Lough Sheelin Angling Report by Brenda Montgomery, IFI – July 22nd – July 28th 2013

A trout is a moment of beauty known only to those who seek it.

~ Arnold Gingrich

The ‘Elusive’ Trout

Lough Sheelin played cat and mouse with its anglers this week.  While temperatures still remained in the early twenties, the small amount of rain and the breezes on some days helped to mix the hot surface temperatures which brought trout to the top. On Monday a lot of fish were moving but few were surfacing during the day light hours, Tuesday was calm and mirror like and it was as if there were no trout in the lake at all as anglers saw no sign of life indeed to the first time angler on Sheelin it would be creditable for them to believe that this was an ‘empty’ lake.  Sheelin however is far from empty and the early mornings are proving that when the water’s surface is carpeted with murroughs, green peters and a variety of sedges and the elusive day time venturers surface to feed but while temperatures are high the trout are mainly staying deeper in the cooler recesses of the lake and feeding on the fry and sub aqua insects.

On Saturday last, July 27th after a thunderstorm there was an impressive rise of trout on the lake, this grand appearance only lasted no more than 20 minutes but there were literally fish everywhere their mouths opened as they surfaced to suck up the fry having admittedly little or no interest in flies, it was as if Sheelin was teasing again, reminding its anglers of what is down there but also who is boss proving time and time again that it is the natural elements that control the fishing on this lake and nothing else.

On most days, however fish were showing, depending on whether there was cloud coverage and wind direction and the middle deeper part of the lake saw the most activity.  The trout are still on the perch fry and there are still vast shoals of fry in certain areas of the lake, easily located by watching for the sweeping seagulls.  Fishing the fry areas is best using a brightly coloured fly like the Dunkeld or Alexandra.

Another observation for this week was the noticeable increase of smaller trout in the lake. Sheelin over the last number of years has carried a high proportion of small fish but the presence of these seemingly additional trout averaging ½ lb or under would be probably due to the fish dropping down from the feeder rivers because of their own programmed self-preservation, in their quest to seek more water as the rivers got lower and lower with the long period of dry weather.

The number of anglers fishing the lake increased this week and this was probably down to the weather forecasters predicting a cooler week and also the fact that the end of July and August are the renowned holiday times.  Anglers from South Africa, America, Italy and England fished the lake this week and while achieving little or no results trout were seen as was the abundance and prolific insect hatches.  Both wet and dry fly fishing featured this week with some degree of success.

Fishing on Sheelin picked up towards the end of the week with a lot more trout seen splashing and pitching and spectacular hatches of sedges, the extent of the rise and the sedge hatches were all governed by wind direction and cloud cover so a great deal of patience and perseverance was needed to achieve success.

What this lake needs to bring its trout to the surface is a reduction in temperature, a light breeze and perhaps some rain to mix and calm down the surface ‘spa’ conditions that currently exist.

The Green Peter
A freshly hatched Green Peter
A freshly hatched Green Peter

Lough Sheelin’s dark & light mottled Peter (Agrypnia varia)
Lough Sheelin’s dark & light mottled Peter (Agrypnia varia)

Although it is the Murrough which dominates the fly scene after 11pm at night, the Green Peter is there too but perhaps not in such vast quantities.  The Green Peter is a very successful export from Ireland.  Originally created as a top dropper imitating its name sake – Phryganea varia, known locally as ‘Green Peter’. Fly fishermen in the Ireland have been enthusiastic supports of this fly for the last 40 plus years.  When fishing on the drift on the wind ruffled side of the lake it is a good idea to hold the rod steadily so that your team of flies rise in unison and then repeat.

Murroughs – Lough Sheelin – fished using a single Murrough or the Murrough and a balling buzzer on the top dropper

It is a good idea to fish a dry-fly pattern whenever a trout is rising during a hatch of natural insects.  However, when the trout refuses to rise to a dry fly, fishing just below the surface with a wet fly can often work.  When no activity is obvious, it is a case for the wet fly, pure and simple.

It’s all about nights and early mornings on Sheelin at the moment

Ken Kearns, Dundalk with his sizable Sheelin trout

Not quite gone – Mayflies landing on water

The best flies used this week were the small brown sedges (size 14), the Buzzer, the Murrough, variants of the Green Peter, the Jack Flash, Greenwell’s Glory, Wickhams Fancy, the Dunkeld, the Alexandra, the Grey Duster and the Blae & Black.

Blae and Black
Blae and Black

Green Peter (Wet)
Green Peter (Wet)
Wickhams Fancy
Wickhams Fancy
Brown Murrough
Brown Murrough

One out, one to go – it’ not all about fly hatches and trout rises, a brand new Tern chick, L.Sheelin July 2013

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……………

The LSTPA will be hosting The McDonald cup on Lough Sheelin on 10th August.  Fishing is from 12noon-6pm from Kilnahard pier with an entry fee of €20.  The competition was held on a catch and release basis last year and was judged as being a very successful event so because of that will continue to be a catch & release competition. Measures will be provided for all boats competing.  The cup will be awarded for the longest fish and all other prizes will be allocated on the basis of an open draw to be held at the end of the competition.  The LSTPA will have a number of prizes on the day and they view this competition as a means to recognize and thank members for their support during the year.  for further information contact Eamon Ross @ 087 9436655 or Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033

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:







The trout of the week was a 4lb trout caught on a Jack Flash by a Dublin angler

Total number of trout recorded: 17

Selection of Catches

Martin Smith, Cavan – 1 trout at 1 ½ lbs on a murrough around Church Island.

Des Elliott, Dublin – 1 trout at 1 ½ on a sedge.

Harry Bravendar, England – 1 trout at 1 ¾ lbs on a Dunkeld fishing around Orangefield.

Michael Harten, Cavan – 1 trout at 3 ½ lbs.

Brenda Montgomery IFI