“The Corrib” as it is affectionately known, has to be one of the world's greatest game fisheries! It stretches crescent-like around Connemara from Galway City for over 30 miles and offers a magnificent variety of challenges to the angler over a long season. The season begins on 15 February and the first trout are taken by trolling various lures, though artificial flies will also give results in sheltered bays, even this early in the season. Serious fly-fishing begins in late March with the first fly hatches – large chironomids i.e. “The Duck fly”. This fly hatches in sheltered bays with good weed growth on the bottom and a depth of from 4 to 12 feet approximately.
The angler can fish chironomid pupa imitations in calm conditions, but traditional fly patterns in sizes 10-14 are much more productive with a nice breeze blowing and a nice rolling wave. Favourites are: Sooty Olive, Fiery Brown, Mallard & Claret, Connemara Black, Peter Ross, Bibio, Watson's Fancy and Coachman.
Depending on weather conditions, the lake olives hatch in late April. The trout again feed freely and can be taken on nymphs, dry-fly and wet-fly. Popular wet-fly patterns at this time are Greenwell's Glory, Sooty Olive, Olive Bumble, Invicta, Green Olive and Claret & Olive. The mayfly hatch begins around 20 May and is undoubtedly the high point of the season, when anglers come from far and near to enjoy its delights. The mayfly fishing lasts for nearly a month. “Dapping” the natural mayfly is by far the most successful method and well over 5,000 trout are reported for the mayfly season every year.
After mid-June and into early July, the trout can be difficult to attract (probably because their bellies are full of mayfly!), but by mid-August they are back on the move again and a dapped daddylonglegs is the most successful approach. Natural grasshoppers can also be dapped at this time and, with the onset of autumn and September, wet-fly fishing around the islands, along by the shore and across the various headlands will once more get a response from the trout. Recommended patterns are: Green Peter, Invicta, Black Pennell, Murrough, Bibio, Watson's Fancy and Sooty Olive.
Lough Corrib gets a good run of both spring salmon and grilse and trolling catches the majority of fish taken, but they can also rise to the dapped natural fly (mayfly, daddy or grasshopper). They can also be taken on the fly when they come into the fresh and favourite patterns are: Green Peter, Silver Doctor, Black Goldfinch, Black Doctor and Thunder & Lightning – sizes 8 and 10. If you intend fishing for salmon on this lake it is advisable to rely on the experience and knowledge of the local boatman because this is a vast expanse of water and only the local man will know where the fish lie.
Lough Corrib is reputed to have 365 islands. Most famous of which is Inchagoill Island. Located midway between Cong and Oughterard, it is one of the largest of the many wooded islands along Lough Corrib. The island has spectacular views of the Maumturk range. Joyce Country and the mountains of Connemara, and it is also home to two ancient venerated sites, set close together in its woods' St Patrick's Church believed to have been erected in the 5th century and the tiny 12th century Church of the Saints. There are secluded beaches and enchanting woods with a variety of walks around the island. There is evidence of an early monastic settlement which still mostly remains a mystery. There are two churches remaining, St. Patrick's and the 12th century church known as the “saints” church. There are several paths around the island, an old cemetery and remains of four or five cottages which housed the few inhabitants on the island.
Lough Corrib drains via the Corrib River through Galway City into Galway Bay.
The main rivers into Lough Corrib include the River Clare and the canal through the village of Cong, which joins Lough Mask to Lough Corrib.
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