Lough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI April 20th to April 26th 2015

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” Leonardo da Vinci
Lough Sheelin April 2015
Lough Sheelin April 2015

The cold water, bright sunshine and lack of a breeze made for another tough week’s fishing on Lough Sheelin. During the week it was a case of plenty of sun cream and t-shirts only to be replaced rapidly by the stark necessity of gloves and heavy winter gear as the evening and weekend chills hit in. This week was a real contradiction of terms, where anglers were roasted and frozen all on the same day. The definition of coagulation is ‘to separate into distinct constituent phases’ and this word suited perfectly the way in which the temperatures swung from a tropical 20 degrees to an artic minus 1.
Trout fishing on Lough Sheelin is intrinsically and irrevocably intertwined with the weather so to understand the effect the weather has on the trout brings with it a kind of comfort when fishing is difficult and tough and can wipe out (albeit temporarily) frustration because with understanding brings acceptance and a certain type of tolerance. When it’s cold and bright, trout stay down deep and fly hatches are patchy and localized and the angling will inevitably be both tricky and challenging and will slow down.
For anyone who needs reminding about our Irish weather here it is. March is stormy, windy, wet and cold, April is cold with harsh sunshine, daytime heat and night frosts, May is cold, windy and wet until about the third week when the sun suddenly appears for one and a half weeks. This is what the Irish refer to as a ‘heat wave’ and jumpers are removed. June is cold and wet, not as cold as April but it will certainly feel it since we have just had a ‘heat wave’. July is in no man’s land, a sort of no weather, August particularly the end of the month is ‘our summer’ – warm with morning mists and night chills and this continues into September stretching perhaps to the end of the season, October 12th and there you have it, a typical Irish fishing season.
The Sheelin anglers must work around this weather, the weather will not accommodate the anglers and so it was for this week, when despite the challenges, some skilled and perhaps lucky anglers started to catch fish and Sheelin for the first time this season started to really produce what it is renowned for i.e. solid beautiful superb wild trout. The reported catches are by no means high but the quality of those catches are second to none and bode for what is coming down the line as this month draws to a close and the Mayfly season approaches.

Gary McKiernan Gary McKiernan of Lough Sheelin Guiding Services with this magnificent 63 cm Sheelin classic (released)

It is important to remember that for the last few seasons the mayfly has been early, appearing last year on May 7th but just because there are a few early arrivals does not mean this is the normal, far from it. Lough Sheelin follows a pattern where there might be an odd deviance for some years but this lake is normally regimental in that the mayfly usually does not ‘take off’ until around May 23rd/24th. When the may blossom or whitethorn is in full bloom, the mayfly will be at its peak on Sheelin and for now there is no sign of this flower or its leaves. We are still in April, with dodgy unpredictable weather so all panic or worry about this lake being slow or perhaps not delivering at all should be discounted. We live in a world of speed, where everyone is in a hurry and everything should have been done yesterday but it might be worth remembering the quote from Lao Tzu which states ‘nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished’.

Thomas Lynch with his 53cm Sheelin beauty caught Sunday April 26th
Thomas Lynch with his 53cm Sheelin beauty caught Sunday April 26th (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com)

Angling numbers remained at a respectable level throughout the week with many anglers making their 2015 debut, acclimatizing and familiarizing themselves with their favourite bays, nooks and crannies around the lake. There were good hatches of olives around Finea but the trout showed little or no interest. The major olive hatches traditionally happen just before the mayfly so with this in mind we have another 4 weeks for this insect to get serious. There were buzzer hatches around Goreport, Sailors Garden and Bog bay and anglers fishing buzzer patterns had a reasonable degree of success with Dublin angler Owen Jacob landing himself a 6 ½ lb beauty ‘chunky and solid’ using a buzzer pupae last Thursday April 23rd. This fish was returned unharmed and was a testament of the excellent food source within this lake.

Owen Jacob with his superb 6 ½ lb trout caught on April 23rd using a Buzzer PupaeOwen Jacob with his superb 6 ½ lb trout caught on April 23rd using a Buzzer Pupae

The lifecycle of the buzzer is undeniably a perilous one as once it has pupated after the bloodworm stage; the unfortunate pupa then has to travel through the danger ridden water columns to the surface. Mother nature has not been kind to the Buzzer because the pupa swims with an enticing wiggle during their surface journey which the trout finds irresistible, ( basically a little fly wrapped in a skin that essentially acts as a dry suit) which can be copied by the angler with an erratic figure of eight retrieve. During their passage through the layers the Buzzer which varies enormously in size will need to stop for a rest. This is where an angler can score very well with a variety of tactics.
An interesting piece out of Fly and Lure (entitled how to fish Buzzers for trout) about how to tell the depth at which trout are feeding reads ‘ The easiest way to tell is by looking at their rise forms – the patterns they make on the water surface when they take their prey. Splashy rises that let you see the mouth of the trout indicate that they are feeding on emergers that are breaking the surface tension to hatch as adults, or adults that are laying their eggs on the water surface.
If you spot dorsal fins and tails breaking the surface, that’s generally a sign that the trout are feeding a foot or so beneath the surface. Fish don’t have brakes so when they take prey beneath the surface they’ll sometimes break the surface with their dorsal fin or tail fin as they make their way back down.
Softer, swirly rises with little splashing suggests the trout are taking buzzers further down, or perhaps taking buzzers on their way to the top. If there are no rise patterns at all, they’ll probably be taking larvae or pupae in deeper water – but you won’t be able to see any rise patterns at such depths.’

