River Moy Updates

Friday 17/01/2020 Something Different

Christmas break is now over and we are into the New Year. Since my last blog on 03/01/2020 I took a short holiday in the winter sun of Gran Canaria. Nice to recharge the batteries but some shock to the system coming back to 3 degrees, hail and wind. No mercy from the boss it is straight back into work and preparation for the coming season. In fairness to him he did attend a couple of trade shows that were on while I was away. He seems pretty upbeat about all the new products available and assures me he hasn’t ordered excessively, we will see as the boxes arrive.  The reason I mention the holiday is that I made it a bus-man’s holiday and did some fishing. I knew from previous experience that a week of sunbathing was not for me.  In the past while on holiday I have tried for tuna and can’t really say I enjoyed it. I found it very “touristy”.  Before setting of I googled fishing in Gran Canaria and surely enough I found something of interest. Carp Gran Canaria, https://www.facebook.com/CarpGranCanaria/.  Something a little different and why not. Carp is a species that I have heard lots about but never really had the opportunity to try for.  I booked a day.


On the chosen day I was picked up by David (The Guide and guy who runs the operation) who introduced me to Kieran an English man who was also having a day out, not his first though. Both David and Kieran were what we could call true Carp Anglers and Mike was in at the deep end. We had an hour to drive to the lake and most of it as uphill and we’ll into the mountains over 1000m above sea level. The conversation on the way to the lake was Carp, bivies, bolies and long sessions. To be honest when I heard we would be finishing at 3 pm I was relieved.  These lads were talking about days and nights and as much as I wanted to try for a Carp I wasn’t prepared for that. We got to the lake, beautifully remote and scenic. David has a good setup in place, a bivey, some seats, a boat to set baits at long distance and generally everything necessary. Without boring you with details of set up, bites, runs, lull periods and catches, the day was interesting. We caught a total of 5 carp, the largest just shy of 20lb. All fish were carefully handled and released. The two lads were very pleased with our success. Average too good for the lake and above average for UK standards. For me it was something new and it was fishing and as I always say there’s more to fishing than catching fish.


All this has brought me to think of what the alternatives are to salmon angling in our own area. For the guy who’s on holiday and either is not a salmon angler or just wants to try something different. I’m going to start with Lough fishing for wild brown.


Loughs Conn and Cullin are situated approximately 5km from Foxford. Both offer excellent brown trout fishing with the chance of taking a salmon as well. Fishing on both loughs is free but if fishing for salmon or seatrout a license is required. While in some locations it is possible to fish from the shore boat angling is by far the best. Boats can be hired locally and Gerry Murphy at Murphy boat hire is a good man to talk to https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009809470807&lst=100000972316746%3A100009809470807%3A1579277758&sk=about. If it’s your first time trying these Loughs I would recommend hiring the service of an experienced boat man. This is not solely from a Safety point of view but for the best chances of success. No matter how keen a trout angler you are nothing beats a bit of local knowledge. The boat man will be keyed into what’s happening, where trout are located and what they are taking. With regards to safety, Lough Conn is well marked with orange markers on most of the rocks and shallow areas. Lough Cullin while marked is still pretty treacherous especially on a windy day. A lot of the Lough is very shallow and there are numerous un marked rocks. On the plus side for Lough Cullin, due to the shallow waters and abundance of rocks, trout can be caught almost anywhere. On Lough Conn the drifts are more specific and again this is where the experience of a local boat man comes into play. Notable periods on both Loughs generally coincide with fly hatches. Lough Cullin gets a big hatch of duck fly early in the season, around March. Followed by olives in April. The Mayfly normally hatches pretty early in Cullin as well, depending on weather it can start in April and is normally coming to an end by the third week in May. With the exception of some of the shallower bays the Mayfly hatch on Conn is later, starting early to mid-May and ending in early June.  My favorite time of the season on Lough Conn is from Mid-August to the end of September. Fishing at this time can be exceptional and the Lough is normally deserted. It’s no exaggeration to say you could be the only boat on the water. Neither of the Loughs are noted for large trout, plenty in the 10 to 12 inch bracket and the occasional larger fish. Good sport on wet and dry fly’s and in general a nice day out.

A less well known Lough is even closer to Foxford, Callow Lough. Situated on the N26 between Foxford and Swinford. Callow can be an excellent early season Lough. Noted for small free rising, hard fighting brownies. Callow comes into its own from March through to May. It continues to fish throughout the summer months but primarily in the late evening. A very under fished Lough it is certainly a good place for some fast action. One thing that I really like about Callow is that on a really windy day when boats are blown of the bigger loughs callow is sheltered and can still be fished.

River Moy Updates

Friday 03/01/2020 Happy New Year

Good morning and Happy New year from Foxford. I hope you have all had a nice Christmas and that the New year has started of well. We have been out and about over the Christmas watching a few streams. Water level have been high and its difficult to see much. On Tuesday we were in a spot where the levels were falling and there was good activity. I had hoped to get some video but unfortunately it rained heavily yesterday so levels are rising again. In this one spot we did see a good number of fish and one was particularly large, well into double figures. The season opened on some rivers on January 1st but no reports of fish been taken yet. The shop is closed at the moment and we are having a break. I will resume the blog properly in the next few weeks, for now I will continue to store energy for the coming season.

River Moy Updates

Friday 20/12/2019 Happy Christmas

A dry morning in Foxford,thankfully. We have had some pretty crappy weather in the past week and a lot of rain has fallen, water levels are very high. We are closing for the Christmas holidays on Monday and had hoped to visit a few spawning streams to see whats happening, this could be difficult due to the high levels. For today we would like to thank you all for your continued support. Feed back to our blog has been good and we have had a few orders via the website. We have already been at a lot of trade shows and orders for the new season have been placed, lots of new stock to arrive in 2020. We will continue with the blog on Fridays, even if its just to keep in touch. For anyone wanting last minute gifts, its not to late to order a gift voucher and we will do our best to see you have it in time for Christmas https://themoy.com/product/gift-voucher/. Have a Happy and Peaceful Christmas, Michael and P.J

River Moy Updates

Friday 13/12/2019 Balance

Its been a wet and windy week in Foxford and it continues, no shortage of water. We took delivery of the 2020 Salmon Licences this morning which signals the New season is just around the corner. Its been a busy week for us. As most of you know we sell fresh fish as well as fishing tackle. We decided to buy a new stainless steel serve over. A bit like the Governments new printer we got the measurements wrong. Unlike the Government we couldn’t increase the budget and have someone fix the problem, nope we had to get the angel grinder out!. Hence I did not get a chance to prepare anything about angling methods or the river in general.


