When it comes to trout fishing here in the west there is a choice to be made. One option is to fish one of the big loughs like Mask or Carra in the hope of picking up some potentially large trout while another is to head to one of the many small loughs which hold good stocks of feisty little fellas.

Having had a slow day on Carra the previous day, we decided yesterday that we would head to the hills and see if we could catch some of the small dark trout that live in the mountain loughs.

We fished two waters, both of them close to the foot of Croagh Patrick which is an important pilgrimage site. Maybe we were hoping that Saint Patrick was in a benevolent mood and would throw a few trout our way.

The first lough was called Nacorra. Only in comparison to the vast limestone loughs which are scattered throughout Connemara would anyone suggest that a lough like this is small. It is typical of many mountain loughs here in that the water has a relatively low pH and in more acidic conditions there is less invertebrate life available to the trout. Again typically, the lough bed is dark and the trout are too. The fish do not grow anywhere near as big as they do on the limestone loughs but what they lack in size they make up for in spirit and they are beautiful fish to look at.

We fished Nacorra long enough to cover about half of its shoreline. The fish were slow to rise to dry flies but hit wets pretty well.

Once Sean started getting hungry we packed up and headed for another Lough which has no name that I know of, stopping en route for a swift pint and a mars bar. This nameless lough is not visible from the road and, as the crow flies, not very far from Nacorra. To find it you need to park on the side of the road and trek over a couple of ridges, covering a distance of maybe a quarter of a mile. On this short walk, as on the shores of the lough itself you are alone there with sheep and the wind. It is an intimate lough, not big but big enough to accommodate three fishermen. Like Nacorra, it yielded a number of beautiful dark marked brown trout.

When I get home I would like to try to paint one of these. What better souvenir could there be?

Nacorra

Nacorra

Getting ready to trek towards a remote lough.

Getting ready to trek towards a remote lough.

When you clear a ridge the lough comes into view

When you clear a ridge the lough comes into view

This lovely trout is no giant but for a lough like this one it is a good fish

This lovely trout is no giant but for a lough like this one it is a good fish. This was one of Sean´s.

Fishing can take you to beautiful places

Fishing can take you to beautiful places

One of Mark´s

One of Mark´s

The last fish of the day. There was not enough light to pick up on the red spots but the halos surrounding the dark spots are very clear.

The last fish of the day. There was not enough light to pick up on the red spots but the halos surrounding the dark spots are very clear.