The SUIR is the second longest river in Ireland and together with its main tributaries it drains a total catchement area of 1,394 square miles. The SUIR rises in the Devil’s Bit Mountain in the County of Tipperary and after meandering through the rich land of The Vale of Honey (Cluain Mala)l it eventually meets it’s sisters, the Barrow and the Nore in Waterford Harbour in the south East of Ireland.
This river is widely acclaimed as Europe's finest dry fly river for wild brown trout, and over many years has been often described by many eminent English, Irish and European angling journalists as “An Anglers' Paradise”. The reasons for the quality of the trout fishing in this river are numerous and anything that a wild fish or a wild animal requires to make a healthy living seems to be present in the Suir.
Flowing mostly over limestone except for a few miles at its source, the Suir has a solid base underfoot of fine gravel which makes it an easy and safe place to fish and is ready made for the fishermen who favours the use of body waders. These clean gravel beds, the rich aquatic and terrestrial vegetation present are a heaven sent for the myriad of larvae’s of insects of all kinds, crustaceans (European crayfish) et small gastropods find among them a generous food supply and a safe shelter. This rich and varied micro-fauna explain easily the quality of the trout fishing available in this river.
official figures obtained during the last survey (3000 small trout of 12cm and
above per hectare and 1 adult trout (2-4 years old) pour 5 cubic metres) of
water are exceptional by any standard and speak volume of the quality of this
fishery. The average size of the trout ranges from ¾ to 2 LB in different areas.
Most of the bigger fish are found on the lower reaches of the Suir where the
deeper and faster waters provides them with a safer haven against the numerous
natural predators which share their wild habitat (herons, otters, minks, eels).
There larger fish which are mainly caught in the
evening during the eagerly awaited “night hatch” which can be during the summer months extremely productive till the early hours of the morning. (Suir Valley Fishery record: 7 ½ pound on a sedge in July 2003) You will find in this Internet Site ,among with many other useful information a month by month description of the main hatches of insects on the Suir and this will help you to fill your fly-boxes with the adequate patterns. This is an important choice,
because it will become increasingly obvious to the visiting angler that the wild brown trout which populate the Suir are very selective indeed and are not easily fooled.
Some of the Suir’ tributaries like the Anner also produce superb trout angling as long as the water
level doesn’t fall too low but most of the smaller affluent like the Tar, the Nire and the Aherlow, being mostly feeder streams and nurseries for the small trout an the developing young salmons only fish correctly in early spring and for a while after a flood. When the water levels fall too low most of the young and adult trout seek refuge in the main river where the near-perfect environment and the enormous reserve of food greatly improve theirs chances of survival.
Unlike the neighbouring rivers, the Blackwater, the Nore and the Barrow no coarse fish and predatory fish like pike, perch, zander etc. can be found in the Suir. This unique fact in the big limestone rivers of the South of Ireland is another reason explaining the incredible density of trout present in the Suir.The
flow in the Suir is characterised by deep and shallow glides interrupted by shallow riffles. Its width increases as it proceeds downstream and the sequence of relatively shallow glide and riffle is maintained. This is ideal country for fly fishing for trout and salmon. There are occasional stony runs and some deep pools. It flows through rich farmland and it is well sheltered by waterside trees. The banks are rush-grown in many places. Wading is generally easy and
there is plenty of cover but the trees seldom interfere with angling. Despite the fact that the “larder” is always full, the trout are nevertheless often very active on the surface or just under the surface from May to September allowing the angler to use a various number of different techniques to try to lure his quarry (dry-fly, nymph and wet-fly fishing). Put aside the massive hatches of large sedges at dusk from June on, it is recommended to fish most of the time with small to very small flies (hook sizes 16/18/20) and with very light and long tippets ( 2-3 LB maximum during day fishing, up to 4lb for night fishing) The main flies during the fishing season are various olives, iron-blues, alders, reed smuts, midges, caenis, hawthorn, pale wateries, sedges and murroughs. (See the section “Trout Flies” for further information). On the Suir, the best period for trout fishing is from early May to the end of September with June, July and August being my favourite months.
Despite the impressive density of wild brown trout present in the river, the Suir is not a easy river to master. It is the definite river for “the true fisherman” who always privileged the quality of the challenge to the quantity of the catch.
On this superb river, experience prove that the results obtained by the angler are nearly always proportional to the efficiency of his technique. And this is definitely a reassuring fact at a time where, sadly, most of our once pristine European rivers are regularly stocked with hand reared fish which provide a very poor sport indeed… If the Suir is without any doubt Ireland’s premier brown trout fisheries, it is curiously less well-known as a Salmon Fishery, despite the fact that each year, it is in this river that the largest Irish salmon are invariably caught. The Suir has even the distinction of producing Ireland's record rod-caught salmon. It weighed 57lbs and was taken on a fly by Michael Maher in 1874. If such monsters are not caught any more in the river Suir and any other European rivers for that matter, it is a known fact that to be with a reasonable chance to some salmon on the Suir it is of paramount importance to get access to the lower reaches of this river. The best of the salmon fishing on the River Suir is said to extend downstream from Ardfinnan towards Carrick-on-Suir but in reality most of the prime fishing on the Suir is to be had below the
town of Clonmel. The access of most of the good public beats managed by the local Angling Clubs is rather difficult for the visiting angler and it is a chance for most of them that Suir Valley Fishery has been in a position to secure 5 very productive private beats (15km) on the Lower Suir where we have voluntarily limited the number of rods available at a given period in order to give them the freedom necessary to enjoy to the full the privilege to fish this very rewarding river.