Logo: Irish Angling Update, fishing reports ireland

Latest Reports

More angling Reports

In the press

Weekly update

Sheelin mayfly, the gold of sunset and sunrise

May 30th, 2017 | by

mayfly

Presenting the menu…

‘For me, Fly Fishing is Zen, you need to be in tune, never give up, read the water, the fish may not always bite, but at least you’re presenting the meal’.
John Suhar

‘The unreal meets the real’

‘The unreal meets the real’

This was a week of tropical heat, spectacular hatches of mayfly and surface carpeting of spent on Lough Sheelin. From nowhere they seem to appear, silent in flight and somewhat mysterious, Mother Nature’s buffet, this natural phenomenon offered a feast of astronomical proportions to the Sheelin trout. This is the time of the fishing season where fly rod enthusiasts cherish the moment, especially as the sun sinks and the low light signals a departure of flies in their droves to mate in flight before dying within a day or so. Our mayfly life cycle is short but their contribution to nature is enormous.

Gina Tanczos with her mayfly trout caught on an emerger fly pattern

Gina Tanczos with her mayfly trout caught on an emerger fly pattern 

The Hatches

Lough Sheelin’s elegant mayfly – the oldest of the winged insects and can be dated back to the prehistoric ages

Lough Sheelin’s elegant mayfly – the oldest of the winged insects and can be dated back to the prehistoric ages

The may blossom heavily drizzled over bushes is at full stretch, already turning pink in the run down to their allocated time.

Lough Sheelin’s Sedge

Lough Sheelin’s Sedge

As the season gently edges into summer there is plenty of fly life – mayfly, sedges, alder fly, hawthorn fly and murroughs and in turn there will be plenty of choice out there both for the trout and the trout angler in his artificial fly set up.

Lough Sheelin’s reenactment of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Waltz of the snowflakes’

Lough Sheelin’s reenactment of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Waltz of the snowflakes’

For now, it is still all about the mayfly and although slightly tapering off there would be at least another fortnight of predominantly evening fishing for the spent here.

heelin’s chain of command – Ephemera dancia

Sheelin’s chain of command – Ephemera dancia

Putting fishing to one side Ephemera danica, Lough Sheelin’s mayfly – this fragile very beautiful insect should be eulogized by everyone not just anglers for the simple reason being that this majestic insect is also somewhat of a barometer as to the water quality. The fact that mayflies are important to anglers shows that they are even more important to fish. They are a vital component of the overall ecology of Lough Sheelin’s freshwater system for mayfly nymphs will not survive in polluted water so the fact that they are there in such copious numbers is something that should be constantly celebrated.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Catches

Michael McNaughton, Cushendall with his ‘after dark’ 5 pounder caught on a Spent Gnat on May 23rd at Holywell.

Michael McNaughton, Cushendall with his ‘after dark’ 5 pounder caught on a Spent Gnat on May 23rd at Holywell.

Lough Sheelin this week painted every trout anglers fantasy with hundreds of may fly, crystal clear water and impressive falls of spent and yet despite the fishing dots lining up, this lake’s fishing particularly during the day was sporadic and in some cases poor. Searching around for answers I first of all looked to other great trout fishing lakes – Corrib, Mask, Conn and Arrow only to find the same thing, fishing was patchy and disappointing so Lough Sheelin was at least not in isolation with its present angling difficulties.

The future on a fly’

The future on a fly’

There are a number of reasons why fishing is challenging on this lake, all of them legitimate.

Unarguably this lake is full of trout of all sizes but it is important to remember these are wild fish and so by their nature will not have the tamed feeding responses as would be in the case in the farmed variety.

Steve from London (guided by Ned Clinton) with his trout caught on a Spent

Steve from London (guided by Ned Clinton) with his trout caught on a Spent

Secondly, this lake is stuffed with food even more so now with mayfly nymphs pushing to the surface, emergers, duns and spent so our trout are spoilt for choice, they basically don’t have to hunt or go very far for a meal, the dinners are popping up all round the place for them. Because of the ready, rich and plentiful supply of food, trout in this lake are in good condition with the potential to reach substantial weights, a trout of 4lb plus is not regarded as a big fish on Lough Sheelin – the bar is set high here.

A ‘spent’trout of over 3lbs

A ‘spent’trout of over 3lbs

Thirdly, is our temperamental weather – from nightly frosts to blazing heat, hail stones and thunder storms, sudden changes in wind directions to sudden drops in temperatures causing fly to refuse to leave shoreline bushes, some to die on the land and for fish to drop down deep in the water column.

Kevin Sheridan’s 3 1b Trout caught on his own Spent pattern, May 26th

Kevin Sheridan’s 3 1b Trout caught on his own Spent pattern, May 26th

Fourthly, Lough Sheelin is reputed to be the angling jewel in Ireland’s emerald crown so by this fact alone, this lake attracts large numbers of anglers particularly in mayfly season, resulting in a dramatic increase of boat traffic which in turn spooks and frightens our wild fish. With a combination of noisy outboards and back washes along with jags, misses and clumsy releases it makes sense that the fish would become very wary and difficult to catch.

‘Into the night’ dusk & darkness were the best times to fish Sheelin for this week

‘Into the night’ dusk & darkness were the best times to fish Sheelin for this week

It is important to understand that Lough Sheelin is and always has been a challenging, moody and mercurial stretch of water, its trout do not give themselves up easily regardless of where we are in the fishing season. With understanding brings acceptance and this in turns keeps frustration and despair off the playing field.

