Lough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI – August 25th – September 1st 2014

‘Through the storm, we reach the shore You gave it all but I want more’ – U2’s With or Without You

U2 Did U2 find what they were looking for with this explosion of colour over Lough Sheelin on Monday August 25th

Sheelin started this week in a blaze of glory as six hundred fire rockets were released into the night sky, spewing a multitude of spectacular colour over the water at Kilnahard pier on Monday last, August 25th. On this particular evening, trout fishing was temporarily put to one side as anglers became the audience instead, to the filming of a music video where the reflection of fireworks on the water will be the back drop to a musical as part of a 5 day production filmed, with the exception of Sheelin, in and around Dublin. Rumours mounted that this would be the backing video of the band U2’s new album but the producers remained tight lipped and only time will tell.
Fishing was slow again this week, with only a smattering of anglers venturing out. Interestingly enough every day fished more or less the same – sluggish with few rises of fish except for Tuesday, the day after the fireworks display, when there were good takes of fish and it seemed as if the Lough Sheelin trout appreciated the commotion the evening before and rose to the occasion but at an estimated cost of €65000 for this filming, this would be a very costly way of revving up the Sheelin trout.

The angling season is now into September and in a way this is a slightly sad month as the creeping onset of autumn marks the end of summer. But for the Sheelin angler this can be good news as fishing always improves as we head into this month when the shorter days seem to alert the fish to hard times ahead and Keats’ ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ becomes a time to seek out the eager feeding and resurfacing trout once more.
With the passing of the summer, the mornings have a slight but noticeable chill to them, so there is less urgency to be on the water early or to stay late.
Tactically September is a month to change flies often and to treat every fish on merit. Sheelin has an abundance of food so a fish feeding on nymphs won’t bother with a dry and visa versa. Also if a fish ignores a pro- offered fly or just graces it with a glance, the best plan is to change fly immediately rather than flog away with the same pattern.
Fishing was tough going again this week but the old mantra remains the same that if anglers stick at it they will catch fish on this lake. The trout rises were patchy and on many days there wasn’t much fly life in evidence on the water so the trout are still favouring sub-surface feeding.

Jacobs ladderThe Jacob’s Ladder good for sea trout but also has had some success on Sheelin

There are huge amounts of sedge and buzzer but they are not coming out on to the water. One angler after drawing a blank all day, rested up on a shoreline and out of a kind of desperation walloped the bushes with his oar, hundreds of sedge and buzzer flew out on to the water, most of them returning inland almost immediately but for those that stayed, there was an instant rise of fish and he was rewarded with two lovely trout using the sedge.

This lake’s fishing is governed by the weather and if conditions are not right then it just doesn’t happen and for this week a gusty south westerly wind swept over the lake for a few days which effectively wiped the fly life off the surface.

Fergal McKiernan, Athlone with his Sheelin beautyFergal McKiernan, Athlone with his Sheelin beauty

Fishing a wet grass hopper as a top dropper worked well for one angler while a Daddy fished in the surface film was more successful for another.

Friday August 29th the Garda Ulster Shield was fished on the lake. Conditions were perfect for wet fly fishing and sixteen anglers participated with five trout weighed in. The winner of this competition was Les O’Rourke with his 3lb trout caught on a Gorgeous George, 2nd was Gerry Feny with a 2lb 15oz trout caught on a Gorgeous George and 3rd was Niall Kenny with a 2 lb fish on Kate McClaren. The other fish were all caught using Green Peters.

Silver MuddlerThe Silver Muddler – this adaptable pattern has been a huge fish catcher for a long time and the secret to its success is that it can be fished in many different ways, from on the surface where it can represent all types of terrestrial flies, to under the surface where it resembles fry or large nymphs.



The water clarity at the moment on Sheelin is excellent and there is extensive growth of charophytes in evidence in certain areas of this lake. Charophytes are water plants and their appearance is good news as their presence can indicate the existence of a healthy ecosystem. When they grow they absorb nutrients and help to clarify the water which is what the trout want. These plants decline when the water becomes polluted and so their presence is important and welcome in Sheelin.


Waiting for take-off – Sheelin 2014 Waiting for take-off – Sheelin 2014

A Sheelin angler who has fished the lake for over 40 years recently commented that the most successful flies were the ones being used back in the 1960’s which is interesting as the lake’s clarity and charophyte growth is back to that time now so it all adds up.