  Recently I read a copy of a generally well drafted letter which carefully outlined a lot of problems facing our sport and in particular the river Moy. The letter was to be addressed to Government ministers, C.E.Os and lots of people in power. It had several suggestions as to the causes and how to remedy these problems. One issue I had with the letter was that in my opinion it lacked Balance. It was written from one man’s view of the situation and outlined his points of view without regard for the thoughts, ideas and indeed consequence for others.  While I did agree with parts of the letter it certainly was not going to get my support or indeed the support of the majority of anglers in this area. This led me reflect on not only the problems facing our sport but on how we as Anglers view and deal with these issues. In most cases it appears to me that we as anglers who enjoy the sport of angling in its many forms, share a love and respect for our quarry, nature, environment and future of our sport, have different points of view. Rather than have rational debate with sensible reasoning to find a Balance for the good of all, we tend to go on the “Solo Run”, the results of which, if we are honest, are unsuccessful.

One platform where this has become very obvious is Facebook. Here we see and hear the differing and unbalanced opinions on all subjects. The keyboard warriors let fly with all the ammo at their disposal to Air their opinions. In many cases without thought, annihilating innocent people. Earlier this season I had opportunity to take a picture of a Lady with one of the few salmon she kills in a season. She wanted the picture posted on our Facebook page so that a relative living far away could see it and perhaps share in her Joy. We both agreed it would also be a little bit of badly needed publicity for the locality. Within minutes of the picture appearing so did the comments, some very positive and congratulating, others were to say the least unbalanced. Among them “Catch and release” and “why kill”.  Neither of these comments were balanced, they were one sided opinions been expressed in the wrong place. Neither comment took the facts of the situation into account nor did neither comment achieve anything for conservation.  “Catch and release”, Yes if you want to catch and release, that’s fine. “Why kill”, well for a start, it’s not against the law, it’s where our sport evolved from and some people actually like to take a fish home to eat! The people who wrote these comments could achieve a lot more for conservation by acting in a more balanced manner. The Lady in question killed two salmon for the season. On a regular basis I see Flocks of Cormorants flying over my house, these same Cormorants have come from the Loughs and tributaries of the Moy catchment where they have spent their day “Fishing”. Now I’m no scientist but I think any Cormorant is responsible for the deaths of more than two salmonids in a season. The Moy estuary is full of seals, the amount of seal damaged fish turning up in the river is alarming and these are the fish that escape! How many are killed? This is not to mention, water quality, farming practices, Poaching, sea survival and probably ten other major factors which affect salmon. It’s very easy to hop on the “in fashion” popular trend and preach it to the multitudes in a holier than thou manner while ignoring the not so popular facts. The Lady who killed the two salmon is easier to attack that the seal that killed 100 salmon in the same period.

I’m not saying that we get together tomorrow and kill every seal in the estuary or every cormorant on Lough Conn. I am saying that we should have respect for each other and work together. Let’s not forget where our sport comes from and let’s teach future generations how to enjoy and care for it in a balanced manner.

River Moy Updates

Friday 06/12/2019 Bubble and Fly

A nasty dark winters morning in Foxford and the forecast is for more of the same. Had planned to go fishing on Saturday but that has changed, might get the Christmas shopping out of the way :). This weeks article is a little bit on the Bubble and Fly. I hope you find something of use in it, if you do please share it with your friends. If you could also give our Facebook page a Like and share (it all helps) https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=847545021987381&ref=br_rs

The Bubble and Fly

 Generally two flies and a weighted bubble float cast across the river and retrieved slowly, it’s simple. So simple that most people don’t believe it can possibly work. So simple that for a lot of people it’s “to easy”. Well it does work but it’s not that simple and it doesn’t work on its own. It needs an Angler to make it work and there’s good anglers and not so good anglers. One thing for certain is that it’s a visual and exciting method, not boring.Old Foxford Bridge

It’s extremely difficult to find out where or how this method originated. I have spoken to a few of the older Local anglers here on the Moy and none of them seem to know. However, from speaking to them i have come to the conclusion that it arrived on the Moy in Foxford sometime around the time of the drainage, mid 60s. Prior to this the common local practice for fly fishing and in particular for trout was dapping with the “Wall fly”. The Wall fly is a type of sedge which got its local name (I’m quite sure it has a Latin one as well) due to the fact it hides in crevices on stone walls and in particular could be found in the stonework of the bridge in Foxford. A common local theory on the origin of the fly itself is that it came to Foxford in Wool which was imported to the Foxford woolen mills. These wall flies were attached to a hook and using a long rod were skillfully dapped along the surface of the water. This was done from stone perches in the river or from the bridge. It’s still possible to witness some of the older locals practicing the method from the bridge in Foxford during the summer months.Butcher

 By the time I started fishing in the early 70s Bubble and Fly was a standard method. The reason for its popularity on the Moy I think is largely due to the fact that a lot of the river is not suitable for the conventional fly rod. Steep banks, slow flow and vegetation, It’s just easier to use the Bubble and Fly.  On summer evenings the “Back of the Town” i.e. the stretch of river from Cualass to the Blackrocks, would be lined with locals, mostly youths using the method during the “Rise”. Bags of trout, both brown and sea would be caught each evening and the occasional Grilse would fall for butcher or Black Pennell. In those earlier days the range of Salmon flies available was not great. Primarily large single hook, feather wing and the occasional hair wing. Silver doctor, Thunder and Lightning, Hairy Mary, blue charm and Gosshawk would have been standards.
Foxford Shrimp Fl

There was always a lot of visiting anglers in the Foxford and Ballina areas and with these anglers came new Fly patterns and styles. Shrimp Flies, hair wings, double and treble hooks. By the mid-80s Irish Shrimp flies had become the order of the day. A variety of patterns emerged and many of them are still favorites today, The Foxford shrimp and Ballina Grey been two of the most notable. I’m not going to get to deep into actual patterns here as it alone is a big topic, many books have been written on the subject. For now it’s safe enough to say that the method works and we know enough fly patterns to cover most situations successfully throughout the season.



