Lough Sheelin  Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI – May 5th to May 11th, 2014

Sheelin - May 12th ‘Trout are of course, indispensable to the angler. They give him an excuse for fishing and justify the fly rod without which he would be a mere vagrant’

Sheelin - They’re hereThey’re here…………

The mayfly season started on Sheelin this week with the first sightings of this much revered and coveted little lace winged insect making its debut in one’s and two’s and then increasing to sprinkling amounts in various parts of the lake. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday things accelerated considerably and anglers were treated to large hatches particularly in Orangefield and along the Western shoreline. The weather throughout the week predictably for early May was blustery and changeable with frequent downpours of heavy rain which didn’t help the emergence of this special little fly but still Sheelin rose above the elements to give its anglers outstanding fishing for Friday and Saturday with most boats landing numbers in the double figures with a substantial number of 5 lb plus fish being caught. Sunday was promised to be a better day and as the angling jungle drum beat, over one hundred anglers took to the waters but although most boats had fish, the mayfly hatch was disappointingly sparse because of a low ridge of pressure and a north wind blowing, proving time and time again that nature has the last say in everything on the water.
This is undeniably a lovely time of the year on this lake for those of us who want to stand back for a moment to appreciate what is gradually unfolding in front of us. We are at the start of what is guaranteed to be one of the best mayfly hatches in Ireland but as well as the appearance of this special almost saintly little insect, this lake is also alive with other hatches and chironomid activity. It is like a magical explosion of life which thankfully is out of our control and is totally down to nature without man’s interference.
The word Sheelin is Gaelic for ‘fairy pool’ and in most of the shoreline fields grow hawthorn bushes also known as fairy trees. The hawthorn is steeped in superstition so much so that it is a very rare landowner who will cut one for fear of bring the wrath of the fairies down on top of him. The hawthorn and the mayfly work in an invisible tandem with each other in that when the hawthorn is in full blossom, simultaneously the mayfly on the lake will be at its peak (usually around May 23rd) . This never changes regardless of how late a season we may have, all the trout angler has to do is to look at what stage this blossom is at to know what is happening out on the lake with the mayfly. For now, the hawthorn bloom is not fully out but it’s getting there and so is the mayfly.

Sheelin - The Hawthorn or May blossomThe Hawthorn or May blossom

There are still good hatches of olives in certain areas on the lake. Even if there hasn’t been a hatch of olives for a few days the trout often retain a ‘search image’ that triggers a feeding response to the angler’s imitations so a nymph or dry olive can be a good bet.

Sheelin - Deer Olive winged fly Deer Olive winged fly

In the early part of the week in the Bog Bay area of the lake there were big numbers of the Hawthorn fly on the water’s surface with trout rising to them. Unlike many flies imitated by fly fishers the hawthorn is terrestrial in origin and the only reason a terrestrial or land based insect lands up in the water is by accident – an accident that most terrestrial insects are ill equipped to handle. The hawthorn fly is one of the poorest fliers you’ll ever see, even the mildest breeze is enough to make them crash land all over the water. This is bad news for the hawthorn but good news for the trout and even better news for the fly fisherman. If there are hawthorn bushes, the bumbling hawthorn fly won’t be far away. Inevitably they end up on the water and the trout love them and they provide some of the most exciting and frantic sport of the season.
Sheelin - Flies mayThere was good buzzer fishing late into the evening in the earlier part of the week but this changed dramatically with the onset of the mayfly and most anglers have swapped over to fishing dry and wet mayflies. Because of weather conditions the best time to fish the lake has been from morning to noon but all this depends on the wind direction and there has been some excellent fishing into the afternoon and late evening as well.
The flies used this week are predominantly the dry and wet hackle mayflies, olives – drys, emergers and nymphs but also a selection of the Dabblers (claret, fiery brown, silver, golden olive, peter ross and green), golden olive bumble, sedges, green peter, klinkhammers, stimulators, red tailed claret, red tailed green peter and hoppers.
The bumbles are good patterns and are working well on the lake, they are great for creating a disturbance on the top layer of water, great for bring up curious trout and best fished as a top dropper.
The biggest catch of the week was an impressive eight pounder landed by Seamus Meegan, Monaghan which he caught using a fly that his friends have named ‘the wizard’ which at a fleeting glance had a green body, red tail and a fan hackle. Seamus landed a total of seven trout last sunday, six of which were on the wizard, all between 2 and 4lbs around the Sally Island. This fly is aptly named and was certainly working its magic that day.

