NYMPHING FOR DOLLAGHANWayne Jones
NYMPHING FOR DOLLAGHAN
After some long awaited rain, the rivers got a much needed freshen up and more importantly a rise to help the migratory fish travel up the system. Near where I live I am fortunate to have both salmon and a unique strain of brown trout called Dollaghan that run up the rivers from Lough Neagh. These large trout spend most of the year feeding in Lough Neagh before returning to their rivers to spawn. These potamodromous fish start to make an appearance in July after the first floods.
Generally the method to catch this bottom feeding trout is to swing small hair wing flies across and down the streams and pools with intermediate or sink tip lines, not unlike salmon or sea trout fishing. Similar to the sea trout fishing, Dollaghan also seem to prefer feeding at night with most of the bigger fish being caught in the dark. In recent years the popularity of straight line nymphing has increased with many anglers taking advantage of bouncing tungsten beads along the riverbed in search for these incredible fish.
Having an opportunity to try the new Loop 7X I was on my way to the river keen as mustard to catch a ‘Dollie’ again! I set up the 10ft 3 weight with Loop Opti Creek reel and pulled my 20ft tapered leader with bi colour indicator through the eyes. I tied my 2 fly tippet from Airflo Sightfree Supple 6.5lb below the indicator. Now for the difficult part. what flies? The water was still slightly coloured even though the water had dropped several inches, so I opted for 3.8mm white tungsten hares ear with fluorescent orange collar on the point and a standard copper head hares ear. The Dollaghan do see to be partial to a hares ear I various versions. I find sometimes a little flash or fluorescence acts as good triggers especially in coloured or black water.
I waded gently into the tail of this long pool which had a deep trench down the middle, that I discovered during low water when fishing dries for the brownies. I stripped a few feet off the reel and began to toss the nymphs up river and lead them back with the current while carefully watching my indicator for any change in movement. The Loop 7X has a real perfect balance especially when stretching out over the river to gain maximum bite detection at minimum drag. The rod feels stiffer than other 3 weights I’ve fished which is a benefit when flicking a couple of tungsten beads beneath a tree on the opposite bank.
After 10min trotting my flies across the gravel beds and lifting a few small brown trout, which are always welcome, my line stopped in its tracks. We all know that feeling when you just know this is it, this is what you are waiting for. I lifted firmly and the rod went solid for that split second until the the line began to move with the wonderful feeling of that shaking head! Fish on! My first Dollie of the season was on and the Loop 7X was getting its first real test.
Dollaghan usually stay deep, shaking their heads and haggering, but occasionally you get them to splash round the pool causing all types of commotion. This one was a hagger, keeping deep and making the 3 weight work for its money. After a few minutes battle it was in the net, unhooked and released after a quick photo. This fish took the white bread hares ear. Like buses, the next dollie came along taking the same fly about 6ft up the pool. With a few more brown trout my short trip to the river was over for the evening.
It was nice to get out on the local rivers after some fresh water, we just need another couple of good floods to get the main run of bigger Dollaghan up the river so I can get my nymphs out for a swim. Thanks for reading and tight lines Arden Pollock.
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