Lough Sheelin normally is a lake that is slow to ‘take off’ from an angling point of view with anglers usually gradually appearing in dribs and drabs throughout March but this year has been different.

This year most boats were moored at various points around the lake 2 to 3 weeks in advance of the opening season and from the start the lake boasted respectable numbers of anglers fishing its waters and encouraging angling returns.

Two boats almost over the weir at Finea, March 21st, 2012
Two boats almost over the weir at Finea, March 21st, 2012

The first competition of the year was the Kilroy Cup held on Sunday March 18th, this attracted over 15 anglers and a number of fish were caught, the winner being Paul Rush from Armagh with a trout of over 5lbs.

A second competition was also run by a Polish Angling club – Fishmaniaks during early March, a number of 1½ to 2lbs trout were caught.

Although the weather was unseasonably good during the last two weeks of March with temperatures rising above 20 degrees, the nights were cold with frosts and this made it difficult for the buzzer to really take off.

Most anglers were wet fly fishing although a few dry flies were used in the early days of April.

Sheelin and its anglers are gearing themselves up for the International on May 18th and on Sunday last April 8th, the Irish Team of over 20 anglers practised out on the lake and were not disappointed, with most landing fish averaging 2½ lbs with the best weighing in at 4½ lbs and a lot of fish being seen.

The roadway down to Kilnahard harbour is being gravelled and tarred this week – April 10th to April 13th so it is advisable to avoid this entrance onto the lake during these dates.

There were colossal hatches of olives at the weekend particularly around the top end of the lake – Goreport, Bog bay and the Sailor’s Garden.  One angler commented that he hadn’t seen such huge hatches on Sheelin for ‘over thirty years’.

The lake fished well both morning and evenings, the fish rises were governed by the weather and wind directions rather than the time of day.


Unfortunately we are having problems with vandalism and littering predominantly at the Finea side of the lake, particularly worrying is the continual removal of life belts and also the release of boats causing them to crash over the weir at Finea bridge causing considerable damage.  It is important for anglers and the public to be vigilant in these matters and report any incidents to IFI, County Council or Gardaí

Dumping along the Bog Road, Finea, March 21st 2012
Dumping along the Bog Road, Finea, March 21st 2012. Please contact your local County Council to report littering.

Total number of catches recorded:  179 
Heaviest fish : 6½ lbs trout caught by Michael Kelly, Dublin using a BF fly.
A catch and release policy is actively encouraged on this lake.

Some catches were:
Aaron Pollock, Northern Ireland – April 8th, 2 trout at 4 and 4 ½ lbs, both wild fish and in excellent condition.  Aaron was wet fly fishing around the Bog Bay area.

Seamus Norris, Dublin – 1 trout at 3lbs.

Gary McKiernan, Ballinagh, Cavan – 2 trout, 1@ 3lbs on April 6th and 1@1½ lbs on April 8th.

Peter Boyle, Monaghan – Peter is fishing Melvin at the moment but on his few visits to Sheelin caught a few nice 1½ – 2½ lb trout which will perhaps lure him back later in the season!

Michael Kelly, Dublin – Michael has caught 55 trout on the lake since the start of the season this year, all of which have been wild fish and most in excellent condition.  Michael wet fly fished and as in previous years draws on his continual study of this lake and its fish life to create flies that reward him with good results.  Two of his most successful creations this season are the BF fly and the Chernobyl fly.  The BF fly is a wet fly version of his now infamous LF fly, the BF is an early season fly and has been responsible for the catching of a beautiful 6½ lb 57cm wild trout in early March.  The Chernobyl fly (so named because of its radio active glow) was responsible for great catches of 3 trout (1½- 2lbs) on Friday April 6th, 6 trout (2½-4lbs) on Saturday April 7th and 11 trout (3 – 5lbs) on Sunday April 8th.  Michael rarely if ever uses a traditional over the counter fly all his ‘creations’ are down to taking the time to study this lake and his tactics seem to be working..

Brenda Montgomery