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8lb super trout caught and released on Sheelin by Welsh angler

September 28th, 2015 | by

Lough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI September 21st toSeptember 27th 2015

‘Boats are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made’ Robert N. Rose

Lough Sheelin September 2015Lough Sheelin September 2015

Fishing on Sheelin was sluggish and slow during the week particularly in the earlier days when temperatures dropped to an off putting 6 degrees and northerly winds churned the lakes surface, making for uninviting conditions. As the softness of autumn crept in on Friday and over the weekend, the fishing improved and with the help of Saturday’s two competitions – the Guider/McIntyre Cup and the Royal Cup, trout catches climbed up into the respectable mid forties.

This is a lake that is essentially always dependent on the temperamentality of the Irish weather, a southerly breeze in the earlier part of the week brought most of the feeding trout to the Crover shoreline while in the later part and into the weekend, when winds dropped, it was Lynch’s pt. up to Derrysheridan which fished best. Tactically this is a month to change flies often and to treat every fish on merit.

image002‘Happiness is a trout from Sheelin’

PJ Durnin with his 3 ½ lb fish caught on a Green George using a floating line along the Crover shoreline

Wednesday, September 23rd marked the autumn equinox, a time when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal another reminder of the inevitable approach of winter. This date marks an “essential passage in the process of enlightenment that is over overlooked, misunderstood and mistaken as dark and heretical” (The Path of the Spiritual Sun, Belsebub). As if to celebrate this mysterious time of balance between light and dark, Sheelin recorded its heaviest catch in a number of months, an 8lb trout in supreme condition caught and released by Welsh angler Gareth Bowen using a Claret & Silver Dabbler on the top dropper.

As we approach the end of the trout fishing season here on Lough Sheelin there is a noticeable change in the trout, the fishing and indeed the anglers. The trout are restless and anglers report a lot of pitching and splashy acrobatics of fish. The fish are still feeding hard in an attempt to pack as much weight as possible to carry them through the rigors of spawning and to leave themselves enough condition on to last through the remaining winter months. They are agitated and it is difficult to figure out what exactly they are feeding on but they are feeding. Lough Sheelin always carries a huge variety and quantity of food so it is really a guessing game as to what the preferred diet is at this stage.

Lough Sheelin’s future

Lough Sheelin’s future

On Sunday morning last, approaching first light, around 7am, the water was mirror calm with a candy floss mist rising from the surface in a smokey haze, the sky’s pink reflected itself on the surface water so on this great lake everything was bathed in pink with the dark shoreline trees forming a stark contrast. The rise of fish was phenomenal, head and tail vigorous cuts through the surface, continuous like a well rehearsed symphony alternating between soft surface boils, splashy rises and acrobatic pitching. The fish had the place to themselves and they were there in their hundreds reminding us of the fact that although this season catch records have been low, the trout are there and they are doing wonderfully well without us. Reassuringly, anglers over the past weeks have also been reporting large numbers of small trout between 6 – 9” in their hundreds particularly around the mouths of the rivers. All this is good and reassuring news because what we are seeing is Lough Sheelin’s future.

There is a quote by John Gierach which goes ‘if you fish the wrong fly long and hard enough, it will sooner or later become the right fly’ and although it’s hard to get your head around this concept, there is some truth in this statement. Next Saturday the local angling club – the LSTPA will host what some would consider in the angling world as being the grand finale to the fishing season on this lake and that is their Stream Rehabilitation competition. As well as the attraction of some €9000 worth of prizes, this event allows anglers to actually contribute to the well-being of Sheelin as all money goes towards enhancing Lough Sheelin’s incoming rivers by providing better spawning grounds and habitat for its trout. With less than a week to go, the air is somewhat tense as some anglers are already putting in some practice for Saturday’s event.

Last Saturday’s two competitions were seen by some as a kind of a’ warm up’ to October 3rd so although some lovely fish were landed in both these competitions, most anglers were reluctant to divulge what part of the lake fished best and more importantly what their ‘killer flies’ were – no one was giving away any trade secrets at this stage and who could blame them.


Tom McMullan, Dublin with his 50cm trout (fishing with Lough Sheelin Guiding)

From the anglers that would ‘tell’ and who caught some nice fish during the week, the colour claret is still working well. The fish are still feeding on fry so perch fry imitations can be successful and a fly with silver threaded through it to imitate that flash of silver from the perch fry is usually a good plan. The Dabblers are still high on the agenda with a number of trout being recorded using variations of this pattern. The top dropper is the most important fly to the fish so a Silver Invicta, Detached Daddy or Red Tailed Green Peter might be recommended at this stage in the season. Going back to the quote by John Gierach, anything goes if it is used enough and I did notice a vast selection of varying flies being used over the past 7 days with only a vague common ground between them. But remembering angler’s Stevie Munn’s observations in that it is the traditional flies that have always worked best on Sheelin, my advice would be to go for the tried and tested flies that have been used here for the past 50 or so years, we are talking about the Sweeny Todd, all the Dabblers (particularly Claret and Silver), the Peter Ross (on the point, good for when the trout are feeding on the fry), the Claret George, Green George, Klinkhammers, Stimulators, Detached Daddies, Fiery Browns, the strong attractor patterns like the Butcher and Bloody Butcher which are fantastic flies to use when fish are on the fry with their silver bodies and dark wing, the Sooty Olive, the Alexandra and the Dunkeld.

There are also modern patterns that have crept in and done well. The Minkie and the Humungus are used on this lake in the early season but over the past number of years have reappeared at the back end of the season and have been responsible for landing some heavy weights.

The Zulu is a very effective pattern and although not that commonly used on Sheelin can be an excellent fly when fished in a team of flies, on the top dropper.

