Angling guide Barry Mitchell leaves the salmon rivers of the north east of England and heads to Kerry to sample the salmon fishing on the River Laune.
June 2018; my wife Andrea and myself decided to spend some time in Kerry for our annual holiday, something we have been promising ourselves for years, and when mentioning this to good friends and fellow casting Instructors Damien and Brian I was immediately invited to a days fishing on their club water on the beautiful River Laune. (The Laune Salmon and Trout Anglers’ Association) They both travel from County Cork to fish on the clubs waters, which leases stretches of 15 kilometres in total.
The River Laune drains Lough Leane approximately five kilometres upstream which in turn compounds the rainfall from the surrounding Killarney National Park, River Flesk and upper lakes and helps maintain a reasonable water level to the river in times of low rainfall.
Beaufort Bridge And Breens Pool
We arranged to meet at Beaufort Bridge a distance of 12.5 kilometres from Killorglin where the water is tidal, a couple of kilometres further and you reach the estuary so fresh fish are certainly not a rarity on the river.
Permits were supplied by a local bailiff having arranged to meet us prior, after greetings and catching up, and a little bit of banter between lads and Billy the bailiff, we set off to fish a pool some two miles downstream known as “Breens, “a delightful pool with a steady flow throughout its entire length and after discussing flies, tactics etc. I was informed to fish down first and although the river was relatively low in height due to no rainfall for a prolonged period, my fly fished around enticingly- this really is one of those pools when you can expect a pull at every cast. A long pool, it took a while to fish its entire length but with no offers forthcoming Damien and Brian thought a change of pool was a good idea. The Laune can expect a very good run of grilse at this time of the year, but unfortunately the runs had still to make an appearance which I believe was the situation on most Irish rivers last season.
Kelly Kettle And Lunch
After a coffee we moved on to fish “Johnsons” and “Heffernans” further downstream but with lunch impending we sat by the river enjoying the scenery not to mention a good bit of craic as Brian produced a Kelly Kettle as well as other cooking utensils to quickly conjure up a cracking meal washed down with tea brewed from the kettle and fresh juice.
After instructions from my hosts I fished down Johnsons again, a wonderful pool to fish the fly in, and after a few minutes I thought I was to hook a fish in a lie my hosts had pointed out to me, but unfortunately only amounted to one of those pulls which after a turn or two of the reel raises the pulse for a few seconds: then when realisation sets in leaving you flat- no fish hooked. However confidence levels rise, a feeling of optimism surges through the soul and the desire to fish on trying different tactics, smaller flies, moving the fly a little quicker.
Brian had decided to try for sea trout having changed his double hander for a trout rod and a weighted nymph casting slightly upstream into known lies and it wasn’t very long before he hooked a sea trout, which unfortunately threw the hook. Then Brian hooked a beautifully marked brown trout of about 1lb, which was swiftly returned.
I found the scenery here absolutely stunning, with a backdrop of the mountains of Kerry in the far distance simply added to the pleasure of the day.
There were other club members fishing this beat who were very welcoming, helpful and free with advice as you come to expect in Ireland. The main topic of conversation was the 20lb salmon netted the day before from the clubs waters, apparently a very fresh and lively fish caught on fly.
Eventually it was time to leave the river and head back to the cottage, Damien and Brian also setting off back home to County Cork where their local river is the Blackwater, a river they are very familiar with and where we plan to fish in the not too distant future- something to look forward too.
Having said that, on reflection a further visit to the Laune would not go amiss, one of the best fly waters I have had the pleasure to fish, and was fortunate to have two great guys guiding me which greatly added to the pleasure.
Both are members of GAIA as well as the Flyfishers International and are qualified in both double handed and single handed techniques.
As well as guiding on the Laune, they also guide on the river Blackwater in their native Cork.
Barry Mitchell is a full time GAIA qualified single and double handed casting instructor who guides throughout the North East and Borders. Barry guides at both Thrunton and Chatton Fisheries as well as for Salmon and Sea Trout on Northumbrian rivers.