Hot and Cold fishing at Sheelin last week
March 27th, 2017 | by Brenda Montgomery
That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.
— Abraham Lincoln
North winds, veering from westerly to easterly, sliced across Lough Sheelin for the bulk of this week accompanied by plummeting temperatures of minus 4C mixed with snow, sleet, hail and rain making fishing conditions a little uncomfortable on this lake. Our comrades from overseas don’t apparently feel the cold like we Irish do because despite near baltic conditions a day never passed this week without an angler or two, usually of foreign descent fishing this lake.
We thought that spring/summer had finally come in the previous week when temperatures rose and a warmth took us all pleasantly unawares. But as it turned out it was like being given something lovely only to have it snatched back. In Cavan when we get a good warm spell of weather, weather that comes out of the blue in a place in a season that is normally cold, I can put a fairly safe bet on that someone here will eventually say in the midst of that most welcome warmth – ‘we’ll pay for this later on’ and these predictable gloomy words were what I thought of as we battled with the arctic elements out on Lough Sheelin for most of this week.
It is safe to say that there was no surface fly on the lake for most of this week and with the ensuing cold the trout sunk even further into the deeper recesses of the lake, this was backed up by the fact that 99% of the trout catches recorded were caught on large lures, short leaders and fast sink lines and most were out in the deepest parts of this lake. Any of the historical literature on early season fishing on Lough Sheelin will inform anglers that the best fishing in March and early April is mainly along rocky shores, exposed points and the shallows. Trout in a ‘normal’ early season would feed close to the shore over shallow water on asellus, shrimp, snail, caddis and other benthic organisms, these fish are cold blooded and with the high water and cold temperatures the trout will be lethargic so instead of moving to the shallows (and because there is no incentive inducing surface food) our Sheelin trout are conserving energy by staying put, in the very lower water columns and feeding on the bottom of this great lake. As one Dublin angler aptly put it the Sheelin trout are antipodean trout – down under like Australia and as far away as possible from the angler.
As the weekend hit in the weather changed and for the weekend we were treated to wall to wall sunshine with temperatures rising up to 18 degrees, effectively the unpredictability of the Irish weather has treated us to four seasons in one week. From bitter colds of minus four to tropical highs of 18, it’s a wonder we don’t coagulate. Despite the lunging swing in weather conditions little changed with the fishing on Lough Sheelin. Night temperatures were low ensuring that water temperatures remained low and any increase on this will be very slow. With the mid-day heat there were some buzzer hatches in the bays and sheltered areas but little surfacing of trout to these. It will take at least another 2 -3 weeks before Sheelin’s trout start moving to the surface to feed on fly.
Hungary native Gina Tanczos has fallen in love with Lough Sheelin and has caught an impressive number of those elusive early season trout despite this only being her second outing on this lake. She was accompanied and guided by Christopher Defillon who has had a number of successes himself on Sheelin. Gina celebrated her 26th birthday in style last Sunday by catching the weight of the week, a beautiful 6 pounder. This is one newcomer who is worth watching out for on Ireland’s trout angling scene.
With strong and gusty North Westerly and Easterly winds, areas of lake fished were governed by wind direction. The most successful areas were out in the deep, in the middle of the lake, at the back of Church Island, into Chambers Bay & Kilnahard and around Stony Island, Curry Pt, Long Rock and Merry Pt.
The heaviest fish for this week was a trout of 6lbs caught by Gina Tanczos, Hungary. this was one of 39 trout reported by anglers in the last week.
Selection of Catches
- Gary McKiernan – (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) 8 trout, heaviest at 62cm using wet flies.
- Cal Healy, Cork – 1 trout at 47cm on a Fiery Dabbler.
- Dominic Murphy, Dublin – 1 trout at 50cm fishing around Church Island.
- Christopher Defillon, Navan (email@example.com) – 14 trout heaviest at 6 lbs, averaged weights at 3 – 4lbs.
- Matis Andrulis, Dublin – 2 trout, heaviest at 4lbs.
- Azuolas Mikenas, Wexford – 3 trout using Minkies, heaviest at 4½ lbs, Curry Island.
- Aleksander Kowalski, Navan – 4 trout on Humungus, Minkies and Snakes, heaviest 5lbs.
- Alojzy Zielinski, Dublin – 2 trout heaviest at 3lbs, March 26th fishing mid lake.
- Dariusz Mazur and Iwan Zajac, Dublin – 5 trout heaviest at 5lbs using lures fishing the western side of the lake, March 25th.
The Sweeney Todd fished on the point of a sink tip can bring results early season on Lough Sheelin. This streamer was invented by two gentlemen – Richard Walker and Peter Thomas. The origin of this black lure’s name stems from the front end of the body i.e. the throat is red. The blood thirsty history behind the name of this fly was that in the first half of the 1800s in Britain there was a murderer called Sweeney Todd. He was a barber, and once when he shaved the face of a customer he followed on by cutting the man’s throat with the razor. This fly is supposed to resemble the throat of the customer and the throat hackle which is crimson expresses the blood flowing out. All a bit gruesome but it still works.
The most successful flies & lures for this week were the Humungus (in gold and silver), Minkies, Snakes, Zonkers, Muddlers, Golden Olive Bumble, the Hare’s Ear, the Silver Dabbler, the Fiery Brown Dabbler, the Claret Dabbler, the Claret Bumble, Bibios, the Silver Invicta, the Connemara Black, Black Pennell and the Sooty Olive.
The Butcher is a traditional wet fishing fly which can be fished as a mini lure, with its extra flash of red hackle at the head making it a great attractor which can work well when the trout are interested in small fish (and they are at the moment). This fly is best on the point and fished deep and slow.
Join the Club…
For anyone interested in joining Lough Sheelin’s Angling Club – The Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association please contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033.
Guides and ghillies…
Grey Duster Guiding
Tel: 086 8984172 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 085 964369 Email: email@example.com
Lough Sheelin Guiding Services
Tel: 087 1245927 Web: www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com
firstname.lastname@example.org 086 2490076
D.C Angling & Guiding Services
contact David @ 087 3946989
Tel: 087 4194156 or +353 43 6681298
Guide Fishing Ireland www.guidefishingireland.com
All anglers are required to have a Fishery Permit to fish Lough Sheelin which must be purchased before going out on the lake.
A Catch and Release policy is strongly encouraged at all times.
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
Water rarely gives second chances and a life jacket is just that – it saves your life.Life jackets are required by law – SI No 921 of 2005 – Pleasure Craft (Personal Flotation Devices and Operation) (Safety) Regulations 2005.
We would implore anglers and all other users to wear life jackets for their own safety as well as it being the law.
Please put on and keep on that life jacket until you are back on dry land.