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Sunset proves the best time for fishing at Lough Sheelin

July 27th, 2017 | by

Lough Sheelin Angling Report (3rd-23rd July 2017), By Brenda Montgomery, Inland Fisheries Ireland

‘One dream, one soul, one prize, one goal, one golden glance of what should be’

Roger Taylor

Lough Sheelin's Golden Hour

Lough Sheelin’s Golden Hour

For the multitude of those who have enquired recently as to why the Lough Sheelin weekly angling report has seemingly vanished, the answer is that, for the past month the internet connection at the Sheelin office has been giving trouble with the term ‘intermittent’ being bandied around frequently and despite having developed a very close relationship with Vodafone, Eir, IT engineers and technicians the problems are still ongoing and I can now understand  why psychiatrists say that there is a very thin line between sanity and insanity!

Up until last week, the words used to describe the internet connection here could also be used to describe the fishing on Sheelin – sporadic/temperamental/spluttering and frustrating.

We are now into the middle of the fishing season where the traditionally unpredictable Irish summer alternated familiarly between scorching heat, drops in temperatures and deluges of rain. The Irish are an optimistic lot because every summer we feel without fail that we are entitled to months of dry sunny weather because, after all, this is the summer and every year spirits take a downward turn when we get what we have been getting since the beginning of time – a mixed bag usually with lots of rain.

Temperatures, however, have been high sometimes reaching the mid twenties and this has an effect on fishing in that water temperatures have also been climbing, registering 21 degrees in the shallows ten days ago. Trout will always head down deep to the cooler water columns where oxygen levels are better and also to avoid the glare of harsh sunlight (our piscatorial friends have no protecting eyelids) so this made day time fishing particularly sluggish and necessitated sinking lines.

Another factor was that the trout moved on to the fry early in the month and when they are focused on this food, it can be difficult to distract them off it.

Gina Tanzos from Hungary with her Sheelin trout caught on wets

Gina Tanzos from Hungary with her Sheelin trout caught on a team of wet flies – Dabblers and Bumbles

From E.J. Malone's Irish Trout and Salmon Flies

From E.J. Malone’s Irish Trout and Salmon Flies

After a sluggish few fishing weeks here, Lough Sheelin in the past ten days has suddenly moved up a few gears with the help of fresh water and good cloud cover and there were plenty of reports of some excellent fishing both during the day and at nightfall. The bloodworm did feature (but not excessively so) particularly in the Bog Bay area and some nice trout up to 6lbs were caught by Dublin angler Mick Kelly using his 1970’s Bloodworm pattern.

Depending on wind direction, a drift from Sailor’s Garden to Derrahorn is a good place to spot these chironomid larvae which vary in colour from dark blood red to an almost translucent grey. There are quite a few theories as to why this buzzer larvae should migrate to the surface if they are not pupating and the most plausible, particularly considering the warm summer temperatures , is that they are trying to collect oxygen or, if there is a wind, perhaps to use the wave action to help them to migrate to another area.  A good colour set up would be a red on the point, dark fiery brown in the middle and claret on the top dropper, all preferably in a size 10.

Giovanni Marenghi, London (fishing with Lough Sheelin Guiding) with his 55cm trout

Giovanni Marenghi, London (fishing with Lough Sheelin Guiding) with his 55cm trout

Last Friday produced some great fishing, from mid morning to late afternoon with trout moving to Brown Daddies, Silver Daddies, Silver Dabblers, Silver Humungus and Silver Invictas. The success of the silver is indicative of the trout still chasing the fry. Some dry fly anglers consider themselves exclusively as the purists in the trout fishing world but it is a commonly known fact that fish take 99.999% of their meals under the surface.  The other .001% of the time they will take a surface fly – not out of hunger but to mess with the heads of anglers and also I think to give a false sense of confidence to an angler when he/she are treated with a swipe at the pro-offered artificial so it makes sense to put one’s fly where fish do the majority of their shopping which is under the surface to there is definitely a place for dragging wets on this lake, purists or not – just a thought.

