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Lots of weather and trout to 6.75lb on Sheelin

May 4th, 2017 | by

‘In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside 24 hours’
Mark Twain

Christopher Defillon with his magnificently marked trout caught on a team of buzzers, April 24th

Christopher Defillon with his magnificently marked trout caught on a team of buzzers, April 24th

 I’m very conscious of a quote by Oscar Wilde which goes ‘conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative’. While not wanting to be classed as without imagination I still find it a bit of a struggle not to write about the weather particularly as it is one of the determining factors as to how Lough Sheelin fishes, so briefly here it is. Right up until mid-week, fishing on this lake was poor due to crippling North Westerly and Easterly winds which whipped the surface water touching even the most sheltered areas of this lake with its bitterly cold tongue. On Tuesday, along with sharp North easterly winds we were treated to a number of showers of ‘golf ball’ hail stones which effectively killed off any fly hatches and drove the trout down deep (2 metres or more).

A moody and mercurial Sheelin

A moody and mercurial Sheelin

A reprieve came, thankfully, on Thursday with a rise in day time temperatures coupled with a smur of rain which produced some serious buzzer hatches along shorelines and bays, particularly around the Bog Bay area.  Friday again was very cold which affected the buzzer hatches but when things became a little milder around 8pm that evening the fish returned to surface feed.

Danny Murray, Dublin guided by Lough Sheelin Guiding Services

Danny Murray, Dublin guided by Lough Sheelin Guiding Services

 The Hatches

Sheelin was a good place to be this week but only when those temperatures rose to a reasonable degree, at least over 10 which a lot of the time was a bit of a struggle. Some trout were taking olives but really it was buzzer fishing that ran solo for the past seven days here. There were huge hatches of these tiny insects – buzzers – chironomids – non biting midges whatever you want to call them, particularly around Goreport/Corru area, all the way along Bog Bay and into the Sailor’s Garden and better still the Sheelin trout had put them on their menu – as a main course – and were finding them irresistible.

A Sheelin Olive

A Sheelin Olive

There is a vast array of buzzer patterns out there but in order to know what to use, the angler must find out at what depth the fish are feeding at and the easiest way of doing this is to study the rise forms.  A rough knowledge of the life cycle of this small aquatic insect is useful and nearly vital for the angler in order to choose the right fly pattern and colour.

Sheelin adult male Duck fly

Sheelin adult male Duck fly

Briefly the adult midge lays around 3000 eggs which sink to the bottom and hatch after a week or so. When the adults land on the surface to lay their eggs they become food for the trout and splashy rises indicate surface feeding trout so maybe a single buzzer or a team of three.  Balling buzzer patterns worked well for some anglers in greys and browns.

Trout food - An Olive and a Buzzer shuck

Trout food – An Olive and a Buzzer shuck

Because buzzers are such tiny insects, size 14 upwards is best with black, white and grey being the most effective colours. From eggs to larvae and then on to the buzzer pupae which is supposedly the most appealing stage to trout. The pupae head for the surface, swimming actively and enticingly as they go and because of that gas bubble there are a few up and down sessions before this little comma look alike stage reaches the surface and ones get there without being snaffled by a trout wriggle about as they attempt to break out of their pupal skin and punch through the surface film to hatch into the adult buzzer.  It can anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours for a pupal buzzer to get from the bottom of the lake to the air.  When these migrations and hatches occur the trout rise to take the emergers, or tail or break the surface with their fins in an attempt to take the emergers trying to make it to the top.  Good emerger patterns are Suspender Buzzers, Shuttlecock and Shipman’s Buzzers.  Fish that are feeding a foot or so below the surface with show dorsal and tails breaking the surface because they don’t have breaks so have to turn and go back down, hence the show of fins.

Good surface hatches when temperatures rose

Good surface hatches when temperatures rose

Softer, swirly rises with little splashing suggest the trout are taking buzzers further down, or maybe on their way to the top. If there are no rise patterns at all, this is suggestive that our trout were feeding at deeper levels on pupae and larvae so Epoxy Buzzer patterns worked well  and there were some trout over the 4lbs mark caught on this sparse colourful shanked patterns this week.

The Catches

David Connor getting into his stride on Sheelin with this beauty

David Connor getting into his stride on Sheelin with this beauty

The heaviest fish for this week was a trout of 6 ¾ lbs caught by Andrew McClennand, Antrim using a team of buzzers in Derrahorn. Total number of trout recorded: 38

Smashing Sheelin Trout

Smashing Sheelin Trout

The best fishing areas on the lake were again weather dependent. Sheltered areas, behind coves and island and down along the Western shore were good. Buzzer fishing was best from Sailors Garden, Derrahorn and down into Corru Bay but again this was depended on wind direction.  Most days had good spots, even Friday where anglers had to persist till evening time when the cold deflated a little and from 8pm there was a rise of fish to match the rise in temperature.  Both Saturday and Sunday were difficult with the strong South Easterly winds making access from Kilnahard and Chambers and down by Crover difficult.

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Selection of Catches

  • Paul Lunney, Derrylin – April 27th 1 trout at 2 ½ lbs on a Buzzer pattern.
  • Owen Jacob, Dublin – 2 trout on April 26th heaviest at 2lbs. 
  • David Creely, Wexford – April 27th in Corru Bay, 2 trout heaviest at 3lbs on a team of Buzzers.
  • Pat Gallagher – 1 trout at 1 ½ lbs on April 28th.
  • Gavin Rogan, Belfast – 1 trout of 4lb on Friday evening, April 28th on a Buzzer pattern at Derrahorn.
  • Davy Kidd – 2 trout at 2 ½ and 3lbs off Sally Island on Buzzers, April 28th.
  • Ivars Eglitis, Dublin – 2 trout at 4 and 3lbs on fly lures.
  • Juris Berzins, Dublin – 1 trout at 5lbs using lures.
  • Valdis Balodis, Navan – 2 trout at 4 and 6lbs using lures fishing mid lake.

The Flies

Shipman's Buzzer

Shipman’s Buzzer, Kevin Sheridan

The most successful flies this week were the teams of wets, predominantly Buzzer imitations on di 3, intermediate and in some cases floating lines with a sink tip. A size 12 – 14 dry Buzzer pattern proved successful as well as suspended Buzzers, CDC Buzzers Shipman’s and Shuttlecock and Klinkhammers.

Assassin Buzzer

Assassin Buzzer, Kevin Sheridan

Other good flies were the Silver Dabbler, the Fiery Brown Dabbler, the Claret Dabbler, the Claret Bumble, Bibios, the Silver Invicta, the Connemara Black, Black Pennell, the Cock Robin and the Sooty Olive.

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.

House Rules

The beauty of a Lough Sheelin trout

The beauty of a Lough Sheelin trout

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

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
Catch and release

Catch and release

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

Christopher Defillon
Tel:  085 964369  Email: evasionpecheirlande@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christopher.defillon

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

John Mulvany
johnmulvanyfishing@gmail.com 086 2490076

D.C Angling & Guiding Services
contact David @ 087 3946989

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

Sheelin Sunset

Sheelin Sunset


5 year old Noah Breen Johnson isn’t taking any chances on the water this season and neither should you

Noah Breen Johnson isn’t taking any chances and neither should you

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.

‘Resting up’ Lough Sheelin, April 2017

‘Resting up’ Lough Sheelin, April 2017

This post is in: Lough Sheelin, Trout fishing reports