Lough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI – April 28th to May4th, 2014

Fishing is one field in which fact and fancy mingle graciously…

Harold F. Blaisdell

Sheelin - A 7.2kg Sheelin troutIt’s still out there! – A 7.2kg Sheelin trout, caught and released at Plunketts pt. by Alex Trifonovs at the end of the season last year.

This was a week of stark contrast for Sheelin – a contrast between the peacefulness on the lake and then the frenzied activity on its surrounding shoreline lands. As the week unfolded so too did an ongoing drama as the gardai focused and intensified their search for missing Dublin men, Anthony Keegan and Eoin O’Connor around Mountnugent, Clonduffy bog and the lands along the lake’s shoreline involving helicopters, dogs and search parties of both the gardai and family members. This coupled with the separate issue of the ‘Turf Wars’ protest on the Clareisland-Moneybeg bog bordering the lake ensured that Lough Sheelin was very much in the forefront in both the local and national news. Once on the lake there was no indication whatsoever of what was happening inshore and the lake stretched out peacefully and majestically in front of its anglers. Lough Sheelin this week was a little like a butterfly struggling out of its winter/spring cocoon but being not quite free. This lake is just on the brink of the biggest fly fishing phase of the season – the mayfly, intermingled of course with buzzer, olive, murrough and sedge fishing. Fishing was good up to mid-week with nice hatches of buzzer and patches of olives particularly around the Bog Bay/Sailors Garden side of the lake and then a hampering north east wind blew up on Thursday evening persisting into Friday which dropped the temperature and with it the fish to the lower water columns, with little fly life. The olive hatches on Sheelin from past observations can be very good or very patchy, there isn’t really a happy medium and for this season probably due to the erratic weather patterns, they have been patchy. Fishing picked up at the weekend when temperatures increased and conditions were muggy and mild which was very conducive to fly hatches and there were excellent rises of trout particularly late in the evening. A thick mizzly rain descended late afternoon on Saturday which dampened down things for a few hours but once that cleared some great trout were landed and the lake in areas was boiling with trout surfacing to feed on buzzer and other chironomids seemingly blowing in from the shoreline and islands on to the water’s surface.

 Sheelin - Lawrence Finney’s Sheelin Olive in size 10Lawrence Finney’s Sheelin Olive in size 10

This week saw the first real appearance of anglers starting to dry fly fish and in some cases there was a big sigh of relief to get rid of those sinking lines. The Humungus and Minkie lures are fading away although there were still a few trout of over 3lbs caught on them but they’ve been knocked off their pedestal so to speak to be replaced by dry and wet flies. All anglers have opinions about whether dry fly fishing or wet fly fishing is best. The dry fly fishermen often consider themselves as the ‘purists’ in the trout fishing world. It’s a hard to win argument. Traditionalists tend to view dry fly fishing as being a superior method, not only because fishing always used to be done using the dry fly method, but because they feel they achieve better results when fishing this way. Dry flies are easy to spot. They can’t disappear unless there’s a fish on the end of them (unlike the wets that are below the surface). An angler therefore has more control over what’s going on. He or she can see their fishing attempts in operation clearly and gage whether fish are taking an interest. Down below the water where the nymphs live they can’t see what’s going on.

Sheelin - Gerry Doyle, DublinGerry Doyle, Dublin ghillied by Lough Sheelin Guiding with his 4lb trout

Insects that dwell on the surface of water naturally glide and float. Their movements are similar to that of a dry fly. At the same time the fishing line they are attached to doesn’t break the water’s surface, and is less likely to be spotted by a fish. Wet fly fishing lines, of course, go beneath the surface and can be seen and thus alert trout to possible danger.

