The Bundorragha River is 1-1/2 miles long and drains a catchment of 20 square miles, including the salmon and sea trout loughs – Finlough and Doo Lough – which constitute the renowned Delphi Fishery. The fishery is run from Delphi Lodge, which was completely refurbished in 1989 to cater for anglers.
The Bundorragha River, which flows down from Finlough into Killary Harbour, is a stunningly beautiful fishery, with a backdrop of wild rugged mountain scenery. It drains a completely unspoiled valley that is totally isolated from the modern world. The river has nineteen named pools, some of which were created by the building of stone weirs in the 1860s. These have magnificently withstood the worst winter floods ever since.
This is a prolific little salmon and sea trout fishery with an amazingly long season. A unique feature of the fishery is that you can fish for spring salmon using small flies and floating line right from opening day. The river usually produces the first salmon of the season in the west of Ireland and it is often taken on opening day.
Fish don’t run straight through to the loughs but rest in the pools. The most popular salmon pools on the river are the Turn Pool, Quarry Pool, Rock Pool, Whin Pool and Meadow Pool. Three rods are allowed and it is such a straightforward river that a gillie is not necessary.
The spring fish average 9 lb in weight and run in February, March, April and May. The grilse average 4 lb and run in June and July. A feature of the river is that it gets a small run of very big summer salmon, some of which weigh over 20 lb. The best fish in recent years was 19 lb and was a summer fish.
The fishing is fly-only, from 9 am to 7 pm, with evening permits for residents in the summer. The best salmon flies are Delphi Badger (a deadly 1-inch tube fly), Silver Wilkinson, Wilkinson Shrimp, Hairy Mary, Garry Dog and Silver Rat.
The sea trout run begins in early July and the river is noted mainly for producing finnock rather than the larger sea trout. This is a strange phenomenon because in the records of the Irish Specimen fish Committee the Delphi Fishery rates second in Ireland to Lough Currane for producing large specimen sea trout. It is fly only and there is a 10-inch size limit. Expect to meet a sea trout anywhere, but particularly good pools are the Hut Pool, Waterfall Pool, the pool above the school, Horse Shoe Pool and the Turn Pool where sunk-line tactics work well at night. Small flies work well including Delphi Silver, Teal, Blue and Silver, Silver Doctor, Watson’s Fancy, Kingsmill, Black Pennell, Connemara Black and Silver Invicta.
Excerpts taken from "Trout & Salmon Rivers of Ireland, an angler's guide" by Peter O'Reilly.