Lough Sheelin Angling Report By Brenda Montgomery, IFI October 3rd – October 12th 2016

‘Everything has seasons, and we have to be able to recognize when something’s time has passed and be able to move into the next season. Everything that is alive requires rest’
Henry Cloud


‘At the close of the day’ Kilnahard pier, Lough Sheelin October 2016

This week was the week which saw Lough Sheelin’s 2016 fishing season gradually fade away, coming to its final closure at midnight on October 12th.

This lake is now closed to all fishing until March 1st 2017.

The Catches…

The heaviest fish for this week was a trout of 6lbs by Bray angler Craig Sheridan
Total number of trout recorded : 37

Selection of the catches…

Dara Murtagh, Cavan – 1 trout at 4lbs on a Wet Daddy

Paul MacMenannin, Northern Ireland – 3 trout, heaviest at 58cm using a Stimulator on a floating line.

Gary McKiernan (www.loughsheelinguiding.com) – 2 trout (on the one cast) on Wednesday October 5th, both averaging 3lbs.

Tom Coyle, Cavan – 1 trout at 3lbs 1oz.

Pat Brady, Cavan – 3 trout using Stimulators and Bumbles, heaviest at 3lbs

Michael Gillespie, Dublin – 6 fish for the week, heaviest at 3lbs using Olive patterns and Stimulators.

There was good angling activity on all days as anglers seemed intent on soaking up and squeezing out those last days, hours and minutes of this season. Despite those permitted twelve days, October fishing on Sheelin just feels wrong – temperatures have dropped, shoreline colours are turning to a burnished brown and gold, mornings are thick with mist and cobwebs and darkness increasingly eats away into our evenings. As the days dwindled towards the 12th, being out on this stretch of water it was hard to suppress that ‘out of place feeling’ the feeling that you shouldn’t be there, something akin to going into a school in the summer holidays.


Christopher Defillon with his superb Sheelin trout

Fishing has been consistently tough going over the past number of days, with wind or the lack of it resulting in challenging conditions that continually tested the metal of most of the Lough Sheelin’s fly anglers.
Time and time again it has been said that Sheelin protects and looks after its fish so regardless of large competitions and heavy boat traffic, nature puts manners on us all by seemingly producing difficult weather whenever a big angling event is organized and thereby ensuring that its trout stocks are safe from those marauding last minute hopefuls. This was never more true both for the LSTPA stream rehabilitation competition on October 2nd (256 anglers with 28 fish) and more recently the Cavan/Monaghan Garda Divisional Fly Fishing Championships held last Sunday October 9th (110 anglers with 5 fish). On both days conditions were far from favourable with Mother Nature treating the anglers to mirror calm conditions and bright sunshine. Just to add to the frustration on both these days the trout in Lough Sheelin flaunted themselves shamelessly to the participants with their acrobatic displays around, in front and behind boats, driving anglers mad with these show off aerial gymnastics coupled with their blatant lack of interest in the angler’s pro-offered flies.


Bob Holland, England with his magnificent 68cm Sheelin trout

Despite the weather difficulties this proved to be an exciting week for some and there were good catches of trout recorded. Craig Sheridan from Bray along with fishing partner Mick Corlett deliberated momentarily as whether to go out on the lake on October 5th, understandably enough as stormy south westerly’s swept over the water and there was a discouraging wintery chill in the air, deciding to venture out ‘for an hour or two’ Craig was soon into a 6 pounder which fought like a demon eventually succumbing and giving him a day to remember on Sheelin. That’s the thing about Sheelin, there’s a different rule for every day and you can’t help feeling that when you go out to fish you’re given what this lake wants to give you reminding me of a quote from Napoleon Hill which goes ‘A lake cannot be tricked or cheated. She will give up to you the object of your struggles only after you have paid her price’.

