Brenda Montgomery reports from the IFI Lough Sheelin Office.

“My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things – trout as well as eternal salvation – come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy.”
Source: A River Runs Through It

The jewel in the Crown

June 4th to June 11th 2012

‘I have fished many lakes in Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland but the numbers of free rising trout and the quality of fish in this lake far out weighs any other lake I have ever put my boat on,  This is the jewel in the crown for any angler’ Martin McDaid

Martin McDaid, Belfast cradling his 6.75lb wild Sheelin trout caught on a dry green mayfly on 4lb fluorocarbon on June 6th, this fish was returned along with Martin’s other 5.5lb trout caught later on in the day on a dry spent.

This week was a tough week for anglers and it was all down to the weather making everything very challenging for those brave souls who ventured out.  Thursday saw heavy downpours followed by continuous rain and gusts of up to 50mph on Friday – the water levels rose and the fishermen’s hearts sank.

The earlier part of the week with its mild temperatures and more settled weather proved to be the more productive for Lough Sheelin’s anglers with large hatches of mayfly still happening.  What can only be described as spectacular were the volumes of fly coming in off the lake on Tuesday evening after 7pm and the lake’s surface was blanketed by spent.  The levels of the lake rose considerably so that by Saturday evening the water looked black and ominous with the fresh churned up water but still the lake fished well and there was good fly life on the surface, certainly Andrew Brown with his trout of 6½ lbs caught on a spent was happy, also two Omagh men – Joseph Turnbull with his trout weighing in at 5lbs and his fishing companion Shane Colgan with two trout at 6 and 5lbs weren’t complaining, all these fish were caught on the spent gnat.

trout on Sheelin
Richie Meacle fished the lake on Monday with his father. They put in a hard day's work and at quarter to 5 his rod was nearly pulled into the water. They knew it was a good fish and after a 20 minute battle the fish was netted. Richie says it was a monster off a fish, his biggest ever and it weighed in at 8lb 2 oz.

The most popular flies being used are the wulffs (grey, red and green), the green mosley mayfly, the Barbie (creation by Sheelin angler Michael Kelly), the spent gnat, humpies, nymphs, fast, intermediate and small dabblers and sooty olives. This week also saw trout starting to come up to a small brown sedge.

The Sheelin Classic Fly Fishing Competition was the highlight of the fishing week This highly anticipated and successful competition is now in its eighth year and attracted 95 anglers on Sunday June 10th.

The gods however were not smiling on this event and the weather conditions of bright harsh sunlight throughout the day (11am – 6pm) severely influenced the number of catches with a total of less than ten fish being caught.  The anglers despite this were happy and as a rule the entrants accepted good humouredly that you must take the rough with the smooth and most competitors saw plenty of movement of fish to give hope and encouragement for other angling days on this great lake.

The winner of the Sheelin Classic was Athlone man Michael Mckiernan with his 4.41lb trout caught on a spent.

Winners of The Sheelin Classic (left to right) – Gerry O’Brien, Enniskellan 2nd and Michael McKiernan, Athlone 1st. (pic. Mick Flannagan)

2nd Rory Coleman, Navan 2.87lb trout

3rd Gerry O’Brien, Enniskellan 2.76lb trout

4th Steven McManus, Kells 1.79lb trout (caught on a sooty olive)

5th Dave McBride 1.78lb trout

Its not all about fishing –

Entrants for the national and Olympian fresh water qualifiers took place on Lough Sheelin last Saturday June 9th.  The water was a chilly 11 degrees (pool water is 27!). Over 40 swimmers took part from all corners of the world including Malta and America.The L.S.T.P.A will be running a ‘not to be missed’ Youth Angling Day on Saturday July 7th at Lough Sheelin.  This day is open to all 8 – 18 year olds.  The day will include fly tying, casting and then fishing, finishing with a Bar-B-Q.  Everyone must bring a life jacket and eye protection and of course lots of enthusiasm and energy.

Contact E.Ross @ 087 9436655 or Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033

Ian from Scotland with his wild trout of over 6lbs caught on a buzzer (an F fly)

A catch and release policy is actively encouraged on this lake at all times

‘It is only the inexperienced and thoughtless who find pleasure in killing fish for the mere sake of killing them. No sportsman does this’. W.C Prime, 1888

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

Heaviest fish for the week was a 7½lb trout caught by Thomas Lynch, L.S.T.P.A (

A total of 155 trout were recorded for the week

A selection of other catches were:

Ian Kelly, Mullingar – 1 trout at 5.5lbs on June 7th using a mosley mayfly (tied by Ian).

Graham Moss, England – on June 9th at 8.30pm 1 trout at 4¾ lbs caught on a spent gnat.

Pat Savage, Swords, Co.Dublin – 1 trout at 5lbs on the spent, 1 at 1¾ on the dry mayfly.

Ken Kearns, Dundalk – 2 at 2½ & 3½ on a buzzer on Wednesday evening.

Mickey McCluskey, Donegal – 2 wild trout at 4lbs and 2lbs on a murrough on Sunday June 10th.

Frank Kelly & Eamon Ross, L.S.T.P.A – on Wednesday evening using a spent gnat, Frank landed himself 3 trout at 3½, 5½ and 6lbs, while Eamon got 2 trout, heaviest was 3lbs.

Denis Moss, Galway – 1 at 1¾lbs on the spent on Saturday June 9th.

Thomas Lynch, L.S.T.P.A – 1 trout weighing in at 7½lbs on Wednesday June 6th on the spent and 1 at 3¾ lbs on Monday June 4th, again on a spent – all released.

Oliver McCormack – 1 trout at 3½ lbs

Eamon Connor – on a green X spent, around the Long Rock 1 at 3½ lbs.

Paul O’Meara, Dublin – 3 trout, all caught on the spent gnat, heaviest weighed in at 3½lbs.

Mark Carolan, Meath – wet fly fishing, 3 trout weighing in at 2 – 2½ lbs.

Larry O’Sullivan, Trim – 2 trout on the spent – 2 and 3lbs.

Brian McAveney, Clones – on the spent 1 at 5lbs and 3 averaging 3lbs each, all on the spent.

Andrew Brown – 1 at over 6lbs on Saturday June 9th on the spent, 2 on Tuesday and Wednesday, all on spents and greens – all released.

Pat Savage, Slane, Co.Meath – on the spent 1 at 3lbs.

Brenda Montgomery

11th June, 2012