Lough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI – May 4th to May 10th 2015

‘Thank you, dear God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough. Thank you for the rain. And for the chance to wake up in three hours and go fishing: I thank you for that now, because I won’t feel so thankful then’.

Garrison Keillor

Peter Maher, Dublin with his superb 53cm Shellin ClassicPeter Maher, Dublin with his superb 53cm Sheelin classic (fishing with Lough Sheelin Guiding Services)

I was asked the other day by a reader of the Sheelin angling report (a non-angler I might add) whether I shouldn’t consider a career with Met Eireann because of my constant referencing to the weather.  This comment merited an explanation rather than an apology because the simple fact of the matter is, is that it is the weather that dictates how good or how bad the trout fishing will be on Lough Sheelin.  The two run a tight parallel to each other so to write about one without the other would be like night without day.

This week angling numbers noticeably increased on the lake and there was some great fishing mixed with more challenging times depending on the weather.  As one angler who got caught in the more challenging times miserably put it ‘the fishing was so bad that even the liars were telling the truth’.

John Baker, NavanSheelin’s Darkness into light – John Baker, Navan bring his own lightness into dark with this fabulous trout during the Pieta House campaign of hope

Thursday (afternoon and evening) was the pick of the week with superb buzzer fishing particularly around the Bog Bay, Sailors Garden and Goreport areas of the lake.

This week was really all about the buzzer, with Friday and its persistent rainfall wiping out hatches allowing a break seemingly in the trout’s menu as they started to feed on olives in the absence of this small black insect.  A number of fish were caught on Epoxy Buzzers, but the Balling Buzzer and dry Buzzers patterns were the ones that nailed the big trout and big numbers for Sheelin this week.

The EpoxyMuddler BuzzerThe Epoxy                                                                           Muddler Buzzer


Gary McKiernan

Gary McKiernan (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) making it look easy in tough fishing conditions with his 53cm fish

 MasterflyA Balling Buzzer pattern

This is a large fuzzy looking pattern which is used to imitate a mass of male flies which have surrounded a single female in an attempt to mate with her. The ball of flies bounces enticingly on the surface triggering an enthusiastic response from the trout.  There were lots of balling buzzer on Sheelin during the day but the fish seemed reluctant to surface for them.


Buzzers or chironomid dipterans, to give them their proper name are pretty important things to trout fishermen.  There are over 430 species or so, many of which breed in and around water.  They are found in their billions in every waterway in every other country, on every continent.  Americans call them midges and in the United States midge fishing is considered something of a black art.  To normal human beings, they all look very similar – the larvae and pupae being small, thread-like things that are in some  cases no bigger than a comma, the adults being small, buzzy things that are often mistaken for mosquitoes.  None of the chironomid midges bite but all of them (at least, all of the aquatic ones) are regularly bitten by fish and they do bite because in some waters buzzers account for over 50% of the trout’s diet and one particular angler this week after spooning his fish reported that it was stuffed from top to tail with buzzer.  Buzzer fishing can be a frustrating time for anglers drawing blanks and needing more information, ask an angler who is catching fish on this lake at the moment what he is using and he’ll freely answer you ‘Buzzers’ and when you push for more this will be followed by ‘Those little black ones’ .  So for the benefit of those who are having difficulty with the buzzer patterns on Sheelin here it is: –

For trout taking adult buzzers as they were this week, a popular fly used was the ‘F’ fly which is also good for imitating adult sedge.  Another good pattern was the hoppers.  The adult flies can be fished static but retrieving a dry fly with a slow figure of eight worked best.  Towards the end of the evening rise when the fading light makes it difficult to spot the fly, a gentle retrieve can be very effective and a change to a larger fly can often land an end of the day fish before night closes in.

Black Pennell, Connemara Black, Peter Ross, Black and Blue, Sooty Olive among others were successful, with the flies being retrieved very slowly. A small black dry fly to imitate the egg-laying female worked well if the fly was kept moving.

Surface feeding fish will take a duckfly Pupae, or Sooty Olive (Size 12). A small Claret & Mallard, Fiery Brown or Dunkeld may also take fish. For the evening rise the angler must determine if the trout are feeding on adult flies as they return to the water to lay their eggs, or if they are taking a pupa as it emerges. For feeding fish on adult flies returning to the water, fish a Sooty Olive size 12 on the bob, a Duck fly on the middle and an Olive Variant on the point. For those fish feeding on pupae as they emerge, fish a Sooty Olive and a couple of Duck fly pupae. In either case, the flies are fished on a float line and cast in the path of a feeding trout. The line is not stripped back. All that is required is an occasional twitch of the rod tip to give the flies life.

Lough Sheelin’s finestLough Sheelin’s finest
The Lough gets two hatches of Lake Olives each season and occasionally the trout feed on them. The first hatch occurs in early May and the second in late August and September. The body colour of the autumn insect is a lighter shade of green than that of the May time hatch. Trout feeding on Lake Olives are difficult to catch, though some anglers have a measure of success with an Olive nymph pattern. The area of Lough Sheelin producing Lake Olives stretches crescent – like from Rusheen Bay via Derrahorn to Watty¹s Rock. Chambers Bay gets a small hatch in the south west corner.

A recommendation for a new comer to this lake, a novice angler or someone who is perhaps floundering around looking for local information on fly patterns and best areas to fish would be to hire a guide, even if were only for a half day, it would be money well spent. The Grey Duster Guiding Service as well as being a top class guide would be apt at the moment seeing as it got its name from the Grey Duster which is a classic dry fly used to fish the Buzzer and this is where we are at now on Sheelin.

