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A hard week on Sheelin, lots hatch but trout tough to tempt

June 29th, 2015 | by

‘Study to the quiet’
Izaac Walton

Lough Sheelin’s Sedge time – June 2015

Lough Sheelin’s Sedge time – June 2015

There’s a saying that goes that 10% of the anglers catch 90% of the fish and for Lough Sheelin this was never truer, as the numbers fishing the lake nose-dived this week it felt as if this lake was being fished by only a small percentage of the angling fraternity but that most of these anglers were catching trout. The fishing has been undeniably tough going over the past seven days and certainly not for the faint hearted.  It was a week were skill, perseverance and knowledge came to the fore and was rewarded in turn with some Sheelin classics with the top weight tipping the scales at 6lbs by Belfast angler, David Keane.

 Peter ffrench Mullen’s 3.5lb trout caught on a spent at Church Island


Peter Ffrench Mullen’s 3.5lb trout caught on a spent at Church Island

As we head towards the end of June, Sheelin is moving away from the fanaticism of the mayfly season and into a much more challenging but fascinating fishing phase.  The variety and quantity of insect life on and in this lake is enormous, giving the trout ample choice and making life very testing for the angler. Although the hatches of mayfly have reduced there were still big quantities of spinners particularly visible around the bushes and shorelines at Crover followed by impressive falls of spent, covering the lake’s surface like snowflakes in Goreport and the more sheltered areas on some evenings.

Sundown on Sheelin

Sundown on Sheelin

‘You will find angling to be like the virtue of humility, which has a calmness of spirit and a world of other blessings attending upon it’
Izaac Walton

The Sheelin trout have become extremely choosey and who would blame them with such a selection of food on offer and this combined with an inbuilt wariness, a legacy from the heavy boat traffic of earlier weeks, makes the catching all the more difficult. From Tuesday onwards the weather improved and the previous months of persistent cold was replaced by a warmth spreading like a soft cloak over the lake passing into the evening through to dawn. This week was a week of late evening and night time/early morning fishing.  Smaller weights were recorded during the day with the bigger weights being landed as the light faded into darkness.

Sheelin by Thomas Lynch

Sheelin by Thomas Lynch

The hatches…

The range of insect life on this lake is bewildering and phenomenal and coupled with changing wind directions and the early weeks cold, every fishing expedition was a waiting affair with plenty of patience required to avoid hair pulling out frustration creeping in.

Crover, Lough Sheelin – June 2015

Crover, Lough Sheelin – June 2015

For this week the main food items on the trout menu was a mix of buzzer, sedge, spent, damsel nymphs, an odd terrestrial with a few of the ‘greens’ thrown in.

Caenis

Caenis

There were some seriously big hatches of Caenis before dusk and again at first light with small numbers of trout feeding on them in the flat calm.  Ideal conditions for this creamy-white fly is smooth flat water with perhaps at most a pinhead of a ripple on the surface but normally even a puff of wind collapses this kind of fishing.  Caenis is sometimes referred to as anglers curse earning this name I suppose from their small size – requiring a size 16-18 hook but also when there is a hatch on, suddenly the angler finds himself in a kind of a blizzard even though it is a warm muggy evening and then these small flies decide to shed their outer skins (transforming into spinners) and do so all over the angler sticking to everything – a little bit of a nightmare maybe.

Buzzer

Buzzer

There were some hatches of buzzer during the week but these were patchy and the trout seemed to want flat calm before they would come up to feed on this chironomid. Fish feeding on buzzer pupae just beneath the surface do so with the characteristic head and tail rise.  Emergers on the other hand are taken extremely gently, in a sipping kind of motion.  If an angler is close enough to a rise and there’s an air bubble on the surface then this is because the trout sucks in air with the fly expelling it out through the gills and leaving that bubble as a sort of a clue.

Mayfly

Mayfly

After the mayfly, the sedges make their presence felt on the lake and they did so in huge quantities for this week.  Despite the substantial hatches particularly around Walkers Bay the trout didn’t seem that overly interested in surface feeding for this insect and catches were sporadic using small brown sedge patterns.  Some evenings the trout were feeding sub surface on the green sedge pupa with their giveaway rise form – that familiar whorl or a great swirl. The adult form of the sedge is generally slashed at by the trout, since they are lightly to fly quickly away and the trout know this.  Egg laying sedges often do so by flurrying across the surface leaving a little V-wake behind them.  This is where a muddler can be successful as this buoyant fly is pulled across the water surface leaving a wake in the process.

Murrough

Murrough

The Murrough or great red sedge hasn’t really happened on Sheelin yet with only a few patchy and scattered hatches reported although some fish have been taken to dry murrough pattens but so far things have been slow in that direction. The Murrough is usually fished late into the evening and the trout usually hit them hard as they make their mad dash to the shoreline leaving that familiar big wake behind them.

