Lough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI August 17th to August 23rd 2015

‘What you allow is what will continue’


image001A Sheelin trout of over 4lbs regains composure after being caught and released at Lynch’s Pt.

As we head into the last stages of August, fishing was predictably quiet on Lough Sheelin and angling numbers on the lake for this week were relatively low.

Towards the end of August, wet fly fishing improves and continues to the end of the season and generally is not to any specific hatch of fly. Terresterials of all descriptions are blown out onto the water’s surface from the shoreline, these are important along with fry and numerous sedges.

Matching the hatch” is a phrase often kicked around in the fishing world, especially among trout-fishing enthusiasts. The expression comes from the fly-fisherman’s attempts to imitate natural insects with artificial imitations in order to fool fish. Since trout can key in on certain menu items when they are available – and will often ignore all others – getting familiar with the insects that are present on the water is important at this stage in the season and could bring the angler a step closer to the goal of catching.

It is no secret that trout do the majority of their feeding subsurface; most literature agrees that it constitutes about 90% of their diet. To take advantage of this, many fly anglers use techniques to mimic aquatic insects in their larvae, pupae, or nymph stages, for example small boils just under the water’s surface could be an indication of trout taking emerging pupae or nymphs.

While learning what food options are available to trout can certainly give you a leg up, it does not guarantee them in your net and certainly not on Sheelin which can be a tricky lake even at the best of times. Even if you figure out what trout are fixated on, you still have to present your offering in a natural manner. Most anglers will admit that presentation most always trumps imitation. In some situations there is so much food to be had in this lake that your imitation is a needle in a haystack. A slight modification to your pattern, like adding flash or a hot spot – a brightly colored thread – can make all the difference in triggering a strike.

Trout fishing on Sheelin in late summer usually means low water levels and fussy fish. Steady catching of trout in these circumstances most often requires small flies on microfine leaders, a combination that many anglers find intimidating and difficult.

This late on in the season also means that the trout themselves are part of the catching problem, especially those who have been caught and released. Trout readily learn to be selective in feeding and the previous mayfly parade of anglers have educated them well. By the end of August, even a small one pound trout has memorized anglers techniques and looks at those pro- offered fly patterns through a microscope of harsh experience.

Daddy longlegs
The Daddy Long Legs
The Fiery Drop
The Silver Sedge


One of Sheelin’s main problems from a ‘catching trout’ point of view is that this lake has an abundance of food which means that trout, forever in an energy conserving mode, do not actually have to exert themselves too much to find their next meal – for now it’s a daylong buffet and for anglers a smorgasbord of opportunity.




Declan Conlon, Kildare with his 3lb Sheelin trout, Wednesday August 19th

There are a number of anglers who actually prefer and enjoy fishing Lough Sheelin in August, they see it as a challenge thing – a mix and match of flies, an uncertainty of what line to use and those more restricted opportune fishing times. It’s all often about small fly work with the better news being that the pay off could be a trout in super condition.

This was a great week to get out on the lake to get some real practise in and to study what was going on in those extensive shallows, bays and inlets.

The trout were still feeding extrensively on the fry so bright flies like the Dunkeld worked well also those flies with silver threaded through achieved a moderate degree of success – the Silver Invicta, the Silver Daddy and the Silver Dabbler.

Dapping worked well for some Dublin and Northern Ireland anglers with a number of 3lb plus fish being landed on the Grasshopper and Detached Daddy. Dapping on Sheelin seems to attract the larger fish to the surface as I have yet to come across a catch using this method that is under 3lbs.

Tyrone angler Ronnie Chism’s advice on the dapping rod is:

“This first thing you need is the right rod. Those heavy, old rods were often not balanced and with a wind blowing on your back all day, wrist and arms soon tired,” he said. “It took me a long time to develop a rod with the right action and which was light enough to use all day and I finally settled for a four piece, 14.6 ft., 8oz rod which takes a size 5/6 line. I never use floss as even in a modest breeze the fly lifts off the water and is very difficult to control. For me a 5 or 6 lb nylon attached to 10 or 12 lb nylon on the fly reel and a Kamasan B983 size 10 hook is the ideal set up and works extremely well.”

