Lough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI – May 26th to June 1st, 2014

Your headiest success as an angler begins when you start caring more about fishing than the fish
… Arnold Gingrich

sheelin- Fly on reelLough Sheelin hit the headlines extensively both nationally and locally for all the wrong reasons on Monday evening last with the discovery of the covered remains of missing Dublin men, Anthony Keegan and Eoin O’Connor on Inchacup Island on the Meath section of the lake. For a while it was mayhem with an extensive gardai presence intermingled with a large angling fraternity. But with the removal of the bodies on Tuesday, Sheelin soon settled back into what Sheelin does best and that is producing some good trout fishing. There were over eighty boats on the lake on most days during the week with some great catches of trout reaching up to and over 8lbs. There is a reassuring consistently with fishing weights here since the onset of the mayfly, large numbers of 2 – 2 ½ pounders are being continually landed by nearly all trout anglers and then there have been an impressive number of 4 – 9lb fish recorded.
Sheelin is soaring high and more and more trout anglers are being caught under the spell of this beautiful limestone lake deservedly referred to as Ireland’s jewel in the angling crown. Interestingly this season compared to last year has shown a marked and substantial increase in anglers from Northern Ireland, England and Scotland along with good numbers from all quarters of Ireland – North, South, East and West, Lough Sheelin is a busy place but because of its 4500 acreage and the fact that really all areas are fishing well, this lake leaves no angler disappointed and there’s always a guaranteed return the following day or days.

Sheelin - Somewhere over the rainbow‘Somewhere over the rainbow’
Monday evening May 26th – a good fall of ‘spent’ an hour after a thunder shower

On Monday evening over one hundred boats lined Sheelin’s shorelines and bays but then we were ‘treated’ to a thunderstorm and as if by magic everyone except a few stubborn souls remained, the reward for them – a great fall of spent and some spectacular rises of fish. Sheelin is a lake where you have to put in the time, everything depends on the weather and a change in wind direction or drop in temperature has an almost immediate and dramatic effect, for instance on one particular evening a north wind was blowing and the spent went out and the rises were unbelievable so much so that some anglers didn’t really know what fish to cover and then within what felt like minutes the wind changed to East and you could almost see the mayfly retreating back into shoreline and that was it until there were other more favourable conditions. Good advice for those anglers who are confined to the evening time fishing (work can be a serious nuisance during the mayfly) is to head out on to the water around 6pm and stay there until nightfall and by doing that there is an almost guarantee of some good trout fishing. There is always however someone who is the right place at the right time, who has landed some ‘mighty’ trout and then there will always be another that didn’t catch a thing and saw nothing.
The Sheelin trout seemingly just come up the once so if the ever hopeful angler doesn’t have the right fly or flies, the chance is gone. William Mitchell, Mullingar had an interesting experience when he fished a team of two landing himself a 3 ½ lb trout on the top dropper of a spent and a 1 lb perch on the middle fly a wulff – two for the price of one cast you might say.

Sheelin - Keith Lough, GlasgowKeith Lough, Glasgow with his 9 ½ lb prize, carefully released

As the week progressed the weather played havoc with the anglers, monday and tuesday were very bright and sunny and stayed that way until well into the evening which made fishing tough going but then anglers were rewarded with a ‘hell of a rise’ to the spent particularly on Tuesday when the place was boiling with fish which made the long wait all worthwhile. Then came the unpredictability of Sheelin – Tuesday saw phenomenal rises and great fish landed and then on Wednesday despite there being a blanket of spent around Stoney island (and over 38 boats), there was no rise and not one fish caught with the bright sun and east wind not helping matters. Things slowed down considerably as the week pushed into the bank holiday weekend, the angling numbers remained high but with the unsettled weather and the mayfly season naturally tapering off the easy pickings of the previous weekend did not happen and although some nice trout were caught we are on the climb down from this mind blowing magically mayfly phase, sometimes referred to as ‘duffers fortnight’.

 Sheelin - Colm Lynch’s Sheelin troutColm Lynch’s Sheelin trout – stuffed with mayfly