I think the first lesson in bubble and fly fishing comes from the past.  I mentioned already that as young lads fishing the bubble and fly we took the occasional Grilse. It wouldn’t have been that common and most of these Grilse were taken late in the evening just before dark. Yet today this method accounts for probably 20% of the catch on several fisheries every season. So what has changed? Well let’s look at the equipment, system and the materials and compare the differences.

The actual system or set up has not changed. A weighted bubble float or similar, One or two flies, normally two. The bubble can be above or below the flies but on the Moy the most popular is to have the bubble bellow the flies, i.e. on the very end of the leader/cast.

On the Moy in the 70s and 80s the standard rod used for spinning, worm, bubble and fly and everything else was 9 or 10 foot long made of fiberglass. The standard fishing line was Maxima chameleon in 15 to 20lbs breaking strain (0.35 to 0.40mm) and a Mitchell 300 or D.A.M Quick were the standard reels. Salmon Flies as I said were generally large single hooks, feather wing with the occasional hair wing pattern. Now for anyone who has tried the method you are already starting to get a picture. if I were to suggest to an angler today to set up for fishing with the bubble and fly using a 9 foot rod with 18lb brown mono as a leader and two size 6 feather wing flies, I’d be as well to retire. The equipment and materials have changed, as also has our knowledge and understanding and this is the difference.

Today the standard rod for Bubble and fly is 3.3 m graphite with good quality guides, Reels are smooth winding with ultra-sensitive drag systems, Lines are strong with fine diameter 0.25 to 0.30mm and are virtually invisible in the water, flies from size 8 to 16 in a range of styles and colours and anglers in general have more “Finesse”.

Assuming you have your 3.3m Tiernan Brothers “River Moy All-round”  rod :), top quality reel and line, a few bubbles, perhaps a new modern bait controller (vive la difference), A few dozen different flies and a good landing net, You’re ready!.  Well you’re ready to learn how to tie up a cast or leader as it’s more commonly called today.

Most good Bubble and Fly anglers will use the same line for their main line and Leader. A well filled reel (it’s a lot easier to cast with a well filled reel) of 0.25 to 0.30mm clear/translucent monofilament. The lighter and finer line been used in very low water conditions ( July, August) the heavier been used in Spring time. A German brand “Stroft” is very popular on the Moy and Stroft ABR https://themoy.com/product-category/fishing-line/monofilament/ is our biggest selling line for Bubble and Fly. The bubble float or bait controller goes on the very end of the line, it is best to attach it to the line using a snap swivel. At a distance of approx. 1.5m away from the bubble (Towards the rod) we make a “Dropper” of approx. 15cm. There are many suitable knots for making a dropper.

I personally use a blood knot as I have always found it to be reliable and I’m a believer in the “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” theory. Mess around with a few knots until you find one that you have faith in. A second dropper is added at another 1.5m from the first. This give a combined leader length of 3m which is long enough and when using the 3.3m rod is still easy to cast. If the leader is longer than the rod casting becomes more difficult. If the rod you’re using is short it is probably best to use only one fly and give a greater distance between the bubble and it.

 If using a bubble float you will need to put water in it to give the necessary casting weight, approx. two thirds full is good. If using a bait controller, the weight is already built in (C’est merveilleux). The choice of fly pattern and size is dependent on conditions in general. I would say that if in doubt, ask someone for a suggestion. Anglers are normally happy to help each other and we are always available at the shop to give advice. A good rule of thumb is in early season or higher water conditions use larger patterns, size 8 or 10, as the season progresses and levels drop a little, drop down to 12 and 14s and in very low conditions 14s and 16s. Brighter colours earlier in the season and for fresh run fish, duller colours as the season progresses. On the Moy you can’t really go wrong with Orange, Gold, Silver, Blue, Yellow and black.

Rod set up, you are now ready to fish. Like everything else it’s possible to catch a fish in any conditions but for success it’s always better to pick the right time or conditions to use the Bubble and fly. Ideally from once the water temperatures have come up a little in late spring, a nice breezy day and a medium to low level of water is best. I would never fish the Bubble and fly in water any deeper than 3m, with 1 to 2m been my preferred depths. The water does not need to be fast flowing but the ripple or wave on the surface is an important factor. A dull day is always better than a bright sunny one but in Sunny weather early morning and late evening can be very good times to fish the bubble and fly. My preference would be the late evening. One of the nice things about Bubble and fly is that even in unfamiliar territory one can be successful. You can quite easily cast all the way across the river and cover all the water. A slow retrieve is all that’s needed but the fly Must “work” in the water. To cast a fly out and let it hang dead in the water been carried by the current is useless. I like to twitch my rod tip as I retrieve thus giving a pulsating action to the fly, some anglers raise and lower the rod tip as they retrieve. Do whatever you feels is giving “Life” to the fly. When a fish takes it is best not to make any big strikes. Normally the fish will leave its Lie, turn on the fly and return to its lie. While the fish is turning and heading back down, all that is necessary is for the angler to tighten into the fish. In a lot of cases the fish is hooked before the angler realises anything is happening at all.  On other occasions the fish may come for the fly several times before been hooked. If this does happen to you, try different sizes of flies or try resting the fish for a little while. I’ve often turned a fish early in the day and went back later in the evening and caught it. Remember when playing a fish that it will most likely be lightly hooked, you are using fine line and there is a bubble and another fly trailing about after the fish as it runs, try to move the fish away from areas with rocks and bushes if possible. To avoid loosing fish change the Leader regularly as it can become weak at the knots or kinked where the droppers twist around the main line. I’m sure there’s lots I’ve missed and I’m also very sure there’s many out there who could add lots to this. We have come a long way from the 18lb maxima though and the Bubble and fly is “simple”.

River Moy Updates

Friday 29/11/2019 Fisheries on The Moy part 3 The Lower Moy

A bright cold morning in Foxford. Still good numbers of fish running the tributaries and good numbers through the main channel. This weeks article covers the Lower part of the river including the Moy Fisheries, Ridge and Cathedral pools. Next week we will do a piece on a very popular method on The Moy, “The Bubble and Fly”.

