Lough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI June 17th – June 23rd

The man who coined the phrase “Money can’t buy happiness”, never bought himself a good fly rod! — Reg Baird

‘Starting Young’ – 3 year old Jack Fox, Ratoath, Co.Meath going fishing with Dad Barry on Lough Sheelin

Flies that proved successful on the lake this week

This week saw Sheelin relax and breath out a little after the frenzy of the past few mayfly weeks.  The number of anglers fishing the lake decreased and the hecticiness dissolved to be replaced by calm, tranquility and some great fishing.

Lough  Sheelin has still at least a week to go before the mayfly disappear for another year and avid trout anglers are making a big mistake by giving up at this stage because there is still some great fishing to be had on the spent, indeed the falls particularly earlier on in the week were impressive and definitely on par or greater than over the past number of weeks when the season was at its peak.

There was some wonderful fishing after 9.30pm particularly on Tuesday and Wednesday night in Chambers Bay and around Church Island when there were  huge falls of spent and the trout were on them in a matter of minutes with quite a few trout feeding hard, even after 12pm anglers reported a good few fish still feeding.  It was a scene that would raise the spirits of even the most cynical anglers.

During the day and early evening although there was good movement of fish, the trout rises were sporadic, you could have a fantastic rise of fish but it might only last for as little as 40 minutes and then abruptly it stops, the fish go down and that’s it for the day.  A lot has to do with temperatures and if there is any kind of a chill in the air particularly in late evening and at nightfall this seems to effect the fish and they stop feeding and sink down to the lower recesses of the lake.

Emmet McWilliams, Derry with his 4 ¼ lb trout caught on a spent after 9.30pm around church island

Gradually like some sort of  metaphorosis Lough Sheelin is moving from the mayfly and spent towards the sedge . Sedge fishing is arguably reputed to be the cream of  Lough Sheelin’s fishing season and usually gets into full swing from mid June onwards to continue on right up to the close of the season – October 12th but this being a year when everything is late and behind schedule, the sedge is just starting now. The  hatches of sedges increased as the week progressed into the weekend  and some nice fish were caught using the various imitations usually a light brown sedge pattern and as small as possible maybe a 12-14.  Frankie McPhilips sedge patterns are successful and to be recommended if an angler is unsure what to buy.

A Murrough at Goreport, Lough Sheelin

On the surface water some sedges sit with their wings up and some have them down and that coupled with the fact that at times there are so much different fly on the water, it can be bamboozling and more than confusing for the angler but to quote one regular fly fisherman – ‘ sure that’s Sheelin for you – variety, quality and quantity’ now who would dare to complain about that threesome!

If it doesn’t match you won’t catch……….

There are many tactics that can be employed to take fish during a sedge hatch but the most important thing to remember is that the fly used must resemble the local hatch.  Size and colour are of top importance

The murrough, murragh or great red sedge is starting to appear at this time and for now it is best fished from 9pm onwards on this lake.

The murrough is the biggest of all the sedges, it normally hatches at dusk from late May well into June and hatches can last for up to six weeks but again this being a behind schedule kind of year will mean that the hatches are only just starting now so we’re talking about continuation until at least mid July.  Some anglers only fish a single murrough dry while others are successful with the murrough and a balling buzzer on the dropper.  According to Sheelin’s past records some of the largest fish of the season are taken on the murrough and the most likely places are behind Stony Islands, Gaffney’s Bay, Ross Bay, Rusheen and the bottom of Goreport Bay and Bog Bay.

The shoals of perch fry are starting to appear particulary around Bog Bay and Goreport and the trout are starting to gorge themselves on these and have been seen literally bashing the fry where the trout lash the fly with their tails in an apparent effort to stun the tiny fish.  They then feed on the dead fry lying on the surface.  This activity usually occurs early in the morning about 8am and again in the early afternoon.All this will mean the trout will be full up and not interested in the pro offered fly by the ever hopeful angler so these shoals can make catching trout a little more tricky.  The areas noted for the perch bashing are from Plunkett’s Point to Kilnahard Point and along the Derrysheridan Shore and into Goreport Bay.  Silver and gold bodied flies or white lures fished very slowely or even stationary can get results.

Resting at Church Island – the calm & tranquility of Lough

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true
– Lough Sheelin June 22nd, 2013

Although fishing was slow on Saturday June 22nd because of heavy showers and gusty winds the appearance of this spectacular rainbow more than made up for the sluggish rise of fish.

There were serious hatches of caenis on the lake during the week.  Conditions have to be just right for this small white fly – bigger than a midge (but not by much) to appear.  Caenis is commonly referred to as The Fisherman’s Curse primarily because it sticks to everything and everyone.  When the conditions are ideal the trout will feed extensively on these hatches and can be difficult to catch at these times.  The best time to fish the Caenis is in the early morning 5a.m- 7.30a.m, fishing conditions must be calm and mild and anglers need to head to quiet sheltered corners with a patch of still water close to the shore.  Goreport Bay, Sailor’s Garden and around the islands in Chambers bay are particularly good locations.  A small nymph will sometimes work but most success is achieved with an imitation fished dry on a fine leader.

