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Challenging conditions on Lough Sheelin

August 2nd, 2017 | by

Lough Sheelin on the 29th of July

Lough Sheelin on the 29th of July

Lough Sheelin Angling Report (24th-30th July 2017) by Brenda Montgomery, Inland Fisheries Ireland


‘We need to sit on the rim of the well of darkness and fish for fallen light with patience’ – Pablo Neruda

There’s an old saying which goes: “If there is enough blue in the sky in the morning to make a pair of sailor’s trousers then it will be a sunny afternoon” – well, for the past week, the sailor would have had to have done without his trousers as each day was marked with heavy overcast skies and thundery downpours.

This unsettled weather is all down to an air mass stuck somewhere over the Atlantic, a stubborn ridge of low pressure which brought with it plenty of showers and difficult winds, a poor spell of ‘high summer’ weather which in turn was reflected on Sheelin with tricky and challenging fishing.

Typically, this was the week which I decided to take off as annual leave with enthusiastic plans to fish Ireland’s angling jewel myself, independently armed with my own ‘hands on’ knowledge to write this report. While I can give a painfully detailed account of the weather,  the same cannot be said of actually landing a trout.

Weather has always had a big bearing on how this lake fishes and in particular wind directions, strengths and frequency of changes. The lake at the moment is discoloured, a combination of the warm weather, previous lack of rain and a regurgitation of Sheelin’s eutrophic past and some of its present.

Since the early 1970’s Lough Sheelin has had and still has a problem with excessive nutrient loading. Science as defined by the Collins dictionary is ‘the study of natural things and the knowledge that we obtain from them’ and there has been a huge amount of study done here, both within the Sheelin catchment and on the lake itself, providing us with invaluable information. However, it must be also remembered that useful as it is, science cannot put a value on anything, only we as caretakers of this unique stretch of water can.

On a more positive note, cooler temperatures and more rain will inevitably clear the waters and return clarity here.

Giovanni Marenghi London with his magnificent 60cm trout

Giovanni Marenghi London with his magnificent 60cm trout


A 57cm trout from Lough Sheelin Guiding Services

Day time fishing was still all about fishing the wets and on the blind and it was the Silver Invicta, Pearly Invicta, Mallard & Claret, Dunkeld, Raymond, Dabblers (Silver, Peter Ross and Claret) and the Bumbles that achieved the highest successes. The Silver Invicta is very much a staple on Sheelin and has proved itself consistently down through the years.

This trout fly is great all year but best in late summer to autumn. Designed long ago by James Ogden, it is a complex pattern that has lived on because of its effectiveness. The pattern suggests insects and really resembles caddis and also small fry. It is a great pattern to use during a sedge fly rise, probably imitating a hatching caddis or returning egg-laying female caddis that descends beneath the water.

The trout are still latched on to the fry – this and the discoloured water meant that a good choice of fly was something with a bit of bling or glitter in it, perhaps silver wound into the body. On failing with this, avoiding those areas where the shoals predominated would be perhaps the best plan of action. Generally smaller fish were being caught in the shallows while the 3lb plus weights were in the deeper cooler areas.

Perch Fry - Kilnahard Harbour Lough Sheelin July 29th

Perch Fry – Kilnahard Harbour, Lough Sheelin , 29th of July


Gary McKiernan with a midnight fish


Lough Sheelin’s female Murrough – The Great Red Sedge

Ken Reilly from Navan with his Sheelin fish

Ken Reilly from Navan with his Sheelin fish


The unreal and the real - Lough Sheelin's Green Peter Sedge

The unreal and the real – Lough Sheelin’s Green Peter Sedge

While there was some day time fishing and five or six boats ventured out on the lake on most days during those office hours, the bulk of Sheelin’s fishing successes were in that last half hour before dark and into the night and for this we are talking predominantly about the sedges/caddis or Trichoptera.

The Americans refer to it as the ‘blue hour’, that time when the light dwindles, fading into darkness, from 11pm past midnight and into the early hours of the morning, when the water comes alive with sedges. Lough Sheelin’s blue hour was from 11 to 12pm and on those nights when conditions were right (i.e. the weather was behaving itself – a slight wind, good cloud cover and heat), there were good hatches of Peters particularly around Lynch’s point and colossal numbers of a vast variety of sedges on the wing on the outside of Chambers Bay – the most easily identifiable being the longhorn (Oecetis ochracea) and the Grousewing.  There was also good evidence of Murrough around Lynch’s Point, Derrahorn, Goreport and Bog Bay.

While there was no shortage of sedges, the same could not be said of the trout who showed a consistent disinterest in the nocturnal surface activity. Continuous blustery conditions effectively killed off any potential rises.  There were nights when there were good rises of trout but the window of opportunity was small, usually lasting at a stretch of 30 minutes. As one angler put it to me, it was as if the fish were all texting each other not to rise when an artificial was cast on to the water but this could be paranoia taking over! Although the trout could be targeting the adult sedges, they could also be homing in on ascending pupae so selecting a scruffy busy looking fly pattern which sits high on the water is a good plan as besides possessing appeal to the forging trout, their surface area holds them in the zone for longer.

Green Peters

Green Peters

Along with the sedges, there were reasonably good buzzer hatches particularly in Chambers Bay, along Orangefield and into the Sailor’s Garden. Best artificial were small black Buzzer patterns, CDC Emergers and Stimulators, fished static or very slowly usually on an intermediate line.

There was evidence of bloodworm around Corru, Goreport, Bog Bay and Sailors Garden with the trout mopping them up in the late afternoon. Bloodworm fishing requires precision and the important thing about fishing these larvae is to cast the imitation directly in front of the line of feeding, using a bloodworm pattern on a floating line.  Angler Mick Kelly ties the best Sheelin bloodworm pattern so if you talk nicely to him, he might part with one.

