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Lough Beltra and the Newport River

“Lovely Lough Beltra! This is truly a lough for all seasons. From opening day on 20th March, with a biting, black, north wind blowing, until the season closes on the last day of September, with the heather turned purple and the leaves beginning to colour, few fisheries have greater potential than Beltra to quicken the pulse of the fly fisherman. It gets a run of spring salmon and they come to the fly from March until June. From June onwards, the grilse begin to appear and with them come the seatrout for which Beltra was famous. Unfortunately, due to a collapse in seatrout stocks in this part of the region over the last number of years, the killing of seatrout is now prohibited by law. Beltra lies 5 miles north-east of Newport and 8 miles north-west of Castlebar. It is 2¼ miles long by 1 mile wide, and an outboard motor is essential to get about. The lough is divided east and west between Glensiland Co-op and Newport House. Flyfishing is the rule and the favourite salmon patterns are Beltra Badger, Silver Doctor, Black Doctor, Quack, Thunder and Lightning, Lemon and Grey, Red Shrimp and Hairy Mary – sizes 8 to 4. For seatrout, the Bibio, Bluebottle, Delphi, Green Peter, Daddy, Butcher, Connemara Black, Black Pennell and Watson’s Fancy work well. The best salmon in recent years weighed 21lb and was taken on a shrimp fly. The best of the spring salmon fishing is all along the east shore and from Clarke’s point northwards to the mouth of the river on the west side. There are ten boats for hire, five on either side. Outboards may be booked in advance on the Glenisland side and outboards and boatmen are included in the charge for the fishing on the Newport House side. Two of the Newport House boats may also fish the east side during the spring. Early in the season, a slow-sinking or sink-tip line is preferred by some anglers and the rod should be powerful enough to control large, fresh, spring salmon. From June onwards, a floating line is in order and dapping can often bring up the best seatrout. There are seven islands, mostly off the south and south-west shores, and it is not really a dangeous water for the angler who is accustomed to fishing a large, wild lough. Beltra is in a lovely setting, surrounded by mountians, rough pastures and small farms. It can make a lasting impression, whether your visit is on a cold spring day or a balmy summer afternoon, and there will be days when you will not have time to admire anything else but the fish.”

Permission, Boat hire etc.

Newport House provides five boats and boatmen, rod and boat hire, changing facilities and their famous picnic basket to be shared by both angler and boatman, usually at Clarkes Point, while the Kelly Kettle is boiling.

It also offers superb accommodation and fishing licences and Peter O’Reilly-tied flies may be purchased at reception.
Newport House, Newport, Co. Mayo.
Tel: (098) 41222
email: info@newporthouse.ie online: www.newporthouse.ie

Glenisland Anglers’ Co-operative, Kilgarve, Glenisland Post Office, Co. Mayo, provides permits and boat hire on the east side of the lough.
Tel: (094) 9021302.