Avon­more boasts brown trout of im­mense qual­ity

Bray People - - GENERAL SPORT - with ASH­LEY HAY­DEN

THE AVON­MORE is a beau­ti­ful river; flow­ing down from Lough Dan through wooded val­leys, it con­nects with the Avon­beg River at the Meet­ing of the Waters, a lo­ca­tion made fa­mous by the poet Thomas Moore, to form the Avoca River.

Dubbed the most pol­luted river in Europe, a legacy of cop­per min­ing in the Vale of Avoca, if an on­go­ing restora­tion pro­ject reaches a suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion what a re­source County Wick­low would have.

At present both salmon and sea trout en­ter the sys­tem on their spawn­ing run, are ne­go­ti­at­ing the poi­soned stretch prob­a­bly in flood con­di­tions, and mat­ing suc­cess­fully. We know this be­cause ju­ve­nile salmon and sea trout smolts are ev­i­dent ev­ery spring in both the Aughrim and Avon­more Rivers, slash­ing at an­glers’ flies in the rif­fles as they make their out­ward mi­gra­tion.

Out­side of the pol­luted stretch, the sys­tem could be termed pris­tine with the pre­dom­i­nant species be­ing brown trout. A chance meet­ing with Christo­pher Stacey, a na­tive of Troop­er­stown, Co. Wick­low, opened my eyes to the qual­ity of brown trout re­sid­ing in the fish­ery.

Christo­pher and his son, Phillip, have the dis­tinc­tion of catch­ing a 6 lb. 6 oz. and a 2 lb. 8 oz. Avon­more wild brown trout re­spec­tively. Cap­tured in the early-to mid1990s from the same pool and mounted for pos­ter­ity, they both can be clas­si­fied as fish of a life­time. Given that the av­er­age size of Avon­more trout is six ounces, these fish are re­ally spe­cial, dwarf­ing my per­sonal best from the river which weighed a mere 1 lb. 2 oz.

The trout sea­son is now upon us with all waters open. They are a favourite an­gler's species and can be tar­geted us­ing a num­ber of dif­fer­ent meth­ods from ar­ti­fi­cial fly to up stream worm. Christo­pher's spec­i­men trout was tempted by fresh min­now that fate­ful evening back in 1993, his son's by worm a cou­ple of years later.

To hon­our the lat­ter, Christo­pher and I agreed to be­lat­edly pho­to­graph the fish be­side the pool of its cap­ture, a poignant mo­ment cel­e­brat­ing both a cher­ished mem­ory and an im­pres­sive fish.

Philip Stacey’s mounted 2 lb. 8 oz. Avon­more trout.

Christo­pher Stacey’s 6 lb. 6 oz. Avon­more trout.

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