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A day for the thermal underwear as Sheelin tests it’s anglers

March 31st, 2014 | by

Lough Sheelin  Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI March 24th to March 30th, 2014

The modern fly rod … is a piece of magic, an elegant thing, willowy and alive – a wand that when held in the hand communicates with the heart

Howell Raines

Sheelin - Rod and reelThe weather with its cold chill factor slicing into every day has made it very tough going for the Sheelin anglers this week.  On Monday a North East wind tore down the lake and this coupled with heavy rain fall churned the water up considerably forming alternating bands of grey, brown and blue black colour on the lakes surface.

Trout were caught but it was hard work and all catches were accompanied by freezing extremities for the angler.

Lough Sheelin is a beautiful lake, full of wild trout of all sizes in prime condition.

This lake attracts anglers who want the opportunity of catching something that bit special – for Sheelin has an unblemished reputation for producing the heavy weights – wild trout of 5, 6, 8 and over 10lbs, thick from top to tail.  Part of the excitement of fishing Sheelin is the certain knowledge that there is that very real chance of catching ‘the big one’ for beneath Lough Sheelin’s surface lies the magic that can make every anglers dream a reality.

Sheelin - Mick Redmount, Belfast with his lovely 54cm troutVery cold but definitely worth it – Mick Redmount, Belfast with his lovely 54cm Sheelin trout

Anglers must remember however that for successful fishing on Lough Sheelin everything is very much governed by the weather conditions.  This week was bitterly cold with an east wind and on some days a stubborn misty fog, so the trout dropped down low and fed deep because in cold windy wet conditions there will be very little fly hatches on the water so therefore nothing to attract these sub surface feeders up to the top.  There were a few hours occasionally when the sun did show itself and in sheltered bays with the brief warmth there were nice little hatches of buzzer and trout were seen feeding on them but for this week although there was a lot of duck fly around they mostly kept to the trees and bushes along the shoreline.

It is important to study what’s going on before you set forth and random fishing unless you’re very lucky just doesn’t produce a result and this is where if an angler is a novice to Sheelin, a guide is the best idea, someone with an in-depth knowledge of this lake, its form and temperament.

The trout are still feeding on the freshwater louse and shrimp but their diets are changing as the season pushes forward in that most of their food now is mayfly nymph, duck fly, murrough and green peter larvae.

Sheelin - The green peter (Agrypnia)The green peter (Agrypnia)

The green larvae should be in a case like the one beside it.  This one had come out of its case in the trout’s stomach.  Agrypnia have these distinctive spiral type larval cases, made from aquatic vegetation debris.

From a fly fisherman’s point of view, it would be all but impossible to try to catch trout by imitating the peter larva. They harvest them off the bottom. Anglers will not be going out to try to represent the sedge larva in order to catch trout which are feeding on them, not in the way that you can pursue fish feeding on surface flies or their larvae or even fish fry. All the same it does show fascinating insight into what the trout are doing right now in Sheelin.

Sheelin - Larry McAlinden’s trout caught & released, using a MinkieLarry McAlinden’s trout caught & released, using a Minkie

A mix of flies and lures has been used by anglers this week with varying degrees of success.  Small, thin and sparsely dressed black wet fly patterns worked well like the Black Pennell, Connemara Black, Black and Blue and Sooty Olive but others like the Dabblers (Hare’s Ear, Silver, Claret and Fiery Brown) held their own with the flies being retrieved very slowly.  With the discoloured water this week anglers would be well advised to use some brightness threaded through the fly to show the trout the way..

The Humungus in black and black & silver and of course the Minkie are still featuring highly in the success ratings.

Sheelin - Hares EarHares Ear

This fly looks enough like many dark mayfly and stonefly nymphs that is valuable nearly year round. It is particularly productive during early spring.

