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

In a dark time, the eye begins to see
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon…

Theodore Roethke’s In a Dark time
Lough Sheelin July 2015Lough Sheelin July 2015

Lough Sheelin’s fishing this week was all on the edge of darkness, that transition zone between day and night. It was the twilight that yielded the heaviest and highest numbers of trout and also the most prolific surface hatches of Sheelin’s two main evening and night time sedges – the Murrough and the Green Peter.

Lough Sheelin at Murrough time, July 20th 2015Lough Sheelin at Murrough time, July 20th 2015

There wasn’t much happening in trout feeding terms until the late afternoon and when the evening hit in. Anglers until then were basically just fishing on the blind with only sporadic surface feeding of single rises. The flies that fished best before the multitude of sedge hatches set in were the Silver Invicta, the Claret & Mallard and Greenwell’s Glory and it was a real hit and miss affair although some good catches of trout were recorded particularly around Chambers Bay and Kilnahard.

A 3 pounder caught on a Murrough at Lynch’s pointA 3 pounder caught on a Murrough at Lynch’s point

Sheelin for this week was undeniably submerged in the sedge fishing, starting from 4pm onwards with large hatches of small sedges in the middle of the lake and along sheltered shorelines and as the evening moved into night and the early hours of the morning, the Green Peters and Murroughs took over.
The trout during the daytime sipped languidly on small sedges with no real frenzy and in no real hurry to fill themselves up.

Terry Moran with his first catch of the day on Lough Sheelin, July 22nd

Terry Moran with his first catch of the day on Lough Sheelin, July 22nd

It is all about the sedge or caddis (the order of Trichoptera) on Lough Sheelin.
After hatching from the egg, the sedges have three stages within their lifecycle that warrant our attentions – the larva, pupa and finally the winged adults. Throughout the winter and spring, sedge larvae (cased caddis) develop purpose-built shelters. These protective cases are formed from pebbles, small sticks, reed stems and other vegetation. Caseless caddis too can be found lurking beneath rock or in crevices. Only too aware of these protein-packed ready made meals, trout often predate heavily on them during early season. As the season progresses, caddis larvae mature to eventually pupate within their case. In contrast, armed with hair-fringed paddles, sedge pupae are far more animated, making for the surface with an impressive turn of speed. Many species emerge in open water and it is this journey through the water that exposes them to the hungry trout and it is when the real cream of Sheelin’s trout season begins – the sedge fishing.
Evolution has allowed the sedge to develop into the fully formed adult when in a state of pupation and so the adult rises to the surface contained within the pupa ready to break away from the pupal shuck as it hits the surface film. It’s important and helpful for the angler to remember that a few things happen as this sedge pupa rises to the surface – firstly the pupa ascends and descends several times before breaking through the surface film so with that in mind an angler may well take a fish as they rise up to the higher layers of water by using a weighted pupa. The next point to remember is that in order to break out of that pupal shuck, the insect pushes the shuck away by inflating it with gas. This will cause the shuck to shine so a fly with a little bit of glitter (like the Claret Bling) or tinsel in its design may well help. Lastly when the trout are feeding on the surface, they will often only take the fly that is truly emerging and is part in and out of the film so anglers need patterns to cover this. Deer Hair (Deer Hair Sedge), CDC or Snowshoe fur maybe needed in the dressing to allow the fly to be suspended in the water where the fish are expecting it.

Lough Sheelin’s sedge

Lough Sheelin’s sedge

The Lough Sheelin’s Murrough I am told is bigger than any other murrough in any of the other trout lakes in Ireland, I can’t dispute or agree with this but what I can confirm is that it is big, an almost moth like sedge and that for this week, particularly in the early part of the week, this mighty sedge hatched in large numbers on the cusp of darkness particularly around Lynch’s point, Derrahorn and Bog Bay and that the trout rose in spectacular numbers with splashy takes to consume this big fly. The Murrough was responsible for the bulk of the catches for this week with the heaviest weight coming in at 7 lb by Welsh angler Gareth Llywelyn.

There were some good hatches of Green Peter with the more serious hatches occurring after dark, from 10pm onwards. The Peter made its appearance on the lake some two weeks ago and reportedly it is always the first week or ten days of the hatch that provide the best fishing. The trout feed more avidly early on in the cycle but after about two weeks fishing begins to slow down and for this week particularly towards the end of the week there was a definite tapering in the takes for this sedge.

The Unreal and the Real – Lough Sheelin’s Green Peter

The Unreal and the Real – Lough Sheelin’s Green Peter

The Bloodworm is still fishing well and there were a number of 2lb plus fish taken around Bog Bay, Goreport and Sailors Garden. The bloodworm which is the larval stage of the buzzer, as a rule stays in the silt at the bottom of the lake and it is the pupae stage that rises through the water column to the surface to emerge as a buzzer adult which begs the question as to why the Sheelin trout are feeding on the bloodworm near the surface and why they are there in the first place when they should be down in the mud and silt where they belong. Long term anglers of this lake when posed with this question will say that nobody has ever cracked the bloodworm theory on Sheelin but another angler sort of satisfied my quest for an answer by telling me that this phenomeum is unique to Sheelin and is due to a build up of gas in the silt which explodes now and then propelling the bloodworms close to the surface and into the path of the bloodworm loving trout. It’s as good an explanation as any.

