General methods – Bait, spinning and all the various methods of flyfishing, (including dapping) can be utilised in pursuit of Irish trout. When and what works best depends on the time of the season, time of day, prevailing weather and water conditions as well as the ability of the angler.
It is important for anglers to check on the methods allowed on the stretches / areas of water they intend to fish. The permit issuer should be able to provide this information.
Fly-fishing the Irish loughs is predominantly with wet fly but on occasions when the fly is ‘up,’ dry fly is also popular. When fishing with a wet fly, it is usual to use a team of three or four flies, often fishing a relatively short line and ‘dibbling’ the bob fly on the surface. On rivers the approach tends to be more imitative using dry fly or nymph.
Dapping, though not as fashionable or popular as it once was, is a quintessentially Irish way of catching trout and salmon, either using artificial fly or the real thing. There can be nothing more relaxing than drifting on a soft day, with a good wave making a fly dance across the tops of the waves with trout in pursuit.
As for which flies to use, there are legions of trout flies, many of them of Irish descent including Dabblers, Goslings, Mayflies, Daddy-long-legs and of course the Bumbles (made famous by Kingsmill Moore).
New fly patterns and innovative techniques also work well. The use of epoxy patterns in buzzer fishing has made a big impact on the western loughs in recent years.
Spinning can be very effective. On rivers small mepps, rappala and natural minnow can be very effective particularly when spun up stream. On the large loughs every year numerous specimen trout are taken on the troll.
Trolling accounts for a large number of fish every year. This can be done using both artificial and natural baits. The introduction of downriggers and echo sounders has increased the efficiency of this method over the last few years. This method probably accounts for the majority of the large brown trout taken from the loughs every year.
Bait fishing in all its forms will produce trout as many coarse anglers can testify who catch them unintentionally on everything from maggot and hemp to plastic sweet corn. Trout are opportunistic feeders and will take a wide range of baits, worm being the first bait most would think of.