Brenda Montgomery reports from Lough Sheelin August 12th to 19th

‘Surely the best virtue of fishermen is their hopefulness’

          Zane Grey

Lough Sheelin was in competition this week with the All Ireland Fleadh which was held for the 3rd year in succession in Cavan town but despite this it still attracted a respectable number of fishermen.

Albert Berry with his 4lb plus trout caught on Tuesday August 14th
Albert Berry with his 4lb plus trout caught on Tuesday August 14th

The Sheelin trout played mental havoc with its anglers during the week were there was an impressive movement of fish and huge surface rises but after putting on that show the majority of trout didn’t follow through to take the proffered fly by the ever hopeful angler. It was a frustrating week but not for all as Michael Kelly and Albert Berry proved on Tuesday catching an impressive number of 8 good sized wild trout averaging 2½ – over 4lbs in weight.

2½ lbs trout caught by Owain Pickersgill, Mullingar
2½ lbs trout caught by Owain Pickersgill, Mullingar

The only way to catch fish on this lake at this time of the year when the trout are playing ‘cat and mouse’ is to understand what’s going on, the angler must study primarily wind directions, fly hatches and change according to whether its bright sunny conditions or wet and windy ones.

Lucky dog in water -  Church Island, Lough Sheelin- August 14th temperatures rose to over 20 degrees
Lucky dog in water - Church Island, Lough Sheelin- August 14th temperatures rose to over 20 degrees

Trout can be mystifying creatures, especially to those that like to catch them.  Fish do have reasons though for how they behave. 

For bright sunshine the angler needs flat calm, you fish so the sun is in front of you so there is no shadow on the water to scare away the fish.  Trout have a narrow line of vision and this window of vision becomes smaller as they come closer to the surface so fishing a 3lb leader can be a good idea.  The worse fishing conditions on this lake is a combination of wind and sun as trout have no eyelids , the sun hits the choppy water at angles creating an effect like a disco ball and blinding the fish and so they disappear into the lower reaches to escape.

Ideal conditions are overcast and warm with a corduroy ripple on the lake’s surface.

Wednesday was the most difficult day with blustery winds sweeping across the lake during the day with these increasing to nervous heights by nightfall.

There were very good hatches of sedge and green peter throughout the week with the best fishing times from mid afternoon to nightfall.

Best flies used for the week were stimulators, murroughs, green peter, silver dabblers, silver invicta and brown and grey sedges.

The silver dabbler
The silver dabbler
The Silver Invicta
The Silver Invicta

Just a reminder to all anglers – The Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association will host their end of season Lough Sheelin River Enhancement/Rehabilitation fly fishing competition on Lough Sheelin on Saturday October 6th.

For further details please contact Eamon Ross @ 087 9436655 or Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033

A catch and release policy is actively encouraged on this lake


Please remember anglers that the size limit on this lake is 35.5 cm (14 inches) – we need our small fish alive…….


Total catch recorded for the week was 37

The week’s heaviest trout at over 4lbs was caught by Albert Berry, Cavan using Michael Kelly’s ‘tester’ fly.

It was encouraging this week to see a number of angling enthusiasts from outside of Ireland fishing  the lake – Germany, France, Seattle and Italy.

A line up of boats at Crover, Lough Sheelin
A line up of boats at Crover, Lough Sheelin

Selection of Catches

Albert Berry, Cavan and Michael Kelly, Dublin – on Monday August 6th Michael caught 2 trout at 1¾ and 2½ lbs using his new ‘tester’ fly.  On Tuesday fishing together these two men caught 8 trout in total averaging 2½ to over 4lbs in weight, fish were caught mid lake using stimulators, LF flies and the ‘tester’ fly from 1pm onwards.

Two Galway men ghillied by Michael Kelly on Wednesday (which was the most difficult day of the week with high winds) August 15th, both men caught a fish 1½ and 2lbs in weight using silver dabblers and stimulators at the back of Church Island.

On Friday August 17th Michael caught 5 trout averaging 1¾ – 3½ lbs using a new creation called ‘The Sheelin Sedge’, this fly was designed from the close study of the numerous species of sedge that hatch on this lake.

Aidan Heffernan, Dublin – 3 trout averaging 2 – 2½ lbs using a small dry sedge on Thursday night August 16th.

Brenda Montgomery IFI