Trout & Salmon (UK) - - Ireland -

THE BLACK­WA­TER rises in the bog­lands of County Kerry, and although the peaty tinge it car­ries gives rise to its name, it also flows through lime­stone and that helps it to sup­port a di­verse range of fly-life which pro­vides plenty of sus­te­nance for salmon parr and trout. The river is one of Ire­land’s most pro­duc­tive salmon fish­eries, along with the Moy.


The Black­wa­ter drains a large catch­ment that in­cludes 14 main fish­eries and a num­ber of an­gling clubs, which make it an ac­ces­si­ble river for the vis­it­ing an­gler as day tick­ets are avail­able for many beats while oth­ers are run on weekly lets. There are few re­stric­tions in terms of meth­ods, with room for those who wish to fish the fly, spin­ner, worm or prawn. All meth­ods have their time and place de­pend­ing on the type of wa­ter be­ing fished and the pre­vail­ing con­di­tions. Spring fish­ing can be found at rea­son­able prices, as low as £15 for a day in Feb­ru­ary, but this should come with match­ing ex­pec­ta­tions. You can cer­tainly ex­pect some big wa­ter in early sea­son, and heavy flies fished on fast-sink­ing lines will usu­ally be re­quired. In sum­mer the prospects im­prove and smaller flies be­come a bet­ter bet, some of the favourite pat­terns for the river in­clude the Le­mon and Grey, Garry Dog, Munro Killer, Thun­der and Light­ning, Curry’s Shrimp, Stoat’s Tail, Blue Charm and Hairy Mary. Ire­land is rarely short of rain, and in a spate river such as the Black­wa­ter this is a good thing. There is nearly al­ways a steady push of wa­ter through its pools, runs and glides, which causes the fly to fish well. Sum­mer and au­tumn are the best times, and the ma­jor­ity of salmon caught will be grilse with around a third multi-sea-win­ter fish.

Brown trout

The Black­wa­ter is an ex­cel­lent and un­der-utilised trout fish­ery. In the up­per reaches, around Mal­low and fur­ther up­stream, a few ad­ven­tur­ous trout an­glers en­joy great sport in early sum­mer when big hatches of olive and sedges cause the trout to rise – these are wild fish that feed read­ily and fight boldly.

Many meth­ods are al­lowed on the Black­wa­ter, but when the wa­ter is right none are finer than the swung fly.

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