‘Fishing….it makes us participants in nature instead of spectators.  A crucial distinction because participants tend to become passionate and protective and spectators tend to become indifferent’

Jerry Dennis, The River Home

Lough Sheelin - moody
Lough Sheelin – moody

Weather conditions for this week were for this month, March, predictably unsettled with highs of 14 degrees and lows of 4.  The water temperature remained at a chilly 3 degrees and the lake levels have risen a good 2-3ft due to the recent weeks of rain.  January and February were uncharacteristically dry months and then with the influx of rain in March, the fresh and cold water seems to have driven our Sheelin trout down deep.  Tuesday and Wednesday were the warmest and therefore correspondingly the two best fishing days of the week.

Christopher Defillon with his Sheelin trout, March 13th.
Christopher Defillon with his Sheelin trout, March 13th.

On St Patrick’s day weather produced what could be termed as ‘hostile’ fishing conditions where blustery and cold south westerly winds scudded across grey uninviting waters accompanied by deluges of rain to complete a fairly bleak fishing picture.

Specially for St. Patrick’s Day a Lough Sheelin Jealous George
Specially for St. Patrick’s Day a Lough Sheelin Jealous George

A few anglers ventured out for a short while in the morning, some attempting to be patriotic by bringing with them some green flies especially tied for the day that was in it, my favourite being the vividly green Jealous George.  Despite the only to be admired enthusiasm there were no success on that particular day.

St Patrick’s Day - Sailors Garden, Lough Sheelin
St Patrick’s Day – Sailors Garden, Lough Sheelin

The Hatches

Duck fly pupa
Duck fly pupa

During the warmer days of the week gone by there were small chironomid hatches in the sheltered bays and inlets of the lake and a mere dusting of duck fly but once there is fly activity of any sorts the trout will start coming up and then those artificial advocates will be in a familiar comfort zone of matching the hatch.

Freshwater shrimp
Freshwater shrimp – not a hatch, but trout feed on them in the shallows

The Catches

A beautiful Sheelin trout caught and released by Navan angler Christopher Defillon
A beautiful Sheelin trout caught and released by Navan angler Christopher Defillon

The total number of trout recorded this week was 35. This increase in trout catches was mainly down to the lure anglers, from those using replicas of minnow and baitfish on fast sinking lines doing the business. The weather undoubtedly this week has made things tough particularly for those staunch supporters of the traditional Sheelin flies like the Sooty Olives, Claret & Mallard, Watsons Fancy, Black Pennells, Dabblers (particularly Fiery Brown, Peter Ross and Silver), Bibios and Butchers.  Doggedly these groups kept to the shallows and shelters of the lake, using sink tips and intermediate lines and although movement of fish was seen with some takes it was tricky and difficult with poor enough success.

‘Great few days at paradise’ Ben Mackay, Scotland with one of his Sheelin trout
‘Great few days at paradise’ Ben Mackay, Scotland with one of his Sheelin trout

Because of the cold fresh surface water, the trout are lying deep so the majority of the catches were caught in 15 – 20ft of water which isn’t really in keeping with the usual for this time of the season, when a large number of trout would be feeding in the shallows but this is a completely different year, completely different weather and therefore a completely different set of rules. The best areas for fishing were Chambers Bay & Kilnahard, the middle of the lake, at the back of Church Island, Inchacup Island round to Rusheen Bay and Merry Pt.

Christopher Defillon with his Sheelin trout (released)
Christopher Defillon with his Sheelin trout (released)

The heaviest fish for this week was a trout of 6 lbs caught by Navan angler Christopher Defillon.

Selection of Catches

  • Ned Clinton – 3 trout heaviest at 1½ lbs using Fiery Browns.
  • Andrew Brown, Dublin – 1 trout at 3.5lbs using a Claret Dabbler, March 13th.
  • Ben MacKay, Scotland – 8 trout for the week, heaviest at 4 ½lbs
  • Joe Kearney, Dublin – 2 trout averaging 1 ½ lbs
  • Pat Brady, Cavan – 2 trout averaging 2lbs using Claret Dabblers.
  • Antons Mostiks, Dublin – 2 trout at 2 ½ and 4lbs on lures, at Church Island.
  • Olivers Kalnozolins, Dublin – 4 trout heaviest at 5lbs using Minkies and Snakes, fishing mid lake.
  • Dzordzs Lielvards, Dublin – fishing Sunday March 19th, 3 trout heaviest at 5lbs.
  • Aleksandrs Mezjanis, Dublin – 4 trout heaviest at 6 lbs fishing around Curry pt on lures.
  • Dzons Gultinieks, Dublin – Sunday March 19th, 2 trout 4 and 4½ lbs on lures.
  • Svens Ezernieks, Dublin – 4 trout heavies at 5lbs using lures, fishing mid lake.
 Thomas Lynch with one of three trout on his first 2017 outing on Sheelin

