Autumn leavesLough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI October 6th – October 12th 2014

Autumn sunsetThe last point of all the inward gifts that doth belong to an angler is memory … The Art of Angling, 1577

Lough Sheelin 2014

Lough Sheelin began its last day of the fishing season smothered in a blanket of dense fog with a 5 degree air chill that wrung all traces of summer out of this year. October fishing is a bit like reading last week’s Sunday Times on Saturday – some interesting stuff but it’s mostly over.
This past week saw a steady amount of angling traffic each day on the lake and on most days particularly heading into and during the weekend various local fishing competitions were held, ending on Sunday with an impressive 95 angler entrant for the annual Cavan/Monaghan Garda fly fishing championship.
The weather remained stubbornly difficult throughout the week, with bright harsh daytime conditions and drops to frost levels at night. Trout catches were low although most anglers consistently saw lots of ‘pitching’, splashy rises and movement of fish. It seems as if the Sheelin trout are hell bent on letting the anglers know that they are there but equally as determined that they should not be caught. There are various theories as to why the trout pitch, from removal of parasites to reaching for more oxygen to becoming more aggressive as the spawning season looms. All these theories could be correct but in truth no one really knows and nature stamps her superiority on humans once more which can only be a good thing.

Frank Reilly, Galway with his 3.4lb winning troutFrank Reilly, Galway with his winning 3.4lb trout at the IFI Field Officers Competition on Friday October 3rd
Oisin Reilly, Galway with his 1.7lb troutOisin Reilly, Galway with his 1.7lb trout caught on a Fiery Brown Dabbler

On Friday IFI’s Field Officers hosted their annual competition on Lough Sheelin. Again conditions were unfavourable with cold bright conditions dominating the day. It was a father and son duo who took the main prizes with dad Frank Reilly winning the Paddy McNamara Cup with his 3.4lb trout using a Fiery Brown Dabbler in a size 12 and son Oisin clipping at his heels with a beautiful silvery coloured 1.7 pounder also caught on a Dabbler. Frank although from Galway was at pains to point out that he had Mayo blood through him so this was a win for the two counties.
The Christy Deacy Memorial Cup was won by guest angler Frank Kelly with a 2.1lb trout caught on dry Sedge.
Most fly fishing for the Lough Sheelin autumn trout required patterns on opposite ends of the size spectrum – both tiny dry flies and huge lures like the humungus and minkies worked. For October the main fly fishing tip on Sheelin was Go Big or Go Small.
The Dabblers featured heavily when there was a kick to the water and landed a few fish for their users. The Dabblers have been the steady favourite for Sheelin this season and were a constant in both good and bad times.
Because this week was the end of the fishing season it was important in some aspects to change tactics to stalk the larger trout of which Sheelin is famous for. After a busy season the trout have become wise and experienced in the ways of man. The Sheelin trout will have seen all the lures, flies and unnatural imitations that have been offered these past few weeks and more or less rejected them all, choosing the quiet life as they feed in the deep at more comfortable temperatures. For anglers who were after the big ones, stalking nymphs were the only flies. Simplistic in their makeup – the stalking nymph group of flies have one feature in common – they sink fast. Some of the successful flies this week were the heavily weighted superglue buzzers, anorexic nymphs such as the Anorexic Diawl Bach and Sawyer’s Pheasant tail.
There was some hatches of buzzer around the Bog Bay, Goreport and Sailors Garden end of the lake and for these a Shipman’s Buzzer Black, Shipman’s Buzzer Claret and a Shipman’s Buzzer Claret worked quite well.

Tony Grehan’s (Dublin) 4 pounderTony Grehan’s (Dublin) 4 pounder caught on a Claret Drop Sedge in Kelly’s Bay

The Invicta trout fly is worth a mention this past season for its reliability and good reputation on Sheelin. Designed long ago by James Ogden it was consistently used by this lake’s anglers The Invicta trout Fly is a complex pattern that has lived on because of its effectiveness. The pattern suggests insects and really resembles caddis and also small fry… The Invicta Trout Fly is a great pattern to use during a sedge fly rise, probably imitating a hatching caddis or returning egg-laying female caddis that descends beneath the water. The favourite for this lake was the Silver Invicta.
Hoppers are also worth a mention as having been fairly successful this season. Although generally fished as a dry fly they are great to leave dangling in the surface film. The legs will tempt trout to strike. Hoppers were used in a wide range of colours and although anglers argue that the colour was an important choice I think as long as the trout spotted them, they were a sure thing. Especially good of course when the daddy long legs are around.

Gary McKiernan’s 4lb plus Sheelin troutGary McKiernan’s 4lb plus Sheelin trout (

The Silver Stream Anglers held a competition on the lake during the week with Noel Shiels, Dublin winning with two fish at 1 ½ each, second place went to Martin McGorinan with a 2 ½ pounder and third prize went to Oliver McCormack with a fish of 2 ¼ lbs.
The Kells Angling Club also held a competition (the Tormey Shield) which attracted 13 anglers and was won by Pa Tormey with a 2 ½ lb fish caught on a dry Sedge.

