Corrib wears its fame well; it has rightly earned its place among the classic fly fishing waters of the world and thankfully can still claim membership of this exclusive club. Stretching for 40km in length and 185 square km (that’s 44,000 acres in old money), Corrib is a big, serious piece of water. Festooned with islands, bays and promontories for most of its expanse, it is a fly angler’s dream. Without doubt it is one the last great lakes where the angler can expect to catch large, wild, indigenous brown trout that have dwelt there since the last Ice Age.

It is famed for its mayfly hatch, rightly so for during this festive period the lough takes on an almost carnival like atmosphere with boats all over the lake, islands hosting lunchtime diners as the plumes of smoke from their Kelly Kettles rise to the sky and the pubs and restaurants around the shores of the lough fill with fish talk from the day’s proceedings. But it has so much more to offer than that. From its opening day in the middle of February to its closing on the last day of September you can, barring weather extremes, expect to catch fish on the fly. 

The beauty of the lough for the angler is the variety of fly fishing techniques that are effective. While some fisheries are almost one trick ponies in what method must be used to catch, this is certainly not the case for Corrib. From straight-line nymphing during the various buzzer hatches, to fishing the washing line for picky lake olive feeders, before they switch to the adults, so you follow them up with emergers. From early morning stalking with #18 or #20 dries for the dawn Caenis hatches or late-night stalking in the dark for the noisy Mito feeders slurping off the surface, to fishing a couple of large bushy #8 Dry Wulfs during the aforementioned mayfly hatch in a big rolling wave. There is also the allure of the traditional wet fly, either in amongst the shallows during the various hatches or out in the open water for the Summertime Daphnia chasers, to traversing to the dark side and pulling sunken Minkies, Humungi or Wooly Buggers for the early season stickleback bashers or later in the season for the Fry Feeders. The variance is fantastic, which is why it never gets boring, and I didn’t even mention dapping!

Corrib is a challenging fishery, so be under no illusion that it is easy fishing. The residents do not give themselves up freely and competency is crucial. When you catch them you have earnt something, caught a species that has descended from a strain present in the system for thousands of years. This said, every season it hands out a fair few red-letter days. Days that will forever be etched in the anglers’ memory, days when all the stars aligned; the temperature, the wind, the light, the hatch, the hunger.