with a nice trout at Courtlough Trout Fishery
Paul Ford Balbriggan with a nice trout at Courtlough Trout Fishery

Despite very difficult conditions the lake fished fairly well for those who got their tactics right and local man Brendan Quinn (Bremore) had a fish landed before most others even had their fly wet.
Depth seemed to be the critical factor on the day and the more experienced anglers who read the conditions started to pull away from the rest of the pack over the 4 hour competition. Sinking lines and weighted flies were proving best results as it was clear that the trout were staying deep.
At 2.30 and after 4 hours of hard fishing, the final whistle went and everyone retired to the clubhouse for lunch, some heat and the prize-giving.
The competition saw 108 fish landed, up to 5lb weight and with plenty of fish in the 3lb bracket, those who got their tactics right had great sport.
The winner was Roger Fowler from Abbeyleix with 16 fish, 2nd was Karl Murrin from Drogheda with 10 fish and 3rd was Noel Shiels from Dublin, also with 10 fish. The biggest fish of the day was estimated at 5lbs and was caught by Glen MCCrave from Dublin.
The winner of the juniors class was Cianan McNally from Stamullen.
Garrett Ruigrok handing over cheque for €550 to Marie Peelo from Pieta House
Garrett Ruigrok handing over cheque for €550 to Marie Peelo from Pieta House

The management of Courtlough Trout Fishery donated all of their takings on the day (€430) and added an additional €120 to the above amount to make a final sum of €550 which was donated to Pieta House Charity. The fishery manager Garrett Ruigrok stated that he chose to donate his takings to this charity for its dedicated work in aiding to prevent suicide and depression in these difficult times. Pieta House is a suicide and self-harm crisis centre that provide a free professional face to face therapeutic service for people in the acute stages of distress and to date over 7,000 people have been aided by Pieta House.
Garrett Ruigrok
Courtlough Trout Fishery

Fish at Courtlough

Courtlough Trout Fishery is open to the public for fishing 7 days a week from 9.30 to dusk. If you don’t know how to fly-fish, then let us teach you, with our qualified instructor available for lessons on site. The facilities are ideal for individual of group outings and we can tailor a package to give you a great day out. Please call Garrett in advance on 087 2712704 or email [email protected]