Lough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI May 13th – May 19th 2013

‘Gold at the end of the rainbows for the Sheelin anglers’

“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

Releasing it back, Lough Sheelin May 14th

This week hit in with strong gusty cold winds causing pockets of white water on many areas throughout the lake.  Despite the continuing bad weather Sheelin maintains strong in the force of nature and its anglers who brave the elements are in general landing beautiful fish of 1 ½ up to 3 ½ lbs in weight.  The Sheelin anglers are a tenacious bunch and although it’s the may fly season that will be the high light, to the true lovers of this lake, the may fly is just the icing on the cake, for these anglers appreciate every aspect of fishing and fly life throughout the season and so despite the continuing disappointing cold and wind a large number will continue to fish Lough Sheelin regardless of what’s thrown at them.

As we worked through the week, the weather continued to be the enemy with cold and changing wind directions but despite this there were increasing and encouraging hatches of olives with the week ending with spectacular hatches on Saturday and Sunday particularly around the Goreport Bog bay side of the lake.  The appearance of this distinct little ‘tuffy’ green fly on the lake’s surface was met with a huge wave of relief as the wait for any type of fly life this season seemed unending.  There were huge rises of trout on Saturday and Sunday but the trout seemed to be playing games with the anglers and were not easily tempted by the various flies thrown at them.

The use of dry flies is gradually increasing but most anglers are wary and evasive in divulging exactly what they are using and in fairness a lot use their own concoctions usually based on an old favourite like the dabbler but perhaps with extra colour added.  As the olive hatches increased so did the use of the olive fly patterns ranging from the sooty to .  A fly with a lot of green in the body and a bit of sparkle threaded through seems to be the most successful for now.

A group of first time anglers to the lake from Dundee, Scotland were very impressed with the olive hatches on Saturday and in their own words ‘couldn’t believe’ the movement and numbers of trout showing on the surface.

The accuracy of  weights of trout being caught has created a few heated discussions recently and I suppose always will which reminds me of the ‘funny’ definition of a fish and that is ‘an animal that grows the fastest between the time it’s caught and the time the fisherman describes it to his friends’… however all this is part of the makeup of this sport but the most important fact to remember and one which nobody should lose sight of  is that Sheelin and its anglers (and ghillies) are producing beautiful trout of varying weights consistently since the season began, something few other lakes in Ireland could compete with.

The end to a perfect fishing holiday – Kieron Thomas, Wales with his beautiful brown trout of 3 ½ lbs caught Friday May 17th on a sooty olive

A group of solicitors from Northern Ireland and England – some experienced some not spent a number of days on the lake ghillied by the local anglers, the weather was not kind particularly to the inexperienced who ended up with a few tangles but none the less some lovely trout were caught mainly out from Crover pier and any areas of the lake where the wind wasn’t playing havoc with fishing lines.

During the week saw the return of Kieron Thomas from Wales who was on the Welsh team last year fishing the International on Sheelin.  Mr Thomas couldn’t resist a revisit and he was not disappointed as he caught some lovely trout during the week ghillied by last year’s winner of best boatman of The International – Gary McKiernan (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com).

Jeff Thomas, Wales with his 3 ½ trout caught May 14th

The favourite flies are still mainly the wets but with the dries towards the end of the week pushing them into second position, some of the popular and successful flies for this week have been the dabblers (claret, silver, green and peter ross), black pennell, conemara black, the sooty olive, the olive bumble, the golden olive bumble, the claret bumble, the bibio hopper, the olive nymph and the buzzer.

An unusual fly for this early on to have landed a few nice trout on Saturday was the green peter but the angler who used this fly explained that his grandfather firmly believed that a green peter dragged wet looks like an olive to a trout and it will ‘go for it’, interesting theory and it was certainly working for this Monaghan angler.


Finbar Horan, Mullingar with his 6 lb Sheelin trout (released)

‘Lunch break’ Lough Sheelin, May 17th

Jeff Thomas, Wales with his 5 ½ lb trout caught May 15th ghillied by Gary McKiernan of LoughSheelinGuidingServices.

Michael Flanaghan, Mullingar with his 3lbs 6oz trout caught Tuesday May 14th

Aengus Byrne of Intel with his 1lb 15oz trout

Peter Crilly, Dublin with his 2lb trout caught on an Olive at Rusheen, May 18th

The Gathering is coming to Crover House Hotel, Lough Sheelin on the weekend June 7th, 8th and 9th and as part of this the local angling club – The LSTPA in conjunction with Cavan County Council and Crover House Hotel are hosting an angling day primarily to attract anglers and would be anglers from outside the state and over seas.  Local ghillies will be giving their day free to bring anglers out fishing on the lake and there will be fly tying, casting, a competition with prizes finishing up with a Bar B Q at Crover House Hotel.  This not to be missed event will be free but places are limited and those of you from Northern Ireland or from overseas should contact

Eamon Ross @ 087 9436655 or Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033

Those that take part in this ‘Angling Gathering’ can avail of a 10% entry discount on the Lough Sheelin Classic Fly Fishing Competition on June 9th.

