Lough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI – August 11th – August 17th 2014
Flies should be tied by fly-tiers. Just tell me what’s working and I’ll buy a dozen … Mike Clark
There’s a quote by literacy writer Nicholas Sparks which goes ‘nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy, remember that’ and this saying is very applicable to the fishing on Sheelin at the moment because certainly over the past number of days it hasn’t been easy for anyone.
This week was the toughest and also the most frustrating on Lough Sheelin so far this season. The lake has the most amazing hatches of sedge and an abundance of all sorts of insects from sub-surface to surface to terrestrials, there is certainly no shortage of natural food available for the hungry trout. No angler on this lake will ever dispute the fact that Sheelin is literally ‘stuffed’ with trout, of all sizes and in excellent condition and yet these trout are for now eluding even the most experienced angler.
Standing back from it all, it is very important and necessary to try to understand and empathize with what is happening in this prime trout lake in order to avoid being consumed by negativity and despondency. No angler should lose sight of the fact that Lough Sheelin is a jewel in Ireland’s fishing crown and the need to value and protect it even in difficult fishing times is of paramount importance.
There are a few reasons why Sheelin is having a ‘blip’ this week, with poor numbers of trout catches being recorded.
After weeks and weeks of dry warm weather, the temperature of the lake’s water was high and the surface layer sticky with heat and then over the past seven days there have been deluges of rain causing a sudden influx of cold fresh water into the lake, it’s a shock to the system and according to seasoned anglers, the lake needs time to ‘settle’ and acclimatized to these new levels and temperatures.
Trout have a huge amount of natural food on tap and because there is still a length of time to go before feeding up in preparation for their spawning journey up the river, the trout are choosey and very picky so the artificial fly has to be extra enticing for them to follow and take.
Anglers that have fished this lake for a decade are not alarmed by this very quiet phase as they seem relaxed in the knowledge that ‘this always happens, every year and that this is no different than before’. Late August to the end of the fishing season, October 12th will be when the fishing will pick up again and until then it’s a waiting game and patience is needed.
Also coming into this ‘blip’ equation, is that because very few anglers are fishing the lake there are naturally very few returns. Seven days ago the local angling club held a competition on Sheelin, with 25 anglers out there and some very sizable fish were caught which begs the question if that number were to fish the lake every day there would probably be more or less the same number of catches. Despite a down turn this week there were a number of trout landed, mainly for visiting anglers from outside the country with anglers from England, Wales, French and Italy trying out their luck with a reasonable success rate using various flies and techniques.
The sedge fishing is still happening and although one or two trout were caught during the day, it was after dark, often fishing blind (now that the moon is rapidly disappearing) and fishing in those pitch black conditions which proved to be the most successful as welsh angler Ian Bunton will testify with his lovely catch of a 2 ½ lb plus fish.
There has been very little buzzer fishing with little or no bloodworm fishing. This is the time of the year for the bloodworm and it did feature heavily years ago on this lake but seems to have more or less disappeared in recent times. The bloodworm is of course an imitation of the larval stage or the midge or buzzer. The bloodworms spend the majority of their time living in a silty tube in the bottom silt so the Bog Bay, Sailors Garden, Goreport side of the lake would be best to try. When disturbed the bloodworm move their bodies from side to side. One of the reasons why anglers don’t catch on the bloodworm is that they are fishing at the wrong depth, it is important when you can’t see the trout to the let the fly sink to the bottom. At this time of the year the very best bloodworm to use is the one with flexi legs because that’s the one that mimics best. These worms are best fished either on a floating line and long leader or sinking/intermediate line near the bottom, using a slow figure of eight retrieve, giving little jerks to get the legs working as naturally as possible.
There are large amounts of simillium or reed smut visible now in certain areas of the lake particularly along reeded shorelines. Where these tiny black insects appear, it is best to use a black bodied Klinkhammer with a bushy white head and a little bit of red at the tail.
Anglers are still persisting with fishing the Daddy Long Legs using Hoppers or Daddy imitations. For this choice of fly it is best to use a rod between 9 – 10ft long, a matching floating line and finished with a simple tapered leader. Daddy patterns are wind resistant so it’s best to avoid 17ft plus leaders. A 10-15 foot leader should avoid spooking the fish and a good plan is to twitch the fly occasionally which can stimulate a strike when none are previously forthcoming. This doesn’t put the fish down because the natural daddy quite often struggles on the water’s surface causing significant disturbance. Detached Daddies, Muddled Daddies and the B.H Daddy (changing the colours on this one to pale green can be an effective alternative).
Towards the end of August, wet- fly fishing improves and continues to the end of the season and generally is not to any specific hatch of fly. Terrestrials of all descriptions are important as are fry, sedge and shrimp. Dapping large terrestrials (Grasshoppers, Daddy Long Legs) tempts larger than average fish. Indeed ‘dapping’ during the last two months of the season should be practiced more often as the method undoubtedly attracts the larger trout to the surface but despite this dapping is only practiced by a few on Sheelin but again it is worth trying out in these quiet weeks.
Despite the fact that this lake is on the run down to the end of season, the trout are still feeding on the perch fry so a Minkie, Humugus and Muddler with silver threaded through that would be the best bet if fishing were trout are feeding on these fry.
For the latter part of the season, suggested fly patterns include: Green Peter, Murrough, Brown Sedge, Invicta, Silver Invicta, Kate McLaren, Blue Bottle, Daddy Longlegs, Bibio, the Dabblers (Peter Ross, Silver, Green and Claret) Golden Olive Bumble, Claret Bumble, Connemara Black, Raymond Sizes 8-12, the Klinkhammer, the Humungus (in black & silver) the Muddler, the Minkie (silver & black), the Green Stimulator and the Dunkeld.
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
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.
A catch & release policy is actively encouraged on the lake at all times
It won’t work if you are not wearing it
SI No 921 of 2005 – Pleasure Craft (Personal Flotation Devices and Operation) (Safety) Regulations 2005
Please put on and keep on that life jacket until you are back on dry land.
Caoimhe Sheridan, Cavan – getting it right
Lough Sheelin Guiding Services (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) 087 1245927
Michael Farrell @ 087 4194156Telephone: +353 43 6681298 Email: email@example.com
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 3lb trout caught by Kildare angler Joseph Reynolds dragging a team of wets with the Golden Olive as the top dropper.
Total number of trout recorded for the week: 13
Benjamen Bragrett. Dusseldorf – 2 trout averaging 2 – 3 lbs on wets.
Patrick Burren, Dublin – 1 trout at 2 ½ lbs fishing with a small brown sedge in Bog Bay.
Malcom Dundee, Wexford – dapping a Daddy 1 trout at 1 ¾ lbs.
Paul Trent, England – 1 trout at 2lbs using a dry brown sedge, 1 trout at 1lb on the Green Stimulator.
Brenda Montgomery IFI