I moved to Kilkenny some seven years ago and one of the big attractions to moving here from the Garden County was for the exceptional river fishing and the sheer variety of rivers only a short drive from where I chose to live. If you haven't spent some time exploring this region and its waters then it a must on your to do list, it boasts lots of small streams and the larger River Nore with miles upon miles of glides and fast water stuffed with quality wild brown trout.
When I visited here as a young angler fishing All Ireland's in Durrow and the like I can remember seeing carpets of Iron Blues on the River Nore and the trout breaking their necks to take them at will. Sense then and now living here it is one of the times of the season that I look forward to most, during a blustery April or May day you can be guaranteed some great action when these blue treats come on the water.
Over the years I have tried and tested many good patterns to imitate this hatch and while some of them have been successful these two dressings stand out the best for me.
I have found that using Heron Herl is the superior material for dressing the body of my Iron Blues, it is a soft material and has a wonderful natural colour that darkens when wet and just the right tone for the trouts trained eye.
I use this fly in the calmer waters and for the fussy trout, it has a Coq de Leon tail, only three fibers though on a size 18 or 20 hook. I then use 8x clear mono to rib the fly and give the body strength; use only two fibers of the herl for the body. The wing is two small CDC feathers and a small thorax of Musk Rat natural dubbing is used to prop up the CDC and finish off the head.
I find this fly will bring fish on the blind and I normally fish it on 7 or 8x tippet with a long progressive tapered leader that I make my self.
This parachute version of the hatch is normally fished in the broken water or on a windy day when the flats have a wave on them. I normally tie it on a size 14 or 16 hook, while the tail is the same as above the tag is tied with holographic red tinsel. I like the holo red over flosses because it dose not darken when wet and stays bright with that little fleck that can catch a trouts eye.
the body is also the same as above dressed with Heron Herl and clear mono. I use an off white para post and some grizzle cock for the hackle, while the thorax is again musk rat natural dubbing. The combination of Heron and Musk Rat is worth experimenting with on your dries and even nymphs I find it lethal for wild trout.
As I have mentioned before if you have some spare time or a desire to explore some new fishing grounds then Kilkenny and its multitude of rivers is well worth the journey, and cost effective as days tickets are widely available for all the different clubs that control the water. If you happen to be here for the hatch of Iron Blues then make sure you have these two dressing with you and you wont go far wrong.
I hope you enjoy tying these patterns and enjoy fishing them even more then I have had. If you would like any of these flies or any other patterns of you choice you can find my contact details on the right side of the blog. Thank you for reading and tight lines.