Brenda Montgomery opens this week’s report from Sheelin with quote which just about every angler holds to be true…

For doubtless we fishermen dream far more often of our favorite sport than other men of theirs
– Will H. Dilg


Kilnahard, Lough Sheelin
Kilnahard, Lough Sheelin

Lough Sheelin remained quiet  this week as the trout fishing season gradually rolls on to its back, in the now seven week run down to the close of play – October 12th.  Water temperatures are still warm at 14-15 degrees and the full mixing of the sluggish warm heat of the summer with the fresh influx of autumn deluges is not complete with warm bays and inlets and then those sudden colder pockets of water, the settling down has not happened on this lake yet.  Angling numbers were poor with only a slight increase on last week’s records but any anglers who did buck the trend of ‘waiting for the good times’ all enjoyed themselves and had no regret for the time they spent trying their luck out on this wild trout fishery.  The weather was good with a heady mix of late summer sunshine, insect hunting swallows skimming the water’s surface, the call of the curlew and the smell of wood smoke drifting from shoreline dwellings.

Lough Sheelin fishes consistently well in late August through to October but for now things are just not quite right, what’s needed now are more sultry days and a further reduction in water temperature, that surface layer is still too warm and the trout have their noses stuck in sub- surface feeding most of the time with little or no interest in coming through those oxygen depleted top layers.

August 1st is arguably the beginning of autumn and over the past number of days this has become increasingly evident with that all too familiar underlying chill creeping through most days, its coolness joining with the shortening evenings, to stamp the indelible reminder that the seasons are changing.

Keith Lough, Scotland with his Sheelin trout (released), guided by Loughsheelinguiding
Keith Lough, Scotland with his Sheelin trout (released), guided by Loughsheelinguiding

There was no daytime sedge fishing simply because of a persistently cold westerly wind which swept across the water and which kept the hundreds of sedges firmly in their place, in the bushes, with little or no movement out on to the water.  The only reprieve was a short 30 minute window on Thursday evening around 9pm when calm prevailed and there was a good surface rise to the sedge.

Lawrence Finney’s Mint Stimulator
Lawrence Finney’s Mint Stimulator

There were huge shoals of smaller trout feeding on plankton particularly in the middle of the lake.

Sheelin is stuffed with Daphnia at the moment and although these small crustaceans (sometimes called ‘water fleas’) can be dismissed by the angler as being impossible to imitate, they are an important food source for the trout and therefore shouldn’t be overlooked because if trout think that Daphnia is important than so too should trout anglers.  Daphnia are small and tough to imitate but a huge food source (if whales can subsist on these micro-organisms, then it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a 30 inch trout can thrive on them as well).

Identifying the depth of Daphnia and keeping the fly at the same depth is essential for angling success when trout are feeding heavily on them.  Retrieve techniques when targeting Daphnia feeding trout are varied but a slow, hand-twist (figure-of-eight) retrieve works well in order to stay in touch with the Blob as the fly line slowly pulls it beneath the surface to greater depths.  August feeding trout are often lethargic (they are in the cool depths for the oxygen not the food or scenery) so patient retrieves are always recommended.

Here’s an example of the type of patterns which can be used when targeting Daphnia Feeders:


Tying Instructions and Recipe:
Hook: Size 10 Kamasan B175
Tail: Sunburst Marabou
Body: 15mm Fluorescent, Sunburst Orange Fritz
Thread: 8/0 Uni Fire Orange
* Tie in marabou tail, and make 15 – 20 wraps with the fritz and build a small thread head. Mark a few of the tips of the fritz with a black permanent marker…

The above fly is not an exact replication, but can work quite well when the trout are on Daphnia. The black tips on the pattern represent the black dots that the fish recognize on the naturals.

Early in the week saw a lot of reed smut in certain areas of the lake with some fish feeding on them but they seemed to lose their appeal for the trout as the week progressed.