Gerhard Troester, Germany with his 6lb (59cm) trout (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com)

Sheelin - The best time of the year!1Sheelin - The best time of the year!2The best time of the year!

Sheelin - CDC spent MayflyCDC spent Mayfly

Sheelin - Joe McCarthy, Kingscourt with his 6 ¼ lb pounderJoe McCarthy, Kingscourt with his 6 ¼ lb pounder caught using a Mick Kelly stimulator mayfly, May 9th fishing at Wattys rock.

 Christophe from Germany, ghillied by Lough Sheelin Guiding with his 56cm trout

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 - Another lovely trout for Lough Sheelin Ghillie Gary McKiernanAnother lovely trout for Lough Sheelin Ghillie Gary McKiernan

 Sheelin - Catch & Release arrrowsA catch & release policy is actively encouraged on the lake at all times
Sheelin - A gift for another dayMost of the fish featured in these angling reports are returned carefully and safely to the lake

A gift for another day for another angler

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 - Caoimhe Sheridan 2‘Getting it right’ – Caoimhe Sheridan, Cavan

There 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 4194156Telephone: +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 8 lb ‘very deep’ trout caught by Seamus Meegan, Monaghan on Sunday May 11th using ‘the wizard’ fishing around Sally island. This fish was feed on olives.
Total number of trout recorded for the week : 575
Sheelin - Little cartoonSelection of Catches
David Reilly, Tullyallen – 2 trout at 3lbs each caught Monday May 5th.
Pat O’Grady, Fermanagh – Saturday May 10th 4 trout ranging in weight from 7 ½ to 1 ½ lbs, all caught on the green mayfly (all released).
Michael Lynch, Tyrone – May 10th 16 trout, 10 averaging 4 to 6 ½ lbs, all caught on the mayfly and all released.
Richard Hanly, Co.Down – Sunday May 11th, 8 trout (all released) best weighed in at 3 ½ lbs fishing the dry mayfly.
Paddy Lyons, Cavan – Using an olive nymph 2 trout at 5.1 lbs and 2 ¼ lbs fishing around Plunketts Point on Monday May 5th.
Des Elliott, Dublin – 18 trout for the week averaging 1 ½ to 3lbs in weight caught on wet hackle mayflies, sooty olive and olive bumbles.
Tony Grehan, Rathfarnham – Thursday May 8th 5 trout 1 @ 1 ½ lbs, 2 @ 2lbs, 1 @ 2 ½ and 1 @ 3lbs caught around Kelly’s Bay, Plunketts Point and Orangefield using mayflies and sedges. Friday May 9th 3 trout at 1 ½, 3 and 5lbs (all returned) around Sporting Rock, Sandy Bar, all caught on sedges.
Ken Kearns, Dundalk – 1 trout at 5lbs using a dry buzzer.
Peter McArdle, Dundalk – 6 trout for the week, weights ranging from 2 ½ – 4 ¾ lbs, all caught using a dry buzzer.
Pat Savage, Meath – 2 trout at 3 ½ and 2lbs on a dry mayfly.
Robert Lynch – on May 11th 1 trout at 2lbs.
Ned Shannon, Banbridge – using a green dabbler 1 trout at 2 ¼ lbs.
Freddie Steele, Banbridge – fishing dry mays 2 trout heaviest weighed in at almost 4 lbs.
Michael McCluskey, Donegal – best catches were 6 trout totaling 29lbs fishing buzzer and mayfly.
Alex McClenaghan, Enniskellan – 2 trout heaviest 3lbs on the dry mayfly
Sheelin - Cartoon - Back cast hassardBrenda Montgomery IFI