Lower Moy

A lot of the early season fishing is better on the upper parts of the river. The Lower part of the river comes into its own from about June onward and very often the last months of the season can be the best period for the fisheries downstream

Mount Falcon

Mount falcon

Mount Falcon: In former years the Hotel and fishing were owned and managed by the late Mrs. Aldridge. With the assistance of some very notable anglers and Guides, Mrs. Aldridge ran a remarkable show with anglers returning year after year to stay and fish at Mount Falcon. The guides, each characteristically different and outstanding in their own fields played a huge part in the experience. In recent years the Hotel has been modernaised and the Fishing is reserved for the use of guests staying in Mount falcon hotel or one of their lodges. The fishery consists of approx. 3km of double bank with a variety of fishing.   The fishery is run on a 2 beat system, each beat is 1.5km long and accommodates 6 anglers. The lower beat is mainly spinning and bait water while the upper beat contains some fly water, 2 notable pools being the Wall Pool and Connor’s Gap. The Fishery is well served with car parking facilities. While on the river the guests are ferried from pool to pool by fishery manager or the resident Ghillie.

For more information contact Fishery Manager, Stuart Price, Email: fisheries@mountfalcon.com Tel: 00353(0)9674472, Mobile: 00353(0)872831776


Ballina Salmon Anglers: Downstream of Mount falcon is the Ballina Salmon angler’s association waters. As the name suggests this fishery is controlled by the Ballina salmon anglers. The Ballina Salmon Anglers Association water stretches for the best part of 5km, from the confluence with the Corroy River to the weir in Ballina. Although open to all permit holders the area for approx. 150m immediately upstream of the weir on the right bank (On the Left is the Freshwater beat) fishing is mainly the preserve of the Locals where the traditional worm fishing methods are practiced with great skill and effect. Apart from this It is all double bank fishing, which the club leases from the state and the Verscoyle family. In the past few years work has been done to create some fly water in the last 1 km or so before the weir. The rest of the fishery consists mainly of deep, slow flowing water and is suitable for bait and spinner, although the bubble and fly can also be very effective here. The area known locally as the canal is probably the most famous part of the fishery. This 500m section upstream of the weir in Ballina can fish exceptionally well in August and September, It’s also quite a good stretch for Sea Trout. Permits are available on the bank or from local tackle shops.

The Moy Fishery

Freshwater beat: Located just above the weir on the Left bank. This beat has been developed to provide better facilities and access, to about 400m of single bank fishing. It includes access for disabled anglers.

Ridge Pool: Immediately downstream of the weir and old fish traps in Ballina is the Ridge Pool. The Ridge Pool has always been one of the most famous pools in Ireland. Approx. 300m long It extends from the fish traps down to Ham Bridge. In recent years the pool does not seem to perform as well as it did in the past. A lot of theories exist as to why this is. I personally believe that with the modernisation of the fish trapping station, the building of the new foot bridge and other in-stream work carried out in the pool itself, “Damage” has been done. It is still a good pool and in the right conditions it holds lots of fish. Like all the pools on this stretch Low water is ideal. The fish are held in the pools and come up and down on the tide. July and August are normally the best months to fish here. In general the Ridge is a fly only pool except when water levels are high. The marker been “West’s Rock”, if the rock is covered spin and worm are also permitted. during peak season there are two sessions per day, one from sunrise to 2 p.m. and the other from 2 to sunset. Each session takes 5 rods, which must continually move through the pool on a rotating fashion. Since 1999 an additional space, known as the Weir Pool has been added to this beat and it is fished separately from the rest of the Ridge Pool. It can only be booked two days in advance and it operates in the same fashion as the main beat.


Cathedral Pool

Cathedral Pool

The Cathedral Beat: The Cathedral beat, is next to the Ridge Pool. It starts immediately downstream of Ham Bridge and runs for about 250m to the lower bridge. This pool is now as popular as the Ridge Pool and on many occasions out fishes the Ridge. It takes 8 rods, with the sessions lasting from sunrise until 6 pm. After 6, it is reserved for local anglers. The water here is fairly shallow and streamy, making it excellent fly water.



Polnamonagh and Spring Wells: Immediately downstream of the Cathedral beat, Polnamonagh is more suited to bait fishing as the water here is deep and slow. Spring wells is much faster moving (and shallower) which makes it more suited to fly fishing. These sections are not as sought after as the Ridge Pool or Cathedral Beat but you still need to book them in advance. They operate on a single session basis and can be fished from sunrise to sunset. They can accommodate up to 8 rods each per session.


The Ash Tree Pool: The Ash Tree pool is downstream of Ballina town, It runs along the town park just above the confluence of the Brusna (Bunree) River. This pool can fish well in August. A boat and a Ghillie are provided. It can take 2 rods in the boat and 2 from the bank.

The Point: This one is also known as beat 4, and it extends from the confluence of the Brusna River to the end of the Island (about 300 m).  Best known for sea trout fishing from July onward.

One thing to remember is that all these Moy Fishery pools are tidal and therefore fishing times are subject to tide times. It best to check with the Moy fishery office in advance. Booking for all these pools is through the Moy fishery office. Telephone 00 353 96 21332




River Moy Updates

Friday 22/11/2019 Fisheries on the Moy part 2 The Middle Moy

A damp and cool start to the day in Foxford. This weeks article is a little bit on the fisheries on the Middle Moy. On writing this i realise that there’s scope for a lot more detail on each fishery. Limited time just now does not allow for this at the moment. I hope the little bit of Info does help you in some way. I was delighted to see that Fisch and Fang, a top German fishing magazine shared our blog with their 150,000 followers last week, so Thanks to their editor for that. This is a link to a little bit of footage we shot of fish running a tributary of the Moy a couple of weeks ago. We purposely did not share it before now just to give the fish a chance to get up river safely. While visiting a few of these streams It was heartening to see IFI staff were out and about doing their jobs and i can genuinely say that we met them in a few places and they are keeping a good eye on things. Regarding the footage, at the location we shot this the fish filmed are attempting to cross a weir, on the opposite side there is a fish pass and most of the fish run this pass. https://www.facebook.com/tiernanbros.foxford/videos/947832178932892/?eid=ARD0dMA4umpeB1eCSWBfn6Pmt8do2lztB6Js1RgiMBThSJ5mQrUzYsTIgFMGAgnZS_jxoVg7fRpWufJv


The Middle Moy  River Moy

Immediately downstream from Bakers fishery there is a short stretch of water which flows through the town of Foxford and past the woolen mills. Like all parts of the Moy, this stretch has its moments and can fish very well during the summer months. In general the fishing is kept for the locals and we do not sell permit for this part.

