Enough talk about lockdown! Here is a video from last summer on Lough Corrib showing what an early morning trip for trout feeding on Caenis is like. Relax for a few minutes and imagine yourself in the boat pushing off before sunrise, anticipation bubbling inside…

Chasing Caenis

A small band of dedicated anglers will know exactly what the title of this video means. Those few who live close enough to Corrib to be on the lake for sunrise, or those who have stayed at a select few guesthouses where Caenis fishing is on the menu.

For the uninitiated masses, Caenis fishing is regarded by those in the know as some of the most exciting dry fly fishing found anywhere. From late May into early July, especially on calm mornings, massive hatches of Caenis, also known as the Fisherman’s Curse, appear from before sunrise on the surface of Lough Corrib. These tiny flies, related to their larger mayfly cousins, swarm in millions, moult quickly, mate and then return to the water to lay their eggs. And the trout love them!

Caenis on a fly reel

Free Risers

I was once challenged by an angler who had endured a tough mayfly season that there were serious problems with the fish stocks. A week later, I invited him out on the lake for an early morning session. It took some persuasion to get him out of bed so early, but once on the lake he could not believe the sheer number and size of trout we saw, rising freely and feeding hard on spent Caenis that morning.

Sunrise on Corrib can be a magical time

Stealthy Approach

What is unusual about the Caenis-feeding trout is that they appear to be social animals, feeding in pods of 5-10 fish, cruising around together seemingly at random and poking their noses above the surface film to sip in drowned insects. But don’t be fooled into thinking their numbers make them easy to catch – these are wary fish, often feeding in shallow water and ready to bolt at the slightest disturbance. Boat handling, a stealthy approach, good casting and presentation are required to have a chance. Long, fine leaders and tiny flies are essential. And they still might turn up their noses and take a natural right beside your fly!

A wary trout splashes as it spots something unusual about this fly..

But being out on the water as the sun breaks the horizon, searching the water for rising fish, then the anticipation and the adrenaline of fish feeding all around your fly makes the experience truly exhilarating. Any lingering thoughts of being back in a cosy bed are banished as soon as the first cast is made. And besides, the fishing rarely goes on past 9 or 10am, so you can head back for a nap later if needs be.


Try It Yourself

Chasing Caenis was filmed on a June morning last year, when Larry McCarthy was kind enough to take me out and show me how he approaches Caenis fishing. Larry, who runs Corrib View Lodge with his wife Michelle, is one of the top guides on the lake, and has a loyal customer base who return year on year to enjoy the hospitality and peerless guiding on offer. The video tries to capture the atmosphere of being on the lake for sunrise, and the highly visual nature of Caenis fishing. For the best view, watch it on Youtube here and select 1080p in the video settings.

If you would like to try Caenis fishing yourself, Larry offers guided fishing and accommodation from Glencorrib, close to the lake. Check out the website at www.corribangling.com

Success! Larry hooks into a fish.

Youtube Channel

Fishing in Ireland has launched a Youtube channel, with Chasing Caenis the first upload. We will be uploading many more videos showcasing the best of Irish angling over the coming months, so why not subscribe here to keep up to date with video content as it lands…