It’s all about the night – Carlo Negri from London with his 51cm fish

Red Arsed Green Peter - Kevin Sheridan

Red Arsed Green Peter – Kevin Sheridan

Ned Clinton with a fine Sheelin trout

Ned Clinton with a fine Sheelin trout

Brown Sedge - Kevin Sheridan

The shine of gold - a beautiful night time catch by Michael Farrell - Lough Sheelin Guide

The shine of gold – a beautiful night time catch by Michael Farrell – Lough Sheelin Guide

Fiery Sedge - Kevin Sheridan

A 55cm trout from Lough Sheelin Guiding Services

A 55cm trout from Lough Sheelin Guiding Services

Lough Sheelin tying its anglers into knots with its Rustic Shoulder-Knot Moth

Lough Sheelin tying its anglers into knots with its Rustic Shoulder-Knot Moth

The Siler Invicta - an excellent day time fly for Sheelin

The Siler Invicta – an excellent day time fly for Sheelin

A Daddy Brown

A Daddy Brown

Gary McKiernan with his evening trout

Gary McKiernan with his evening trout

An emeging sedge Klinkhammer

An emerging sedge Klinkhammer

Sheelin's Small Magpie Moth

Sheelin’s Small Magpie Moth

A trout caught on the 'humble bumble'

A trout caught on the ‘humble bumble’

The flies most used this week by anglers were the Murrough, the Green Peter, a Small Brown Sedge (12-14 or smaller), Stimulators, Klinkhammers, Gorgeous George, Yellow Humpies, the Fiery Brown Sedge, the Chocolate Drop, hoppers, the Hare’s Ear Sedge, CDC Emergers, the Alexandra, the red-tailed Green Peter, the Sedge Invicta, the Pearly Invicta, the Mallard & Claret, G&H Sedge,  the Black Pennel, the Claret Pennel, a variety of Bumbles and the Silver Invicta.

The best areas for fishing on the lake this week were Lynch’s pt (good for Murrough) , Chambers Bay, the middle of the lake, Ross Bay round to Derrahorn.

Lough Sheelin could be the definition of challenging at the moment, there is no set pattern or sequence to successful days, each day or even hour is different – a blank evening on a perfect fishing Tuesday could be contradicted by excellent fishing on a wet ‘dirty’ Wednesday. There are no rules and, in a way this is where the appeal lies for this lake, that and of course the chance that you could be rewarded with a Sheelin heavy weight.


The McDonnell cup will be held on Saturday August 12th from 11am until 6pm from Kilnahard pier. This competition has been fished catch & release for the past five years, which proves to be very successful. Measures will be provided for all boats with the cup awarded to the longest fish. The competition is open to members of the club only, but membership is available on the day. There will be lots of prizes on offer and this day is generally viewed as a great day out.

For further details contact Thomas Lynch on T: 087 9132033.

The McIntyre/Guider Cup will be fished in September (date to be decided).

The LSTPA Stream Rehabilitation Competition will be held on Sunday October 1st (details later)

Please remember anglers to abide by BYE-LAW 949 which strictly prohibits from June 14th 2017 onwards:

  • The taking of any brown trout of less than 36 centimetres.
  • For a person to fish with more than 2 rods at any one time.
  • To fish with more than 4 rods at any one time when there is more than one person on board the boat concerned.
  • For a person to take more than 2 trout per day.
  • All trolling on the lake from March 1st to June 16th (inclusive).
  • To fish or to attempt to take or to fish for, fish of any kind other than during the period from March 1st to October 12th in any year.

 Important Contacts:

Lough Sheelin Guiding Services

W: www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com

T: 087 1245927

Christopher Defillon 

F: https://m.facebook.com/christopher.defillon?refid=0&fref=seaperch#

E: evasionpecheirlande@gmail.com

T:  T: +33685964369

Grey Duster Guiding

Kenneth O’Keeffe

E: trout@live.ie T: 086 8984172

John Mulvany

E: johnmulvanyfishing@gmail.com

T: 086 2490076

D.C Angling & Guiding Services

David on T: 087 3946989

Michael Farrell

E: loughsheelinguide@hotmail.com

T: 087 4194156 / +353 43 6681298


A catch & release policy is actively encouraged on the lake at all times (#CPRsavesfish)

Catch and Release on Lough Sheelin

Please remember all anglers are required to have a Fishery Permit to fish Lough Sheelin which must be purchased BEFORE going out on the lake.


The heaviest fish over the past three weeks was a 6 ½ lb fish caught on a Bloodworm pattern in Corru by Welsh angler

Total number of trout recorded : 23

 Selection of Catches:

Dara Murtagh, Cavan – 1 trout at 4lbs using a Leggy Sedge on Saturday, 29th of July.

Peter Donoghue – 2 trout at 2 and 3lbs using Sedge patterns.

Ken Reilly, Navan – 1 trout at over 3lbs.

Pat Brady, Cavan – 2 trout at 1½ and 2 lbs using Silver Invictas and Silver Dabblers.

Thomas Lynch, Cavan – 1 trout averaged at 3lbs on a Sedge pattern

Giovanni Marenghi, London – fishing with Lough Sheelin Guiding, a 60cm trout caught on a Sedge pattern.

Pat Bannon, Cavan – 2 trout averaging 2 -3 lbs using Murrough and Green Peter patterns.

Lough Sheelin - a moody, magical and irrestible stretch of fishing water

Lough Sheelin – a moody, magical and irrestible stretch of fishing water

This post is in: Lough Sheelin, Trout fishing reports