Lough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI -June 13th – June 19th 2016

“All the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish.”
Harold F. Blaisdell, The Philosophical Fisherman, 1969

image001‘In the net’ Lough Sheelin, June 2016

Temperatures dropped and the days this week were interspersed with deluges of rain and overcast grey skies. We are now in transition mode on Lough Sheelin and this can be an exhausting time where this lake is now shaking off the dregs of the carnival of the mayfly season and beginning to move into another phase – the sedges.

There are still hatches of greens on the lake and patchy falls of spent with fish surfacing to feed on them.

Angling numbers dwindled considerably as the day trippers, ‘chuck and duck’ anglers and easy fishing enthusiasts disappeared for another year leaving the more serious anglers, the advocates of Sheelin who have a deep understanding of this moody stretch of water with many of these reporting ‘class fishing’ with surface boils and plenty of fly life.

This is the time where the necessity of studying exactly what the fish are feeding on becomes an essential.

After the mayfly anglers must brace themselves for a radical re-think of fishing tactics.  Identifying and matching the hatch gets harder and the trout will be more prone to focus on particular flies or on a stage of their emergence.  Anglers have to think harder about lighter tippets, concealment and keeping the sun (when it does make an appearance) to their face.  Shadows and line flash give away movement.

We are now in that section of the fishing season when anglers have to be prepared to change their fly often because if a surfacing trout repeatedly ignores a pro-offered fly then it’s time to change the size or the fly.


Gerry Feeny with his magnificent Sheelin trout caught using a Golden Olive Bumble on Friday June 17th

The Catches….

The heaviest fish for this week was an 8lb trout caught by Dublin angler Mark Gilroy using a Murrough fishing at Stony Island

Total number of trout recorded: 43


Selection of Catches

Declan Smith, Dundalk – 1 trout at 2lbs on a Spent Gnat pattern fishing off Kilnahard.

Robert Wickam, Scotland – 1 trout at 60cm caught on a small dry May fly pattern.

Gene Brady, Cavan – 1 trout at 4lbs on a Murrough on Saturday June 18th.

Dessie McEntee, Cavan – 1 trout at 2 ½ lbs on a Spent Gnat pattern.

Michael Reilly, Dublin – 1 trout at 4lbs on a Klinkhammer at Chambers.

Pat Brady, Cavan – 2 trout on a Mallard & Claret and a Wickham’s Fancy, heaviest at 3 lbs.

George Stonehouse, Ross – 1 trout at 4lbs on a Spent Gnat pattern.

Thomas Regan, Dublin – 2 trout using a small sedge pattern, heaviest at 2 ½ lbs caught around Bog Bay


Putting the 9’6 Marryat rod through its paces – Stevie Munn’s beautiful fish caught on the Hector Spent May dressed on an nymph partridge


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

Oisin & Caoimhe Sheridan, all set for some fishing

It 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

Lough Sheelin guiding service

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

image023Ken Reilly getting his trout ready for 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.


The McDonnell cup will be held on Saturday August 6th on Lough Sheelin, fishing from 11am till 6pm from Kilnahard pier.. This competition has been fished catch & release for the last four 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 Hatches and the Flies…

This week there were good numbers of egg laying sedges on the water particularly around the inlets drifting down along the Holywell/Crover shore and what is very good news about this is that there were numerous species of sedge spotted which indicates a further improvement in Sheelin’s ecology.


The last of Sheelin’s mayfly clings to water on a water lily

Sedge fishing is reputed to be the cream of the fishing calendar both as nymphs and the adult fly. They are arguably one of the most important species for the fly fishermen who chase wild brown trout.  There are nine hundred varieties of the natural insect in Europe alone, world-wide almost 7000.  Sizes vary from just a few millimetres to almost seven centimetres. Back to Ireland, over 200 species have been identified but generally only 20 are of interest to the fly angler, the biggest of which is the Murrough or the great red sedge.

The lifecycle of the sedge is forever constant and they are a common food source for the hungry trout.

While resting, sedge fold their wings neatly along their backs, forming a ridge tent shape which makes it look a bit like a moth. After hatching from the egg, sedges have three stages within their lifecycle that warrant the angler’s attention – the larva stage, pupa stage and finally the winged adult. Trout will eat sedges at all stages of their development. The cased larva can be free roaming or permanently attached to rocks, trout will dig for these tasty insects and you can often see a tail break on the surface in a shallow as the trout hunt for their meal (they hunt for gammarus and shrimp in the same way). Weighted patterns are excellent when representing this stage and are normally found in bigger sizes of 10’s and 8’s and have a body of clipped deer hair. The caseless larvas are perhaps fished more often and can be easily represented with a nymph type pattern. These patterns also tend to be weighted as the trout would find the natural closer to the bed of the lake.


Sheelin’s night time anglers packing up in the moonlight

The next stage is the pupa stage where evolution has allowed this insect 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. It is worth remembering that the pupa ascends and descends several times before breaking the surface film so a weighed pupa might be a good plan also in order to break out of the 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 tiny bit of glitter or tinsel in its design could help a lot to land that fish.

When the fish are feeding in the surface it will only take the fly that is truly emerging and is part in and out of the film so having a fly with either deer hair or CDC in the dressing to allow the fly to be suspended in the water is a good idea. When the sedge has finally emerged a fly with a fair amount of hackle palmered in the body with a trigger of roofed wing to skitter across the surface usually strikes gold in this phase.

A great many flies that are sold are out there to catch fishermen and not fish so it makes sense for any angler ( in order to make the right purchase) to know a little of what’s happening out there – both under and on top of the water. The majority of the trout caught this week were caught using small dry sedges and spent gnat patterns.

image020It is important to keep things as simple as possible when fishing any lake, not just Sheelin and my advice is to stick to the tried and tested patterns – the old timers like the Wulffs, the Golden Olive Bumble, the Bibio, the Chocolate Drop and the Sooty Olives. The newcomers can be flashy and exotic but keeping to a few traditional patterns often works out better both financially and with the number of trout landed.


Resting up on the shores of Lough Sheelin

The Sedges are starting to make an appearance with a tentative degree of success as it’s still early days for them on this lake
The flies most used this week by anglers were the Murrough, a Small Brown Sedge (12-14 or smaller), the Raymond, the Bibio, Watsons Fancy, the Fiery Brown Sedge, the Chocolate Drop, the Grey Flag, hoppers the Hare’s Ear Sedge, the Sooty Olive, the Wulff (grey and in green) the red-tailed Green Peter, the Welshman’s Button, a variety of Bumbles, the F fly and the Sweeney Todd. The Klinkhammer is a deadly fly with the Raymond, Dunkeld, Silver Invicta, Silver Invicta (with a red body), the Cock Robin Dabbler and the Kelly Fox Squirrel Spent all going that extra mile and bring the trout up.

Brenda Montgomery IFI