Connamara And Ballynahinch


In this western region there are some beautiful lakes and rivers, once

celebrated for the abundance of Salmon and Trout which they contained,

but, alas! the "weirs" and nets have "wed" them all away, to the grief

of the tourist angler, who might have enjoyed the "wild sports of the

west." So he will yet, for there is a reformation to take place that

will restore them to their pristine numbers both in lake and river. They

> are about to take down the "weirs," and net the bays, which will not

only give the Salmon a free passage up, but augment them a

hundred-fold,--then, "hurrah for Connamara, the land of the west." Derry

Clare Lake is a good one for the fly, so is Lough Inna, and above and

below the "weirs." If the generous proprietors of the fishery would

consult upon the subject, they would immediately put a stop to the

obstructions, if not, it it is quite impossible that there can be good

fishing up to Lough Inna. Thirty gentlemen might fly fish these waters

without the least inconvenience, were the Salmon allowed to go free.



The Salmon Flies for Connamara are rather small and plain; various

brown, black, red, olive, and orange flies kill well, ribbed with gold

and silver. Those Sea-Trout ones, described for Waterville, do also

well, and orange floss silk, ribbed with gold, small topping for tail,

jay round the head, and mallard mixed wings. Hook C or CC.



A small black fly, yellow tag, topping for tail, rib of silver, teal,

and golden pheasant neck, breast feather of the peacock wing, mixed,

blue feelers of macaw, jay at the shoulder. Hook B, or No. 9. A green

body, ribbed with gold, black red hackle, orange macaw, or cock of the

rock feather in the tail, short; a nice mixed gaudy wing, with a good

deal of mallard and wood-duck prevailing, or silver pheasant wing, the

hen bird is best. C, CC or B hook; vary the size for high and low water.

A small claret fly, and the three flies in the Plates, Nos. 3, 4, and 5,

with No. 11, all made on small hooks, these are the sorts to kill. The

Sea-Trout ones are very small black and red hackles, grouse and wren

hackles, dun flies, and little brown ants, hare's ear and yellow,

silver greys, and the small flies enumerated in the catalogue. Use a

sixteen feet salmon rod, and single gut casting lines, with one or two

twisted lengths next to the reel line, which should be plaited silk and

hair. There are plenty of boats and boatmen to be had at Ballynahinch

River and Lakes, all civil fellows, and if used with common kindness and

decency, they will confess that "the English anglers are the best

fellows in the whole world,--Good luck to their honors. Long life to

their honors."



The scenery of this wild country is quite equal to any in Scotland, if

the intelligent tourist angler would be at the pains of penetrating into

the mountainous regions which surround Connamara. The islands in the

bays are interesting and beautiful, as well as the stupendous hills

standing up in order like giants, as it were, to bid defiance to the

wild waves of the great Atlantic.



Ireland is proverbial for the finest breeding rivers in the world for

Salmon and Trout, in no country can there be found such splendid rivers

and lakes for Salmon; see, for instance, the rivers Shannon, Erin, Bann,

and the stupendous lakes out of which they issue, and of which, it is

sufficient to show, that at "Burn Cranna," two miles below Coleraine,

with the cross nets, three tons of Salmon were caught in one day by the

fishermen some years back. This will give an idea of what the rivers in

Ireland, in general, can produce. The Bann is preserved in the right

season for the fry to come to perfection in great shoals, and from March

till August the nets and "cruives" are worked.



The flavour and quality of the Irish Salmon far exceed those of any

other part of the United Kingdom, for when the fish are sent up from the

north to the London markets they often lose their flavour, if not

properly packed in the ice boxes; how can it be otherwise, when the

distance is considered. The real Salmon of the Tweed, Tay, and Spay, are

delicious, through the quickness of transit.



Above Ballynahinch are seen the "Twelve Pins," or rocky precipices of

"Beanabola." On the right of this mountainous road, beyond Ballynahinch,

opposite the beautiful island of "Ennisbofine," are seen green mountain

heights of great elevation, with romantic winding vallies, rivers, and

views, that strike the heart with admiration.



There is a large river in this neighbourhood, called the "Owen Rieve,"

which abounds with Salmon, and falls into the sea south of Clue Bay. At

the head of the Bay, a short way up, there is a Salmon Fishery, but no

inn.



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