The fly barSparseness is a key trait of most buzzer patterns. Some of them barely look much more than a hook with a colourful shank. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, they closely imitate the actual insect larvae, which look pretty close to most buzzer patterns. Secondly, they’re tied sparsely on heavy hooks and coated with epoxy resins so they sink quickly – as buzzers are commonly found over deep water, as well as in the shallows. Bulkier patterns would take longer to drop to the right depth, so a layer of epoxy and a heavy hook helps to get them to the right depth faster.

Voltage Quilled BuzzerVoltage Quilled Buzzer

Greg White’s BuzzerGreg White’s Buzzer

Along with the Minkies, Humungous and various Buzzer patterns the Dabblers featured heavily this week. The Dabblers in all their many variations have always been a stable and a favourite with those who fish Lough Sheelin, safe to say from the start through to the end of the season. The Green Dabbler landed a 4lb prize for Kells angling Andrew Doyle at the weekend and the Silver, Claret and Peter Ross along with Peachy, Fiery Brown and Ice have all made their mark this season. The originator of the Dabbler was one Donald McClearn of Dromore Anglers in Co.Down. Donald’s schoolboy nickname was ‘Dabbler’ and so this seemed a natural choice by his friends when naming Donald’s creation. Donald did not actually produce a new fly – what he did was more fundamental in that his new style consisted of dressing old established patterns with a bunch of tail fibres to represent a discarding shuck and a broken wing of straggly fibres which makes a perfect imitation of a hatching sedge.

Donald’s style of dressing will be forever known in the fly-tying terminology world as ‘tied Dabbler fashion’. The Lough Sheelin anglers should perhaps pay homage occasionally to this man as many trout have fallen to the traditional Dabbler and all its variants on this lake.

Dark Ross dabblerThe Claret DabblerThe Claret Dabbler

The Claret Dabbler – variations of the Dabbler are legion but the tying process is the same for them all. With the Claret Dabbler you can vary the amount of mallard used for the wing to suit conditions, either heavy like this one or lighter for calm conditions

Fiery Brown DabblerGolden Olive Octo bumble

Andrew Doyle, Kells with his trout caught on a Green Dabbler, April 25thAndrew Doyle, Kells with his trout caught on a Green Dabbler, April 25th

Putting fishing to one side momentarily (and yes this is an angling report) the beauty of this magical lake shone throughout this week. With drops in water levels, the shoreline looked bleached, like a faded hemline of some discarded garment. The swallows are back in numbers, sweeping low to the surface water picking up any insect in their pathway, the water is clear with good visibility in the shallows and the surrounding trees are tinged with green as the new spring leaves are just starting to emerge. The shucks of chestnut tree leaves and the wig like clusters from the ash float in various bays and coves. It’s a time of newness and life and sometimes being on this lake, well it’s just not all about fishing, it’s about something else – perhaps absorbing a peace and beauty that no words can explain, of a truly magnificent and majestic limestone lake, set between three counties – Lough Sheelin.

The forecast for the week to come is not too encouraging – a mixed bag of cold, rain and bright sunshine once again but in the words of a great angler – Malcolm Patrick – ‘Don’t worry, it will happen’.

Ireland’s ‘Fairy Pool’ Lough Sheelin April 23rd 2015Ireland’s ‘Fairy Pool’ Lough Sheelin April 23rd 2015

Crover, Lough Sheelin April 23rdCrover, Lough Sheelin April 23rd

memorize that troutwww.troutcarvings.com – bring a unique way to memorize that trout, this company will mount an angler’s next Catch & Release






www.loughsheelinguiding.com – another catch at 48cm

another catch at 48cmthe tough relax…..When the going gets tough, the tough relax…..

Medium Olive NymphMedium Olive Nymph





Gary with a 48cm trout last week (releasedGary with a 48cm trout last week (released)

Mick Kelly’s four year old grandson HaydenThe apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – Mick Kelly’s four year old grandson Hayden playing his first fish

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

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

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

Kenneth o Keeffe
Grey Duster Guiding
086 8984172
[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
Child floatationIt 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

Trout release

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.
Underwater troutThe heaviest fish for the week was Owen Jacob’s 6 ½ lb trout caught on Thursday April 23rd using a Buzzer Pupae.

Total number of trout recorded: 36

Selection of Catches
Jack Egan, Cavan – 1 trout at 2 ½ lbs on an Olive Pattern, April 25th.

Andrew Doyle, Kells – 1 trout at 4lb on a Green Dabbler, April 25th.

Owen Jacob, Dublin – 1 trout at 6 ½ lbs using a Buzzer Pupae on Thursday April 23rd.

Kenneth O’Keefe, Cavan – 1 trout at 2lbs using an Olive Pattern

Mark Troy, Dublin – 2 trout at 2 ½ and 3 lbs using Dabbler patterns.

Pat Byrne, Wexford – 3 trout at 2, 3 ½ and 4 lbs caught using Green, Pearly and Silver Dabblers on April 23rd fishing along the western shore.

Paul Delahunt, Cork – 2 trout at 3 ½ and 4 lbs caught using a Minkie and a Silver Dabbler.

Michael Delahunt, Cork – 1 trout at 2 ¾ lbs using Olive Patterns on Sunday April 26th.

Karlis Polis, Dublin – 4 trout averaging in weight 2 to 5 ½ lbs on April 23rd fishing with lures around Sailors Garden and Crover.
Leonidis Krievukalej, Navan – 8 trout for the week averaging 3lbs on lures fishing around Sailors Garden and Bog Bay

Lough Sheelin, April 2015Lough Sheelin, April 2015

Brenda Montgomery IFI