It is hard to believe, its now 6th October and this is the first time I’ve visited a put and take trout fishery in 2016! Its been a brilliant year so far with some superb wilder fly fishing, all within Northern Ireland in both freshwater and saltwater (I’ve even found a new, amazing saltwater sea trout location – very sssshhhh at the minute though).
So, with a stiff easterly gusting to 30 mph I arrived at Islandderry Fishery which is located on the Lough Road just off the main route between Dromore and Lurgan. I was really surprised when I arrived and there was no one there! I surveyed the main lake which is a natural 12 acre affair. The wind was blowing hard into the car park side on which there are several wooden casting platforms however, I deemed it too strong and blustery from the bank which is also unfortunately the only bank space available on this lake. There are 10 boats for hire and there is also a smaller Fly/Bait pond behind the fishery hut which is a static caravan.
On entering the warm caravan I was greeted by a woman in her 50’s who was welcoming and chatty. However, when I inquired as to how the lake was fishing I ascertained she did not fish and was not able to offer any advice on fly choice etc. Although this was a little disappointing she was able to tell me it was supposed to be fishing quite well. I opted for the 1 fish then catch and release option at £14, which meant I could also fish the smaller pond (A catch and release ticket only enables you to fish the main lake).
Before I tackled up, I had a look at the main lake and the pond. As I couldn’t see any sign of fish showing, I tackled up a 9’6″ 6 weight outfit, floating line (with my usual tapered leader set up from 18 lb / 15 lb / 12 lb / 8 lb Maxima down to 0.178 mm Orvis Mirage tippet). As the wind was so blustery I opted for one dropper only, 5 feet from the point fly with a 13 foot overall length of leader. On went a small size 10 hairwing Viva on the dropper and an orange and black Tadpole on the point. I decided to give it a throw on the pond initially. After 20 fruitless minutes I decided to tackle the main lake and take a boat out (at the cost of £4.50 for 3 hours).
The main lake has an island, or rather a few big trees growing out of a sunken island in the middle. I anchored about 30 meters from the island but soon discovered there was an abundance of blanket weed in the area. So with a quick move of position to some open water and a change of fly to a Bob’s Bits on the dropper and a smaller size 10 mini Black Lure with a fluoro green butt I cast out. A 5 second countdown and then a slow draw of about 10″. Bang! Third pull and we’re in! It was a decent fish around the 2 lb mark which took the lure and was a welcome start. As I’d bought my 1 fish ticket I knocked this one on the head and spooned it. The spoon revealed a stomach full of daphnia (extremely tiny water fleas for those who don’t know) and nothing else. From experience in this situation it’s usually better sticking to lures when the fish are on the daphnia. I took 2 more fish from this location including a lovely plump fish close to 4lbs on a large black snake lure. I now had the company of another single angler!
A plump fish close to 4 lbs.
I moved position again to the other side of the island and fished towards the shore where there were some lovely inviting lily pads and overhanging bushes. Second cast and I was into a torpedo! This fish was close to 3lb and although not as plump as the previous fish, it was well proportioned and had a beautiful full tail. I took one more from this location before calling it a day.
Fully finned and full of fight!
Islandderry is a great little fishery. The quality of the fish was excellent and the overall average size was very pleasing. In all, I think I’ll be visiting it again. Until next time………….
The Wandering Fisherman.