Wild Fly Fishing in a Wild Place

County Kerry is an area of unspoilt beauty with a landscape that has changed little throughout its post glacial existence. The lakes and rivers are home to a rich and varied ecosystem with wild brown trout abundant and Atlantic salmon and seatrout present in numbers.

The wild brown trout are abundant in all of the lakes and rivers of the area. While generally not large they more than make up for their size by 

A good sea trout ready for release
A good sea trout ready for release

their sheer abundance and willingness to take a fly. Traditional wet fly fishing from a drifting boat will generally produce excellent results and dry fly fishing can produce spectacular catches when conditions suit. The main seasons for brown trout are from early April right through to mid October. The duck fly and olives are evident in April and this is a particularly good time on all of the lakes but a particular favourite time in the area is mid June to August especially in the evenings when large sedge hatches can make the wild brownies feed avidly. September and October see a more aggressive trout with spawning and the onset of winter causing the trout to become active. 

Derriana Trout1

 A wild brown from Lough NaMona

Atlantic salmon and seatrout arrive in the lakes from late spring with May to October seeing the best of the fishing. The Waterville system of which Lough Derriana is one ofthe most important lakes is home to Ireland's largest sea trout and  fishing in April to June gives the angler the chance of catching a fish of a lifetime.The rivers are also home to the pearl mussel, Margaritifera margaritifera, which is a relict of the ice age.

The pearl mussel is an amazing animal and has a symbiotic relationship with our native wild brown trout and Atlantic salmon. They have a short parasitic larval phase on the gills of suitable host fish.


The larvae (glochidia) of margaritifera are host specific and complete their development on Atlantic salmon, or Brown trout,  both anadromus or resident. In early summer male mussels will expel sperm and this will be inhaled in by female mussels leading to the formation of viable eggs in brood chambers which will remain located inside the female until late summer. In late summer the fertilised eggs having been transformed into larvae, are expelled by the female.

The larvae (glochidia) attach themselves to the gills of juvenile salmonid species after being expelled into the water column by the female adult mussel during late summer to early autumn. The glochidia remain over the winter on the salmonid gills and they are deposited in gravel after falling from the salmonid gills from early summer. The juvenile mussels bury themselves in the substrate and remain sub-substrate for up to twelve years.

On emergence the mussels will begin to filter feed and will begin to reproduce. The reproduction cycle can last for up to seventy five years. As we have some of the most abundant stocks of these mussels in Ireland it is indicative that water quality has remained excellent. 

Another unusual and rare fish is also present in a number of lakes in the area, namely the Artic char and this again points to our unspoilt water and habitat quality.