Lough Derravaragh Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI – November 1st to November 8th 2015
Sunset on Lough Derravaragh

Sunset on Lough Derravaragh

Lough Derravaragh, steeped in mythical folklore, sits in County Westmeath, north of Mullingar between Castlepollard, Crookedwood and Multyfarnham. Now that the close season has put an end to trout fishing for 2015 in neighboring lakes, this lake comprising 3051 acres of rich limestone water offers a tempting transition from trout to pike & coarse fishing.  Lough Derravaragh (from the Gaelic translation Loch Dairbhreach – The lake of the Oaks) has, over the past number of weeks been fished by a steady number of devotees to the sport. This lake is often said to be shaped like Italy – the Northern end is wide and mostly shallow and the Southern end divides into two narrow and deep stretches particularly into Clintons Bay.  There are really only two good access points for anglers on this lake – Donore near Multyfarnham and Clintons Bay near Crooked Wood.  There is another access point – a rain eroded laneway near Whitehall but this would not be for the faint hearted and certainly not for those who have an affinity with their car exhausts.
Lough Derravaragh like so many other loughs carries its own unique history. A past chequered with ups and downs – pollution, arterial drainage, trout recoveries, angling increases and a steady promotion, paralleled throughout the years by a seemingly tireless determination and enthusiasm from the local Derravaragh angling club.

Children of Lir

‘Out with you upon the wild waves, Children of the King!
Henceforth your cries shall be with the flocks of birds.’.

Lough Derravaragh is best known for its connection with the Irish legend of the Children of Lír. The legend relates how the four children of King Lír were turned into swans and spent 300 years on Lough Derravaragh before moving to the Straits of Moyle (between Ireland and Scotland) for 300 years, and then spent 300 more years on the Atlantic Ocean by Erris and Inishglora.
The weather over the past 6 weeks has been good, a welcome unseasonable warmth lulling anglers into the belief that autumn is still with us and winter is in the far off distance. Lack of heavy rainfall has left this lake’s levels reasonably low resulting in the area of the lake where the River Inny enters at Clonave very shallow and tricky to manoeuvre a boat in. It’s easy to get tangled up in the underwater weed.
This week Derravaragh had a respectable number of anglers fishing its waters with these numbers increasing predictably at the weekend. On Sunday strong gusty southerly winds coupled with heavy rainfall cleared the lake of anglers until the afternoon, when winds changed to westerly and skies cleared. Because of the inclement weather The Philip Moffatt Memorial pike fishing competition scheduled for Sunday was postponed, a new date to be decided within the next few days. This competition now in its 21st year marks a tragedy where 3 young local fishermen lost their lives due to a freak wave capsizing their boat.
Reported catches were scattered, the largest pike for the week weighed in at over 10lbs with a 8 pounder coming in at a respectable second caught dead baiting using mackerel by Andres Lieves. Anglers fishing the lake on a regular basis report a mixture of blank days followed by mainly smaller jack pike catches. The best time to coarse and pike fish this lake I am reliably informed is from now until the end of December and particularly now as the fish seem to clump in shoals which makes for good fishing. Mark Drew, Enfield fishing at Crookedwood ( which is the narrow leg of this lake) landed a number of 3 – 7lb pike trolling dead bait very slowly suspended from floats behind his boat close to the shore along the drop offs. Saturday was good when the wind was light, good for trolling with the oars.

A sizable Derravaragh pike (copyright 2015 loughfishingbuddies)
A sizable Derravaragh pike (copyright 2015 loughfishingbuddies)

Andras Payralbe using small ‘demon’ orange lures reported good perch fishing catches, fishing tight to the shore. Anglers in general for now are sticking to the shallower part of this lake and along shorelines towards the deeper end. The deep end or ‘leg’ of this lake is deep, refuted to be over 150ft and this is where the bigger fish will be later on.

Fishing Friends - Alexander Todorov, Gabriel Uman, Andrius Ivanauskas and Pavel Baron

Fishing Friends – Alexander Todorov, Gabriel Uman, Andrius Ivanauskas and Pavel Baron

The rule about fishing is that there is no rule, every day is different and for Derravaragh this couldn’t be more true – trolling using artificial lures, soft rubber baits (like the bulldog) or dead bait, spinning and jerk baiting can all be equally successful, it’s all about perseverance and we have one particular local (who for now will go unnamed) who ventures out on this lake every day or casts from the shore if the lake is too rough such is his devotion to fishing Derravaragh although other less devoted anglers when I expressed my admiration, assured me that ‘he only goes out there to annoy himself’.

‘Jumping For Joy’
A Derravaragh pike from Midland angling

‘Jumping For Joy’

Pavel Baron, Maynoth with friends Alexander Todorov and Gabriel Uman
Pavel Baron, Maynoth with friends Alexander Todorov and Gabriel Uman

Some of the essentials


A small jack pike (copyright 2015 loughfishingbuddies)
A small jack pike (copyright 2015 loughfishingbuddies)

‘Getting ready’
‘Getting ready’

Knockeyon (rises 215metres), Lough Derravaragh
Knockeyon (rises 215metres), Lough Derravaragh

The memorial slab in memory of 3 friends, at Donore, Derravaragh – requiescat in pace
The memorial slab in memory of 3 friends, at Donore, Derravaragh – requiescat in pace

Evening Light on Donore shore, Lough Derravaragh
Evening Light on Donore shore, Lough Derravaragh

‘A Rise’ - the River Inny at Derravaragh
‘A Rise’ – the River Inny at Derravaragh

Kevin Coffey with a jack pike
Kevin Coffey with a jack pike
‘took a roach while feeder fishing’

Pavel Baron with Gabriel Uman
Pavel Baron with Gabriel Uman

 
 
 
 


 

Mike Flanaghan with a Derravaragh pike
Mike Flanaghan with a Derravaragh pike

With 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- sitewww.midlandangling.com


 
The Derravaragh anglers held their annual Christmas Pike Competition on the lake on November 16th which attracted 17 senior and 3 juvenile anglers. Conditions were good and the winner was Pat Daley from Delvin with a beautiful 15lb 6oz trout. Pat was later presented with the Johnny Owens Cup for his achievement.
Advert Lough Derravaragh
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The Lough Derravaragh Angling Association will be holding their AGM in February 2016 and all are welcome (date to be decided later). This progressive club promotes and encourages angling – trout, pike and coarse fishing 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.

‘Catch & Release’ on Lough Derravaragh

‘Catch & Release’ on Lough Derravaragh

Please remember All anglers are required to have a Fishery Permit to fish Lough Derravaragh which must be purchased before going out on the lake.
Upcoming events
The Weir Cup will be fished on Lough Derravaragh on Sunday November 15th, 11am – 4pm from Donore. This popular annual competition is run in memory of the late and great Sean Weir, Multyfarnham who was a member of the Derravaragh angling club and whose passion and love for fishing this lake will be forever remembered.
For further information please contact Joe Keena at 086 8722449.
Report from Brenda Montgomery IFI