Lough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI – September 28th to October 4th 2015

As Summer turns its face to FallThe end of the trout season here on Lough Sheelin – October 12th is in our sights and now into October this lake is visibly crossing over into autumnal mode. This week fishing was tough and slow and only those who put in the hours caught fish. The weather during the week didn’t help matters with most days featuring powdery morning mists and bright sunny days with falling evening temperatures. A harvest moon dominated the evenings and nights with a total eclipse on Monday night having a dual effect of turning the moon a deep rusty red as well as appearing bigger and brighter than normal lighting up the lake like some beautiful spectacular beacon creating a magical golden pathway from Church Island into Kilnahard. The Sheelin trout are restless and more than contrary in their food chooses making everything difficult for the end of season angler. This time of the year reminds me of Jim Bishop’s quote ‘Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons’ because with Sheelin the back end of the season carries with it the biggest hope of landing a large fish as the heavy weights seem to move to the surface more, perhaps in preparation for the spawning journey ahead of them. All through this week anglers reported plenty of movement of fish, mainly pitching and aerial acrobatics dominantly in the vicinity of the incoming rivers. Smaller trout around the ½ lb mark were particularly in evidence producing a fairly steady appearance to the Sheelin anglers. There were good hatches of buzzer and sedge but the trout showed little interest in feeding on them.

On Saturday the local angling club, the L.S.T.P.A hosted their annual Stream Rehabilitation competition, now in its tenth year this event is growing steadily in popularity and attracts anglers from all over Ireland. The weather wasn’t conducive for easy fishing with foggy early morning conditions and a dull overcast sky accompanied by a cloying cold which continued throughout the day. Nothing however dampens the Sheelin angler’s spirits and with over 260 anglers the starting line up was charged with expectation and excitement – as one angler put it to me that although there were mirror calm conditions and cold ‘sure it’s the same weather for everyone and everyone has the same chance’.

Fergal McKiernan, Coosan, Athlone with his winning 3lb 15.6oz trout ‘We do not remember days, we remember moments’Cesare Pavese

Fergal McKiernan, Coosan, Athlone with his winning 3lb 15.6oz trout at the L.S.T.P.A Stream Rehabilitation Competition, October 3rd

The Catches…

For many this is the last fishing expedition of the year so the usual feeling of competition pressure was replaced by jovial good humour and a sharing of previous seasons fishing experiences on Sheelin as well as other fished trout lakes. Competitors reported lots of moving fish but it was difficult and challenging with little rise in day time temperatures. This is one if not the biggest trout fishing competitions organized by an angling club in Ireland and the bar was set high at a 16” limit. The winner with a 3lbs 15.6oz fish was Fergal McKiernan from Coosan, Athlone. Fergal landed his fish using a Pheasant Tailed Nymph.

The Flies…

The flies and lures for this week were mixed and varied but still the claret and silver colours featured the strongest and yielded the best results. A Claret & Silver Dabbler is reported to be the most have end of season fly for Sheelin and going on this weeks results it did see the largest number of recorded catches. Other flies that were very successful were the Stimulators, the Yellow Invicta, the Silver Daddy, the Claret Pheasant Tailed Nymph and the Klinkhammers. But really anything goes and the word is that if you see a fish and miss him you won’t get another chance.

At Saturday’s competition and indeed during the week, it was all more or less traditional style flies that were being used and their variants. The fish are hungry and if the fly is presented correctly to the hunting trout then the angler will strike gold.

One angler, 90 years young (he was careful to remind me) told me how years ago, as in 70 or so years, they used to pick blackberries and use these to catch trout on at this time of the year. I found it hard to believe but he got so annoyed by my doubting that I’m now convinced he was telling me the truth – anything goes for Sheelin’s autumn apparently…………

Other flies that featured were the Zulus, variations of Dabblers mainly silver, green and claret, Golden Olive Bumble, Hoppers (dapping is still happening with some anglers), Red Tailed Peters, Red Nymphs, Sooty Olives. Lures included perch fry imitations, Minkies and Humungus.


Conor Flynn’s Sheelin
Conor Flynn’s Sheelin



Getting ready for kick off – the LSTPA’S stream rehabilitation competition – October 3rd
Getting ready for kick off – the LSTPA’S stream rehabilitation competition – October 3rd
Fergal McKiernan (1st) and Frank Dempsey (4th) at the Stream Rehabilitation Competition
Fergal McKiernan (1st) and Frank Dempsey (4th) at the Stream Rehabilitation Competition
Rising Trout Photography by Oystein
Rising Trout Photography by Oystein


JM Angling Services

Upcoming Events

The Cavan/Monaghan Garda Divisional Fly Fishing Championship and Open CompetitionSaturday October 10th from Kilnahard Pier, fishing from 11am to 6pm. This competition is for the heaviest fish (visitors) and the heaviest fish (Cavan/Monaghan Garda members), presentation of prizes and refreshment dinner at Crover House Hotel at 7pm sharp. Any queries please contact Dessie McEntee on 047 77216 or 086 8937568.

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

image037Michael Farrell @ 087 4194156Telephone:+353 43 6681298Email:[email protected]

Kenneth o Keeffe                   Grey Duster Guiding 0868984172

[email protected] 

For anyone interested in joining Lough Sheelin’s Angling Club – The Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association please 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
  • June 16th – October 12th – no trolling under engine between 7pm – 6am.
  • No trout less than 14 inches should be taken from the lake


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

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. 

Guide Fishing Ireland www.guidefishingireland.com

This week’s was a 4 ½ lb trout caught by Stan Brady, Cavan using a Claret George at Orangefield.

Total number of trout recorded: 32

Results of the L.S.T.P.A’s Stream Rehabilitation Competition:

1st Fergal McKiernan 3.15.6 lbs 52.5cm

2nd Matt Higgins 3.7 lbs 50.2cm

3rd Ronan Meghan 3.6 lbs 49.5cm

4th Frank Dempsey 3.4 lbs 52cm

5th Ryan Houston 3.2lbs 52cm

6th Michael Browne 3.2lbs 48cm

7th Paul Lunney 2. 14lbs 46 ½ cm

Selection of Catches      

image039Harry McAteer, Belfast – 1 trout at over 2lbs on wets.

Paddy Bray, Cavan – 2 trout at 2 ½ and 1 ¾ lbs using Claret Dabblers.

Malcom Sheridan, Carrickmacross – 1 trout at 2lbs using a Pheasant Tailed Nymph

Dessie Shaw, Dublin – 1 trout at 2 ¾ lbs on a black & silver Minkie

Kim Nielson – 1 trout on wets at Orangefield.

Lough Sheelin, October 2015
Lough Sheelin, October 2015

Brenda Montgomery IFI