Noel Shiels with his impressive Sheelin trout which he carefully released

Sedge on a reed Spent gnat fishing on Sheelin, June 2013

Anglers are fishing both wet and dry, with the flies in top position being the spent gnat the green mayfly, the sedge and the murrough with the silver Invicta, Wickham’s Fancy, Cinnamon Sedge dry fly and black gnat dry fly getting a small look in.

The spent gnat fishing (after 9pm) is still ruling this lake and will do so for at least another week.

The Italians make their mark on Sheelin – Enrico Fantasia (fishing with Loughsheelinguidingservices).


Cathal NcNaughton’s trout caught on a spent in Sailors Garden

Lough Sheelin with its clear water and tranquil beauty carries a huge stock of predominantly wild trout covering all weight ranges from 1lb (and smaller) to the 10lb and above mark.  The Sheelin anglers however have high expectations and some have a tendency to dismiss catches of perhaps 1 ½ lbs as insignificant or not worth mentioning whereas in other waters that weight would be considered as a great catch.

It is no harm to raise the bar and have high expectations and Sheelin’s bar is higher than any lake in Ireland but dismissing irritably a 1 – 1 ½ lb trout as ‘only a sprat’ is foolish as sprats grow up and in the next year or two that ‘sprat’ could be catch of the week, having blossomed out into a real Sheelin beauty, thick from top to tail with distinctive clear spots on a glistening body – and of course that photograph of a life time…

Ryan Houston, Enniskellan with his Sheelin beauty

The LSTPA are planning their youth angling day at Lough Sheelin on Saturday July 13th, this not to be missed day will include fly tying, casting and fishing with a Bar B Q and presentation of prizes rounding off the day.  This day is open to all youth enthusiasts from 7 to 16 yrs, for further information contact  Eamon Ross @ 087 9436655 or Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033

Darren Harten, Cavan with his beautiful 7lb plus trout – June 17th

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

Noel Shiels releasing his lovely Sheelin trout

Please remember anglers to abide by BYE-LAW 790 – we need to keep our small fish alive……………

There are a good selection of Sheelin ghillies/guides available and they are well worth investing in if angling visitors are unfamiliar with the lake, or perhaps haven’t that much fly fishing experience or maybe are a little ‘cut for time’ due to work or other commitments.  If one guide is unavailable it’s an absolute certainty that there will always another capable one to step into the breach.

The main ones are:

Lough Sheelin Guiding Services (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) – a group of local anglers who were all practically reared on the lake.

Michael Kelly @ 087 2608068

Michael Farrell @ 087 41941456

Damien Willis @ www.Loughsheelinbuddies.com

The  beauty of Lough Sheelin

The trout of the week weighed in at over 7lbs caught by Maurice Little, Mountnugent, Co.Cavan on June 18th using a spent

Total number of trout recorded: 162

Selection of Catches

Ted Horan, Ratoath, Co.Meath – fishing Sheelin for the first time ever landed himself a trout in excess of 6lbs.

Jack Spratt, Enniskellan – fishing in Corru 1 trout at 3 ½ lbs on a spent.

Gary and Michael Leddy, Stradone, Cavan – both of these Cavan men had great fishing on the lake with the heaviest weights at 3 ½ and 4 lbs, also 5 trout averaging 1 ½ – 1 ¾ lbs.

Andrew Brown (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) fishing with Swiss angler Erich Armoneit 3 trout to the boat at 3 ½, 3 ½ and 1 ½ lbs and 2 averaging 1 ½ lbs to the back of the boat, all on greens both wet and dry.

Emmet McWilliams and with boat partner Paul McElhinney, Derry – June 19th around Church Island 5 trout, heaviest weighed in at 4 ¼  and 4lbs, 3 were around the 3lb mark and 1 was 2lbs, all were caught on the spent from 9.30pm onwards.

Jim Condon, Nobber – June 18th 1 trout at 3 lbs on a spent around Holywell.

Ryan Houston, Enniskellan – Tuesday June 18th fishing with Thomas Lynch of Lough Sheelin Guiding 4 trout averaging 2 to 3 ¼ lbs.

Robert Lynch, Duleek – Monday June 17th 3 trout averaging 1 ½ – 2 lbs using a spent, fishing blind.

Sean McIntyre, Cavan – June 18th 2 trout at 1 ¾ and 1 ½ lbs.

Dr Graham Meese, Scotland – Graham had very good mayfly fishing on Sheelin with his heaviest fish at 5 and 5 ¼ lbs.

Peter McArdle & Ken Kearns, Dundalk – over 9 days these two landed 29 trout between them with weights of 5 lbs, 4 ½, 4 and 3 with the remaining fish averaging 1 ¼ – 2 ½ lbs.  These trout were caught on the spent and murrough.  Ken caught a nice 3 pounder on Tuesday June 18th in Goreport.

Noel McLoughlin, Kells – fishing the sedge 2 trout averaging 2 – 3 ½ lbs.

Martin & Gary Connor, Armagh – 7 trout between them, heaviest weight was 3 lbs.

Enrico Fantasia, Italy fishing with Thomas Lynch (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) – Enrico caught 2 lovely trout on the spent averaging

‘Dragon flies’ at Sheelin’

Brenda Montgomery IFI