The use of the Epoxy Buzzer has appeared on certain calmer days of the week.  Because of the weight of the epoxy buzzer it rapidly cuts through the water getting to the fishing depth very quickly, however it is not unusual to hook a fish on the drop.  The epoxy buzzer is best fished across the wind on a long leader with a slow figure of eight retrieve, just keeping in contact with the line.  A good tip is to use clear nail polish (best one is Sally Hansen hard as nails in clear) to coat the buzzer to give it that necessary slick shiny finish that is of course presuming that our male anglers are brave enough to be seen buying nail varnish …………

Sheelin - Black Epoxy BuzzerBlack Epoxy Buzzer

Sheelin - The Humungus 2The Humungus


Sheelin - Padar McAvinney, Clones with his fine Sheelin troutPadar McAvinney, Clones with his fine Sheelin trout caught on a Grey Duster on Saturday March 29th

Sheelin - The Disabled Anglers BoatThe Disabled Anglers Boat

Lough Sheelin is open to everyone and  it is important for anglers to be aware that IFI do have a boat specifically for wheelchair using anglers who want to fish this lake.  To avail of this boat some notice is necessary and an outboard engine companion needed.

Sheelin - Thomas Lynch with a 5 ¾ lb 57 cm troutThomas Lynch with a 5 ¾ lb 57 cm trout

                      Sheelin - Ready for releaseReady for release

Sheelin - Danny Murray, Terenure, Co.DublinWhat more could anyone want …Danny Murray, Terenure, Co.Dublin with his Lough Sheelin prize (caught & released)

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 and
  • June 16th – October 12th – no trolling under engine between 7pm – 6am.
  • No trout less than 14 inches should be taken from the lake.

Sheelin - Save the brown troutA catch & release policy is actively encouraged on the lake at all times

Most of the fish featured in these angling reports are returned carefully and safely to the lake
Sheelin - G.McKiernan, Thomas Harten and Martin ConnorSheelin - Catch and Release LSTPAG.McKiernan, Thomas Harten and Martin Connor putting in the new Catch & Release signs for Sheelin

Sheelin - Danny Murray, Dublin releases his 8 ½ lb troutDanny Murray, Dublin releases his 8 ½ lb trout back in Lough Sheelin

Sheelin - Dont ask cartoonUpcoming Competitions             

The popular Sheelin Classic trout competition now in its 10th year will be run on Lough Sheelin on Saturday April 19th which is the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.  The kick off time is 11am with a finish at 6pm.  All boats should be on the shoreline and ready to go by 10.50am.  There is a strict 15” size limit and the individual with the heaviest fish wins.  There comes an impressive list of prizes with this competition with a 19ft Sheelin boat as a first prize.

For further information on this competition please contact Noel McLoughlin at 087 2179460

On Saturday April 26th The Ulster will be hosted on Lough Sheelin.  This prestigious event was last hosted on this lake in 2009 so we welcome its return.  The Ulster is normally run on a rota system between Lough Erne, Lough Melvin and Lough Sheelin.  To enter anglers must be a member of the Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association or be affiliated to a Northern Ireland trout angling club.  The winner of this competition will be officially the best fly angler in Ulster for the year and will be awarded the Ulster cup.

For further information please contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033

Sheelin - Painting of brown troutPlease 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 for the week was a lovely 6 ¾ pounder caught using a Humungus by Mullingar man Kieran Newman on Saturday March 29th.

Total number of trout recorded: 21

Sheelin - Cartoon 2Selection of Catches             

Martin McCoy and Paul Lunney – using Wets, 5 trout on Monday March 24th fishing the western shore, Paul had 4 averaging 1.25 – 2lb and Martin landed himself 1 at 3lbs.

Eamonn Ross, Cavan – Eamonn had a great days fishing on Sunday March 30th despite that east wind, he caught 4 fish heaviest at over 6 ½ lbs, 1 @ 3.75 and 2 @ 2 ½ lbs.

Gary McKiernan, Lough Sheelin Guiding – 1 trout at over 3lbs using wets.

Paul Lunney, Cavan – on friday March 28th 1 trout at 3lbs and on March 29th 1 trout at 2lbs all on the wets.

Padar McAvinney, Clones – on March 29th 1 trout at 3lbs plus using a Grey Duster.

Sheelin - A cold Lough Sheelin A cold Lough Sheelin with squally showers and a cold north east wind, Kilnahard March 24th

Sheelin - Moses

Brenda Montgomery IFI

This post is in: Lough Sheelin, Trout fishing reports