Ballyshannon


From Ballyna the angler may proceed to the Erne, at Ballyshannon, by

coach, where he will find, on his arrival, a beautiful river, and every

accommodation he requires; it is a short running river, with a deep and

rapid current, about three or four miles in length; at the town of

Bellick it flows out of the grand expanse of Lough Erne, fifty miles in

length, and in some parts twelve in width.



The salmon le
p of Ballyshannon, is a broad body of water falling over a

perpendicular rock twelve feet high, up which the salmon run, showing

their dark backs through the foaming water, and again falling back into

the pool below after many attempts to surmount it; they seldom leap

clean up out of the water, but in general I have seen them rushing up

through the falling current, which shows the extraordinary strength they

possess. I have remarked that they always remain a day or two in the

first pool they come to after their ascent, and in this they take the

fly most greedily, generally at the head of the leap.



The fishermen sweep the river with nets below the leap, and the enormous

quantities they take is most surprising, still there is abundance in the

river; in summer in consequence of the netting, of course the salmon are

not so plentiful up the river. The fish house stands on an island, which

may be seen from the bridge of fourteen arches, and in the distance the

sea views are grand.



There is capital fishing below the bridge, and many fine salmon throws

or haunts all the way up to Belleek; this town is finely situated on the

north of Lough Erne, where it begins to discharge its waters into the

channel which conveys them into the bay of Donnegal.



The river at this place has a fall of twenty feet, forming a beautiful

scene, enriched by foliage and steep precipices. The trout fishing here

is good.



The river Erne has a long course, the source of which is "Lough

Gonnagh," in the County Longford, a short way from "Lough Sheelin," and

the celebrated Lakes of West Meath. It then enters "Lough Oughter," in

the County Cavan, after a serpentine course of eighteen or twenty miles,

although the distance between the lakes is only eight miles; after

passing through this lake, it takes another winding course of the same

distance, passing Belturbet, an ancient town on its banks, it then

enters the upper Lough Erne, and falls into the sea at Ballyshannon.

Seeing the abundance of fish which these grand lakes, and clear running

streams throughout the country produce, it is not at all to be wondered

at the quantities taken at Ballyshannon.



The flies in use here are very gaudy, Nos. 1, 2, and 3, in the plates,

will be found capital killers, and up to No. 11 in fine days in summer

when the water is low.



There is another good killer which I will here describe:--body yellow

brown mohair, ribbed with silver twist, puce tag, topping for tail with

a little scarlet ibis mixed, a good dyed yellow hackle rolled over the

body, and a scarlet hackle round the head; the wings are four toppings

with strips of summer duck, a sprig or two of pheasant tail and neck, a

strip of dyed white tipped turkey tail, and a sprig of guinea hen and

glede or kite tail, the tail feather of the hen Hymalean pheasant is as

good as what is called in Scotland "salmon tail glede," and the topping

or crest of the cock bird which is a transparent scarlet colour, and

like a topping of the golden pheasant stands over all; blue kingfisher

each side, and scarlet macaw feelers, black ostrich head, hook No. 9 or

8 in high water. This is a magnificent specimen of a salmon fly, and

cannot be made properly at a small expense, either by the amateur

himself who buys his foreign feathers, or by the fly-maker who gets his

bread by it. The three flies in the plates Nos. 1, 2, and 3, will be

found to do the work well. With this one, see the gaudy jointed fly in

the plate, with "picker" at top.



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