Fly fishing around the Ring Of Kerry

L O U G H S ( L A K E S )

Salmon 17th Jan – 30th Sept
Seatrout 14th Feb – 30th Sept
Brown trout 14th Feb – 30th Sept
Bibliography: Loughs of Ireland – A Fly Fisher’s Guide - by Peter O’Reilly

As unique to Ireland as this topographical mountainous region, so too are Currane’s strain of long-lived, sea-running brown trout unique to Ireland. Closely related to the original salmonids that colonised the tributaries of the Celtic River basin towards the end of the last Ice, genetic integrity has been maintained for thousands of years by un-passable waterfalls which cascade down to Currane. The ancient genetic chromosome LDH5 occurs at high incidence in the ferox form (freshwater resident) of brown trout, the long-lived sea trout, and the ‘stunted’ brownies found in abundance in small hill lochs including those displaced into Lough Currane. Measuring 4 miles by 2 miles (at the widest point), Currane is the largest ‘pool’ on the Cummeragh River. Big spring salmon and vast numbers of seatrout have to run only a short 500yd length of river (see River Currane) to enter the lough. Although all legitimate methods may be used, fly fishing is the norm and some trolling for early season salmon. Patient boatmen (ghillies) will manoeuvre the boat close to underwater rocks, islands and headlands, which jut out into the loch, while anglers fly fish. Salmon flies for spring fishing, hook sizes 2-6 are sensible and 8-10 is recommended for summer fishing. Successful patterns include: Hairy Mary, Blue Charm, Thunder and Lightning, Logie, Black Silver, Blue Doctor, Shrimp Fly, Stoats Tail and Garry Dog. Seatrout can be found all over the lough and often the most successful anglers are those who experiment with new drifts and try something different. In sizes 8-12, the Bibio is regarded as the most essential seatrout pattern. Other good flies include: Claret Bumble, Claret and Jay, Claret and Blue, Mallard and Claret, Fiery Brown, Black Pennel, Wickham’s Fancy, Watson’s Fancy, Connemara Black, Golden Olive, Peter Ross, Alexander, Bog Fly, Straw Grouse and Bloody Butcher. Currently I have great confidence in ‘dabblers’. Black and dark colours in size 10 in the early season becoming lighter and size 12 as the season progresses. My point fly is often a Kate McClaren, a Bruiser or a Donegal Blue.

In very close proximity to Cloghvoola, the short Copal River (1.5 miles) connects Lough Isknagahiny to Lough Currane. Isknagahiny is a small lake, barely 1 mile in length and less than half a mile wide. Over-shadowed by Currane, it is only lightly fished and is a virtual sea trout sanctuary. However, it is capable of producing very large salmon and seatrout. It has many small rocky fish-holding islands and the scenic backdrop of the Coomcallee mountain range is magnificent. Use the same fly patterns as for Lough Currane.

Derriana is the top lough on the Currane system and is West Kerry’s brown trout ‘jewel’, containing resident trout of a higher than average size for non-limestone lakes. The lough also holds good heads of salmon and large seatrout from as early as March. Lough Derriana is two miles long and sits amidst stunning mountain scenery.

A short distance up the Currane/Cummeragh system, the lough produces many of the very large seatrout for which the area is famous. The lough also contains many small free-rising brown trout, sized 6-12oz.

Neighbouring Namona, Cloonaghlin sits on the same Cummeragh tributary which eventually flows into Lough Currane. Although noted for the occasional salmon, it is best known as a seatrout and brown trout fishery.


For the adventurous angler, there are dozens of hill loughs on the Waterville system. All contain unique strains of free-rising brown trout and some, with passable waterfalls, can hold large seatrout. It is recommended that anglers intending to visit the area consult Ordnance Survey (Map no 83, Discovery Series, 1:50000) and Peter O’Reilley’s famous book (to which we are indebted), Loughs of Ireland-A Fly Fisher’s Guide. For those wishing to know more about the biology of Currane’s long-lived, multi sea-winter sea trout, I highly recommend Dr Edward Fahy’s Child Of The Tides – A Sea Trout Handbook.

Currently, we arrange salmon fishing and guide on five rivers in South Kerry. The Caragh, Laune, Cummeragh, Inny and Currane (Waterville River).
Bibliography: Rivers of Ireland-A Fly Fisher’s Guide
Seasons: Salmon 17th Jan-30th Sept
Seatrout - 15th Feb 30th Sept
Brown trout - 15th Feb-12th Oct

Peter O’Reilly(to whom we are deeply indebted).

Draining the southern slopes of the Macgillycuddy Reeks and six small hill loughs before it enters Lough Caragh, the lower river flows 2 miles before entering the sea at Rosbehy Creek in Dingle Bay. The river is a classic spate system with a good run of spring salmon and grilse. The lower river is also a good seatrout fishery with about 20 pools up to the lake. Tube flies with orange hair and black bodies work well for spring fish. Other recommended flies include the Lemon and Grey, Blue Charm and Silver Doctor in sizes 6-8 and smaller doubles of size 10.

The Laune is 14 miles long and drains some 320 square miles, including the Lakes of Killarney, into Castlemaine Harbour in Dingle Bay. It is nearly ten miles from the lake to the tide and the river is tidal for 2 miles above Killorglin and has over sixty named pools. The lakes maintain river levels and ensure good fishing for long periods after a flood. Very good spring fishing with fish up to 18lbs before the first grilse appear in May, peak in June, but continues through September, a very good month for the fly. Early seatrout (May/June) and good browns (numbers of fish 3/4lb to 1lb) throughout river, which is beautifully situated. The river has a great variety of fly life; olives, sedges, stoneflies and terrestrials, including hawthorn and caterpillar.

The Cummeragh drains a catchment of 46 square miles, including ten loughs into Lough Currane. Water levels on the five-mile stretch of river hold well for several days after a spate. Producing occasional spring salmon, the river is better known for summer grilse fishing that extends through to the end of September. It is also an excellent seatrout river and fishes well from July onwards. Small flies work best and recommended patterns are; Shrimp Fly, Watson’s Fancy and Connemara Black.

The catchment is a long narrow mountain valley of some 47 square miles and the fishing, which can be excellent, is usually confined to about 8 hours following a spate. Regarded mainly as a grilse fishery, it also gets a run of good seatrout from April and smaller fish throughout the summer. Useful patterns include; Hairy Mary, Silver Doctor and Thunder and Lightning, sizes 6-10.

The world famous Butler House Pool is contained within a short fishery of only about 400yds, which drains Lough Currane and the entire Waterville system into Ballinskelligs Bay. All fish entering the system must pass through this short fishery. Spring fish tend to run straight into the lough and it is better known as a grilse fishery with enormous runs of seatrout throughout July and August. Recommended fly patterns include: Jungle Cock Spider, Bibio, Bloody Butcher, Silver Doctor, Invicta and Wickham’s Fancy. This once commercial salmon station has featured in Grays Sporting Journal in the US.

Cloghvoola Fishing Lodge
Waterville, Co.Kerry, Ireland

Phone: +00353 (0)66 9478009