There has been plenty written about this lake over the past number of weeks with articles popping up everywhere by people who have maybe not fished this lake for years if ever and all of this is good, Lough Sheelin needs its publicity and this outstanding limestone lake deserves the acclaim that it is getting and because of this, this special place is drawing large number of anglers who expect to catch big numbers of trout and then are downcast when that doesn’t happen resorting to frantically trying to track down that special Sheelin fly. For those of you who don’t know – there is no special fly, all anyone needs is to be an experienced angler and to be able to adjust fishing techniques according to weather changes particularly drops in temperatures. At the moment the best plan is to set up two rods or possibly three to cover all the weather change eventualities (remembering of course that it is illegal to fish more than one rod at a time) a dry fly for the calm water and a team of wets for rougher conditions. For dry fly fishing fish the dry green mayfly or other variants – Mosley, Lough Arrow, Mick Kelly etc. and for your wets a good combination of flies such as a stimulator, claret bling or a golden olive bumble on the top dropper and maybe two French partridges on the middle and point should work its magic for most anglers, For the spent fishing just fish one spent gnat on the wet or dry. A floating line is best for dry fly fishing and a line with a ghost tip is worth trying for the wets. Sometimes it is a good investment to hire a ghillie for a day or half day just to get the feel of this lake because it can be a frustrating business when the reports are coming in thick and fast of fantastic catches and all you are left with is your imagination to go home with. There are plenty of great guides around Sheelin with wonderful knowledge and experience so it’s worth tapping into that fountain of knowledge.
All areas of the lake fished well for the first section of the week but anglers still have a tendency to herd together and the gathering points stretched from Kilnahard down into Merry pt into Arley, Derrysheridan was very popular in the evening but not Goreport although those anglers that ventured in there in the evening were knocked out with the rises and catches of trout.
. It is worth remembering that with the mayfly after mating it is the females that go out on the water to lay their eggs, the males return to the shoreline and inland to die so an angler sticking tight to a shoreline in a nice little sheltered bay should strike gold as trout feed on the abundant surface insects.
The most popular of the flies for the week were the dry and wet mayfly – Dennis Mosses Ginger Mayfly, the Mosley Mayfly, the Green Mayfly, the Lough Arrow Mayfly, Mick Kelly’s Mayfly, a dry Mayfly with a yellow tail, the Spent Gnat, the Murrough, the red tailed Green Peter, a selection of Dabblers – Claret, Golden, Green and Peter Ross, a small Sooty Olive, the Golden Olive Bumble, Bibios, Klinkhammers, CDC Klinkhammers, Yellow Humpies, and Mick Kelly’s Stimulator.
A few new flies on the block, for this season anyway are the Barbie’s, the Claret Bling and the Fox Squirrel Spent and apparently they are irresistible to the trout.
Sheelin - DabblerSheelin - Erne GoslingThere is still a week left of mayfly fishing on Sheelin and some anglers firmly believe that the serious falls of spent have not happened yet. It is really all down to the weather and the forecast this week is patchy and very mixed so it is hard to predict what the angling will be like. Trout are already showing an interest in the perch fry and fishing is beginning to favour the murrough and sedge fishing in preference to the unpredictability of the spent but if we get a hatch of greens, anglers could be back in business again for this week.

Sheelin - Ryan Houston, Enniskellan Ryan Houston, Enniskellan with one of his 13 trout landed, all on the spent gnat

Dry fly fishing at mayfly time is probably the best loved way to fish but sometimes conditions favour the wet flies and a few anglers feel more at home maybe because of a lack of patience pulling the flies. It’s also worth remembering nymph fishing. While nymphing is often thought of as more difficult than dry fly fishing a skilled nymph fisherman can frequently catch more and particularly larger trout under a variety of water conditions day in and day out. The basic reason is that trout and predominantly the largest and wisest ones prefer to feed primarily underwater where they are safer from predators and it’s more efficient for them to feed. Heavy nymphs take a lot of trout especially on very bright days when the trout don’t want to rise, a long shank size ten or even a size eight Hare’s ear nymph can be particularly good and has saved the day for many anglers.

Sheelin - Blue flySheelin - William Leech, ScotlandWilliam Leech, Scotland

Sheelin - Frank Doherty’s trout and fliesFrank Doherty’s trout and flies – a winning combination from Mullingar to Sheelin

Sheelin - L.Finney’s spentsand L.Finney’s spents

Sheelin - David Reilly, Tullynallen with his 6 pounderDavid Reilly, Tullynallen with his 6 pounder

Sheelin - The magical mysterical MayflyThe magical mysterical Mayfly

Sheelin - L.Finney’s Golden Olive BumbleSheelin - J.Crawford, Scotland releasing his catchL.Finney’s Golden Olive Bumble                                                      J.Crawford, Scotland releasing his catch

Sheelin - Declan Smith, DundalkDeclan Smith, Dundalk with a Sheelin beauty

Sheelin - A glimpse at the secretsA glimpse at the secrets

Sheelin - Patrick Peppard’s sunset on Sheelin May 27thPatrick Peppard’s sunset on Sheelin May 27th

