Brenda Montegomery is back again with a round up of the angling on Lough Sheelin where the bitter winds eclipsed by the fishing and and other stellar events…

‘Every now and then I get a little bit restless
And I dream of something wild’
Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart

Solar eclipse over Lough Sheelin
Lough Sheelin’s solar eclipse March 20th 2015
The moon may have had its moment in the sun on Friday last but Sheelin had a number of its own moments during this week with some impressive catches of beautiful wild trout.

 As Lough Sheelin progressed through to its third fishing week of the season, the weather proved to be far from ideal for the Sheelin anglers.  Wind direction varied but mostly a bitter east and north wind swept across the water with most days being cold with substantial amounts of bright harsh day time sunshine and temperature drops towards evening time.

Peadar McAvinney, Clones with his 4 plus trout caught using a Minkie at Crover

We are still in early season, both for fishing and for Spring but regardless of our awareness of these two facts there is always an impatience for things to get going and to rid ourselves of the dregs of the winter and the closed season.  The flies that have been tied during the long winter evenings (and killer patterns furtively exchanged between fishing friends) are in their boxes waiting to be tried and tested and then March arrives like some sort of saviour but except for a few days and snatched hours of glory, the weather can put a halt to the enthusiastic gallop of many a Sheelin angler in March.

Brian McAvinney, Scotshouse with his beautiful catch of the week a 5 lb plus trout caught using a Minkie at Mary’s Pt.

Despite the less than perfect conditions Sheelin fished well this week with an encouraging amount of beautiful well-conditioned trout being landed and each day bring a number of successes.

Selection of Catches

The best areas for fishing were along the Western shore, around Chambers and Kilnahard and down along Crover depending on wind direction.

The heaviest fish for the week was a 5lb plus trout caught by Brian McAvinney, Scotshouse using a Humungus.

Total number of trout recorded: 33

  • Peadar McAvinney, Clones – 2 trout at 4lbs and 3lbs using a Humungus and a Minkie, fishing around Crover.
  • Larry McAlinden, Newry – fishing during the week, 4 trout – over 5lbs, over 4lbs and 2 at 1½ – 2lbs using Baby Bibios.
  •  Jack Egan, Cavan – on a Silver Dabbler, March 17th 1 trout at 3 ½ lbs.
  •  David Connor of D.C Angling & Guiding landed 2 trout on wets, best was 2 ½ lbs.
  • Cathal Rush, Northern Ireland – 1 trout at 3 lbs fishing wets.
  • Pat Foley, Monaghan – 1 trout on March 21st at 2 lbs.
  • Mark Breslin, Cork –  1 trout at 3lb on a Silver Dabbler and Humungus.
  • Dominic Murray, Dublin – 1 trout at 50cm fishing a team of wets.
Dominic Murray
Dominic Murray, Dublin with his 50cm Sheelin trout caught St.Patrick’s day fishing with Lough Sheelin Guiding Services (

Competition results

Kilroy Cup
Heading out – the start of the LSTPA’s Kilroy Cup, March 21st

The local angling club – The LSTPA hosted their first competition of the season – The Kilroy Cup on Saturday last March 21st.  Conditions were far from ideal with mirror calm water and a persistently glaring sun. Over 50 anglers took part and with the bar raised high at a 17” limit there was an atmosphere of dubious anticipation at the start.  But Sheelin seldom disappoints and clearing the fence with ease was Longford angler John Brennan taking the cup with a trout of 3.92 lbs (20.47”) 2nd was last year’s winner Peter Boyle, Monaghan with a 3.73 lb 21.38” fish and 3rd was John Mullvaney, Kells at 3.61 lb and 19.29” trout.

John Brennan,
John Brennan, Longford being presented with the Kilroy Cup by LSTPA chairman Kenneth O’Keefe

Lords of the Flies

The most successful flies for this week were the Humungus, Minkies, Golden Olive Bumble, the Hare’s Ear, the Silver Dabbler, the Fiery Brown Dabbler, the Claret Dabbler, the Claret Bumble, Bibios, the Silver Invicta, the Connemara Black, Black Pennell and the Sooty Olive.

In the early weeks of the season with the plummeting night time temperatures, fly are scarce on the water, however this week despite the clawing cold there was light at the end of the tunnel in that a number of anglers reported good hatches of buzzer in sheltered areas behind islands stimulating a few trout to break the surface to feed.  There was also an occasional small hatch of dark olives in sheltered bays which is very early for this insect on this lake.

