5th to 12th August 2012 Lough Sheelin Report by Brenda Montgomery
For the supreme test of a fisherman is not how many fish he has caught, not even how he has caught them, but what he has caught when he has caught no fish.
~ John H. Bradley
Sheelin lead its anglers a tantalizing dance this week in that some days produced excellent fishing while other days despite impressive hatches of fly life saw no movement of trout. The lake was challenging, unpredictable, testing and addictive for its anglers. Last Saturday despite blustery easterly winds we saw the biggest coverage ever of green peter across the lake’s surface particularly around the sailors garden but despite this no trout at any stage during the evening broke the surface, on this same night standing on the lee shore I watched colossal hatching of sedge but not a trout in sight.
The mantra all anglers must remember with this lake is that the fishing is governed totally by the wind and there were a lot of rapid wind changes happening on some days something which sedges don’t like and trout even more so. Mirror flat calm conditions on other days didn’t help either as trout could quite clearly see the hopeful angler. The best times for fishing this week was 12 to 4pm and from 7pm till night fall, although some would suggest a 4am start ‘beat all’.
The main flies used were a selection of dry sedges – browns and greys, green peters, buzzers, stimulators, murroughs, hoppers and daddy long legs.
‘Daddies’ are a familiar sight on the water from this month onwards, they are often blown onto the water surface where they struggle in their attempts to become air-borne once more. Such large insects make a good mouthful for the trout which respond quickly. Large expanses of water are good as the distance is obviously too great for these insects to fly across. The angler must cast the daddy fly to an area where trout activity is obvious on the surface. When a take does occur he must resist the temptation to strike as the trout will often try to drown the fly first before taking it in its mouth.
With temperatures reaching 26 degrees towards the end of the week the hoppers came into play as they are good hot weather fishing baits. The size and colour variations are enormous on these flies and the best choice of imitation can only come after studying whats out there – you must match the hatch.

Daddy Longlegs
Daddy Longlegs

The highlight of the fishing week had to be the McDonald Cup fly fishing competition run by The Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association on Sunday last August 12th from 12 noon to 6pm where ‘the cream of the crop’ in anglers took part.
This was the first year that the club ran a ‘Catch & Release’ competition where anglers brought a measuring board with them and reported back at the finish time, this was a competition were honesty prevailed and the 52 anglers did not let us down as the numbers caught accurately enough reflected this lake and its unpredictably.
Yellow black chernobyl hopper
Yellow black chernobyl hopper

The success of this event will undoubtedly herald the beginning of more ‘Catch & Release’ events. All anglers were happy and a Bar B Q, presentation of prizes and appreciation speeches followed until the light started to dwindle and there was a certain amount of agitation among the non locals to get out there again to avail of the evening phase of fishing.
93 yr old Sean McCaul, president of the L.S.T.P.A presenting winner Darragh Murtagh with the McDonald cup
93 yr old Sean McCaul, president of the L.S.T.P.A presenting winner Darragh Murtagh with the McDonald cup

 The results of this competition were:
1st: Darragh Murtagh, Baileboro, Cavan – with a 46 cm trout
2nd: Pat Sweeney – 44.6 cm trout
3rd: John Mulvaney – 42 cm trout
A group of anglers who took part in The McDonald Cup fly fishing competition
A group of anglers who took part in The McDonald Cup fly fishing competition

‘Catch & Release fishing is like golf. You don’t have to eat the ball to have a good time’. Anonymous.

A special word of thanks to Gerry Galligan, Sheelin Meats for the kind sponsorship of burgers to the recently held Youth Angling Day held on Sheelin and also for the contribution towards the McDonald Cup Bar B Q.
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 36
Selection of Catches
Michael Kelly, Dublin – 2 trout on Friday August 10th, 1½ and 2lbs, 4 on Saturday heaviest was 3½ lbs caught on a stimulator, 3 at 1½ – 2lbs all caught on Michael’s ‘tester’ fly.
John Murphy, Crover – 3 trout averaging 2 – 2½ lbs caught using a small dry sedge.
Brian Campbell, Louth – on Saturday August 11th, 1 trout at 1½ lbs.
Joe Quinn, Ballina, Mayo – 1 trout at 40.5cm.
Thomas Lynch, Cavan – 1 trout at 34 cm.
Noel McLoughlin, Kells – 1 trout on a dry sedge at 34 cm.
Lough Sheelin
Lough Sheelin

Brenda Montgomery IFI