The next fishery we encounter is the Foxford fishery. Staring just upstream of Maloneys Lodge, the fishery is managed by Granville Nesbitt and offers private salmon fishing for a maximum of 9 rods along on a 2.5 KM double bank section and a further 12 rods along 1.5 km of single bank. The fishery ends at the start of the Rinnanney fishery on the right bank and Gannons fishery on the left bank.

The Foxford fishery fishes well from March onward and all methods can be used. There are a few very good pools on the fishery including the Nibb which is a well-known spring pool and a place where some of the larger salmon tend to lie, The Poplins, which is one of the better fly pools on the fishery, Gurteen and the Frenchman’s. With two fishing huts, proper styles and well-kept banks The Foxford Fishery is one of the more attractive fisheries on the River Moy. The fishery also offer a Ghillie service. Booking is through Granville Nesbitt on +353 (0)86 803 2350.

For the next few km downstream the fishing on the right and left banks is shared. Starting on the left bank and immediately below the Foxford fishery double bank we have Gannons fishery. Owned and controlled by the Gannon family in Foxford. The fishery consists of approx. 2 km of single bank fishing with a mix of deep channel and some shallower pools. One of the more famous of these pools is at the start of the fishery “Morans rocks”. Morans rocks, a boulder strewn pool is a great pool throughout the season, offering the chance of fish to any method on any day of the season. Without taking the other parts of the fishery into consideration, this pool alone makes it worthwhile. Further downstream from Morans rocks another pool that always offers the chance of a fish is the point. Gannons fishes well from March onwards and can be one of the better fisheries later in the season. Permits are available from Gannons shop and Post office in Foxfrod and Pat Gannon can be contacted on 0862659066

Adjoining the Gannons fishery on the left bank is the Armstrong’s fishery. Operated by the Armstrong family this is a 1.5km stretch of primarily deep channel. Suitable for spin and bait good numbers of salmon are taken here annually. For anyone looking for an easily accessible fishery for spin and bait fishing, Armstrong’s is a good choice. The Armstrong family are friendly and accommodating and always do their best for anglers visiting the fishery

The next fishery downstream of Armstrong’s on the left bank is called “Byrnes”. The fishery is now under the management of Niall Byrne and booking is through Roy Buckley or John Mc Dermot. Approx. 1.5km of channel with depths varying from 1m to 6m. Byrnes is another fishery that at first looks featureless but in fact has a lot of hidden detail. The yellow river pool been one of the better pools especially after a summer flood. Booking through John Mc Dermot on 0876543136 or Roy Buckley on 0876447850


On the right hand bank immediately below the Foxford fishery single bank we have “Rinnanney”. The Rinnanney fishery is the second fishery controlled by Foxford Salmon Anglers. Circa 4.5km in length ending at the confluence of the Moy and Yellow Rivers it consists of primarily deep channel which at a first glance can appear featureless and daunting. However as one gains more knowledge of this piece of water there’s quite a lot going on, submerged boulders, deep channels, sand and gravel banks all create good lies for fish. During the summer months a lot of fish will lie in the deeper pools. Due to the overall depth of the water, steep banks and slow flow this part of the river is not ideal for conventional Fly fishing however bubble and fly can be very productive. Combined with the clubs other fishery “Bakers” it’s a real value for money offering. Four car parks within easy walking distance of the river and an anglers shelter. All legal methods are permitted. Permits are available from our shop


Downstream of these fisheries the fishing is again divided. On the left bank immediately downstream of Byrnes fishery we have Knockmore Salmon angler’s association waters and on the Right bank from the Yellow river we have Attymass anglers. Both clubs share approx. 2 km of water which are divided between upper and lower, with the Coolcronan fishery in the middle. The upper part of both fisheries sharing four named pool, the most famous of which is the Wood pool. The lower parts a further three named pools the best known been Paddens. This part of the river tends to fish better during the summer months and Paddens is well known as a very good pool in the autumn. Spin, worm and prawn are the favored methods but in low water conditions the bubble and fly accounts for good numbers of fish. Both associations have water keepers who sell permits on the bank, permits are also available from some houses close to the river.

The Coolcronan Salmon Fishery offer fishing on Approx 1.5km double bank. Rods are limited and must be booked through the Fishery manager. Over the past number of years a lot of work has been done on the fishery to improve access and generally enhance the angling experience. The fishery offers a Ghillie and boat service. With twelve named Pools Coolcronan fishes well throughout the summer months. All legal methods are permitted and all take fish at various stages. Booking through the fishery manager Nick Cousins on 083 8344114. Below Coolcronan we have the Mount Falcon Fisheries.

                                                                                              “The Rinnanney Bends”






River Moy Updates

Friday 15/11/2019 Fisheries on the Moy Part 1.

A bright cool morning in Foxford. Lots of rain in the past while so water levels are high and fish are getting a good chance to run the smaller tributaries. This weeks article explains a little about the different fisheries on the Moy. We get asked by a lot of anglers about fishing on different parts of the river, where are the various fisheries, what type of fishing are they suitable for, how much do they cost, where do they get permission. I’m going to do this in 3 parts over the next 3 weeks and then I will get back to methods.

 Fisheries on the Moy

The River Moy rises in the Ox Mountains in Co. Sligo, meandering through Foxford and on to Ballina it flows some 64 miles before entering the sea at Killala Bay. The river is divided into 15 different Fisheries each owned or controlled by different individuals or Clubs. Most of these Fisheries let fishing on a daily or weekly basis. Making the decision on which fishery to choose will depend on a few factors, the type or method of fishing preferred, the time of season and of course the weather and water conditions. The following information about the various parts of the river will help in making the correct decision.

To make it simple we will divide the river into 3 parts. (1) The upper Moy which will take in everything upstream of Foxford town. This will also include the Lake River, which is the 1km outflow from Loughs Conn and Cullen.

(2) The middle Moy: From Foxford heading Downstream (North) to Mount Falcon

(3) The Lower Moy: From Mount falcon heading downstream to Ballina and including the famous Moy Fishery, Ridge pool & Cathedral beats.

