Brenda Montegomery’s latest angling report for Lough Sheelin beings  with a quote from Leo Tolstoy that all anglers know to be true – The two most powerful warriors are patience and time…

Lough Sheelin, August 2014

This week was quiet on Sheelin with the exception of the bank holiday Monday and yesterday August 10th, when the local angling club – The LSTPA held their annual McDonnell Cup competition from Kilnahard pier.

Ten to twelve boats drifted across the lake on Monday but the only action was from the nearby town’s enactment of trench war fare in its first war world one hundred year commemoration.

Fishing was tough going during the week for most anglers on the lake although trout were caught on a daily basis but only after a few hours of hard flogging and chopping and changing flies, lines and rods. The trout are moving and showing themselves, coming to the boats and making splashy dives but they are more than pernickety in what they are taking.  There were huge and impressive hatches of sedges but during the day most of these little brown insects were sticking to the anglers, the boats and the gear and not seriously going out on the water until the light faded into darkness.

Thomas Lynch
Thomas Lynch making it all look effortless with his 52cm fish caught on a Peter Ross Dabbler at the McDonnell Cup, catch & release competition.

Day time fishing picked up somewhat more than in previous weeks but still it is the late evenings in favour of the early mornings that are landing the most trout. It’s not an easy time but this tough fishing doesn’t come as any particular surprise to the seasoned Sheelin angler for this lake follows a consistent type of pattern that is more or less the same year in year out.  The Sheelin trout frenzy feed on the mayfly and then all serious fishing action seemingly goes dead until late August when water temperatures have cooled and that autumn chill has enveloped the evenings and early mornings.  In Sheelin’s so called ‘quiet phase’, few heavy fish are caught and the average weights are between 1 ½ – 3 lbs, the trout are however in excellent condition, plump with the classic Sheelin shape of a small head and ‘big shoulders’.

Water temperatures despite the recent heavy rainfall are still in the 17 degree mark, 4ft down which leans towards a reluctance from trout to surface through those oxygen low layers so for most of this week sub surface fishing yielded the best results. The moon featured on all nights this week with the full moon on Sunday night.  This moon was the third perigee or super moon which we have had this year.  A perigee moon is when the moon is closest to the earth and therefore looks a lot bigger than normal full moons.

Sheelin’s perigee or super moon – August 10th 2014

A full moon shining over open water is not that conducive to good trout fishing and can have the same effect as a bright sunny day in that the trout go down to escape the bright reflective surface. There’s an interesting article (well worth the read) written by Mike Anderson which throws out the theory that fishing by moon phase will increase your trout catch, the following link is to apiece from his research.

This week, as we approach mid-August, saw the first signs that this lake is pulling out of that ‘quiet time’ and into the more exciting run down to the end of the trout fishing season.  The heavier fish are starting to surface more probably as they start to move towards the rivers as the season progresses towards their spawning time. With temperatures dropping, fish are spreading out more and although the majority are in the deeper middle section at the moment, things are changing.

The most popular flies for the week were the Dabblers (Peter Ross, Green, Silver, Silver and Black and the Claret), also the Green Stimulator, Silver Invicta, the Raymond, the Dunkeld, the Hoppers (particularly the Fiery Hopper), , the Claret Bling, the Daddies (Silver and Brown) and a Leggy Green Peter. A Klinkhammer in black with a tufted white head, a thread of silver through the body and a red butt brought a few fish up to the boat

Resting at Crover
Resting at Crover

 For the fly angler who is trying his best to maximize his catch rate success at this sluggish time on Sheelin, trying the terrestrials isn’t a bad idea, so a selection of beetle patterns in the fly box is a necessity. Insects which live on land and are fed on by trout only when they incidentally fall into the water are known as ‘terrestrials’ to our fly anglers.  It may seem counterintuitive that a trout would select a terrestrial insect over an aquatic insect which shares   its habitat but studies have shown time and time that this is just the case.

The Wood Ant
The Wood Ant

On warm, windy days in summer and autumn, mating swarms of this and other ants are often blown onto the water. Fishing dry ants during a summer hatch in July/August can be a very effective method also. A black or red ant can be the most effective but other colours also work. The most important factor to consider when fishing an ant, either dry or wet, is that the body should be distinctively segregated with a distinct head and abdomen separated by a skinny body in between.

Chairman of the LSTPA presents the McDonnell Cup to this year’s winner Thomas Lynch on Sunday last, August 10th

The LSTPA held their McDonnell Cup catch & release competition on August 10th and despite regular deluges of rain this event was very successful and some lovely fish were recorded and released.  This was the first competition on the lake since June so it was watched with anticipation and trepidation to see how it would perform as Sheelin hasn’t seen that many boats on its waters since the Mayfly rush.  True to form this lake did not disappoint and some sizable trout were caught with plenty more misses and sightings, reminding anglers that the trout have not disappeared while they  have had their summer rest.  25 anglers took part with the winners as follows:

  • 1st  Thomas Lynch, Cavan 1 trout at 52.3 cm
  • 2nd  Peadar McAvinney, Clones 1 trout at 47.5cm
  • 3rd  Noel McLoughlin, Kells, 1 trout at 46cm
  • 3rd  Peter Boyle, Monaghan, 1 trout at 46 cm
  • 4th  Cian Murtagh, Cavan, 1 trout at 43cm
  • 5th  Pat Sweeney, Dublin, 1 trout at 39
Olive hopper
Olive hopper

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.

Selection of Catches 

  • Dara Murtagh, Cavan – 1 trout at 2 ½ lbs on a Black & Silver Dabbler off Dinner island.
  • Vinny O’Connell – on wets 1 trout at 2 ¼ lbs.
  • Morris McDevitt, Donegal – 1 trout at over 3lbs wet fly fishing.
  • Peter McArdle, Dundalk – 3 trout averaging 1 ½ – 2 ¼ lbs, all on the wets.
  • Paul Davis, Dublin – 2 trout using a Green Stimulator and Detached Daddy – 1 ½ lbs and 2 ½ lbs.
  • Troy Buchann, Wexford –  1 trout on a dry Sedge at 1 ½ lbs, fishing around Church island and 1 trout at 1 ¾ lbs on a Daddy around Chambers Bay.

Most of the fish featured in these angling reports are returned carefully and safely to the lake

The heaviest fish for the week was a trout of 52.3 cm caught by Thomas Lynch on a Peter Ross Dabbler at Leggetts.

Total number of trout recorded for the week:  22

Angling regulations on Lough Sheelin

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


Lough Sheelin Guiding Services ( 087 1245927

Michael Farrell @ 087 4194156Telephone: +353 43 6681298 Email: [email protected]


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