Lough Sheelin Angling Report May 20th – May 26th By Brenda Montgomery, IFI

Photo by Patrick M Ward

‘Soon after I embraced the sport of angling I became convinced that I should never be able to enjoy it if I had to rely on the cooperation of the fish.” Sparse Grey Hackle

Summerville, Lough Sheelin

This week started off with an air of excitement mixed with tension as any angler who knew anything about fishing Sheelin had that gut feeling that the mayfly was about to start and true to form the first handfuls were seen around Goreport and out from Kilnahard pier on Tuesday last May 21st.

Because of the gusty winds that featured on most days, this much desired little laced winged insect stayed along the shoreline for most of the week with only a few appearing out on calm and sheltered water.

Fishing was slow right up till Thursday because of the blasts of North to North West winds hitting the lake and producing harsh and difficult fishing conditions.

This year it was hard to get it right and some anglers misjudged things and booked their fishing break too early but who could blame them as last year the May fly was ‘up’ on May 9th and weather conditions were very different, this year things are late, very late – ask the farmers but it was disappointing all the same for some overseas anglers who in general remained upbeat and still enjoyed good though rough fishing on the lake. This reminds me of the modern ‘twist’ on the biblical verse found in Psalm 33:10 – “the Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples” in other words, men may plan but God has plans of his own.

No two days are the same and this lake’s fishing is governed by wind direction and there were plenty of changeable winds and turbulence at various times throughout the week. Wednesday started off with a slight ripple on the lake’s surface only to be replaced by mid afternoon to evening by a strong North West wind which swept across the lake making fishing and boat control not easy particularly around Corru and Boy bay.

It was as if there were two different lakes, calm and sunny on the western shore, wild and stormy with white water crashing in on the opposite side around Rusheen and Derrysheridan. On Thursday strong North to North West winds swept across the lake making certain areas of the lake impossible to fish, also the wind had a chilling effect dropping temperatures to a harsh 7 to 10 degrees which is just too cold for any serious hatches.

The first of many – Lough Sheelin May 21st

The temperatures were still too low and it seemed like forever to get off the starting block and into warmer weather and Sheelin’s mayfly season but by early Friday afternoon there was a change in that the wind dropped and it got warmer and this had a dramatic effect of producing patchy but increasing hatches of mayfly and from then on the mayfly was officially ‘up’ on Sheelin. On Saturday evening the lake had good hatches of mayfly particularly around Arley, Holywell, Goreport and Bog Bay and a lot of anglers had tremendous sport. On Saturday and Sunday the lake was dotted with boats which at a distance looked like a series of dark disconnected lines on the water’s surface. Before 11am on Sunday morning it was as if there was a swarm of bees on Sheelin with the hum of engines and the gallop to get boats launched – Sheelin is back.

The Mayfly – Ephemeroptera (from the greek word – ‘short lived’)

There were fantastic hatches of buzzers and good hatches of olives particularly around Goreport and Boy Bay.

Dry fly fishing – the ‘purest’ fishing is starting to take over from wet fly with flies like the Raymond, the Mosley Mayfly, the F fly, the bibio Hopper (on the top dropper) Royal Wulff, Greenwells Glory, Grey Wulff, the Buzzer, Humpys, Pheasants Tail and Michael Kelly’s ‘ Barbie’ strongly featuring. The most popular wet flies used were the Sooty olive, Green Dabbler, Claret Dabbler and Peter Ross Dabbler.

Blue winged Olive Greenwells Glory

The Raymond Bumble







Friday afternoon, May 24th, Kilnahard – the start of the May fly on Sheelin

A team – ‘Playing & Casting’

Vincent Kelly, Dublin with his 2 ½ lb trout caught May 22nd

Michael Flannaghan, Northern Ireland with his Sheelin fish

Lough Sheelin

May 22nd, a weather dominated lake – May 18th deceptably calm on the western shore but wild and stormy on the opposite shoreline

A 3lb trout is released as part of the lake’s ‘catch & release’ policy

Wearing a life jacket or a flotation device on water is the law

In the heat of the moment and wrapped up with the excitement of the mayfly or buzzer or spent fishing it is all too easy to forget or to remove your life jacket.

A life jacket is just that it saves your life so we would like to remind anglers and all other water users for their own safety as well as it being the law under

SI No 921 of 2005 – Pleasure Craft (Personal Flotation Devices and Operation) (Safety) Regulations 2005

To please put on and keep on that life jacket until you are back on dry land.

George Freel, Belfast with his 1 ½ lb trout

Gary McKiernan (loughsheelinguidingservices 087 1245927) with his 3 lb trout

Finea, Lough Sheelin May 24th

Thomas Lynch with his 3 ¼ lb trout caught on an olive pattern

Having a fishing break – anglers and ghillies – Gene Brady, Ned Clinton, Orla Rudden and Geert Verdonk from Holland, Saturday May 25th

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.

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

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

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

Heaviest catch for the week was a 5 ½ lb trout caught by a dutch man – Geert Verdonk on a claret variant on Saturday May 25th.

Total number of trout recorded: 89

Selection of Catches

Martin Coyne – May 22nd 1 trout at 1 ½ lbs on a green dabbler.

David Shiels – Wednesday May 22nd 1 trout in Goreport at 1 ½ lbs using a claret dabbler.

Cian Murtagh, Baileborough – May 22nd 1 trout at 18” on the top dropper wet fly fishing.

Gary McKiernan (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) – Saturday May 25th 5 trout (all released) weights averaged 2 – 4lbs using a mixture of wet and dry fly fishing – dabblers, mayfly and olive patterns. Sunday May 26th 7 trout (all released) heaviest 4 ½ lbs, wet and dry fly fishing.

Oliver Ross, Tyrone – ghillied by Gary McKiernan (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) on Sunday May 26th 1 trout at 3 lbs on an olive variant.

Geert Verdonk Holland – fishing Friday and Saturday May 24th and 25th 2 trout weighing in at 5 ½ lbs and 4 ¼ lbs. On Sunday May 26th 2 trout at 4 lbs and 2 ½ on a dry green and a wet green.

John Burke, Trim – 1 trout at 5 lbs using a buzzer nymph in the Bog Bay area of the lake.

Ken Kearns, Dundalk – Tuesday May 21st 1 trout at 3 ½ lbs.

Peter McArdle & Ken Kearns, Dundalk – 5 trout over the weekend, smallest was 2 lbs, other 4 fish weighed in at a total of 21 lbs, all fished using the buzzer.

Ned Clinton, Crover – 2 trout on Monday May 20th weighing in at 1 ¼ lbs and 4 lbs on a claret dabbler. On Wednesday May 22nd 1 trout 1 ¼ lbs on dry mayfly.

Aidan Rush, Armagh – 4 trout 1 ½ – 3 ½ lbs.

Brenda Montgomery IFI