Lough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI August 26th – September 1st 2013

‘I had come to the edge of the water,

Soothed by just looking, idling over it

As if it were a clear barometer

No other thing can be so beautiful’.

Seamus Heaney (died 30th August 2013)

Lough Sheelin’s IFI inspector Matt Nolan

This was a week mixed with emotion and good fishing as we saw the retirement after 46 years of Lough Sheelin’s IFI inspector Matt Nolan coupled on the same day with the landing by French angler André Beaumont of a beautiful 8 lb trout as if to mark this momentous occasion. Matt saw Sheelin through the good and the bad times and to be leaving its management when the lake has returned to its former glory seems a fitting tribute to this man who has dedicated most of his life to the care and welfare of this ‘jewel in the crown’ –Go raibh míle maith agat Matt.
This week Sheelin showed its temper mentality and entwinement with nature and its weather conditions, in that there were sections of days that fished fantastically and then there were times when there was nothing much doing at all.
The weather affects everything on this lake and when conditions are ideal i.e. a ripple on the water’s surface, soft cloud cover and warmth, Lough Sheelin is an amazing and magical place to be for any trout angler – novice or seasoned.

Ned Clinton struggles to hold his 9 ½ lb trout caught using a red tailed Peter on September 1st and released.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday there was some excellent fishing to be had, mainly in the late morning to late afternoon.  Tuesday morning was the pick of the week and this lake fished like a dream until the sun came out and the fish immediately vanished and it was all over.
On Wednesday afternoon there were large clumps of sedges blown out on the water with trout surfacing to feed on them.
Wet fly fishing still dominates the scene here but still the best three days of the week saw the dry flies achieving a good degree of success mainly with the small brown sedges but also on a 1950’s fly – the Leagrey.
On windy days like Friday and Saturday, it was ‘chuck and pull’ and dragging the wets was the angler’s best option for success and for this the Dabblers still rule supreme.

Lough Sheelin’s cinnamon sedge – Limnephilus lunatus

Anglers continuously report the vast numbers of small trout (6 – 8”) that they are encountering and on this as well as reporting these numerous sightings anglers should also be offering up a prayer of thanks that these small fish are there in such abundance as they are undoubtedly the future of this beautiful lake.

Peter Neeson, Antrim with his lovely Sheelin trout, August 29th 2013

The favourite flies for this week were the small brown sedges (size 14-16), the Sooty Olive, The Dabblers – Claret, Silver and Golden Olive, the Silver Invicta, Gorgeous George, Humpies, the Terminator, the Chernobyll, the Raymond, the Alexandra, the Red Tailed Green Peter, A Red Tailed Green Peter Daddy, Daddy Long Legs variants, a Claret Snatcher, a Claret Hopper, Klinkhammers and a Red Ended Peter type Sedge fished wet style on a floating line.

Natural Daddy  
Best fished in Autumn (August/September) using a floating line and either left static or twitched over the surface. Can be even deadlier when large waves are on the water and the fly being “ripped” through the waves. Takes are fast and furious. The daddy has at times been known to fish well in early June through to August.

The Golden Olive Dabbler


The Terminator

What makes the Terminator fly so deadly is the choice of tails that the trout have to attack when they are chasing it. The 1987 orange fritz obviously attracts the trout from distance (they won’t have seen that shade for some time), then, when they fall in behind the fly, they have to choose which one of the 4 tails to attack.
With so much hemoglobin dyed materials, the trout will also mistake this fly for a hatching insect, when it is dibbled, before recasting. The 15 lb Flouroflex plus simply stops the fly falling apart, after catching so many trout!

Sunday, September 1st was a busy day on Lough Sheelin because from 4 am onwards and as day light broke across the sky, the popcorn sounds of gunshot could be heard sporadically over the lake, heralding the start of another duck shooting season.
Sheelin is a very accommodating lake and there has always been plenty of room for both these sports – fishing and shooting, there has never been a clashing of swords (or guns and rods!) as the areas for shooting are very different than those for fishing.
The successful blending of the two was confirmed by the catching of Sheelin’s biggest trout this season by Cavan angler Ned Clinton, a beautiful 9 ½ pounder.

“People talk too often about suicide in terms of bravery and cowardice. I don’t think it’s either of these things. I just think of it as a great sense of loss, of emptiness.”

– Wayne Moroney
The LSTPA hosted a very successful competition in aid of the Cavan branch of SOSAD on Saturday August 31st from 11am to 6pm, starting out from Kilnahard.  42 anglers took part in this competition with a lovely 3 ½ trout caught by Frank Kelly taking top prize.  The entrance fee to this competition went to this very worthwhile support group.

Upcoming Competitions

The Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association will host their end of season Lough Sheelin River Enhancement/Rehabilitation fly fishing competition on Lough Sheelin on Saturday October 5th.
For further details please contact Eamonn Ross @ 087 9436655 or Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033

The McIntyre/Guider Cup – Saturday September 28th, starting at Kilnahard 11.0am to 6pm, this is an open fly fishing competition and gives a good warm up before the biggest competition of the season on October 5th.  For further information please contact Dessie McEntee on 047 77216 or 086 8937568 or Francie McNally on 087 2374503.
The Cavan/Monaghan Garda Divisional Fly Fishing Championship and Open Competition – Sunday October 6th from Kilnahard Pier, fishing from 11am to 6pm.  Competition is for the heaviest fish (visitors) and the heaviest fish (Cavan/Monaghan Garda members), presentation of prizes and refreshment dinner at Crover House Hotel at 7pm sharp.  Any queries please contact Dessie McEntee on 047 77216 or 086 8937568.

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……………

Michael Farrell @ 087 4194156 – Michael has been fishing Sheelin and the surrounding waterways for many years and has an in-depth understanding of the lake.  He is a versatile and accommodating ghillie and would be recommended to anyone interested in fishing Sheelin and its surrounding rivers and lakes.

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
Damien Willis @ www.Loughsheelinbuddies.com

The heaviest fish for the week was a 9 ½ pounder caught by Ned Clinton on September 1st.

Total number of trout recorded: 67

Selection of Catches
André Beaumont, Northern France – 1 trout at 8lbs using a red tailed green peter.

Oliver Ross, Tyrone – 4 trout heaviest weighed in at 3 lbs, all caught on the wets – dabblers.
Gary McKiernan, Cavan – 1 trout at 2 lbs caught on a claret dabbler.
Andrew Brown, Dublin – 1 trout at 2 lbs caught on a bibio.
Dublin Angler – 1 trout at 5 ½ lbs caught on an Exterminator.
Frank Kelly, Cavan – 1 trout at 3 ½ lb on a cock robin.
Finbar O’Mahoney, Carrick on Shannon – 3 trout, heaviest at 2 ½ lbs using dry sedges.
Brenda Montgomery IFI