Corrib is renowned for its mayfly fishing, and every year anglers from all over flock to its shores in search of the elusive wild brown trout that cruise the wind lanes, mopping up hatching fly. While Corrib is famed for the numbers of wild trout it supports, it also holds some really great fish, and the chance of an encounter with one of these wily browns is what draws many anglers back year after year. This year, I was lucky enough to have that experience. Fishing a couple of days ago with regular fishing partner Neil Spellacy, we had some very productive drifts along the back of Inchiquin in a strong and sometimes squally westerly. Fishing wet mayfly patterns, we boated 6 trout in a couple of hours, with most of these averaging 2lbs, turning many more fish and seeing plenty of action. There was a steady hatch of mayfly and olives, with hundreds of gulls feeding and plenty of fish to be seen splashing at the surface. The best fish came to Neil’s rod and would have gone nearly 3lbs on a scales (all fish released).

Neil Spellacy from Moycullen, with a nice Corrib trout of almost 3lbs taken on wet mayfly, May 2014
Neil Spellacy from Moycullen, with a nice Corrib trout of almost 3lbs taken on wet mayfly, May 2014

After lunch, the wind picked up further and backed northwesterly, with squally showers, and the fishing died off for a bit, so towards evening I suggested a drift back in Greenfields Bay. Near the end of the drift, just coming up to a shallow, my rod buckled over and we both stared in shock at the view of a broad golden flank as the fish turned with the fly across a wave 20 yards from the boat. This was no 2-pounder, and I played it very carefully, frankly terrified it would throw the hook or break the 8lbs leader. After a great fight, with several reel-screaming runs, I managed to draw the fish over the net, and for the next hour I’m sure you couldn’t have taken the smile off my face. The well-fed trout measured 62cm, and we estimated it to be over 6lbs – certainly my best ever Corrib trout on fly and an experience I will never forget. I’m sure I had a smile as broad as Galway Bay as I watched it swim away, perhaps a little wiser for the experience! And to my amazement, fishing the same drift not 20 minutes later, I hooked another cracking trout that fought as hard, if not harder, than the first – unfortunately this time we parted company when it threw the hook – it may not have been as big as the earlier fish but would certainly have gone 4-5lbs. What a day, and one that will live long in the memory! It was a reminder of the fantastic sport that Corrib can offer, and a perfect illustration of why anglers view the lake as a trout Mecca. Long may it continue that way…
Kevin Crowley with a 6lbs trout caught on a wet mayfly pattern on Lough Corrib, May 2014
Kevin Crowley with a superb 6lbs trout caught on a wet mayfly pattern on Lough Corrib.  Kevin wins our ‘Catch of the Week’

Craig McKirdy reports on some great fishing around the lake, starting in the Greenfields area, where 10 anglers staying at Greenfield House Hotel over 4 days had 28 fish (18 returned), including a great fish of 4lbs. Local angler Gavan Hennessy (Claran) had a sporting day on Saturday with 7 fish boated, returning 6, all were taken on a dry yellow mayfly. Loughrea angler Robert Reilly with his son Kieran also had a very good Saturday with 9 fish, returning 7, most taken on yellow and green mayfly.
Visiting UK angler Jim Longmore had 9 fish over 5 days, returning 6, some of those fish were taken on buzzer. Father and son Christy & Brian O’Connell (Cork) had 6 fish for 12.8lbs all to the dap. Owen Jackman (Tipperary) enjoyed his first day on lake for the season on Monday last week and had 6 fish (all returned, best around 2.7lbs). Aidan Cahill (Ballinasloe) had 6 fish on yellow mayfly patterns, both wet and dry. A further 28 anglers reported landing 101 fish (65 returned).
In the Cornamona area Percy Hyland and boat partner Aidan (Clifden) had 4 fish cracking fish mostly to the dap, best fish was approx.. 4.5lbs. Local angler Paddy Kinneavy along with Dorrie Gibbons had a fish each. A group of visiting Northern Ireland anglers fishing over 4 days had an average of 5 fish per man per day, with most fish returned, with another 3 anglers having 16 fish over 2 days with all but one being returned. Fishery officers checking anglers met 29 anglers by midday on Friday, with 19 fish already boated at that stage early in the day, an indication of how well the fishing was going.
Over on the Oughterard side, Northern Irish visitor Paddy Dawson, staying in Currarevagh House, had 25 fish over 3 days, with most being returned – best fish 3lbs. Paul and Michael Stewart had 5 fish for 10lbs, Billy Molloy also having 5 fish for one day’s fishing. Raymond Lee had 10 fish over 3 days, all coming to wetfly.
Kevin Prunty of the Oughterard Anglers produced a fine report on the International Mayfly Competition held on Sunday:
“The long and proud tradition of fishing the mayfly on Lough Corrib is alive and well in Oughterard, Co. Galway. This was evident on Sunday, May 11, when the Oughterard Angling Club hosted the annual International Mayfly Angling Competition as part of the Mayfly Festival weekend.
There was a massive entry of 145 national and international competitors into the event which is flycasting and dapping only, held from Oughterard Pier. The competition is a team and individual event, and on what were ideal conditions for fishing trout on Lough Corrib, there were some heavy bags of fish brought to the weigh-in on the pier at 6pm.
Presentation of prizes was held in the marque at Faherty’s Bar, The Square Oughterard, and for their €25 competition entry fee anglers received a steak dinner. A big thank you to the committee of Oughterard Anglers & Boatman’s Assoc., Brian Higgins & staff in Faherty’s Bar, Tom & Patricia Tuck, Chefs Paul & Eoin, Justin Keogh and all who sponsored prizes, helped and took part in the competition.
The winning team on the day was the team of Tony Duncan, Eoin Kelly, Seamus Kelly and Kevin Molloy. The runners-up were Jed de Gregory, Brian Ferguson, Richard Morris, Pauline Lee.
The individual competition was won by local angler Henry Curran, followed in second by Pauline Lee, while Johnny Faherty took third place. Pauline Lee also won the ladies prize, with Breda Cody second. Louis de Gregory took top honours in the junior competition, with Cillian Tierney close behind in second place. The heaviest trout prize was won by Pauline Lee.
Continued broken weather this week is producing good hatches on some days, and excellent fishing even on days when the hatch is sparse. I fished again with neil Spellacy on Tuesday evening and we landed 5 fish for a couple of hours, with Neil taking the bragging rights this time with a trout of 2.5lbs. The forecast for a couple of days settled weather may interrupt things slightly, but broken weather may return later in the weekend, and if mayfly keep hatching off the superb fishing should continue into next week.
Inland Fisheries Ireland officers are out on a daily basis at the moment carrying out routine checks on both size and bag limits. Anglers are asked to please respect the minimum statutory size (13 inches) and bag limits (4 trout per day) and return any undersize fish to the water as quickly and carefully as possible.