Wednesday October 5th seemed to be the pick of the days in this run down to the end of season on this lake as angling guide Gary McKiernan landed himself not just one but two 3lb trout on the one cast much to the amazement of his Northern Ireland companion who although blanking himself, reported that it was one of the best days that he’d ever had on Sheelin.

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

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…
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


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.

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


The Hatches and the Flies…

Interestingly enough the sedges seemed to have a comeback for this last week, albeit in small numbers with trout still interested enough to account for sedge patterns as being responsible for some of the catches. There are so many species of sedges it’s a difficult task to identify them but a large cinnamon sedge appeared in respectable numbers in sheltered areas of the lake and a nice 3 pounder was caught on its dry imitation.
On calm days, there were sporadic hatches of small olives behind Church Island and along Stony in particular, the trout however did not seem too interested in these although Oliver McCormack managed to land two 4 pounders at Sunday’s competition on small dry olive patterns.

Despite the pick up of insect hatches, the Sheelin trout at this time of the year are quite simply just not interested, their minds being focused on that all consuming spawning run. October is a month for pure luck and as far as fly patterns are concerned really anything goes, you choose the pattern you feel most comfortable and confident with and stick with that. At this very back end of the season, trout will collect and move around certain areas irrespective of wind direction or condition but the action of waves do tend to excite the trout so ideal conditions for this week were slightly blustery conditions. Because the spawning season is fast approaching the trout are more or less in position at various locations close to the feeder rivers and when the curtain drops on this season these fish will be left in peace to travel up to their spawning locations and so the cycle returns full circle.
The flies that worked best for these last few days were mainly the wets – both movement and colour seem to be important at this stage of the fishing season. The old tried and tested patterns are the best and the fly pattern that is still doing consistently well on this lake are the Dabblers – Claret, Olive, Silver, Sooty, Pearly, Ginger and Peter Ross. Patterns that worked best were those with longer hackles or wings to produce extra movement and a more streamlined shape.


‘Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness’

 Lough Sheelin swathed in an early morning mist

Minkies and Humungus in black with a twist of silver and Streamers on sinking lines as well as the Orange Booby for the Daphnia addicts.

Other popular flies were the Golden Olive Bumbles, the Klinkhammers, the Muddler Minnows, the Silver Invicta, the Daddies – Detached and in Silver, Gorgeous George, the Humpies, the Stimulators (particularly with a twist of silver in them), the Diawl Bachs, the Bibios, the Hoppers, the Alexandra, the Dunkeld, the Raymond, the Muddlers and Wickhams Fancy.

image026The areas of the lake that featured well were around Church Island, Rusheen, Bog Bay, Inchacup, down along Holywell, Wilsons pt, Chambers, the Long Rock and Derrahorn.

On Sunday last October 9th the Cavan/Monaghan Garda Divisional Fly Fishing Championship & Open competition was held on Lough Sheelin. Calm conditions prevailed which lead to a mixture of both dry and wet fly fishing tactics. 110 anglers competed in this event with the winner being Irvine Marshall, Enniskellan with his beautiful fish of almost 5lbs caught on his own version of a Red Tailed Peter. Chomping at his heels was Ashbourne angler Oliver McCormack with two lovely trout both weighing in at 4lbs and both caught on Olive patterns.

Enjoying a last evening angling sunset on Lough Sheelin

A look around beautiful Sheelin…



‘The summer sun is fading as the year grows old, And darker days are drawing near, The winter winds will be much colder, Now you’re not here’ – Forever Autumn

I would like to dedicate this last Sheelin angling report to the memory of Donal Hegarty – Sheelin guide and personal friend who died tragically last Friday, October 7th.

Donal was responsible for teaching me how to cast and fish for trout.  He adored  Lough Ennell and right up to our last conversation on that fateful day, was still trying to convert me to ‘his’ lake.  There is a folder at the Sheelin IFI office that contains our combined plans and proposals for Lough Ennell and my promise to Donal, wherever he may be, is to fulfill at least some of those dreams. Requies mea in pace

Brenda Montgomery IFI