An unusually early Olive on Sheelin
An unusually early Olive on Sheelin

Olives are not a single species, or even a single family of insects, they are in fact from the order of Ephemeroptera or the upwinged fly. Each species is called something like a Medium Olive, Pond Olive, Blue-Winged Olive, Lake Olive etc.  The common thread being ‘olive’ and given for the obvious reason that the dun adult has a body more or less olive in colour.  These insects are also very similar in appearance.  They emerge at similar times and thus are easily confused.  A lot of the time distinguishing one from another isn’t actually going to catch an angler any more fish, so most of the time they are just generally referred to as olives.  It’s easier that way.  The favourite artificial olive representative on Sheelin is Greenwells Glory.

Larry McAlinden’s (Newry) trout of over 5lbs
Larry McAlinden’s (Newry) trout of over 5lbs


The weather needs to soften up a little for a real take off in the trout fishing.  The trout in general are still lying deep, feeding on freshwater shrimp, hog louse and nymph.

The Humungus (in black, black & silver and gold) and the Minkie fished on a di3 or di5 were still responsible for most of the catches of trout on the lake for this week.

A combination of a Minkie on the top dropper and two Dabblers behind can be successful with the trout following the Minkie but taking the Dabbler, at least that’s what worked for Wexford angler Shane Morrison when he landed his 3lb trout on St. Patrick’s Day.

16 year old Jack Egan, Cavan – first drift, first cast, first fish
16 year old Jack Egan, Cavan – first drift, first cast, first fish

The Bibio has been responsible for a number of catches for this week, a good indication that the fish are started to take the buzzer, when this happens a combination of the Bibio on the bob with a Butcher at the end can work very effectively.  The Butcher pattern with its red tail, silver body and rib, black iridescent duck feather and black hen hackle is now over 170 years old and is a fly designed to imitate little fish.  In a two fly set up, with a Bibio as a dropper, fishing deep and slow can yield good results.

John Mulvanney, Kells with this 2 lb plus trout
John Mulvanney, Kells with this 2 lb plus trout

The two Fly-cast combination game regarding wet flies have one constant – it catches fish during the entire season and brown trout just love it, because it somehow represents perfectly everything and nothing.

Kilnahard, Lough Sheelin, Saturday March 21st

Along with the Minkie and Humungus, other fly patterns that achieve a modest amount of success worked singly or in teams were the Dabbler (fiery brown, golden claret and silver), the Connemara Black, the Black Pennell, the Hare’s Ear (a good representative of the freshwater Shrimp/Louse), Watson’s Fancy, Mallard & Claret, Sooty Olive, Hoglice patterns, Duck fly pupa and Emergers sizes 10-14.

Another happy angler
Another happy angler

Stick to the shallows particularly along the western shore, Chambers, Kilnahard and down by Crover depending on wind direction.

Brenda Montegomery
Inland Fisheries Ireland

Go fishing…

A permit is required to fish Lough Sheelin. Buy your permit online or from any of the permit distributors listed here.

Guides and ghillies

Grey Duster Guiding
Kenneth O’Keeffe
086 8984172 Email: [email protected]

Lough Sheelin Guiding Services
Tel: 087 1245927 Web:

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

Michael Farrell
Tel: 087 4194156 or  +353 43 6681298
Email: [email protected]

Michael Flanagan,
Trout and Pike Guide.
Email: [email protected] Web:

Competition and events notices

The popular Sheelin Classic trout competition now in its 10th year will be run on Lough Sheelin on Easter Monday April 6th. The kick off time is 11am with a finish at 6pm. All boats should be on the shoreline and ready to go by 10.50am. There is a strict 15” size limit and the individual with the heaviest fish wins. There comes an impressive list of prizes with this competition with a 19ft Sheelin boat as a first prize. For further details please contact Noel McLoughlin at 087 – 2179460

Glenkeen trout fishery
Some of the happy participants at last year’s angling day out to Glenkeen trout fishery

The LSTPA will be holding a youth angling day out to Glenkeen trout fishery, Aughnacloy during the Easter holidays.  This day follows on from a previous successful excursion a few months ago.  For anyone interested in going on this day out please contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033 for further details.

House Rules

All anglers are required to have a Fishery Permit to fish Lough Sheelin which must be purchased before going out on the lake. 

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

(Photo courtsey of see their website )

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 fishing
Jonathan Peppard, Dublin all set to go fishing. He knows enough to wear a life jacket when going afloat.

Life jackets are required by law – SI No 921 of 2005 – Pleasure Craft (Personal Flotation Devices and Operation) (Safety) Regulations 2005.

Please put on and keep on that life jacket until you are back on dry land. 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.

Blast from the past

Arley, Lough Sheelin 1800
Arley, Lough Sheelin 1800