Cathal McNaughton, Antrim with his 3lbs 10oz fish caught at Church Island on a Spent Gnat pattern, May 21st

Cathal McNaughton, Antrim with his 3lbs 10oz fish caught at Church Island on a Spent Gnat pattern, May 21st

Despite all of the above, good fish were caught this week but the catching was confined to evening, dusk and at dawn. Day time fishing was poor as the trout in general on this lake are not interested on feeding on the greens. The weather played havoc with the angling as well, with day time temperatures soaring to 26 degrees on Thursday only to crash to 15 degrees on Saturday. Wednesday evening saw mirror calm conditions stretching into the evening, there were great falls of spent and large numbers of fish moving to feed on them but this was an evening of total frustration as although anglers could see hundreds of fish coming up to feed on the other side of this coin the trout could see the anglers so fishing was impossible as any movement at all caused the fish to vanish in a flash.

Making the weight of the week - Andrew Barrowman, Scotland (guided by Mick Kelly) with his substantial Sheelin trout on a Barbie, May 24th

Making the weight of the week – Andrew Barrowman, Scotland (guided by Mick Kelly) with his substantial Sheelin trout on a Barbie, May 24th

The best evenings of the week were Tuesday and Thursday and fishing from 8pm onwards till after dark was the most successful option.

Total number of trout recorded for the week was 151. The heaviest fish for this week was a 6lb trout caught by Welsh angler Kieron Thomas using a Mayfly nymph.

Willie Riddick’s Scotland with his mayfly fish

Willie Riddick’s Scotland with his
mayfly fish

The wind as always created mostly difficulties as well as chances when it behaved itself. The best drifts were at Holywell and a long drift down from the Stoney Islands. The biggest hatches of fly were around Derrysheridan and in and around Crover, again wind dependent as fly could be blown into the shallows making boat fishing too difficult.

Selection of Catches

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And a few more…

  • Gary McKiernan – 20 trout, heaviest at 6 ½ lbs taken on a dry Mayfly.
  • Paul McMenamin, Northern Ireland – 6 trout heaviest at 5lbs caught on a Grey Wulff, rest caught on Spent Gnat patterns.
  • Jeff & Kieron Thomas, Wales – 7 trout heaviest 2 at 6lbs each.
  • Marc Mulligan – 1 trout at 6lbs fishing off Holywell using a Spent Gnat pattern.
  • Darren Harton – 1 trout at 3lbs.
  • Cian Murtagh, Cavan – 2 trout one at 4lbs and the other at 5lbs plus both using Spent Gnat patterns.
  • Cathal McNaughton, Co.Antrim – 1 trout at 3lbs 10oz on a Spent Gnat at Church Island, May 21st.
  • Willie Riddicks, Scotland – 1 trout at 3 ½ lbs caught on a Fox Squirrel Spent.
  • Andrew Barrowman, Scotland – 1 trout at 4lb plus fishing dries.
  • Paul O’Reilly, Dublin – 1 trout at 4 ½ lbs using a Spent Gnat, May 26th.
  • Andrew Brown, Dublin – 3 trout at 5 ½, 5 and 4lbs all taken on the Grey Wulff, May 25th.
  • Patrick Gallagher, Duleek – 1 trout at 2lbs on a dry Buzzer in Corru Bay.
  • Martin Grennan, Kilkenny – 1 trout at 2lbs on a Spent Gnat pattern.
  • Ivan Meegan, Newry – 1 trout at 3lbs using a Wet Mayfly pattern.
  • Des Elliott, Dublin – 2 trout at 2 and 2 ½ lbs using Golden and Claret Bumbles.
  • Aiden Rush and Dennis Golding – 8 trout heaviest at 3 ½ fishing Buzzer and Spent Gnats.
  • Dan Prunty, Navan – 2 trout at 2 and 3 ½ lbs on a Spent Gnat.
  • Ian Kelly, Mullingar – 1 trout at 3 ½ lbs
  • Mark Brown, Lurgan – 1 trout at 3lbs on a Royal Wulff.
  • Ben Mckay, Scotland – 4 trout heaviest at 4 ½ lbs using Spent Gnat patterns, May 27th.     

The Flies

Spent patterns for Sheelin

Spent patterns for Sheelin

A variety of spent patterns were employed with an angler confiding in me that his killer combination was a small grey balling buzzer on the top dropper with a spent gnat pattern (with a glow bright butt) as the second fly – an unfailing duo and one which he advised me ‘never failed to succeed’.

Working well on Sheelin the Lough Erne Wulff

Working well on Sheelin the Lough Erne Wulff

The most successful flies this week were the Mayfly nymph patterns, wet Mayfly patterns in greens with mixes of brown and white mingled through, the Mosley Mays, the French Partridge, the Goslings, Dennis Moss’s Ginger Mayfly, Soft Hackle Mayfly Emergers, CDC Mayfly Emergers, the Wulffs (grey and royal), the Spent Gnat patterns (a predominance of black worked best). Other patterns catching fish were the Dabblers (Claret, Green and Silver), Stimulators and Bumbles.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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

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

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

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
Tel: 
086 8984172 Email: trout@live.ie

Christopher Defillon
Tel: +33 68 596 4369  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

Lifejackets

We would implore anglers and all other users to wear life jackets for their own safety as well as it being the law.

Getting it right – Caoimhe & Oisin Sheridan

Getting it right – Caoimhe & Oisin Sheridan

Life jackets are required by law – SI No 921 of 2005 – Pleasure Craft (Personal Flotation Devices and Operation) (Safety) Regulations 2005.Water  rarely gives second chances and a life jacket is just that – it saves your life.

Please put on and keep on that life jacket until you are back on dry land.

Sundown on Lough Sheelin

Sundown on Lough Sheelin


This post is in: Lough Sheelin, Trout fishing reports

Tags: