Lough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI – July 27th to August 2nd 2015

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children. Charles R. Swindoll

4 year old Noah Johnston Breen sorting out flies to go fishing.‘Getting Ready’ – 4 year old Noah Johnston Breen sorting out flies to go fishing.

The sedge fishing, refutably the cream of the fishing season rose to the top for Lough Sheelin this week with spectacular hatches of the two main evening sedges – the Murrough and the Green Peter matched with splashy vigorous rises of hungry trout averaging 2 ½ – 3 ½ lbs. The edge of darkness is the time to be on this great lake, where, as the night swallows up the day the water seemingly comes alive with feeding trout and hatching sedge. The approach of dusk seems to act like a dinner bell as trout rise to take the vast selection of surface food.

It’s Sedge time - Lynch’s Pt. Lough Sheelin, July 2015It’s Sedge time – Lynch’s Pt. Lough Sheelin, July 2015

This has been a season like no other. In previous years, it was the mayfly that attracted large numbers of anglers, it was a time to book your holidays and take full advantage of the mayfly crazed trout – duffer’s fortnight, where the catching was easy.

Sheelin stumbled through the mayfly season this year, shedding its truck load of despondent anglers as May moved into June and hopes disappeared in a cloud of resignation that the mayfly just wasn’t going to kick off like it had done in previous years. The season moved into the sedge phase and quietly and unobtrusively Sheelin started to live up to its great name – the jewel in Ireland’s fishing crown, with heady rises of beautiful fish and amazing fly hatches.

Lough Sheelin was never a lake that featured much for the Peter fishing but since early July there have been impressive hatches of this sedge – all after dark stuff but yielding great takes and substantial catches. The Peter imitation, a very successful export from Ireland was originally created as a top dropper imitating its name sake – Phryganea varia or in layman’s language ‘Green Peter’. Stillwater fly fishermen in the UK have been enthusiastic supporters of this fly for the last 40 plus years. A good tip is when fishing on the drift, when the water is ruffled by wind, is to raise your rod steadily so that your team of flies rise in unison and repeat – or so the experts say.

 1 ½ pounder on the MurroughA 1 ½ pounder on the Murrough

Lough Sheelin’s Damsel FlyLough Sheelin’s Damsel Fly

 The Murrough and the Peter mean late evening and night time fishing and it is this that perhaps acts as a deterrent to anglers. As July draws to a close, there is a slight almost unnoticeable change, as dusk, that veil of shade, descends that bit earlier than in the previous months. Maybe it is that earlier closing down of the day that discourages anglers from setting out across the lake to the sheltered bays and inlets, where there is plenty of trout action, to a place that real trout anglers could only dream of. I am talking about starting that outboard engine at around 9.45pm and returning home around 11.30 to midnight, this is when the fishing for now is at its very best and worth the effort of embracing the night to experience the richness of the trout life of this great lake.
Lough Sheelin’s Peters and MurroughsBrothers In Arms’

‘Brothers In Arms’ – Lough Sheelin’s Peters and Murroughs

The areas that are fishing best for now are from Orangefield right around and into Ross Bay, dependant of course on wind direction. I find that the darkness usually has a softening and modifying effect on wind and so fishing at night rarely requires the need for change of location to facilitate a changing wind.

Fishing was tough in the mornings and only picked up for daytime catches between 4 and 6pm and even then there was poor fly life on the surface, so it was mainly fishing blind. Trout were however on the move and willing to surface for artificials like the Bibios, Silver Invictas, Dabblers, Bumbles, Daddies, Claret & Mallard, Hoppers and Goslings.

Some anglers tried out a small amount of dapping with one or two fish being landed using this traditional method. The end of July and the month of August is when all sorts of Sheelin’s terrestrials are being blown on to the water and the Daddy-Long-Legs in all its land based awkwardness, is one of them. Tumbling in an ungainly fashion, landing on the water’s surface, they struggle in their attempts to become air-bourne once more, the Daddy can make a very tasty mouthful and alternative to sedges in the trout’s diet. When a take does occur it’s important to try to resist the temptation to strike, as the trout will often try to drown this fly first, before taking it in its mouth. Best practise is to wait until the line starts to run out, then lift the rod high to set the hook. Dragging the fly through a heavy ripple, or wave will often mean the desired responsive of a positive take by the trout.