Kieron Thomas, Wales with his 3lb trout caught May 14th

The popular Sheelin Classic trout competition now in its 9th year will be run on Lough Sheelin on Sunday June 9th 2013 – 11am to 6pm.  This is a heaviest fish competition with a strict 15” size limit and only 2 fish per competitor.

This competition will involve an open draw for partners and entries must be in by Wednesday June 5th . Entry fee is €70 for a boating angler and €90 a non-boating angler.  Entry fee includes a meal in Crover House after the competition

This years prize fund will be in excess of €12,000

1st 19ft Sheelin boat & trailer & crystal & the coveted Davey O’Connor perpetual cup

2nd 5 hp 4 stroke outboard engine & crystal

This is a competition well worth marking in your diary and because of the popularity of the Sheelin Classic and to avoid disappointment, it is advisable to secure your entry sooner rather than later by contacting Noel McLoughlin at 087 2179460 for further information

‘Playing a trout’

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

Jeff Thomas, Wales May 14th carefully releases his 5 ½ lb trout

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

Heaviest catch for the week was a 6lb trout caught by Finbar Horan, Mullingar

Total number of trout recorded: 76

Selection of Catches

Kieron Thomas, Wales – May 14th 3 trout at 3 ½, 2 ½ and ½ in weight.

Jeff Thomas, Wales – May 14th 3 trout heaviest was 5 ½ lbs

Michael Flanagan, Mullingar (angling guide and reporter) fishing with Aengus Byrne from Intel  – on May 14th Michael landed himself a Sheelin beauty of 3lbs 6ozs and Aengus boated a lovely fish of 1 lbs 15ozs and lost another fishing on olives.

Jimmy McKenna, Monaghan – May 18th using a green peter 1 trout at 2lbs.

Joe Curran, Banbridge – May 18th near sporting rock using an olive nymph 3 trout averaging 1¼ – 1 ¾ lbs.

Brendan Corr, Belfast – on May 18th 3 trout averaging 1 – 1 ½ lbs using an olive nymph.

Kevin Sinnott, Dublin – May 18th 1 trout at 2lbs using a bibio hopper fishing around Kilnahard and Chambers.

Billy Davitt, Ardee –  on Saturday May 18th 2 trout at 1 ½ and 2 lbs using a claret stimulator and a sooty olive variant using a floating line on top.

Gary McKiernan (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) – Saturday May 18th 1 trout at 3lbs and Sunday May 19th 1 trout at 3 ¼ ( all released)

Peter Crilly, Dublin – May 17th 1 trout at 1lb in bog bay on an olive, Saturday May 18th 3 trout all averaging 2 lb off church island and in Rusheen bay caught using olives.  Sunday May 19th two trout caught on the west side of Church island, one fish using an olive and the other Peter used a claret dabbler.

Brendan Moran, Kells – Saturday May 18th 1 trout at 2 ½ lbs on a buzzer in Rusheen (released).

Martin and Gary Connor, Armagh – Gary and Martin caught ten trout between them on Saturday May 18th using a mix of flies, heaviest fish weighed in at over 4lbs, the others averaged at 1 ½ – 3 lbs.  All these fish were released.

Noel McLoughlin, Kells – Sunday May 19th 1 trout using a claret dabbler, averaged 1 ½ lbs.

Thomas Lynch (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) – Thursday May 16th 2 trout fished with olive patterns, averaged 2 – 2 ½ lbs.  Friday May 17th 4 trout averaged 3 ¼ – 3 ½ lbs using olive patterns (all released)

Mark from Scotland ghillied by loughsheelinguidingservices 1 trout at 1 ¼ lbs on May 18th.

Joe Layden and Pauric Layden, Dublin ghillied by Thomas Lynch – Pauric landed a beautiful fish of 3 ¼ lbs using an olive pattern at Corru on Sunday May 19th.

Maurice Lyttle, Mountnugent – on Thursday May 16th 2 trout averaging 2 lbs using an olive pattern.

Paddy Mc Alinney, Clones – on Sunday May 19th 1 trout at 4 lbs in Goreport using an olive.

Peter McArdle, Dundalk – Friday May 17th 4 trout averaging 1 ½ – 2 lbs using olive patterns.

Peter McArdle and ken Kearns, Dundalk – Saturday May 18th 9 trout heaviest was 5 ¼ lbs, the rest of the fish ranged in weights back to 2 lbs, all fish caught on the buzzer and in the evening.

Thomas Harten, Kilnaleck – May 17th 2 trout at 4 ½ and 2 lbs using a sooty olive.

It’s not just the anglers that are interested in fishing – Dean Eades won wildlife photo of the month with this wonderful shot

Brenda Montgomery IFI