Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

The Foyle system

Monday, 27 July 2015 at 11:57

Salmon lie on the Finn Just back from a week visiting some of the splendid waters on the Foyle system, Northern Ireland (see We encountered a good run of salmon and grilse on the River Finn in Donegal and also encountered quality sea-trout fishing on the Burn Dennett, main Foyle and the Culdaff. The weather was unsettled all week but we managed to fish (and to catch fish) on most days of the trip and it was reassuring to find that the runs of both salmon and sea-trout on the Foyle system seemed strong. Notably, there's no salmon farming anywhere in the main Foyle basin.

Foyle sea-trout

Monday, 27 July 2015 at 11:51

Foyle sea-trout The Foyle system, and particularly the Finn, Burn Dennett, main Foyle, Derg and (to the north) the little Culdaff can offer some fine sea-trout fishing, though the fish generally run 10oz-1┬╝lb, as here. There are many other rivers on the Foyle system than can on their day (or night) offer very good sea-trout fishing: the Faughan and Roe can also give splendid fishing. The fly here, incidentally, is a little Donegal Blue, which works wonderfully well on its home waters.

Finn study

Monday, 27 July 2015 at 11:50

On the Finn The Finn around Cloghan offers falls, broken water, pockets and glides, and almost every inch can hold a fish.

Gardiner's grilse

Monday, 27 July 2015 at 11:48

Gardiner with a Finn grilse The grilse and salmon were running up the Finn and when they settled they could be caught. Here's Gardiner with a pristine little grilse.

On the Reelan

Monday, 27 July 2015 at 11:46

The Reelan The Reelan (Donegal) is a tributary of the Finn. It can be prolific for salmon and sea-trout though on 27th July we caught neither: the fish were running and hadn't yet settled. Lovely country, though.

Lindsey's sandeel

Tuesday, 14 July 2015 at 22:00

Lindsey's sandeel pattern In Ireland I've had the pleasure of fishing with Lindsey Clarke, usually for sea-trout. Lindsey's a wonderful fly-tier and favours light, fine-wire hooks even for long-winged sandeel-representing patterns. This is one of Lindsey's creations, pressed into service now over English bass and doing a great job. These fine-wire hooks fish very well and are far superior, in my view, to standard and usually heavier-gauge 'saltwater' hooks. I also love the simplicity of Lindsey's tying style here.

A handful of small fish

Tuesday, 14 July 2015 at 21:54

School bass Not the most distinguished shot, but I was working in poor light with a strangely dysfunctional camera. I freely admit these aren't the biggest bass in the world, but they're fun on 8-weight gear. Even a small bass like this will take out almost all your fly-line, and I'm coming to rate and respect bass highly. The fishing can be patchy and every tide is different, but when these schoolies show up then you can be in for an interesting hour or two.

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