Lough Allen is the first of the big lakes on the River Shannon. It is a great, wild lough, 8 miles long by 1.5 miles wide and lies between the Slieve Anierin Mountains to the east and the Arigina Mountains to the west. The water level on the lake is controlled by sluice gates at Ballintra and can flucuate by as much as 5 feet. Drumshanbo is situated at the southern end.
Lough Allen is a mixed fishery; it is noted for its pike fishing and holds many other species besides. What is less known is that there is a good stock of trout averaging 1.5lb with the best known one to have been taken on rod and line weighing in at about 12.5lb in 1998. There is a small mayfly hatch, though it is maintained that the best trout fishing is in April, August and September. The area from Gobcormongan to the mouth of the Stoney river, on the east shore, is a noted area for trout and is often referred to as ‘Murder Mile’ by anglers trolling for Pike because of the number of trout that come to the baits.
The River Shannon is the longest river in Ireland. It rises in the mountains of West Cavan and flow south for 160 miles to the tide at Limerick. The total catchment for the River and its tributaries is approximately 6,060 square miles. for the most part, this is a big sluggish river which connects the great three lakes Allen, Ree and Derg.
Lough Allen has a reputation for housing the most ferocious fighting pike in Europe. In 1902 a man called “Old Harry Mc Veigh” is reputed to have captured the grandfather of them all. He hooked him on a set line but could not land him, so he tackled him up to a large float and watched his travels around the lake for a day before he finally got him. The scales measured a staggering 42lb. The knuckle of the pikes backbone is still in existence and measures some two inches in diameter. The more leisurely angler can put his skills against the big bream, perch and roach also found in Lough Allen.
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