An extract from Bob Salisbury’s ‘The Gentle Art of Dapping’ tells us that -‘This must be one of the oldest methods of fishing a lough, especially when using a natural insect and here in Ireland it is still highly effective during the Mayfly time, or in August when the daddies or grasshoppers are plentiful. At first glance the art of dapping looks deceptively simple and merely involves a good breeze, long rod , a natural insect or artificial and the patience to let the wind move the fly in a random , haphazard manner across the surface until a trout shows interest. Dapping undoubtedly takes fish, often very good trout because no part of the line touches the water. But for several reasons this approach has become less popular in recent years. The old style rods were very heavy to use in strong winds and holding them steady could become tiring after a long day on the lough. The introduction of modern fly rods has also had an impact and the preference of many anglers to ‘drift’ fish from a boat with a team of wet flies has made the practice of dapping much less fashionable than it once was.

One renowned local angler in this part of Tyrone, Ronnie Chism, thinks that today’s fishermen are ‘missing a trick’ and the practice of dapping a fly is highly effective on Irish lakes, where it was traditionally practiced. Ronnie has made an extensive study of the techniques and equipment involved and argues that, if it is done properly, it will bring results. He says it is an art form that should be expanded and revived’

Blue Moon’

Lough Sheelin’s

‘Blue Moon’

Last Friday, July 31st, there was a ‘once in a blue moon’ occurrence. The rain stopped around 8pm and as the clouds darkened towards night, a huge golden medallion of a full moon rose from the cloud edges and glowed like a lantern over the lake’s surface water.

In the past, a blue moon was used to mean ‘rare’, but now the name is given to any full moon that is the second to appear in one calendar month. The next blue moon, by this definition, is going to be on January 31st 2018 – around two and a half years from now. There will be another blue moon two months after that on March 31st 2018, after which it will be another two year wait.

Irrelevant as all this seemingly might be to an angling report, some anglers believe that the lunar cycle is directly linked to the feeding pattern of trout.

Wexford angler, John Nolan is however sticking to the ‘blue moon’ theory of rarity as he landed his first ever Sheelin trout on this night after some ten years of trying on Sheelin. The ‘blue moon’ fish caught on a Murrough and weighing in at over 4lbs was released back into the water at Derrysheridan.

For those of us that might be feeling a little disheartened that the moon was not blue, blue moons in terms of colour have been seen in the past only under very special circumstances. Usually, these moons are reported after volcanic eruptions or even a forest fire, which releases plumes of particles that rise into the atmosphere. These particles happen to be the perfect size to scatter away red light, only allowing blue light through the dust cloud. Out of the ashes, a blue moon appears.

Sheelin Wm CraigWilliam Craig with his 2 ½ lb Sheelin trout – July 27th

Gary Murray, Newtownabbey Gary Murray, Newtownabbey – July 27th

image011Sheelin SunsetLough Sheelin sunset, July 28th


Azim from Mauritius Azim from Mauritius and fishing with Guide Fishing Ireland travels to Sheelin every season for his angling holiday. He has caught some wonderful fish there and is a big fan of the dry fly.

The Fiery Hopper The Fiery Hopper (KsG Flies)

Sidnei from Brazil Sidnei from Brazil (fishing with Guide Fishing Ireland)



Mark Wilson’s SheelinMark Wilson’s Sheelin

Sheelin’s Bloodworm imitations

Sheelin’s Bloodworm imitations

Silver VincaThe Silver Invicta (KsG Flies)

 The set up

‘The Set Up’

The best flies for the week gone by were the dry Sedges (a pale brown/beige 12-14) CDC Sedge fly, the Green Peter, Hare’s Ear Sedgehog, the Golden Olive Bumble (good for creating that all important disturbance on the water), the Stimulator, the Hoppers, the Black Pennell, the Murrough, the Royal and Green Wulff, the Grey Klinkhammer (12-14 Emerger), the Cinamon Sedge, Greenwell’s Glory, the Dunkeld, the Welshmans Button, Damsel Nymph and Pheasant Tail Nymph.

