Lough Derravaragh Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI December 16th – December 22nd 2014

Clinton’s Bay, DerravaraghClinton’s Bay, Derravaragh

This week saw a mixture of weather, swinging from bitter cold to an unseasonable but welcome warmth of 11 – 13 degrees and with this came a mixture of successes on Lough Derravaragh.
In Ireland the calendar is slightly different to those in other parts of the world. November, December and January are the winter months. Following this pattern through, February is actually the first month of spring and with the winter solstice hitting in last Sunday, December 21st, the earth is tilting towards longer days and shorter nights.
Winter however is the best time to catch pike on Lough Derravaragh and although this winter season is usually associated with short, miserable days, with lots of wind, rain and cold, there are other ones too and these are the days that anyone with any angling blood running through their veins at all should want to go fishing for pike.
Towards the end of the week and during the weekend a smattering of anglers took to Derravaragh’s waters, setting out from Donore and Crookedwood. The water was discoloured from the previous days rainfall reputedly making the pike reluctant to take the lures.
Meath anglers – Ben Daly and James Bravendar trolling with a selection of colourful lures landed a few jacks, the heaviest at 7lbs using orange and yellow soft lures, fishing the Southern leg of the lake.
Polish angler, Antoni Burzynski – reported a ‘huge fish’ following his lure right up to the boat only to fall short at the last moment and to drop back into the depths seemingly momentarily distracted in its mission to take.

A colourful selection for DerravaraghA colourful selection for Derravaragh

The best time to fish this lake during colder days seems to be around mid day when the pike appear to be more active and therefore more on the prowl for food. Frequent Derravaragh anglers have their own tried and ‘swear by’ baits and methods but for this week anyway the more popular were the Copper Spoon, the Gold Spoon, the Norwich Spoon or Pheasant’s Eye (used in the two sizes of 2 ½ and 3 ½), the classic Voblex and the Bulldogs in a striking mix of luminous oranges, yellows and reds. I am told that jerk baiting has become very popular on the lake with John Millington reporting a ‘savage take’ when he used a bright yellow Slider (with thin bands of black striped through).
The Voblex proved very effective for polish angler ‘under the hill’ when he landed the pike of the week averaging 12 lbs (released). This lethal bait with its green head, gold blade and red over the treble hook turns in the water to imitate a small fish flipping in the water and requires a slow steady retrieve to be most effective in attracting the pike’s attention.
Older anglers tend to brand the name Voblex on all lures so an examination of what exactly the angler is using is important.
A pheasant’s EyeNorwich Spoon

A pheasant’s Eye or Norwich Spoon, one of
Most popular pike lures

The VoblexThe Voblex – green head, gold blade and red above the hook

Lithuanian Lukas Masaitis had good success mid week trolling dead baits, very slowly suspended from floats behind the boat in the deep water from Whitehall down to Crooked wood, close to the shore the light winds allowing him to troll with the oars slowly barely moving along, landing him 7 pike for the day, heaviest at 9lbs.
Derravaragh has its only magic, mystery and allurement but it is a lake that great caution should be taken on because every angler I have ever met always warns about the importance of staying off this great lake when there is a high wind blowing and they can’t all be wrong.
‘When it blows up that lake has a mind on its own and you’re better to leave it alone’ a ninety plus local repeatedly tells me and so I think it would be wise to take heed of this old timers advice.
In an extract from Bernie Murphy angling reports interestingly he states that ‘here in the Irish midlands we have nearly 400 pike fisheries, if you went piking once a week it would take you almost 8 years to fish them all and if you only go once a month then it would take you over 36 years’ – there’s a lot of fishing to be done and with the Christmas break almost upon us and Derravaragh offering a lot in terms of fishing it might be the time to get out there and make a start on that 36…..
Derravaragh in 1960sTimes Past – A photograph taken at Crookedwood, Derravaragh in 1960s

Boat hire is always available from

Lough Derravaragh Boat Hire

Donore Shore
Republic of Ireland
+353 44 9371500

The Lough Derravaragh Angling Association will be holding their AGM in February 2015 and all are welcome (date to be decided later). This progressive club 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 system. Membership levels for 2014 stand at 46 senior anglers and 13 juveniles. Anyone interested in joining should contact Joe Keena at 086 8722449.
Lure 2Lure 3With Christmas just around the corner and the often frequent difficulty in buying for that person who seems to have everything or wants nothing, what about booking a day’s fishing on this braising and magical lake. The best man for the job would be Mullingar man Michael Flanagan whose knowledge of this lake and indeed all the midland water ways is second to none. It would be a unique present, getting back to nature and waking the ‘hunter/gather’ instinct that may have got buried somewhere beneath work, deadlines, shopping and the pressures of everyday life.
Just a suggestion.
Mick (who can supply all fishing gear and life jackets just bring yourself) can be contacted at 087-2797270. E- mail [email protected] web- site www.midlandangling.com

The lake of the swansThe lake of the swans – Derravaragh, December 19th 2014

The largest of Westmeath’s many lakes Lough Derravaragh stretches over 8km and is one of the top pike waters in Ireland while also having a good head of trout and various coarse fish such as perch, bream and some huge roach/bream hybrids. These catches along with specimen pike have featured in the Irish specimen awards yearly. Legend has it that the Children of Lir, changed into swans by a jealous stepmother, spent 300 hundred years on its waters.
Merry Christmas
Brenda Montgomery IFI