Summer is terrestrial time and although trout cannot hide the fact that they are taking these land born insects, they do sip them down very delicately so a watchful eye is important.  Because these are non aquatic, the trout will be patrolling near the shoreline so it’s where an off-shore wind first begins to ripple the surface that the angler needs to fish.  Terrestrials are not hard to imitate, most are black and shiny so for wet fly fishing predominantly black with a touch of silver like the Black Pennell and the Zulu.

For anglers who prefer dry fly fishing, the Hopper is a good option. Now is real Daddy-Long-Legs time and these awkward, clumsy insects are hopeless when they land in a heap on the surface water and, in the process, pressing the dinner bell to the cruising trout.  Trout will sip at the flies so whether fishing wet or dry careful attention is a must so you can react quickly to what’s going on.

A lot of the time daytime fishing is fishing on the blind but the trout are coming up now (probably due to the recent injection of fresh colder water ) so pulling teams of wets – Humpies, Bumbles, Gorgeous George, Dabblers and Zulus can and are producing good results.

Mark Lough Scotland with his 50cm fish (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com)

Mark Lough from Scotland with his 50cm fish (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com)

'Bar of Gold' Jeremy O'Brien, London with a 60cm trout (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com)

‘Bar of Gold’ Jeremy O’Brien, London with a 60cm trout (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com)

Conor Fitzsimons with his nocturnal trout

Conor Fitzsimons with his nocturnal trout

Sheelin's Scorched Carpet Moth

Sheelin’s Scorched Carpet Moth

Lynda Connor with one of Sheelin's finest.

Lynda Connor with one of Sheelin’s finest

A sheelin Sedge - Micropterna Species

A Sheelin Sedge – Micropterna Species

Despite respectable enough day time catches, the bulk of the trout catches are in the evening and crossing into the night. Lough Sheelin over the past ten days has moved to ‘the dark side’ and most anglers are not venturing out until perhaps 8 or 9pm. As the sun lowers in the west and the shoreline trees become black figurines in the horizon this is when the real action begins on this lake, the magic hours for the caddis or sedge angler and for the past week Lough Sheelin hasn’t disappointed, as trout averaging 4lbs and up to 7lb in weight have been caught on Murrough and Green Peter patterns.  The sedge – the cream of the trout fishing season has risen to the top and a wealth of sedge species have invaded the waters around Rusheen, Sailors Garden, Derrahorn and elsewhere on the lake, depending on the prevailing winds.

Most sedges are active in the first part of the night, limiting our knowledge of their behavior. There are over 12,000 species recorded (perhaps 100 on Sheelin).  Our sedges are small moth like creatures with two pairs of hairy wings and are closely related to moths and butterflies.  The larvae make protective cases of silk decorated with gravel, sand, twigs and other debris and, more importantly for Lough Sheelin, their presence and abundance is generally thought to indicate clean water.  Due to their crepuscular life style and the similarity of many wing patterns very few have common names but most trout anglers are familiar with the Great Red Sedge (The Murrough) and the Green Peter and for now the imitation of these two are producing the goods for many.

The most vulnerable time for the sedge is when they are emerging, when they are drying their wings on the surface and also when they return to the water to lay their eggs. They are quite a large insect and as a result, the wings take that bit longer to dry out so they have to scurry across the water at speed to get to safety on dry land, creating a tell-tale wake. This is when the majority are taken by the patrolling trout with a recognisable slap of the water.

A hatch of sedge and a rise of trout to feed on them is easy to miss, murroughs in particular are big so the trout can only consume a small number as they need to digest them, so it pays to be there at the start of the rise because after that you could spend the rest of the night searching for the odd trout that might be hunting for any late emerging sedges.