Over the past few days trout have been coming to the Daddy Long Legs so depending on the day, dapping the hoppers can also bring up some very heavy trout on this lake.

Reading the above reminds me of trying to pick out the winning horse for the Grand National, where each fly has its own merits but there is such as vast selection it can all get a little overwhelming. Another piece of advice from the Sheelin experts that might be worth remembering is that if a fly hasn’t moved anything for 20 minutes then it’s time to change to another – just a suggestion.

Gary McKiernan of Lough Sheelin Guiding Services with a 52cm trout

Gary McKiernan of Lough Sheelin Guiding Services with a 52cm trout

‘All kinds of everything’

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Uncovering a river


The Halfcarton river at Hilltown, Lough sheelin before

Recently the local angling club – The L.S.T.P.A with Midland Fisheries Funding embarked on the rehabilitation and enhancement work of a 5000 metre stretch of the Halfcarton river, a tributary of the Upper Inny which flows into Lough Sheelin. This work involves tree and shrub pruning, weed removal, the introduction of spawning gravel, fencing, bank protection and the installation of deflectors. Although very overgrown at the moment this is and will be an excellent trout spawning river and will encourage and eventually increase spawning within this area.


image022Work at the Halfcarton River – September 24th

image024Local supervision



image027On Saturday October 3rd Lough Sheelin’s angling club The Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association will host their annual Stream Rehabilitation Competition starting at Kilnahard from 11am to 6.0pm.

All proceeds of this event go towards the enchancement and rehabilitation of the rivers within the Lough Sheelin catchement.

The club and organisers of this competition, now in its tenth year, welcome all anglers who wish to fish one of the best wild brown trout fisheries in Ireland and to experience first hand the magic and allure of this lake which has the potential to produce the heaviest trout in the country.

For details please contact Eamonn Ross @ 086 6619834/ 049 9526602 or Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033



Dessie McEntee (Cavan Anglers) presenting winner Jim Condron, Nobber with the Guider/McIntyre cup on Saturday September 26th, at Kilnahard, Lough Sheelin

The Guider/McIntyre Cup – September 26th – 28 anglers, 7 fish weighed in.

image0321stJim Condron, Nobber 1 fish at 3.8lbs

2nd – Tommy Rush, Armagh 1 fish at 3.2lbs

3rd – Frank Kelly, Cavan with a fish of 2lbs.







Lough Sheelin 086 2490076


Up-Coming Events

image034The Lough Sheelin Protection Association’s Stream Rehabilitation competition has been set for Saturday October 3rd starting from Kilnahard 11am – 6pm For details please contact Eamonn Ross @ 086 6619834/ 049 9526602 or Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033

The Cavan/Monaghan Garda Divisional Fly Fishing Championship and Open CompetitionSaturday October 10th from Kilnahard Pier, fishing from 11am to 6pm. This competition is for the heaviest fish (visitors) and the heaviest fish (Cavan/Monaghan Garda members), presentation of prizes and refreshment dinner at Crover House Hotel at 7pm sharp. Any queries please contact Dessie McEntee on 047 77216 or 086 8937568.

image035Lough Sheelin Guiding Services (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) 087 1245927

Michael Farrell @ 087 4194156Telephone:+353 43 6681298Email:loughsheelinguide@hotmail.com

Kenneth o Keeffe                   Grey Duster Guiding 0868984172


For anyone interested in joining Lough Sheelin’s Angling Club – The Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association please contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033.

Please remember anglers to abide by BYE-LAW 790 which strictly prohibits

  • All trolling on the lake from March 1st to April 30th (inclusive).
  • From May 1st to June 15th – no trolling between 7pm –6am and no trolling under engine between 6am – 7pm
  • June 16th – October 12th – no trolling under engine between 7pm – 6am.
  • No trout less than 14 inches should be taken from the lake

A catch & release policy is actively encouraged on the lake at all times

Sheelin trout

Sheelin trout released

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.

Guide Fishing Ireland


The Royal Cup was fished on Saturday September 26th, 23 anglers fished this competition organized by Pat Bannon of the Royal Bar, Ballyjamesduff. The winner of this friendly local event was Jim Condron, Nobber with a fish of 3lbs 8ozs, second was Phelim Donohoe with a 2lb 7oz fish and third was Mark Cassidy, Shercock with his 2.14lb trout.

The heaviest fish for the week was an 8lb trout caught by Welshman Gareth Bowen using a Claret & Silver Dabbler, September 23rd.

Total number of trout recorded: 45


Selection of Catches

Craig Sheridan – 2 trout weighing in at over 2lbs each caught using a Claret & Silver Dabbler.

Mark Cassidy, Shercock – 1 trout at 2.14 lbs using a red nymph pattern, September 26th.

Phelim Donohoe – 1 trout at 2lbs 7ozs using a team of wets, September 26th.

Alywn Moor, Wales – 3 trout, heaviest at 4lbs using a Claret George and a red Tailed Peter.

Derwen Teague , Wales – 2 trout, 2 ½ and 3 lbs on a Silver Invicta and a Zulu.

Aled Owens, Wales – 4 trout, heaviest at 4 ½ lbs using Minkies, perch fry imitations and nymph patterns.

Patrick Donnelly, Wexford – 1 trout at 3 ½ lbs on a Silver Dabbler, fishing at Crover

Tighe Brady, Navan – 1 trout at 1 ¾ lbs dapping a hopper.

PJ Durnin – 1 trout at 3 ½ lbs using a Green George and floating line along Crover shoreline


‘Somewhere over the rainbows’ – Lough Sheelin, September 2015

Brenda Montgomery IFI


This post is in: Lough Sheelin, Trout fishing reports