Lough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI – March 30th to April 6th 2015

Angling is tightly woven in a fabric of moral, social, and philosophical threads
which are not easily rent by the violent climate of our times.
A.J. McClane

Lough Sheelin, March 30th 2015
Lough Sheelin, March 30th 2015

April is a promise that May is bound to keep.
– – – Hal Borland

The Lough Sheelin anglers were at the mercy of the weather this week. To achieve some decent trout fishing it was a real struggle against the elements, a battle of wits in an attempt to outmaneuver the constant bombardment of a depressing mixture of hail, heavy rain, gusty North Westerly winds and a continuous permeating cold. Temperatures rose to double figures for the weekend but this was coupled with unfavourable mirror calm surface waters, with the recent heavy rainfall and high winds taking its toll by producing cold murky water with little clarity and a scarcity of rising fish.
There were good hatches of duck fly but with the frequency of wet days these stayed inland, in the bushes on the shoreline and only when temperatures rose and winds eased did a smattering venture out on to the lake, most evident in sheltered bays and at the back of islands.
Rain has a habit of killing the fishing on this lake (and probably on every other lake) for instance on Monday last fishing was good in the morning but then the rain arrived in the early afternoon and where there had been a number of hits and takes suddenly it was if someone had turned the light out and all went dead. The water temperature is still cold and the freshwater over the past few days did not improve things in that area.

Brian McAvinneyBrian McAvinney, Scotshouse with his 4 pounder caught at Orangefield using a Peter Ross Dabbler, March 29th.

Despite the difficult and challenging weather conditions Lough Sheelin attracts fairly resilient anglers and regardless of the minefield of inclement weather, the numbers of trout caught this week exceeded all previous weeks since the beginning of the season.
We have just moved into the month of April and yet already the numbers of anglers fishing this lake are increasing as each week passes. The Easter weekend saw anglers from all corners of Ireland appearing including groups from Germany and France and one from as far flung as Newfoundland fishing the lake.

Minkie 1Minkie 2

The Minkie’s still take top place on Lough Sheelin

Mick McShane christening his first outingFirst day, first fish – Mick McShane christening his first outing of the season on Lough Sheelin with this lovely trout April 2nd

Craig Sheridan ready for off
Craig Sheridan ready for off – April 3rd 2015

With the dregs of March and very early April the flies that worked well on this lake for this week were still the Humungus, Minkie’s and Dabblers in various colour combinations. There are other flies moving in but none have knocked these three off the top position. As the season progresses (with hopefully milder weather) particularly the Humungus and Minkie will be relegated back to their early and back end of the season place. As more and more fly hatches occur (the Duck fly, Olives and Buzzers) , patterns like the Pheasant Tail Nymph, the Sooty Olive, Diawl Bach, the F Fly, the Clan Chief, the Connemara Black, the Black Pennell, the Cormorant, the Bibio, Buzzer Patterns, Gorgeous George, the Hare’s Ear, Bumbles and all the variants of the dynamic Dabbler (Claret, Peter Ross, Silver, Fiery Brown etc) will move into position on the Sheelin anglers 2 and 3 fly casts.
Fish for now are predominantly lying and feeding deep, anglers must get down low so a di3 and di5 are still the best chose. Because of the murky wind swept water over the past few days, a fly with a strip of silver or gold like the Flashback Diawl to attract the trout with a good bushy wet fly as a top dropper to create a disturbance can be a great combination.

Michael Murphy’s Grey Ghost Bumble

Michael Murphy’s Grey Ghost Bumble

A 5lb 55cm TroutA 5lb 55cm Trout from Gary McKiernan (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com)
CormorantMichael Murphy’s BibioMichael Murphy’s Bibio

Lough Sheelin’s stonefly making its appearance this week on the lakeLough Sheelin’s stonefly making its appearance this week on the lake

The Buzzer hatches are just beginning on Sheelin, with small numbers appearing around Goreport and Bog bay and in sheltered areas. The trout as yet are showing little interest but its early days and the warmth of the spring will soon bring on this very important fly which makes up a substantial part of the trout’s diet. There are a number of phases in the lifecycle of the buzzer, many of which are important for the Sheelin angler in order for him to create fly patterns to mimic these stages. The buzzer (or Chironomid) eggs laid directly on reeds or weeds, eventually hatch into larva of which there are different types but the one which probably is of most interest to the angler is the free swimming type known as the bloodworm. The Buzzer larva change over time and mutate into the pupa. This stage is vital to the fly fisherman as trout feed heavily on buzzer pupa throughout the fishing season. The buzzer pupa comes in a variety of colours with black, brown and green being the most common. The pupa swims from the bottom of the lake up to the surface to hatch, and may make several journeys before finally choosing to hatch. During this time they are often stationary, suspended in mid water and easy prey for cruising trout. In order to make their ascent to the surface, the pupa fill air sacks within their skin for buoyancy. These air sacks can give the pupa a silvery appearance so when making pupa patterns using a white flex floss stretched over the typing thread (in the appropriate colour) and then coated in clear varnish can be a good way to mimic these (the Epoxy Buzzer).
Epoxy Buzzer EmergerNeon Epoxy BuzzerEpoxy Buzzer Emerger                                                                           Neon Epoxy Buzzer