Finney’s ‘Mallard’Finney’s ‘Mallard’

The Muddler MinnowThe Muddler Minnow

William Ernest Henley’s Invictus‘I thank whatever Gods maybe for my unconquerable soul’
William Ernest Henley’s Invictus

On Sunday October 12th amidst a blanket of thick fog 95 anglers valiantly struck forth to fish the annual Cavan/Monaghan Garda Divisional Fly Fishing championships. The weather was less than ideal and as the fog burnt off to be replaced by bright sunshine, fishing became more challenging. Despite all the natural obstacles a great day was had by all and again lots of fish were seen pitching and rising in front of the competitors, compounding the fact that this is lake ‘stuffed with trout’ and these will keep to next year’s season. The winner of this competition was Clones man Jim Hughes with his 3lb 7.2 oz beauty caught around Stony. Second place went to Tommy Rushe, Armagh – 2lbs 3.8ozs and third went to Larry McAlinden with a 1lb 13.2oz fish.

A pea souper for the Garda competitionNature dictates – a pea souper for the Garda competition

Jim Hughes, Clones winner of the Cavan.Monaghan Garda Divisional Fly Fishing competitionJim Hughes, Clones winner of the Cavan/Monaghan Garda Divisional Fly Fishing Championship with his 3 ½ lb trout

On Saturday last, shaking off the shackles of officialdom I headed off to Finea to meet up with my fishing companion and Sheelin ‘expert’. It was late afternoon and already a candy floss mist was rising up from the lake’s surface but better late than never and I had to get that end of season thing out of my system. The cold was there but so were the fish and they spun at regular intervals, up in the air, showing off and smacking down and back into the water. That knot of anticipation never unravels and despite not landing anything it really didn’t matter because the feeling of ‘it might’ happen and being out on a lake as magnificent as Sheelin compensates for all the returning empty handedness. My Dublin ‘expert’ John Tresner (although he might balk at seeing his name alongside that of a fishery officer!) landed himself a lovely 3lb plus using a Claret Stimulator as a top dropper and watching that was another magic in itself particularly as that hen fish slide back into the black of the water to come back to us or someone like us on another day.
Release small troutThe most popular flies that have been used on this lake for the past number of weeks have been the Golden Olive Bumble, Mallard & Claret, Green Peter, the Claret Stimulator, the sedges – brown and chocolate drop, the Octopus, the Cock Robin, the Sooty Olive, The Dabblers – Claret, Silver and Golden Olive, the Silver Invicta, Gorgeous George, Humpies, the Terminator, the Chernobyll, the Raymond, the Alexandra, the Red Tailed Green Peter, , a Claret Snatcher, a Claret Hopper, Klinkhammers, Stimulators, the Watsun’s Fancy, Bumbles, Hoppers and a Red Ended Peter type Sedge fished wet style on a floating line.

Up-Coming Events

Cartoon 1
The LSTPA will be holding fly tying classes at the IFI offices at Kilnahard in November. These classes are open to all age groups, for further details please Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033
Cartoon 2

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

Release small trout 2 The 2014 fishing season is now closed on Lough Sheelin until March 1st 2015.
It has been a busy season with thousands of anglers fishing this magnificent stretch of water. The fishing has been undeniably tough because of measures outside our control, mainly the weather, as one angler put it ‘it was a great year for everything else except fishing’ but anglers in general accept the ups with the downs and the magnetism of Sheelin remains embedded in the hearts of everyone who fishes this ‘jewel in Ireland’s fishing crown. As one Cork fan summoned it all up ‘tell me a better lake than Sheelin’ and although I’m bias, I agreed.

Lough Sheelin will be waiting for its anglers next year – venisti remanebis donec denuo completus sis.

Lough Sheelin Guiding Services ( 087 1245927
Michael Farrell @ 087 4194156 Telephone: +353 43 6681298  Email: [email protected]
The heaviest fish for the week was a 5lb 59cm trout caught by Richard Newton, England (ghillied by Lough Sheelin Guiding)
Total number of trout recorded for the week: 26
Cartoon 3Selection of Catches
Niall Foley, Cork – 2 trout at 3lbs and 2 3/4lbs both caught using a Green Peter
Danny Murray, Dublin (ghillied by Lough Sheelin Guiding) – 1 trout at 56cm caught using wets.
Trevor McCann, Wexford – 1 trout at 3lbs on a Claret Stimulator, fishing in mid lake.
David Thomas, Dublin – ghillied by Lough Sheelin Guiding, 1 trout at 55cm on the wets.
Sam Scott, Cavan – 1 trout at 2 ½ lbs using a Claret and Silver Dabbler.
Sheelin clouds
Brenda Montgomery IFI