Lough Sheelin has alot to offer now and plenty of choice for every preference. There are steady numbers fishing the lake but most dismiss the daylight hours and stick to the evening and beyond for what they term ‘great action’.  The colours, now heading towards the end of this month, have a richness and dark depth to them from the sunsets to ensuing darkness to the clarets, blood reds and ambers of the artificial flies.

The other day an angler called to the office with a photograph of his fish, “it’s there, do you not see it?” he enthused but all I could see was a square of darkness.  I don’t doubt there was a fish in there somewhere but nonetheless to me that photograph encompassed the best time for fishing on this lake now and that is in darkness.

I recall my all-time favourite statement from last year’s sedge time, given by my ninety year old angling companion: “Sure the Sheelin fish are like my teeth, they only come out at night” and for consistency and sport, he is being proved right again.


Lough Sheelin’s Barred Yellow Moth



Bradley Chalmers from Scotland.

Bradley Chalmers from Scotland

Keith Lough, Scotland with a 52cm trout (www.loughsheelinguiding.com)

Keith Lough, Scotland with a 52cm trout (www.loughsheelinguiding.com)

Cian Murtagh measuring up

Cian Murtagh measuring up

Bloodworm Cruncher - Kevin Sheridan

Bloodworm Cruncher – Kevin Sheridan

Mick Kelly's 'double bloodworm' trout

Mick Kelly’s ‘double bloodworm’ trout

The tranquillity of Lough Sheelin

The tranquillity of Lough Sheelin

Sedge Time

Sedge Time

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree - master angler Mick McCloskey's daughter, 14 year old Moya on shore with her first ever Sheelin trout

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – master angler Mick McCloskey’s daughter, 14 year old Moya, on shore with her first ever Sheelin trout

Lough Sheelin's Green Peter - Agypnia varia

Lough Sheelin’s Green Peter – Agypnia Varia

Murrough and Green Peter is all about fishing on the blind, more than likely you won’t be able to see a thing in the black of the night, the trout can be heard sipping at the surface insects but only the finely tuned angler hears the change in noise from that sip to a crash as a trout heads for a sedge on the move, a precision cast directly in front of that movement is what gets results but accuracy and concentration are of paramount importance to get a take. When that happens the heart racing adrenaline kick makes it all worthwhile.

Lough Sheelin's Green Peter

Lough Sheelin’s Green Peter

A longhorn sedge in close to Bog Bay - Oecetis ochracea

A longhorn sedge in close to Bog Bay – Oecetis ochracea

Denis O'Keefe

Denis O’Keefe

July 17th was marked with great sadness on the announcement of the death of fishing legend, Denis O’Keefe. Denis was a very familiar sight both on Sheelin and Corrib where he fished and worked as a guide for many years.  A ‘gentle giant’ he was generous with his extensive angling knowledge and his love of trout fishing and particularly of Lough Sheelin (with his beloved boat – Sheelin Lady) shone through at every occasion.

My relationship with Denis goes back many years when he was my very patient boatman in my swimming career. We only clashed once in twenty five years and even then he proved himself to be the better person by tracking me down, holding his hand out and saying nothing and everything in that one gesture.

The world, particularly the angling one, will be a much poorer place without this very special man.

Our sympathies go out to his family and in particular to his son, Kenneth.

Requiesce in pace.


Brown Sage - Kevin Sheridan

Brown Sage – Kevin Sheridan

The flies most used this week by anglers were the Murrough, a Small Brown Sedge (12-14 or smaller), Klinkhammers, the Bibio, Gorgeous George, Yellow Humpies, the Fiery Brown Sedge, the Chocolate Drop, the Grey Flag, hoppers, the Hare’s Ear Sedge, the Alexandra, the Sooty Olive, the red-tailed Green Peter, the Sedge Invicta, the G&H Sedge,  the Black Pennel, the Claret Pennel, the Welshman’s Button, a variety of Bumbles and the Silver Invicta.