When hatching the pupa sits suspended in the water’s surface – the emerger. A trout breaking the surface in a classic head and tail rise is likely to be attempting to take this fly at the emerging stage of the lifecycle. A great fly to represent this is the Shuttlecock Buzzer.
CDC Shuttlecock BuzzerCDC Shuttlecock Buzzer – The golden rule when fishing buzzers is to fish them slowly








THE SHEELIN CLASSIC – time to make hay…………Lough Sheelin Classic





The Sheelin Classic now it its 10th year was hosted on the lake on Easter Monday April 6th. There is a standing joke associated with this very popular fly fishing competition and that is regardless of whatever date or month picked for this event the weather is always hot, bright and mirror calm out on the lake. The Classic’s organizer Noel McLoughlin has changed the date and month of this competition on numerous occasions but still the good weather doggedly follows him. Regardless of the summer weather and less than ideal fishing conditions the Sheelin Classic was contested by over 120 anglers with some impressive winning catches having no problem clearing the 16” limit. The winner of this event was Ballyjamesduff man Pat Bannon with a 3.55lb trout.

Pat Bannon, Ballyjamesduff, Co.Cavan
Pat Bannon, Ballyjamesduff, Co.Cavan with his Classic trout of 3.55 lbs

2nd Richard McDermot – 3.47lbs
3rd Colm Lynch, Navan – 3.33lbs
4th Gordon Law, Northern Ireland – 2.68lbs
5th Paul McArdle – 2.34lbs
6th Gerry O’Brien – 1.78lbs

All proceeds from this competition will be donated to the Pat McLoughlin Cancer Development Fund. Anyone wishing to make a donation to this very worthy cause should contact Noel McLoughlin at 087 2179460.

Jack EganJack Egan, letting it back

CDC Sooty BumbleA 53cm beauty from Lough Sheelin

A 53cm beauty from Lough Sheelin Guiding (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com)

Not a great day for buzzer fishing
Not a great day for buzzer fishing – Sheelin March 31st

Claret Clan ChiefThe Claret Clan Chief – this increasingly popular fly (of Scottish descent) is best fished
On a top dropper using a sinking line

Sheelin’s Water BoatmanSheelin’s Water Boatman – an insect which trout feed on all the year round but mostly starting from the end of March onwards

Wesley Harper, Belfast (RIP) – fly tyer, angler and Sheelin fanatic at Kilnahard 1978.A Blast From The Past- Wesley Harper, Belfast (RIP) – fly tyer, angler and Sheelin fanatic at Kilnahard 1978. Wesley fell in love with Lough Sheelin in the 1960’s and eventually moved from his native city to live at Kilnahard.

Fly Fishing posterSunburst DabblerLawrence Finney’s Sunburst Dabbler

Paul Slaney’s ‘Lady Of The Lake’ with a twistPaul Slaney’s ‘Lady Of The Lake’ with a twist – a variation of The Alexandra
Gold Ribbed Hare’s EarJimmy Tyrell’s Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear

Brian McAvinney’s caught on a Peter Ross DabblerA lovely Sheelin trout by Brian McAvinney’s caught on a Peter Ross Dabbler

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

Lough Sheelin March 31st 2015
Lough Sheelin March 31st 2015

Craig Sheridan, Brady – April 3rdCraig Sheridan, Brady – April 3rd – ‘first sheelin trout – hit like a train’

For anyone interested in joining Lough Sheelin’s Angling Club – The Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association please contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033.

Dunkeld MuddlerCullen Special

A top fly from tier Ryan Houston. The old adage “Bright Day, Bright Fly” could have been made up for this pattern. This is the first fly on a cast when there isn’t a cloud in the sky and is also really useful in coloured water.
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

It won’t work if you aren’t wearing it…

Jonathan Peppard, Dublin all set to go fishingWater 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 (pictured)







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]

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

Reel in Release Recycle

The release of a 3lb Sheelin troutThe release of a 3lb Sheelin trout – ‘A gift to another angler on another day

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 lb trout caught by Northern Ireland angler Michael Travers using a Silver & Black Humungus.
Total number of trout recorded: 42

Selection of Catches

Brian McAvinney, Scotshouse – 3 trout at 4, 3 and 2lbs caught at Orangefield using a Peter Ross Dabbler and Humungus.

Andres Sergi, Dublin – 1 trout at 3lbs Saturday April 4th.

George Goodwin, Trim – 1 trout at 2 ½ lbs using a Humungus.

Aimars Spagis, Dublin – 2 trout at 2 ½ and 3lbs.

Manta Smaticeks, Dublin – 1 trout at 4 ½ lbs on Saturday April 4th.

Mick McShane, Dundalk – 1 at 2 ½ lb plus pulling wets.

Barry Fox, Ratoath – 2 trout at 2 ½ and 3 lbs caught using Dabblers.
Steven Marcus, Cork – 2 trout at 3 and 4 ½ lbs caught Friday April 3rd along the Western Shore using a Sooty Olive and a Silver Dabbler.
Colm Lynch, Navan – 1 trout at over 3lbs using a Cormorant pattern.

Fergal Smith, Coothill – 1 trout at 2 ½ lbs using a Shuttlecock Buzzer.

Sunrise over Lough Sheelin at Ross,   Easter Sunday April 5th 2015Sunrise over Lough Sheelin at Ross, Easter Sunday April 5th 2015

Brenda Montgomery IFI