Ronnie kept his eyes firmly fixed on the dapping fly. Concentrating hard, and watching the fly at all times, is essential in this form of fishing because the take comes almost without warning. The angler has to act in different ways depending on what the trout is doing. In fishing a natural daddy the approach of a fish can be leisurely and at the take the angler drops the rod, lets it sit for a second or two and then lifts to set the hook. Striking too quickly will simply make the fish release the fly as it feels resistance, or will pull it clear of the mouth before the trout has time to turn down. Some fish will chase the fly as it skids over the surface and go for it when it stops at the end of its journey near the boat. Others will head and tail and come down on the fly, but in each case a short hesitation before lifting the rod usually pays dividends. At other times trout will arrive with a splashy rise as in wet fly fishing and an instant strike is then necessary. So keeping a close eye on things and deciding what the particular fish is doing, helps greatly.

Ronnie believes it is possible to dap with artificals such as a bumble or large sedge hog, as long as the fly is bulky enough to skip over the waves. He argues that in traditional wet fly fishing the drifting flies are cast out and retrieved in a straight line, whereas in dapping it is possible to cover the whole width of the boat by dribbling the fly backwards and forwards.

The areas of the lake that fished best were Goreport Bay to Bog Bay and behind Stoney Island, Wall Island and Rusheen Bay. There were large hatches of Silver Sedges, Grouse Wing and Black Silver Horns across the North West end of the lake and the use of the Claret Bodied Murrough and the Green Peter paid off here.


image006Gold and Silver – An August Sheelin trout in excellent condition

image007‘Resting Up’ – Lough Sheelin 2015

image008image009Finney’s Blue Pseudo Daddy and Red Tailed Silver Daddy

image010‘Their Future In Our Hands’

image011Leo Foley’s Golden Olive Dabbler variant

image012A superb evening fish caught by ghillie Gary McKiernan

image013A 2lb plus trout caught by Dave Casey, Northern Ireland


‘ Hopper Snack’   A 18 X 24” Giclee print

image015Agrynpnia varia (Sheelin’s Green Peter)

image016A 2lb 12oz trout from Sheelin

The Ulster Shield

On Wednesday last August 19th the Garda All Ireland Fishing Competition – The Ulster Shield was fished on Sheelin. The winner of this competition was Longford angler Phil Donohoe with a beautiful 4lb fish caught using a Green Peter, second was Kildare man Declan Conlon with a 3lb caught on a Claret Bumble.


image018The 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 Sedge hog, the Silver Invicta, the Silver Dabbler, 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 Cinnamon Sedge, Greenwell’s Glory, the Daddies – Detached and Silver, the Sooty Olive, the Chocolate Drop, the Dunkeld, the Welshman’s Button and the Bloodworm.                                                           

image019Up-Coming Events

image020The Guider /McIntyre Cup – Saturday September 26th, starting at Kilnahard 11.0am to 6pm, this is an open fly fishing competition and gives a good warm up before the biggest competition of the season on October 5th. For further information please contact Frank McNally on 087 2374503

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.

The Cavan/Monaghan Garda Divisional Fly Fishing Championship and Open Competition – Sunday 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

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

Kenneth o Keeffe                   Grey Duster Guiding 0868984172image021

[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

image023Please 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


The heaviest fish for the week was a 4lb caught by Phil Donohoe on August 19th

Total number of trout recorded: 36

Selection of Catches            

image024Steven Smith, Cavan – 2 trout at 2 ½ and 3 ½ lbs both caught using the Silver Daddy.

Trent Connors, England – fishing around Finea, 2 trout at 2 ½ and 3lbs on a Claret Bumble and Octopus.

Michael Reilly, Cavan – 1 trout at 1 ½ lbs dapping a Daddy around Bog Bay.

Mark Bradshaw, Northern Ireland – 2 trout at 1 ½ and 4lbs caught on a Fiery Brown Dabbler and a Green Peter.

Declan Conlon, Kildare – 1 trout at 3lbs on a Claret Bumble.


Brenda Montgomery IFI