Avonmore boasts brown trout of immense quality
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.