The Daddy-Long-Legs is still featuring in the anglers fly box and as autumn draws closer, we live in hope that more daddies will find their way on to the water.  Damp, humid conditions ideal suit this type of fly. Fairly weak fliers, daddies are quickly blown onto water in even the lightest of breezes and whilst you would never hear the term ‘a fall’ of daddies there have been definite times when the Sheelin trout focus on this ungainly terrestrial.  Gusty weather is considered the optimum conditions when it comes to fishing daddies.  Large daddy imitations are fairly wind resistant and do require some ‘turning over’ especially when fished as a team.  Ultra-fine leaders and large flies don’t really mix, so the tippet strength needs to be stepped up to help prevent twisting and ultimately snarling leaders.  For surface fishing the best plan is to use low riding flies that are semi submerged and patterns with clipped hackles or those incorporating foam.

The Daddies
The Daddies

According to the Sheelin ‘experts’, rather than fish two dry daddies together, it’s worth experimenting with a dry/wet combo.  Attach a dry fly to the dropper with a drowned or wet pattern trailing some 4-5ft behind as a point fly.  Hopefully the trout will be drawn to the conspicuous dry fly and if it refuses this at the last moment will when turning away chance upon a sunken fly that they find more readily acceptable.  This ploy can work with static flies or those that are tripped through a wave.  A steady figure-of-eight pace works well, just so the fly bubbles along the surface.

A large dry fly can pull the odd fish now and then but for the past week or two, better sport has been had by using a couple of wet flies, according to two Wexford and Carlow angling friends.  A Drowned Daddy and H&H (half and half daddy) positioned 5ft apart on a 12ft leader works best, thoroughly degrease the leader,  don’t hurry the retrieve, just keep in touch and watch the fly line for any untoward movement which might suggest an interested fish and tighten by sweeping the rod into the direction of the wind.

The elusive Sheelin trout (released)
The elusive Sheelin trout (released)

The Sheelin trout seem very reluctant to take anything at the moment so perseverance is important as the anglers that put in the hours are landing the fish.


Autumn colours – lots of deer hair wings for autumn fishing, floating lines and good action
Autumn colours – lots of deer hair wings for autumn fishing, floating lines and good action

The Dabblers are at the top of the league as far as success rates are going with the Silver, Peter Ross, Green and Claret being the most successful.

The trout are still feeding on fry so any flies with silver threaded through them are a good plan.  The leggy Green Peter, the Raymond, the Black Midge, Gorgeous George, the Invicta, the Silver Invicta, the Claret Bling, the Daddies, the Segmented Daddies, the Green Stimulator, the Golden Olive Bumble, Klinkhammers and the Black&Silver Humungous were the most popular flies used.

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


Crover Pier, Lough Sheelin August 2014
Crover Pier, Lough Sheelin August 2014

Please remember anglers to abide by BYE-LAW 790 which strictly prohibits

  • All trolling on the lake from March 1st to April 30th (inclusive).
  • From May 1st to June 15th – no trolling between 7pm –6am and no trolling under engine between 6am – 7pm and
  • June 16th – October 12th – no trolling under engine between 7pm – 6am.
  • No trout less than 14 inches should be taken from the lake

A permit is required to fihs on Lough Sheelin which can be purchased online.  A list of distributors can be seen here.

Up-Coming Events

The Lough Sheelin Protection Association’s Stream Rehabilitation competition has been set for Saturday October 4th. Match booklets will be out by mid- August and will also be available to download off the LSTPA’s web site.

 ‘Waiting’– a lineup of boats at Crover
‘Waiting’– a lineup of boats at Crover

Selection of Catches

The heaviest fish for the week was a 4lb trout caught by Paul Burke Kennedy, Dublin using a Silver Dabbler on the top dropper.

  •  Andrew Brown, Dublin – August 18th, on wets 1 trout at 2 ½ lbs, pulled up 7 to 8 fish but was ‘tough going’.
  •  Michael Davis, Carlow fishing with Jordon Reilly, Wexford – 2 trout on the Daddy heaviest was 2 lbs.
  •  Steve Boymel, Philadelphia fishing with Michael Kelly – 3 trout at 2 ½, 3 and 5 lbs, all caught on the Silver Dabbler.
  •  Pat Brady, Cavan – 1 trout on the wets, weighed in at 2 ¼ lbs fishing at the back of Church Island.
  •  David McInnery, Down – 1 trout on a Silver Dabbler 1 ½ lbs fishing at Chambers, Monday August 18th

Total number of trout recorded for the week:  12

Fishing guides


Water rarely gives second chances and a life jacket is just that – it saves your life, so we would implore anglers and all other 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