The best areas for fishing on the lake this week were Lynch’s pt (good for Murrough) the Long Rock, Wattys Rock, Chambers Bay, Church Island to Orangefield, Corru Bay, Inchacup, Bog Bay, Goreport and Sailors Garden. Each day’s fishing area was very much governed by wind direction and a few days and evenings were put in the bin due to inclement fishing conditions.

Upcoming Events:    

  • The McDonnell cup will be held on Saturday August 12th from 11am till 6pm from Kilnahard pier. This competition has been fished catch & release for the past five years, which proved to be very successful. Measures will be provided for all boats with the cup awarded to the longest fish. This competition is open to members of the club only, but membership is available on the day. There will be lots of prizes on offer and this day is generally viewed as a great day out. For further details contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033.
  • The McIntyre/Guider Cup will be fished in September (date to be decided).
  • The LSTPA Stream Rehabilitation Competition will be held on Sunday October 1st (details later)

Please remember anglers to abide by BYE-LAW 949 which strictly prohibits from June 14th 2017 onwards:

  • The taking of any brown trout of less than 36 centimetres.
  • For a person to fish with more than 2 rods at any one time.
  • To fish with more than 4 rods at any one time when there is more than one person on board the boat concerned.
  • For a person to take more than 2 trout per day.
  • All trolling on the lake from March 1st to June 16th (inclusive).
  • To fish or to attempt to take or to fish for, fish of any kind other than during the period from March 1st to October 12th in any year.

Useful Contacts:

Lough Sheelin Guiding Services: Contact 0871245927 or visit  www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com

Christopher Defillon: Email evasionpecheirlande@gmail.com  Tel +33685964369  or visit https://m.facebook.com/christopher.defillon?refid=0&fref=seaperch#

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

John Mulvany: Tel: 086 249 0076 or email: johnmulvanyfishing@gmail.com

D.C Angling & Guiding Services: Contact David on Tel 087 3946989

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

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

Catch and Release on Lough Sheelin

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

The heaviest fish over the past three weeks was a 7lb on the nose trout caught by Mark Willis, Dublin using a Green Peter fishing off Church Island.

Total number of trout recorded : 91

Selection of Catches:            

  • Cian Murtagh, Cavan – July 22nd, 2 trout at 4lbs each and 1 at 2lbs using Brown Daddies and Silver Invicta.
  • Christopher Defillon, Navan – 1 trout at 5lbs on wets.
  • Thomas Harten, Cavan – 1 trout at 6lbs using a Sedge pattern.
  • Paddy Lyons fishing with David Palmer – July 20th fishing Green Peters, 3 trout at 5lbs, 4lbs & 3lbs.
  • Ronnie Child, Northern Ireland – 1 trout at 4 ½ lbs using wets.
  • Peter McArdle, Dunalk – 1 trout at 4lbs using a Sedge pattern.
  • Michael Farrell, Castlepollard – 3 trout using dry Sedge patterns at 4, 3½ and 3lbs.
  • Malcom Bennett, Dublin – 8 trout July 14th to July 21st heaviest at 6 ½ lbs, average weighed 2 – 4lbs caught on Green Peters, Murroughs and Sedge patterns.
  • Tony Grehan, Dublin – 2 trout at 1 ½ and 2 lbs using Chocolate Drop Sedges fishing around Church Island.
  • Dara Murtagh, Cavan – 2 trout at 2 and 3lbs using Green Peters and Silver Daddies.
  • Ned Clinton, Cavan – 1 trout at 3lbs using wets.
  • Pat McCloskey, Scotland – 1 trout at 48cm dragging wets.
  • Keith Lough, Scotland – guided by Loughsheelinguidingservices 2 trout at 52 and 55cm.
  • Andrew McKeever, Meath – 1 trout at 60cm fishing wets.
  • Jeremy O’Brien, London – 1 trout at 60cm using a Claret Dabbler.
  • Mark Lough, Scotland – 3 trout, 2 at 50cm and 1 at 55cm.
  • Carlo Negri, London – 1 trout at 47cm on wets.



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