Kenneth O’Keefe of Grey DusterKenneth O’Keefe of Grey Duster Guiding with one of his Sheelin trout caught Saturday May 9th

Sheelin trout

It’s Buzzer time on SheelinIt’s Buzzer time on Sheelin


Lawrence Finney’s Golden Olive HopperLawrence Finney’s Golden Olive Hopper
There are a number of accommodation places around Lough Sheelin and with the fast approaching ‘busy season’ on the lake it is worth mentioning a new self-catering premises which has just opened its doors on to the Sheelin scene – Chestnut Lodge.  This recently decorated lodge (which can accommodate up to 6) is situated close to Lough Sheelin on the Crover side and offers home from home modern comforts, good safe outside storage for boats, engines, angling gear etc. where a boat can be provided.  It is a welcome addition to the Lough Sheelin Accommodation list and worth considering for the visiting angler (enquires to 087 9060331)



 Paul Menanium, DerryPaul Menanium, Derry with his 3 pounder caught on a dry sedge off Lynch’s pt. Thursday May 7th

HookHook: 12-16 Kamasan B100 Silk: Black 8/0 Rib: Red UTC ultra wire & 8/0 silk Body: Ribbed hookshank covered with thin layer of stretched PVC Thorax: Built-up black tying silk Thorax cover: 2 strands of flat holographic tinsel Wing buds: 2 orange goose biots Then the whole lot is coated in 3 or 4 layers of Hard as Nails





Jack Egan fishing with The Grey DusterJack Egan fishing with The Grey Duster making it look easy with this 2lb trout caught using Buzzer Nymphs in the Sailors Garden

 Lawrence Finney’s Claret HopperLawrence Finney’s Claret Hopper








The favourite flies this week were the Buzzer patterns of which I’m told there are about a million, Epoxy Buzzers, Buzzer Pupae and Balling Buzzers worked well, Olive Nymphs, the Dabblers (Silver, Green, Claret, Fiery Brown and Peter Ross) also the ‘F’ fly and the Sooty Olive, Dunkeld, the Snake (a tailed version of a Minkie) all landed trout.

Dark Olive French May

Des McDonagh, Sligo fishingDes McDonagh, Sligo fishing with Lough Sheelin Guiding with his 45cm trout

 16 year old Dylan Andrew Ennis, Moate16 year old Dylan Andrew Ennis, Moate, Co. Westmeath this his impressive Sheelin catch – Saturday May 9th.

                                                                            A Buzzer patternA Buzzer pattern

Electric orange dabbler

55cm troutGary McKiernan (www.loughsheelinguiding.com) with his 55cm trout 

Uv Clan ChiefUv Clan Chief – a star performer in discoloured water 

Finney’s Black HopperFinney’s Black Hopper

Living the dream – The MayflyLiving the dream – The Mayfly

The mayfly was seen in small numbers at Derrysheridan and around Orangefield so it won’t be long now…….

English photographer Peter Gathercole

Picture this – English photographer Peter Gathercole at Sheelin


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

D.C Angling & Guiding Services – contact David @ 087 73946989

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

Kenneth o Keeffe          Grey Duster Guiding         

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 and
  • June 16th – October 12th – no trolling under engine between 7pm – 6am.
  • No trout less than 14 inches should be taken from the lake

Jonathan Peppard, Dublin all set to go fishingIt won’t work if you aren’t 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


Jonathan Peppard, Dublin all set to go fishing


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


“It is only the inexperienced and thoughtless who find pleasure in killing fish for the mere sake of killing them. No sportsman does this.”  – W.C. Prime, 1888

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 6 ½ trout caught by English angler Trent Summers using an Epoxy Buzzer

Total number of trout recorded: 78

CartoonSelection of Catches             

Andrew Doyle, Kells – Saturday May 9th 3 fish using Buzzer patterns, 2 at 3lbs and 1 weighing in at 5lbs.

Kenneth O’Keefe, Cavan fishing with Jack Egan, Cavan – Saturday May 9th 3 fish best was 3 ¾ lbs using Buzzer patterns at Orangefield and Derry pt.

Des MacDonagh, Sligo – 1 trout at 45cm

Paul McMenamin, Derry – 1 trout at 3 ¼ lbs on a dry sedge fishing at Lynch’s pt. at 8.30pm.

Eamon Connors, Ardee – 2 trout at 4 ½ and 2lbs using a Balling Buzzer.

Henry Keating, Cavan – fishing with Olives 2 trout at 5 ¼ and 2 ½ lbs on May 4th in Corru Bay.

William Fitzgerald, Duleek – 2 trout at 3 and 3 ½ lbs using a Silver Dabbler.

Sean Keenan, Gormanstown – 1 trout at 2 lbs using a Sooty Olive.

Mickey McCluskey, Donegal – 10 trout for the week weighing from 3 to 5lbs using Buzzers

Maurice McDevitt, Donegal – Saturday May 9th 1 trout at 2 ½ using a Buzzer.

Peter McArdle, Dundalk – 1 trout at 5 ¾ lbs on a Buzzer pattern.

Ken Kearns, Dundalk – 1 trout at 4lbs using a Buzzer.

Padar Smith, Trim – 1 trout at 3lbs on a balling buzzer.

Anthony McCaffrey, Derry – 1 trout at 5 lbs wet fly fishing using an orange Buzzer.

Brenda Montgomery IFI

Only a face a fisherman could love