Lough Carra has an area of 4,000 acres. It is approximately 6 miles long and varies in width from 400 yards to 1 mile. It lies to the north-east of Lough Mask and is often overshadowed by it, but Carra is a great brown-trout lough in its own right. The average size of the wild trout is greater than in any of the other great western loughs and it once produced an 18 lb trout. Anglers believe it still holds trout into double figures and the best chance of taking one is during the mayfly season.
It is heavily fished and the Fisheries Board augments the wild stock with several thousand adult brown trout annually to maintain attractive and lively fishing. The water is crystal-clear, much of it over a white marl bottom, and it is one of those places where the trout can be clearly seen swimming up to take the fly. Public access to the lough is good and the chief access points are Brownstown, Moorehall and Castleburke.
There are good hatches of duckfly from late March and lake olives appear in April. The best fly patterns at this time are Fiery Brown, Peter Ross, Red Arrow, Sooty and Blae Olive, Connemara Black, Bibio, Watson’s Fancy and Greenwell’s Glory. The lough gets a wonderful mayfly hatch all over and this is one of its great attractions. The hatch begins about 25 April, peaks by 12 May and tapers off by the end of May. The trout will take most Green Drake patterns, but it is the superb Spent-Gnat dry-fly fishing that is the chief attraction and brings up the very best trout. In warm, balmy weather, the fly wait until about 7.30 pm before returning to the water, but in cold weather they will often go out during the day and the patient angler will be well rewarded.
The principal fly hatches in June and July are lake olives, claret duns, murroughs, silverhorn sedges and various other small sedges. During August and September, the lake olives, murroughs and small sedges are all plentiful and the most successful artificial fly patterns are Daddy, Claret Murrough, Invicta, Bibio, Sooty Olive, Silver Invicta, Dunkeld and Watson’s Fancy. The nearest towns are Ballinrobe (3 miles). Castlebar (8 miles) and Partry (1 mile).
Excerpts taken from "Trout & Salmon Rivers of Ireland, an angler's guide" by Peter O'Reilly.