Good morning from a wintry Foxford, well its not actually to bad at the moment. We certainly have seen a change in the weather over last couple of weeks. I mentioned last Friday that we had two named storms in a row, that was soon followed by a third. The river is high and dirty, it will be well into March before its fishable. Its good though, the kelts will get a chance to make their way downstream (aided by a strong flow) and we will have good water levels for the spring fishing. Safe enough to say that St Patricks day will be the start of the fishing season proper on the Moy. By that stage there will be a few fresh fish about and if conditions are suitable a reasonable chance of catching one, something to look forward to. Here a little video clip of the river this morning at 7am, just getting bright so the quality is not great.
Assuming you serviced you reels and tided away your gear last October it’s now just a matter of wiping the dust of and making a start. A new spool of line is always a wise investment to start to the new season. I would always recommend you change your line at least twice during the season. Start with a strong line for Spring fishing and as we get into summer drop down to a lighter breaking strain with a finer diameter. This is a good practice for a number of reasons. Spring fish are strong and will easily break a line that is to light or has become weak from use and exposure to the elements. Water levels are normally higher in the spring and the weather is in general duller so the little bit of extra diameter on the stronger line is not so noticeable and will not put the fish off. In summer though it’s a different story. The water is lower and the weather brighter, we need to fine things down and be a little more delicate in our approach. The fish are also smaller so we can without risk use these lighter lines. For me, the minimum breaking strain in spring is 15lbs (7kg) anything lighter is risky and who wants to take the risk of leaving a hook in a fish.
Where to find a springer on the Moy system
Although there are a few parts of the lower and middle Moy that produce good numbers of spring fish the best of the early season fishing always seems to be from Foxford upstream. Threes a few theories for this but my own thoughts are that as the flow of water from the Loughs is normally big in the spring the fish keep moving fast until they get into the lighter flow upstream of the joining on the Cloongee fishery. If we were to look at catch records, the two fisheries upstream of the joining, Cloongee and East Mayo Anglers would certainly show up as the Spring hot spots. The Gub, Howleys , Ryans, The Long Bank, Coolraw, The Joinings, Caaraigeen are all areas worth trying. Pontoon Bridge and the Ballyvary river are also noted Spring fishing areas.
Baits and methods
As I have said in the past, the successful angler is the angler who is prepared and ready to adapt to conditions. This is no different when searching for a springer. In high, coloured water worm and spin are going to be the best methods. As levels fall and the water clears Fly fishing will come into its own. The main thing to remember is that slow and low is the key to success, you must get the bait to the fish. Search the water for a fish, don’t stand in one spot waiting for the fish to come to you. Use heavier spoons and spinners and larger flies. On the Moy I would not be without a few Flying Cs in the 16 to 22gram range, Silver blades work very well and Black, red and yellow tails seem to be the most effective. Copper and Silver spoons, Tobys, Rapalas and the traditional Blue and Silver or Yellow Belly Devon minnows are also well worth a try. For flies I would always have some combination of Blue, silver, Yellow and Black in sizes 8 or 10, a half inch or 1 inch brass tube or cone head is well worth a try.