 As already mentioned the river is divided into several different fisheries and there are many miles of water especially in the upper reaches which I cannot say with certainty just who owns the fishing rights. In reality on a trip from source to sea the first properly managed fishery we encounter is the East Mayo Anglers Association waters  Based in Swinford The Association manages some 14.5KM of double bank fishing on the Moy offering a variety of stretches suitable for bait and fly fishing .One of the better Springtime fisheries on the Moy The Association’s water incorporates some very nice Fly water some of which are “Fly only”.  There’s plenty of water for bait and spin as well but anglers are well advised to be aware that prawn and shrimp are strictly forbidden. One small drawback on this part of the river is that it’s upstream of the Loughs and thus it is in the “Spate” zone and can suffer from a lack of water in good weather.  East Mayo Anglers Association waters is quite a mouthful so most Anglers shorten this title to “East Mayo”. The fishery starts at Cloongulan Bridge on the N.26 between Foxford and Swinford and ends at the Cloongee Fishery. The Association itself is progressive and has done a lot of work on improving parking and access to the fishery. In 2019 they dedicated a very productive stretch of the fishery to disabled anglers and have a wheelchair accessible Platform. Also in 2019 they published a very useful guide to the fishery. The guide is sold locally and also on our website for five euro, all monies received go directly to the association https://themoy.com/product-category/river-moy-specials/easy-mayo-anglers-fishery-guide/. In 2019 the day permit price was €35.00 and are available from our shop. Anglers are not permitted to start fishing before 8am.

 The next fishery we meet is the Cloongee Fishery. Now in state ownership and managed by the Moy Fisheries the Clongee fishery was in former years this was known as “McGowans waters”. Although it was actually owned by others, Mike McGowan a tall strong, friendly man who himself was a very good angler and even better story teller was the water keeper on the fishery.  Mike lived in a cottage close to the fishery and was known to anglers far and wide. He was such a part of the fishery, that The Fishery became known as “McGowans Waters”. Even today some of the older visitors refer to it as such.  The Fishery consists of over 4.5KM of both double and single bank stretches. It is situated 2KM South of Foxford off the N58 Foxford to Castlebar Road. Permits are available from the 1 February with Multiple Day permits available from the 16th April to the end of season. *½ Day permits are available for the period 16 April to 31 July only. [½ Day 6am to 2pm or 2pm to dark] Permits must be purchased before attending to fish and are available from our shop. Overall it is a good fishery which fishes well throughout the season. Part of the reason for this is that part of it is upstream of the joining’s and part downstream. This is a big plus for the fishery when water levels are high. The upper part is shallower and the lower is considerably deeper, which “Holds” a lot of fish throughout the summer months. The fishery has a little bit of water that is suitable for the fly rod but is better known as place where Bubble & fly can work very well especially in the upper parts. One major drawback to the fishery is that on the lower part, from a point known locally as the dead river the banks are not in very god condition and in parts are dangerous. This part of the fishery would certainly benefit from some work to improve access, hint hint. One of the better known pools at the lower end of the fishery “Carraigeen” is shared with Foxford Salmon Anglers. Cloongee having fishing on the right hand bank and F.S.A the Left bank. In general this does not cause any major problems with anglers using etiquette while fishing opposite each other.

Continuing downstream from Cloongee we meet the first fishery managed by Foxford Salmon Anglers “Bakers”.  Baker’s fishery is named after the former owner “Mr. Baker”. The fishery is now in state ownership and is leased to the Foxford salmon anglers association (F.S.A) F.S.A is the local salmon angling club in Foxford which was founded sometime  in the 1950s.  The fishery consist of approx. 1.5km of double bank fishing extending North from the end of the Cloongee fishery to 400m south of the Bridge in Foxford. This also includes a short stretch called Leckee which some years ago was a separate fishery. With the exception of a 200m stretch upstream of Foxford at a place known locally as Culass and the pool already mentioned in the Cloongee piece “Carigeen” the fishery comprises relatively deep channel.  It is primarily suitable for bait and spin fishing and the association do permit prawn and Shrimp fishing. Some of the better known pools are “Jossie’s”, “Johny Henrys”, “The Alders”, “The Fly pool” and “Carraigeen”. Baker’s fishes well throughout the season with Carraigeen been one of the better spring pools. Josie’s is another pool well worth a try from March on. Other parts of the fishery are worth trying but due to backside vegetation fishing can be difficult. Ongoing work to improve angling is continuing. Access to Bakers is from lane ways of the main street in Foxford or from the association’s car park on the left bank approx. 1 km upstream of Foxford.  Over the past few seasons F.S.A have operated a policy whereby anglers who purchase a permit for the Rinnanney fishery can fish the Bakers Fishery and vice a versa which makes their fishing good value for money. Day permits in 2019 were €20.00 and available from our shop.


To summarise: East Mayo is upstream of Foxford. A good spring Fishery with some beautiful fly water. Not ideal in low water conditions. Good parking and access.  https://www.eastmayoanglers.com/

Cloongee:  Is upstream of Foxford. Another good spring Fishery which also has the benefit of having some deeper holding pools. All methods work at various times and water levels. Top methods are bubble and fly and spinning. Access to the upper end is reasonable but the banks are difficult on the lower end.

A group of anglers in Foxford, year unknown.

F.S.A Bakers Fishery: Also upstream of Foxford. Some well-known pools with deep holding water. Fishes well from March onward.  Top methods are Spin, worm and Prawn. Very reasonably priced. http://www.foxfordsalmonanglers.com/

River Moy Updates

Friday 08/11/2019 Prawn & Shrimp

I was chatting with my daughter Irene last week “My dads a blogger” followed by roars of laughter “Oh Daddy I’ve started a few of these things as well” more roars of laughter, hmm. A beautiful morning in Foxford, slight touch of frost last night and sun shining at the moment. P.J and I  were out earlier in the week having a look at a few of the Moy tributaries. Very happy to say we saw good numbers of fish running, we will post a few video clips on facebook over the next while. This weeks blog is a little bit about Prawn and shrimp. Next week we will start to look at the fisheries on the Moy.

Prawn fishing: Sometimes controversial often  mysticised and definitely the victim of its own success the prawn has its place in the arsenal of any successful Salmon angler. Some of you are now smiling and some are growling and that is exactly how it is, different opinions. Its human nature, we disagree on certain things, argue, fight, criticise, condemn and generally go out of our way to prove our own side of the argument, prove that “I” am right. Yes we can do this and we will always find evidence and points that prove our side of the argument. I’m not here to referee or say what’s right or wrong.