The traditional Sheelin flies we are talking about are the Silver Invicta, the Cock Robin, the Blae&Black, the Black Pennell, the Claret Bumble (fished as a top dropper), the Watson’s Fancy, the Raymond, the Dunkeld, the Green Peter, Gorgeous George, the Fenian, the Sooty Olive and The Golden Olive Bumble.
These are the flies that are reeling in the trout but there are always other fancy creations that are constantly flooding the market that are perhaps designed to catch the fishermen not fish.

The flies that fished best this week were the Dabblers (Green, Peter Ross, Claret and Silver), the Leggy Green Peter, the Segmented Daddy, Hoppers, Silver Invicta, the Claret Bling, the Green Peter, Gorgeous George, the Golden Bumble, the Sedge and a selection of Muddlers.

Of course undoubtedly there are strange and wonderful new comers landing all the time and the one which is featuring most in some of the catches over the past weeks is the Blob Fly Fishing Technique.

The Blob’The Blob’ – which carries with it some scepticism from the Purist trout fly fishermen

Blobs can be fished on a floating line, down to the fastest sinking lines on the market. A very slow retrieve on a floating line can be extremely effective, fishing the blob as an attractor on the top dropper with a team of nymphs below. Pulling the blob fast on sinking lines is also deadly. Blob trout flies can be found in many different shapes and colours. The body of the is usually sparkling which is a huge attractor. There are many different variation combining new and traditional trout flies.
The highly effective, ball-shaped blobs, made from various fibres, promote an aggressive, chasing reaction from trout when pulled quickly through the water. Unlike traditional flies, such as “nymphs” or “daddy-longlegs”, they do not resemble a living insect.

Watsons fancyThe Watson’s Fancy was invented by Donald Watson of Inverness and it is not known, what if anything he was trying to imitate with this pattern. This fly is normally fished on the tail of a cast and can be particularly effective on choppy days when there is little sign of a trout fishing on or near the surface.

A trout landed by Lough Sheelin GuidingA trout landed by Lough Sheelin Guiding

Oliver McCormack with his troutOliver McCormack with his trout caught on a Cock Robin

Arthur MacDonald’s Dabbler Arthur MacDonald’s Dabbler

This traditional wet fishing fly is of Scottish origin (first recorded about in 1867) derived from a salmon fly of the same name. Because of its bright flashy dressing it is very effective fished on a sunk line and is good when there’s a bit of discolouration in the water from windy conditions.

Michael Kelly with one of his Sheelin prizesMichael Kelly with one of his Sheelin prizes

The Silver Invicta is a very popular fly on Sheelin and is one of the old timers, it was originally created by James Ogden during the late 1800’s in England. The Invicta is an excellent all-purpose wet fly and attractor pattern and is best fished just below the surface on an intermediate line.

Fading light at Crover Pier, August 27thFading light at Crover Pier, August 27th

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


Up-Coming Events

Circle c cartoon
The Lough Sheelin Protection Association’s Stream Rehabilitation competition has been set for Saturday October 4th. This competition is now in its 9th year and the entry fee is used to rehabilitate and enhance the rivers within the Sheelin catchement. The closing date for this competition is Friday September 26th .  This is a heaviest fish event where there will be up to €8500 in prizes. All rules, details and entry forms can be downloaded from the LSTPA’s web site at www.loughsheelinanglers.ie.

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

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

Michael Farrell @ 087 4194156Telephone: +353 43 6681298 Email: loughsheelinguide@hotmail.com


Save the brown troutThe heaviest fish for the week was a 4 ½ lb trout caught by Dublin angler Patrick Nulty using a sedge.

Total number of trout recorded for the week: 21

Cartoon 2Selection of Catches

Oliver McCormack – 1 trout at 2.25 lbs on a Cock Robin at Merry Pt.

Michael Farrell, Finea – 2 trout on Sedges at Derrahorn.

Andris Gatvenicks, Navan – 4 trout for the week, averaging 1 ½ – 4 lbs.

Daniels Aizupe, Navan – 3 trout at 1 ¾, 3 and 3 ½ lbs dragging wets.

Mark Bulger, Wexford – 2 trout using Muddlers and Green Peters, heaviest weighed in at 3lbs.

Cartoon 3

Brenda Montgomery IFI