Sheelin - Trout

Sheelin - Phily Berns, Kilmacanogue

Phily Berns, Kilmacanogue

Sheelin - Royal WulffLee Wulff did not create the Royal Wulff. he created the Gray and White Wulff during his stay in the Adirondacks during the 1929. Q L Quackenbush, one of the early members of the Beaverkill Trout Club above Lew Beach in NY state, is credited with designing the Royal Coachman hair wing dry fly. He liked the fan winged Royal Coachman but found the wings too flimsy and fragile. He asked tyer Reuben Cross of Neversink, New York to dress a Royal Coachman with a more robust wing. Reuben asked his suppliers to send him suitable material that was stiff, white and kinky They sent him Impala tails that were ideal for the task. It was originally given the name of the Quack Coachman by members of the Beaverkill Trout Club. It looked very similar to the more popular Wulff dry flies and gradually became known as the Royal Wulff

Sheelin - That spectacular dance of Sheelin mayfly – May 26thThat spectacular dance of Sheelin mayfly – May 26th

Sheelin - CartoonThe 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 - Catch & ReleaseSheelin - ReleasingA catch & release policy is actively encouraged on the lake at all times

Most of the fish featured in these angling reports are returned carefully and safely to the lake
“Catch and Release fishing is a lot like golf. You don’t have to eat the ball to have a good time.” ~Anonymous, Fly fishing guide

It won’t work if you are not wearing it

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
To please put on and keep on that life jacket until you are back on dry land.
Sheelin - Bart cartoonSheelin - Boat cartoonThere 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 4194156 Telephone: +353 43 6681298 Email: [email protected]

Sheelin - Rising Trout PhotographyRising 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 beautiful 9 pounder caught on Thursday May 29th by Noel McLoughlin, Kells using a spent gnat
Total number of trout recorded for the week: 345
Selection of Catches
Clive Doyle, Castlepollard (ghillied by Michael Farrell) – 5 trout in total heaviest weighed in at 4 ½ lbs, all caught on the dry mayfly.
Noel McLoughlin, Kells – 2 trout both on the spent gnat weighing in at 7 and 9lbs.
Jonathan Kerr and Joe Wilson, Lisburn – on Wednesday 3 trout heaviest weighing in at 3 ¼ and Joe’s one at 6 ¼ lbs on the spent. May 30th
Michael Farrell, Finea – 6 trout, heaviest at slightly short of 6lbs, rest between 2 and 5lbs, all caught on the dries, all released. May 27th 5 trout heaviest weighed in at over 8lbs using his own creation of a spent gnat.
Declan Brearty, Donegal (ghillied by Michael Farrell) – 3 trout on the dries, averaged 2 to 3lbs.
David Reilly, Tullynallen – May 25th 4 trout, heaviest weighed in at over 6lbs. May 27th 4 trout best was 3 ½ lb on the spent.
Gary McKiernan (www.loughsheelinguiding.com) – May 25th 9 trout on the spent gnat and the green mayfly, heaviest weights were 6, 5, 4 and 3lbs, all released.
Liam Faulkner, Navan – on a Bumble 1 trout at 7lbs.
Pat Smith, Trim – using a spent and a green mayfly 4 trout on Saturday May31st, averaged 2 ½ – 3 ½ lbs.
David Malcon, England – 4 trout using wulffs and spents, heaviest 5lbs.
Trent Delahunty, Essex – Saturday May 31st 1 trout at 5lbs on a Peter Ross Dabbler.
Richard Newton, England – 2 trout at 3lbs each on the dries.
Gerry McKeown, Northern Ireland – ghillied by Lough Sheelin guiding heaviest trout at over 4lbs.
Stephen Leighton, England – 1 trout at 3 ¾ on the spent.
Gerard Usher, Ashbourne – 2 trout at 2 ½ and 2 lbs, both caught on the spent.
Joe Casey, Athlone – 4 fish fishing wets – sooty olives and golden bumbles, average weights 2 – 2 ½ lbs.
Ryan Houston, Enniskellan – fishing Sunday June 1st 3 trout all on the spent weighing in at 4 ½, 4, 2 ½ and 2lbs.
Eddie Roe, Dublin – using a green mayfly and a spent, 7 trout best was 6 lbs and 4 lbs, all released.
Andrew Holden – 2 trout weighing in at 4 and 2lbs.
Jimmy Trent, Wexford – fishing the grey and green wulffs, 3 trout on Thursday averaging 2 ½ – 31/2 lbs.
Noel McTeare, Scotland – 5 trout, all on the spent, heaviest was 3 ½ lbs caught in Goreport on Thursday May 29th.
Sheelin - Fighting fish cartoon
Brenda Montgomery IFI