A female MurraghA female Murrough

A Blast From The Past

A blast from the pastFront row (left to right) – Robert Chambers, Heather Chambers Harry Hamer, Nuala Lynch, Mandy Sloane

Back row (left to right) -Wesley Harper, Bert Flood, Peter Brady, Peter O’Reilly, John Wilson Minister for Fisheries, Pat Sweeney, Sean Gurhy, Jim McNally, Mike Tolan and Sean Young

The 1996 photograph above was taken to commemorate 50 consecutive years of fishing on Lough Sheelin by Yorkshire angler Harry Hamer. Mr Harry Hamer as a young enthusiast trout angler in his early twenties came across a small advertisement in a fishing magazine for accommodation at Lough Sheelin by a Mrs Chambers. Intrigued Mr Hamer made the arduous journey via boat, train and bus where his love for Sheelin was instant and such was his devotion he returned from that day faithfully every year for 64 years until his death on April 11th 2011.


image033Up-Coming Events

The McDonnell cup will be held on Saturday August 8th on Lough Sheelin, fishing from 11am till 6pm from Kilnahard pier with an entry fee of €20. This competition has been fished catch & release for the last three years which proved to be very successful. Measures will be provided for all boats with the cup awarded to the longest fish. This competition is open to members of the club only but membership is available on the day

There will be lots of prizes on offer and this day is generally viewed as a great day out.

For further details contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033.

The Lough Sheelin Protection Association’s Stream Rehabilitation competition has been set for Saturday October 3rd. Match booklets will be out by mid- August and will also be available to download off the LSTPA’s web site.

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

Michael Farrell @ 087 4194156Telephone: +353 43 6681298  Email: [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 and
  • June 16th – October 12th – no trolling under engine between 7pm – 6am.
  • No trout less than 14 inches should be taken from the lake

image035It 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

image036A catch & release policy is actively encouraged on the lake at all times

A beautiful 3 pounder caught at Lynch’s Pt. on a MurroughA beautiful 3 pounder caught at Lynch’s Pt. on a Murrough 

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


River Inny at Finea, July 2015‘River to lake’ – the River Inny at Finea, July 2015

The heaviest fish for the week was a beautiful trout of almost 5lbs caught by Paddy Lyons, Cavan on one of his own tyings of a Green Peter.

Total number of trout recorded: 72

image039Selection of Catches            

William Craig – 2 trout at 1 ½ and 2 ½ lbs on Monday July 27th.

John Oughter, Dublin – 1 trout at 3lbs on a dry sedge, July 27th

Pat Delaney & John McGovern, Cavan – 12 fish averaging 2 ½ – 3 ½ lbs, all caught on sedges.

Paul O’Mara, Castleknock, Dublin – 3 trout, heaviest weighed in at 3 ½, all caught on sedges.

Paddy Lyons, Cavan – 19 trout for 21 days evening fishing – trout averaged 2 ½ – 3 ½ lbs, heaviest at almost 5lbs on July 29th. All fish were caught using sedges.

Des Elliott, Dublin – 8 trout for the week, weights averaged from 1 ¾ up to 3 lbs, caught using Mayflies, Silver Invicta and Bibios. Fishing around Chambers Bay, Holywell and Orangefield.

Patsy Smith, Cavan – 2 trout at 1 ¾ and 2 ½ lbs using red tailed Peters and Bibios.

Declan Reilly, Clane – 1 trout at 3 lbs on a Murrough on July 29th fishing in Bog Bay.

Just a little bit about our front photograph – Noah caught his first fish when he was only gone 2. Although he fishes with Dad, Richie from Guide Fishing Ireland his biggest thrill is going with his Grandad (Des Johnston) who at 79 and still fishes 3 days a week. He was Hon Sec of Kilbride Anglers for 27 years and Sheelin is one of his favourite waters. The 75 year age gap doesn’t stop the two who now fish every week or so and Noah loves it.

Mystery of SheelinThe magic and mystery of Lough Sheelin – July 2015

Brenda Montgomery IFI