My first experience of Shrimp or Prawn fishing was in the 1970s. Of course it has been practiced for a lot longer but it was during the 70s that it appeared on the Moy. Who the first angler to introduce it was is debatable, I’ve heard a few names. I can say with certainty that by the early 80s there was a handful of very successful anglers using it catching lots of Salmon throughout the season on the Moy. Back then Salmon were Valuable for different reasons than Salmon are valuable today. Money and employment were scarce, people did not have a lot and the value was a “Monetary” value. At that time it was not seen as anything wrong to go fishing catch and kill as many fish as possible and sell them, it was the way of life. Not surprisingly the handful of anglers who had discovered this new wonderful bait were keen to keep it to themselves while the others who were not as successful became jealous. I could tell many funny stories of the attempts to discover the “Secret”, the rumors of scents and potions “witch craft”. Thinking of some of these, I’m actually laughing here while typing (I’ll keep them for the Book). Two sides with different opinions, the argument had begun! This is not the place to go into all the details of the argument for and against the bait but it has gone on for many years. I can summarise my own thoughts and findings easily, the prawn or shrimp is not the problem, the attitude of the angler using it is.

Time has moved on and in general attitudes have changed. Money and employment are not as scarce as they once were and times in general are easier. We have developed different attitudes and the values has changed. We now think more of the future of our sport and the survival of the species that we all love. Most of us will now agree that the Anglers who were good with the prawn did not have a magic potion and were in fact very good anglers with more knowledge than others. On a River like the Moy where a great amount of the channel is not suitable for Fly fishing, with a lot of deep holes and little flow on a lot of occasions the prawn is the only bait that will offer hope of success. If using a single hook fish can be easily unhooked and released if desired. For anyone who has tried the prawn I would say that in a very short time they discovered that the fish were not going to suddenly surrender. There’s quite a bit to get right before you will see positive results

The Bait:  As anglers we generally refer to prawns as the guys with a sharp spike or horn on their heads, found in rock pools. Shrimps are the flat head versions normally found in sand. Beyond that I don’t actually know much about them as species. To the human eye there is relatively little difference in what we call prawn or shrimp. The fish it seems can differentiate and will at times favor one over the other. This is particularly noticeable towards the end of the season when they will very often take a shrimp and ignore a prawn.


Colour: When caught fresh in the ocean prawns are translucent. After boiling them for a few minutes they turn a bright orange colour, known in angling circles as “Naturals”. Just who decided to dye them different colours I don’t know either but it certainly seems effective. Purple is the most popular colour but Red, Pink, and Green all work well. Sometimes a combination of colours are used in a “cocktail”

Single or cocktail: The single prawn is normally enough to take a fish however some of the better prawn anglers will often use a cocktail. The cocktail is made up of a single Purple or Red prawn combined with a slightly smaller prawn of a different colour. Known as a pointer this smaller prawn is placed on the Point of the hook. Popular combinations are Purple and natural, Red and Green, Purple and pink.

The set up: Similar to worm fishing it is possible to fish with or without a float. On the Moy using the float is by far the most popular method. The overall set up is similar to that for worm fishing, there are a few little differences. We start the set up by putting a stopper or stop knot on our main line. This stopper is movable and can be adjusted to suit different depths of water. After we have put on a stopper we slide a small plastic bead onto the line, normally an 8mm plastic bead is ideal. Make sure that the stop knot cannot slip through the hole in the bead and that the bead itself cannot slide through the hole in the float. Next we put on our float. This is the first difference. When worm fishing the float is normally large and buoyant. For Prawn fishing we need to Fine things down a bit. The take and strike are fast and instant. Normally the float just disappears below the surface for a moment, during this moment the angler must strike. Readiness is key. The line from the rod tip to the float should be straight and tight, no slack line or big bellies of line lying on the surface. A lot of anglers use a line that floats or will grease their line to make it float. The reason for doing this is to reduce surface tension on the line so it lifts of the water easier for a quick strike. A cigar shaped float loaded using the appropriate weight so that it takes very little pressure to pull it under is used, the least resistance the fish feels when taking the better. Place another bead under the float and then tie on a swivel. Again nothing to large or bulky about a size 10 barrel swivel is fine. To the other end of this swivel we add approx. 20cm of monofilament onto which we slide our weight and under the weight a rubber buffer bead. Next we attach another swivel of the same size. To the other end of this swivel we attach a further 30cm of Monofilament at the end of which we attach our hook. Hook choice is a personal thing, some anglers choose to use a treble hook, normally size 8 or 10 and a straight mount known as a prawn pin which can slide on the line. This Prawn pin is passed through the prawn to straighten it before one of the hooks of the treble hook is inserted into the chin of the prawn. More accomplished Prawn anglers use a single hook which they thread the prawn onto, starting at the tail so that when mounted it hangs head down on the hook, a pointer can then be placed on the exposed hook tip. There’s a wide variety of suitable hooks on the market. A straight shank and wide gape are important. This is a link to some of the most popular models, https://themoy.com/product-category/river-moy-specials/prawn-shrimp-fishing/ The stopper should now be set at a depth which is approx. 15cm less than the depth of the water where we plan to fish e.g. water is 2m deep set stop knot 1.85m. This will allow our prawn to hang close to the bottom of the river but not touching it. Our float will be “Cocked” standing straight on the surface.

From here on we are ready to fish. As I mentioned earlier the prawn is an effective bait but only if fished correctly. The anglers who are good with it have intimate knowledge of the waters they fish. This knowledge is the critical factor that makes all the difference between success and failure. If you ever have the opportunity to watch a good prawn angler you will notice that they change depths to suit exactly where they fish. As they move from pool to pool they will adjust to suit. The really good ones have such knowledge that they can fish a pool with an uneven bottom and will know exactly when and where to raise their rod or hold back their prawn to rise it above an obstruction. It takes time to learn these things so don’t expect instant success. My advice would be to start with a few pools and move between them. (Normally and this is especially true with fresh fish that have arrived into a pool, if a fish is going to take a prawn it will do so in the first few casts over it) Spend a half an hour fishing one pool and move to another. Spend time figuring out the depths, where the obstructions are and where exactly the fish are lying. Concentrate and think about what you are doing, try different angles and control the speed you bait moves at. Look away for two seconds and i guarantee that’s when the fish will take, as you look back your float will just be re surfacing. We have all been there 🙂

River Moy Updates

01/11/2019 Spinning



An unusually mild hazy morning in Foxford, wind promised later. I’m a member of a little fishing club here in Foxford, in the closed season we try to keep doing something. Last weekend we went Beach angling and while we did not catch a lot we all had an enjoyable afternoon in a beautiful place. Just something different, we often overlook whats on our doorstep. This weeks blog is a little bit on spinning, its nothing major but I hope you can take something from it. Next Friday I will do a bit on what is probably the most controversial Salmon bait ever “The Prawn”