The Sheelin Bloodworm patternThe Sheelin Bloodworm pattern

From Guide Fishing Ireland a 2.75lb Sheelin ClassicFrom Guide Fishing Ireland a 2.75lb Sheelin Classic

There were a few good hatches of caenis but these hatches normally occurred at dusk and mainly around the Finea end of the lake.

This is supposedly the time of the pin heads, a frustrating time for anglers when thousands and thousands of tiny roach and perch fry zoom around in large sub surface shoals driving the trout into a mad frenzy of fry bashing and feeding. For 2015 there hasn’t been much fry bashing and so far the trout seemed more interested in the sedges. There would be an ongoing sub surface feeding of fry which is invisible to the angler only becoming obvious when the fry move into the shallows or close to the upper water columns but there isn’t huge evidence of this happening yet. A fly with a bit of silver like the Silver Invicta, the Silver Dabbler or a Silver Humungus would be a good choice if targeting the fry feeding trout. Another good choice would be a bright fly like the Dunkeld.

This lake indisputably contains a huge amount of food which means that the trout can pick and choose what’s on their daily menu which in turn makes choosing the right fly a little more challenging for the angler but on the other side of the coin, it also means the trout that do fall to an artificial will be plump, well fed and good conditioned fish with the forever possibility of a weight tipping the scales at 4lbs and beyond.



The Sheelin Sedge

(KsG Flies)

Lough Sheelin has an abundance of insect life, visible on its surface and invisible sub surface – Sedges, Green Peters, Murroughs, Hoppers, Daddies, Buzzers, Midges and Terrestrials. To get that fly right the angler must study the insect around him as well as keeping an eye on wind directions and weather conditions.

4lb trout caught on a Murrough in Bog Bay
Sidnei from Brazil‘In the net’ –
Sidnei from Brazil (Guide Fishing Ireland) on Sheelin

On Saturday last, July 25th the Lough Sheelin’s angling club – the L.S.T.P.A held their annual youth angling day at the I.F.I’s Sheelin base at Mullaghboy in conjunction with APGAI Ireland and RAI. This popular event was attended by a number of enthusiast anglers ranging in age from 3 to 14 years. The day included fly tying, fly casting, a Bar B Q and a fishing trip on the lake. Well done to all those who took part in this successful and very enjoyable day out.

A group of children A group of children who took part in the annual Lough Sheelin youth angling day
3 year old Oisin Sheridan‘Fishing can be a serious business’
3 year old Oisin Sheridan, Cavan after his fishing trip on Lough Sheelin

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.
Two other great flies for this week were two old timers – The Silver Invicta and the Mallard & Claret.
The Invicta – Victor or pride of Devon are other names for this classic. This is a very reliable fly for imitating sedges and sedge pupa. When these flies scoot along the surface, it very often pays to put the Invicta on. The best position is as the top dropper. This is a fly that should not be overdressed, materials should be kept to a minimum with a hook size of 8 to 12 with a size 6 sometimes good when the water is that bit stormy.
The Mallard and Claret is very old, going back as far as the 1850s; supposedly Aberdeen was the place of origin. But it is possible that an Irish version existed already at that time.
The Mallard and Claret has accounted for a lot of fish on Sheelin.. Fish it at the end of a cast, or when you use a three fly set up, put it in the middle. Any sturdy wet fly hook in sizes 8 to 14 will do.

Lough Sheelin’s futureLough Sheelin’s future
Mark Dunne with his Sheelin troutMark Dunne with his Sheelin trout
A 3.5lbA 3 ½ pounder caught on a Murrough at Lynch’s point, July 18th
Darren Harton Darren Harton July 23rd on a Green Peter
PerfectionPerfection – is a Lough Sheelin trout, 2015
Sheelin Classic before release 
A Sheelin classic shortly before release (Guide Fishing Ireland)

Up-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

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

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

Kenneth o Keeffeimage030
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

image031It 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


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

ReleasePlease 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 beautiful trout of 7 lbs caught by Gareth Llywelyn
Aberystwyth Wales on a Murrough between Lynch’s pt and Bog Bay on July 20th.
Total number of trout recorded: 67

A Selection of the catches


Gene Brady, Ballinagh – 1 trout at 4lbs on Sunday July 26th on a Murrough

Des Elliott, Dublin – 5 trout for the week averaging 2 ¼ to 2 ¾ lbs on the Mallard & Claret and Silver Invicta.

Darren Harton, Cavan – 1 trout at over 2lbs on a Green Peter.

Owen Smith, Dublin – 1 trout at 2 ½ lbs on a Murrough.

David Casey, Belfast – 3 trout at 2 ½, 3 ½ and 4lbs all on the Murrough.

Pat Smith, Cavan – 3 trout heaviest 3 ½ , all on the Murrough.


Mark Wilson’s Crover, Lough Sheelin

Brenda Montgomery IFI