Sheelin- no WiFi but no better connection
April 4th, 2017 | by Brenda Montgomery
‘There is no WiFi out here but we promise that you will not find a better connection’
‘You either love Sheelin or you hate it, there is no in between’, these were the words spoken to me by an angler this week causing me momentarily to stop in my tracks. Admittedly Lough Sheelin produces a hefty mix of emotions for its anglers, above any other lake in Ireland this is the one that can produce limitless highs and plummeting lows but hate is an emotion that I personally don’t see for here. Undoubtedly this is a tough, challenging, inspiring and addictive stretch of limestone water so perhaps my angler is mixing up hate with frustration.
This week spring moved on a notch, the time changed giving that extra stretch of evening light and day time temperatures rose into the double figures.
There were some great trout caught on Sheelin for the week gone by, fish in indisputably beautiful condition, carrying weight and size, thick from head to tail. Looking at the wonderful photographs an angler would think that the trout were literally jumping into the boats here but don’t let this fool you, Lough Sheelin is a difficult and challenging lake to fish and although the lures are working well at the moment even the lure advocates work hard and long to get their catches.
Lough Sheelin is not an early lake, some trout lakes are but this one is not and fish in March and indeed April are hard to come by.
Essentially the angler fishing Lough Sheelin must find out where the fish are feeding and for the past week the majority appears to be still lying deep. This lake contains an abundance of food – plankton/asellus/gammarus/snails, fry and all sorts of invertebrates so the trout here have the luxury of not having to hunt for food – it’s all around them and with their sluggishness and inherent conservation of energy they don’t have to work too hard, they are what could be classified now as sedentary feeders. Lifting up a clump of weed from the lake bed close to the R. Inny, proved this point as in that clump there were at least 20 food items for our trout.
All this makes it difficult for the March angler as he will be working on and depending on aggression and curiosity tactics combined with getting down deep. The lures are what are catching at the moment – bright lures for windy discoloured water days and cloudier lures for the bright sunny ones. Streamers, humungous, Sweeney Todd, Snakes, Zonkers, Minkies all had degrees of success.
As the week progressed so did the rise in temperatures and these produced hatches of duck fly albeit only in the very sheltered areas like Kilnahard but nonetheless it was good to see this main chironomid hatch finally making its appearance here. As the weather warms the trout will soon be switching from bottom feeding to the much easier and freely available zone feeding on chironomid pupae.
There were good hatches of buzzer, again evident in the sheltered areas – bays, coves and sheltered shorelines. Although it is still early some anglers (in desperation to leave the lures behind) moved on to buzzer fishing. Buzzers or chironomid dipterans, to give them their proper title are pretty important things to fishermen. A Buzzer is basically an imitation of the pupa of a midge, the stage between a larva and an adult, the flying insect and there are reported to be 430 species or so and they are found in their billions in every waterway in every other country, on every continent. Buzzers/midges or ‘those little black insects’ all look very similar – the larvae and pupae being small, thread like things that in some cases are no bigger than a comma and the adults are small, buzzy things. To fish the buzzer pupae, anglers head for the epoxy buzzer patterns, skinny shiny patterns designed to emulate the animals that they are imitating – small and slender, that moves and sinks freely in the water. The epoxy buzzer has to be fished incredibly slowly so unless it’s an exceptionally calm day (which would be highly unusual this early on in the season) it must be a boat anchor job. The retrieve has to be very slow as this is the way the naturals ascend to the surface helped by gas-filled cavities.
Despite success rates being poor there were a few trout caught using a team of three buzzers with a heavy epoxied buzzer on the point (the sacrificial fly). Again its early days and although buzzers account for a substantial amount of the trout’s diet, they seem to be fished when there isn’t anything else more interesting to try and lures aren’t an attractive proposition. Another off putting thing about buzzer fishing is that there is such a confusing array of fly patterns out there that claim to represent some aspect of this ubiquitous insect’s lifestyle it can be a little daunting.
No matter what lake you are fishing on, there are basically three factors which will govern the movements of trout – the season, what the fish are feeding on and the weather and although the weather is the least important of the three, it is still a key force. With the season gradually progressing trout are becoming more mobile and areas that were fishing very well have slackened off somewhat while other areas are ‘picking up’.
Strong easterly and northerly winds on some days made for some difficult fishing.
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 6½ lbs caught by Gary McKiernan on Wednesday March 29th using wet flies
Total number of trout recorded: 57
Selection of Catches
- Christopher Defillon fishing with Romain, France – 12 trout for the week, heaviest two at 5½ lbs each.
- Danny Murray, Dublin fishing with Lough Sheelin Guiding Services – 2 trout heaviest at 3lbs on Friday March 31st.
- Gary McKiernan – 6 trout for the week, heaviest fish at 5, 5 ½ and 6lbs, fishing wets.
- Andrius Bikelis, Lithuania – 3 trout biggest at 60cm, caught using lures.
- Matis Andrulis, Dublin – 4 trout, heaviest at 5lbs using lures.
- Azuolas Mikenas, Wexford – 1 trout at 3lbs using a Gold Humungus.
- Aleksander Kowalski, Navan – 3 trout on Humungus, Minkies and Zonkers, heaviest 4lbs.
- Pat Brady, Cavan – 1 trout at 2lbs using a Fiery Brown Dabbler.
Crazy Fish Cup
Last Sunday, March 26th Ireland’s Lithuanian Fishing Club ‘Go&Catch’ ran the second leg of their ‘Crazy Fish Cup’ 2017 championship on Lough Sheelin. The weather didn’t favour this enthusiastic good humoured bunch of anglers as bright sunshine and strong south easterly winds persisted throughout the day having a negative impact on the trout feeding.
Undeterred these passionate anglers scattered and disappeared across this expanse of water after the 9am kick off time. Despite tough and somewhat challenging fishing conditions 26 trout were caught – measured – photographed and released with Andrius Bikelis winning the ‘Crazy Fish Cup’ and also catching the longest fish at 60cm.
Top 3 winners:
- 1st Andrius Bikelis 3 trout 148cm
- 2nd Gintaras Padimanskas 3 trout 131cm
- 3rd Deividas Firsovas 3 trout 130cm
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.
An expensive spinning rod and reel were found on Kilnahard pier on Saturday March 18th, the owner can have these back by contacting me on 087 2141500
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
Lough Sheelin Guiding Services
Tel: 087 1245927 Web: www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com
email@example.com 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.