Spinning: At some stage of their life most anglers have tried spinning. Again it is often mistakenly considered a thoughtless or simple method. To be successful with the spinner the angler needs to employ a level of skill, knowledge and thought. If I was to pick one characteristic of a successful angler using any method I would say it’s thought. The angler who thinks is the angler who will be successful. Yes it’s nice to go fishing and just switch of, forget your worries for a while. I do know and i fully agree with the sentiment that there’s a lot more to fishing than catching fish. I often do it myself, just head to the river with the rod. Perhaps stand up chatting to another angler for a while and then have a few casts. It’s nice but it’s not exactly the most productive way to fish.  No, the angler that catches fish, Thinks. I can hear a few of you already asking what do you need to think about in order to chuck a lump of metal across that river and wind it back?  Of course we have all met the guy who pulled an old nameless spinner from a rusty tin had 3 casts and caught 3 salmon. Yes, I would say he was Lucky not necessarily good. There’s actually quite a bit to be taken into consideration if you want to take it seriously and get it right. Water conditions including height, clarity, temperature, speed and depth. Light, wind, Time of season, location, and target species, choice of type and colour of spinner, there’s a whole list of things. To go through all these factors and the different scenarios would require a chapter in a book as opposed to a few lines in a winter time blog but we will look at a few basic thing’s that should be considered.

Whether it’s a naturally deep pool or you are fishing in a big flood you will need to get the spinner down in the water. Most Salmon are lying close to the bottom of the river. Yes they will come up for a bait and will move to attack a bait but in most cases we need to bring our bait pretty close to them to get a reaction. This is especially true early in the season when we are after Springers. A Toby spoon that fishes at a depth of 1m is not going to be a lot of use in a pool that’s 3m deep. The same Toby can be deadly in slightly shallower water especially if it’s fast flowing and the current works the spoon vigorously. A great spoon when fished in the summer months. I remember one sunny day while guiding an English man we saw a grilse turn a few times in a shallow run. He tried the fish several times with a flying c. without reaction. I had an old 12 gram copper Toby in my box which i shined up with some silt. I put it on for him and standing on the top bank i could see it swim erratically across the river. After a few casts suddenly the fish darted after it. I believe it was the glinting erratic action that sparked this attack. In the next few hours he took four grilse from that streamy run. I don’t believe the flying c would have had the same effect.

In the deeper water and early season, Low and slow is the way to go. I always say that if you are not getting stuck occasionally you are not fishing correctly (and not just because I sell tackle 🙂 ). Years ago it was difficult to get a spoon that fished well in the deeper parts of the river. The choice was not great, Swinford spoons either Large or Medium size. The Large was used in spring and the Medium in summer, the effezett Spoon, the Toby, the salar, the Devon Minnow, Rapala and Mepps were about what was available. They had to be wound slower to get the depth and they lost action due to the reduced speed. Certain parts of the river became known as spots that were good for spinning. This was due to the depth of the water and speed of the flow. Around the mid-80s the Flying Condom made its first appearance or should I say became known. A certain few anglers had known for many years previously about these baits but and guarded their secret well. I have a good idea of who eventually “Popularised” the Flying C on the Moy and he himself told me the story of how it got its name but again the story is enough for a chapter.

We can say for sure that it has its origins in Brittany where it was known as “La Quimperloise”. Named after a famous region for salmon fishing.  It wasn’t christened the Flying Condom until it arrived in Ireland, it certainly didn’t get that name on the Tweed. It has become the standard spinner for Salmon anglers and there’s probably a few reasons for this. It certainly is effective. It arrived at a time when other spoons, spinners, minnows and whatever were pretty expensive. I can remember when a Swinford spoon cost almost five pound and a Rapala was costing almost seven pound, a lot of years ago!  The flying C was cheaper and hit a price point that combined with its effectiveness made it an overnight success. Anglers took to using it and the more that used it the more fish were taken on it, the more popular it became and the demand soared. So much so that in the mid-80s I recall one September when Black been the popular colour, could not be got as the supply of black rubber ran out. We started using black permanent markers to change our supplies of red flying Cs to black. Over the years the Flying C has taken over completely. It has become difficult to find suppliers of spoons and other spinners. The range of weights and colours available has increased significantly and we have a few very trusted brand names. On the Moy two brands rule supreme Ian’s spinners https://themoy.com/product/ians-spinners/ for the “Original” flying C and “Rolla” https://themoy.com/product/silver-bullet/for the silver bullet which itself is an evolution of the original. Most of us have a mixed selection of these baits in our boxes.

With the range of weights and colour combinations now available it is very easy to find a bait that will satisfy our need in all situations. For the critical factor of getting down to the fish at various levels we have at least 4 different weights to choose from. In deep or high water we can choose a 22gram which is a pretty heavy bait, as the water levels get lower or when fishing shallower pools it’s easy to change to a lighter bait and still achieve this without constantly getting stuck in the bottom. In the last few years the popularity of Mini lightweight Flying c like the Rolla 6G has exploded, anglers use them in very low water conditions and they are also excellent for trout. Another advantage of the flying c is that because of the colour combinations available we can easily make choices that fulfill our requirements for success in a variety of conditions. For a start we have 3 main blade choices, Silver, Copper and Gold. Silver been very effective for fresh run fish and in dirty water, Gold seems to work well later in the season and in clear water while copper is effective in peat stained water and during sunny periods. If we combine these blade choices with the colours available in the rubber tails we will cover a lot of scenarios. Although Purple and Green are highly effective, Black, red, yellow and pink seem to be the most effective colours. We laughed at Pink when we first saw it but it is now the new Black and accounts for more fish in any year than any other Flying c.

I’ve often been asked if i had to pick one Flying C what would it be? Well if i had to pick just one it would be a Pink and Silver 16 gram. However if I had to pick one and stick with it and wanted to be successful I would have to be creative and “Think”. I would have to think about when,where and how to use it. This brings me back to where I started, anglers have been successful for many decades using different baits and methods. The choices available in the variety of our modern Flying Cs make it easier for us. The only thing we need to do for success is think, but remember the 12 gram Toby?  Sometimes it’s good to Think outside the box 🙂

River Moy Updates