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There were a few trout feeding on terrestrial’s mid-week but again only when conditions were calm, once any kind a breeze blew up the fish went down – seemingly the Sheelin trout want it dead calm just like they do with the caenis. The hawthorns are the first terrestrials that make an entry into the trout’s diet.  These large black insects, easily identified by their long trailing rear legs, can end up on the water in huge quantities particularly around the Goreport side of Lough Sheelin.

The catches…

This week the total number of trout recorded was 47. The heaviest fish for the week was a 6lb  trout caught by David Keane, Belfast.

2lbs 13oz trout caught on a Yellow Wulff at Crover

2lbs 13oz trout caught on a Yellow Wulff at Crover

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Cork angler Frank Deveraux caught a 3lb trout using his own muddler pattern on Monday night and being an avid fan of the muddler advised that these can also be used on a sinking line where their success is thought to be due to the underwater vibrations made.

One Northern Ireland angler fishing at dusk landed a beautiful 4 pounder trout on a dry buzzer in mirror like surface conditions.

Selection of Catches             

  • Frank Kelly, Cavan – 5 fish best weighing in at 4lbs, all on the spent.
  • Dara Murtagh, Cavan –  1 trout at 1 ½ lbs using a Lough Arrow Mayfly fishing off the Stoney Islands.
  • Dougie Robinson, Dublin – 1 trout at 3lbs on a Spent pattern.
  • Con O’Driscill, Belfast – 1 trout at almost 4lbs on a Murrough at Goreport
  • Fintan Devereau, Wexford – 2 trout at 3 ½ and 2 lbs on the Royal Wulff and a small brown Sedge, fishing at Rusheen.
  • David Casey, Antrim – 1 trout at 4lbs using a dry Buzzer on Monday June 22nd.
  • Emmet Dunne, Cavan – 2 trout averaging 1 ½ – 2lbs using Spent Gnat patterns and a Golden Olive Bumble.

The flies

The flies that worked this week were the sedges (size 14 & 16), Finney’s Biscuit Sedge, the Murrough, the Welshman’s Button, the Bibio, the Golden Olive Bumble, the Buzzer patterns, Spent Gnat patterns, the Alexandra, Thunder & Lightening, Kate Mclaren, the Dunkeld, Greenwells Glory, the Raymond, the Stimulators and the Wulffs (Gray, Royal & Green).  The Klinkhammers which in a way are not too far off resembling the sedge pupa landed a few trout, which reflects the trout’s preference still for subsurface feeding.

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The trout will be moving on to the perch fry soon so as a good suggested combination in a wave would be a Stimulator as the top dropper, a Claret Bling in the middle and a Golden Bling on the point.

Hoppers work well fished in a slick when the fish are feeding on the terrestrials.

The quote at the top of this report ‘Study to be quiet’ came from Izaac Walton’s much celebrated book ‘The Complete Angler’ .Walton regarded by many, as the godfather of modern fishing first wrote this book back in 1653 but to which he kept adding to for the next fifty years of his life explaining himself by saying “Angling may be said to be so like the mathematics that it can never be fully learned” and how right he was.

Go fishing…

A permit is required to fish Lough Sheelin. Buy your permit online at:shop.fishinginireland.info or from any of the permit distributors listed here.

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

Kilnahard, Lough Sheelin

Kilnahard, Lough Sheelin

Upcoming events

The Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association will be hosting a Youth angling day on at the end of July. This popular event will include fly tying, fly casting and trout fishing followed by a Bar B Q. All participants will have the opportunity to catch fish and receive a small prize. For further details contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033 .

Guides and ghillies

Grey Duster Guiding
Kenneth O’Keeffe
Tel: 
086 8984172 Email: trout@live.ie

Lough Sheelin Guiding Services
Tel: 087 1245927 Web: www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com

D.C Angling & Guiding Services
contact David @ 087 73946989

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

Michael Flanagan,
Trout and Pike Guide.
Email: mick@midlandangling.com Web: www.midlandangling.com

House Rules

All anglers are required to have a Fishery Permit to fish Lough Sheelin which must be purchased before going out on the lake.

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


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

Lifejackets

Jonathan Peppard, Dublin all set to go fishing

Jonathan Peppard, Dublin all set to go fishing

Life jackets are required by law – SI No 921 of 2005 – Pleasure Craft (Personal Flotation Devices and Operation) (Safety) Regulations 2005.Please put on and keep on that life jacket until you are back on dry land.

Water rarely gives second chances and a life jacket is just that – it saves your life.

We implore anglers and all other users for their own safety as well as it being the law.

The tranquility of Lough Sheelin – June 2015

The tranquility of Lough Sheelin – June 2015

 


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