Brenda Montgomery, IFI reports from Lough Sheelin – March 10th to March 18th 2013:

‘They say you forget your troubles on a trout lake, but that’s not quite it. What happens is that you begin to see where your troubles fit into the grand scheme of things, and suddenly they’re just not such a big deal anymore.” John Gierach

Gary McKiernan with his 6 ¼  lb trout caught on a Glister Ollie
Gary McKiernan with his 6 ¼ lb trout caught on a Glister Ollie

This week was a tough week weather wise for anglers on Lough Sheelin with night temperatures dropping every night to below zero and Tuesday giving us the unenviable title of coldest place in Ireland at minus 6.5 degrees.  Monday March 11th the wind swept across the lake from the North East and although day time temperatures hovered at a manageable 5-7 degrees, it was the wind chill factor that chased away even the hardiest, the wind that day was of Artic standard and would as they say in Cavan ‘take the fur off a cat’ .  But I have to say difficult weather has only ever been a slight stumbling block to most of our Sheelin anglers and when conditions improved even by only a few degrees fishermen this week were out there and most were rewarded by beautiful catches of unrivalled wild trout.  The heaviest trout was caught by local man Gary McKiernan (of ) weighing in at 6 ¼ lbs using a Glister Ollie on March 14th.  Gary was fishing with angling companion and fellow ghillie Dublin man Andrew Brown who hooked a heavy trout at the same time but with the two fish striking at the same time unfortunately Andrew lost his but he will be back…

Anglers are still using wet flies with various concoctions striking gold mainly Andrew Brown’s Glister Big Ollie, the March Brown, the Silver Invicta, the Hare’s ear, a selection of Dabblers and Watsuns Fancy are all getting results.  The Minkie although perhaps disregarded by the purest trout fly angler as being an imposter in that it is a lure and works on the curiosity and aggressive principle has nonetheless been very successful this week, with the black Minkie coming up trumps with impressive catches of trout of over 4, 3 and 2lbs in weight.

The shoreline and sheltered bays are the best areas for now and we await with impatience the arrival of warmer weather and a decent hatch of duck fly because for now there is no fly on the lake.

The Kilroy Cup

The first competition of the season – The Kilroy Cup was fished on Lough Sheelin on the bank holiday Monday March 18th.  This competition was hosted and organized by The Lough Sheelin Protection Association and on this day attracted 45 anglers.

A sharp frost lingered from the night before and temperatures crawled into the 2 -3 degrees as the day progressed to be gradually replaced by rain, the word that was repeatedly used through chattering teeth was ‘freezing’ by the undaunted anglers who returned in by the 5.30pm deadline but Sheelin did not let anyone down and surpassed all other years by producing 13 beautiful trout for its anglers, none of which dropped below the 2 lb mark  No competitors entering a competition held in mid-March could of asked for more and all the fishermen despite being suspicious that they might have caught hypothermia in their efforts were all very happy and looking forward to what is undoubtedly going to be an exceptional seasons fishing on this lake.

Well done to all those who braved the elements.



1st Kenneth O’Keefe, Cavan  1 trout @ 5.14 lbs using a white Minkie

2nd Gerry McShane 1 trout @ 4.92 using a Dabbler.

3rd Martin Kearney, Mullingar – 3 trout (1 released) using a black Minkie – 4.60

And 2.6lbs.

4th Seamus Kelly, Mayo 1 trout @ 4.04 lbs using a Minkie.

5th John Brennan, Mullingar 1 trout @ 3.86 lbs using a Claret Dabbler.

6th Andrew Brown, Dublin 1 trout @ 3.56 lbs using a Watson Fancy

Winner of the prestigious Kilroy Cup a delighted Kenneth O’Keefe, Cavan with his 5.14 lb trout caught using a white Minkie
Winner of the prestigious Kilroy Cup a delighted Kenneth O’Keefe, Cavan with his 5.14 lb trout caught using a white Minkie


A group of happy anglers after the Kilroy Cup competition, March 18th
A group of happy anglers after the Kilroy Cup competition, March 18th

Heaviest trout of the week : 6 ¼ lb caught by Gary McKiernan, Ballinagh using a Glister Ollie.

Total catch recorded for  the week:  24

Selection of Catches

Maurice Lyttle, Mountnugent – using a rainbow Cormorant on a sunk line on Tuesday evening March 12th in Kilnahard bay one trout at 3lbs.

Ned Clinton, Crover – using a black Minkie 1 trout @ 3.08 on March 18th.

Michael Farrell, Finea: dragging wets, 3 trout averaging 1 ½ – 2 lbs.

John Murphy, Crover – on March 18th 1 trout at 3.32 lbs

Sean Reynolds, Finea – 1 trout at 2 lbs fishing around Orangefield using a Silver Dabbler.

Peter Boyle, Monaghan – 3 trout for the week ranging from 2 ½ to 3 ½ lb.  Peter fished all over the lake but on Thursday landed his biggest trout in Corru bay using a Cock Robin with a hook size of 12.

A black Minkie
A black Minkie


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

Please remember anglers that the size limit on this lake is 30 cm (11.8 inches) – we need our small fish alive…….



Gary carefully releasing his 6 ¼ lb trout
Gary carefully releasing his 6 ¼ lb trout

I feel at this stage that Lough Sheelin is just flexing its muscles before taking its position as one of the top wild brown trout lake fisheries in the world.

Brenda Montgomery, IFI

Lough Sheelin