Whether you are a dry fly fishing fan or a follower of wet fly fishing there is room for both on Sheelin and the best possible way to fish is probably to study which method gives you the best results. However, according to dry fly anglers their method wins hands down………… Sheelin - L.Finney’s Size 8 Dabblers                                                                                            L.Finney’s Size 8 Dabblers

The Dabblers featured heavily this week with interesting variants all achieving a good success rate namely the Claret, Silver, Pearly, Green, Black/Gold Straggle, Peter Ross and red Tailed Dabblers. Also doing well are the golden Olive Bumble, Buzzer, Hoppers, Gorgeous George, Silver Invicta, Black Pennell, Wickhams Fancy, Green Peter and the red tailed Green Peter.

Sheelin - A Sheelin BuzzerA Sheelin Buzzer

Sheelin - Kelly kettleA busy season ahead – the ‘essential’ Kelly kettle

Sheelin - The Bog FlyThe Bog Fly

Sheelin - Thomas Lynch with his first 2014 ‘dry fly’ fish

Thomas Lynch with his first 2014 ‘dry fly’ fish – Good bye sinking lines for this year! Sheelin - Paul Hamilton with his 5lbPaul Hamilton with his 5lb plus trout (52.2 cm) – ‘A seriously deep fish’ Sheelin - A Buzzer variantA Buzzer variant

May and June are the two most popular months on the Sheelin fishing calendar and now that we are into May this lake will very soon very alive with one of the largest mayfly hatches in Ireland. Lough Sheelin and its abundant wild trout stock however takes everything in its stride and awaits its onslaught of anglers with

Sheelin - The Mayfly 1Sheelin - The Mayfly 2The Mayfly

The start of things to come

 Sheelin - Cartoon happy fisherThe Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association will be hosting a Youth angling day in July. This popular event will include fly tying, fly casting and trout fishing followed by a Bar B Q. For further details contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033 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. Sheelin - save the Brown TroutA catch & release policy is actively encouraged on the lake at all times Sheelin - Catch & Release circleMost of the fish featured in these angling reports are returned carefully and safely to the lake Sheelin - Catch & Release badgeCamera 360Water 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

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

Sheelin - Caoimhe Sheridan‘Getting it right’ – Caoimhe Sheridan, Cavan

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. Lough Sheelin Guiding Services (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) 087 1245927

Michael Farrell @ 087 4194156Telephone: +353 43 6681298 Email: [email protected] Sheelin - Rising TroutRising Trout Photography by Oystein Rossebo

Please remember All anglers are required to have a Fishery Permit to fish Lough Sheelin which must be purchased before going out on the lake. The heaviest fish for the week was a 5 lb plus trout caught by John McGurran, Baileborough, Co.Cavan using a balling buzzer. Total number of trout recorded: 155 Sheelin - Happy fishermanSelection of Catches Terry Walsh, Celbridge, Co.Kildare – 1 trout at 3lbs using a humungous on an intermediate line, May 3rd. Pat Kelly, Celbridge, Co.Kildare – 1 trout at 2lbs plus on a Pearly Dabbler. Maurice McDevitt, Donegal – accompanied by his little springer spaniel Lass, 2 trout averaging 1 ½ – 2 ½ lbs. Vinny Hughes, Clones – 2 trout averaging 2 lbs on Saturday May 3rd. Peadar McAvinney, Clones – 2 trout weighing in at 2lbs plus each on Saturday May 3rd. Steven Allison, Belfast – 1 trout at 2 ½ lbs. Andrew Brown, Dublin – dragging wets 2 trout, one at 3lbs in Chambers Bay and one at 3 ½ lbs, both released. Alan Hughes, Mountnugent – 1 trout at 2lbs. Paul Lunney, Derrylin – 3 trout at 1 ½, 3 ½ and 4 ½ lbs all caught using a selection of Dabblers. Pat Smith, Cavan – fishing a team of three red butt green peter, sooty olive and a ‘black fly’. Martin McCoy – 1 trout at 2lbs on a ‘cabbage fly’. Billy Devitt, Donegal – 2 trout averaging 2lbs each. Sheelin - Cartoon quote  Brenda Montgomery IFI