Thomas Lynch with one of three trout on his first 2017 outing on Sheelin

The Flies

Trout flies for Lough Sheelin
Trout flies for Lough Sheelin

Lough Sheelin is a managed wild brown trout fishery and because of this it feels somehow that the traditional fly techniques might be seen as more in keeping on this beautiful stretch of unspoilt limestone water so because of this I nearly feel like apologizing when talking about those large seemingly tasteless almost vulgar lures but to be fair this is what’s working now on Sheelin so I need to talk about the elephant in the room. Trout are cold blooded (meaning their body temperature is not internally regulated) so with low water temperatures they will expend as little energy as possible, their metabolisms will be sluggish.  A good lure either imitates the natural forage of the water being fished or will provoke a strike because of its action in the water.  It isn’t always about food either as trout will hit lures out of aggression or reflex.

Ghost Hair Streamer fly
Ghost Hair Streamer fly

The successful streamers being used on Sheelin now fascinate me particular the Ghost, long wisps of grey and white, eyes and a suction type mouth, looking more like something out of a science fiction film than what would catch a 6lb plus trout on a Cavan lake but these crazy lures work and they work well.  The lateral line on a trout is a long, thin canal that runs horizontally on each side of its body, from just behind the gills to the base of the tail.  This lateral line is filled with sensory organs with which the fish is able to detect low frequency sounds and changes in temperature, pressure and water current.  Fish also possess an inner ear, and numerous pits on the skin containing nerve endings which detect touch.  All this makes for a very vibration – sensitive creature.  My ghost streamer creates a vibration in the water that taps into these inbuilt sensitivities and produces strike and the rest is history in the form of a photograph of a beautiful Sheelin trout (for this report).

The Black Zonker
The Black Zonker

Winds churned up the water, making visibility poor so therefore an artificial must have something bright to draw the trout’s attention and then  with the lure brigade shiny lures for poor water visibility and a softer ‘mother of pearl’ effect and perhaps the use of streamers for clearer water would be more suitable. Those using minkies, humungous and zonkers are using di5s and di7s. Nothing is easy early season here and even fishing the big lures is hard work and can be an exhausting day out for any angler.

Anglers fishing Lough Sheelin must remember that there is a different rule for a different day and nothing is constant.

As a consolation to the Sheelin fly anglers, lure fishing is really only an early season thing and as we progress into April, even my lure fishermen convert to flies.

Andrew Brown, Dublin with his 3.5  lb trout using a Claret Dabbler
Andrew Brown, Dublin with his 3.5 lb trout using a Claret Dabbler

The most successful flies & lures for this week were the Humungus, Minkies in Grey and Black, Snake flies, Zonkers, Golden Olive Bumble, the Hare’s Ear, the Silver Dabbler, the Fiery Brown Dabbler, the Claret Dabbler, the Claret Bumble, Bibios, the Silver Invicta, the Connemara Black, Black Pennell and the Sooty Olive.

‘Measuring up’ another Sheelin classic
‘Measuring up’ another Sheelin classic

Competition results

On Sunday March 19th the local angling club  – the LSTPA hosted their first competition of the season – The Kilroy Cup with a starting and finishing point at Kilnahard Pier.  Despite persistent morning rain this event attracted 48 members. Many anglers see this competition as their first debut of the new season on to this lake. Conditions were tough with Stephan Preiss taking the cup with a lovely fish of 3.98 lbs.

Stephan Preiss receiving the Kilroy Cup from LSTPA chairman Kenneth O'Keefe
Stephan Preiss receiving the Kilroy Cup from LSTPA chairman Kenneth O’Keefe

This competition is in memory of Richard Anthony Kilroy,  who lived close to Lough Sheelin all his life and was somewhat of an icon in that he was secretary of the Lough Sheelin Protection Association from the 1920’s to late 1960’s , he was a fanatical trout fisherman and a devotee of this lake.

Lost and Found

An expensive spinning rod and reel were found on Kilnahard pier on Saturday March 18th, the owner can have these back by contacting me on 087 2141500

Ben Mackay, Scotland enjoying one of the warmer days on Sheelin
Ben Mackay, Scotland enjoying one of the warmer days on Sheelin

Go fishing…

A permit is required to fish Lough Sheelin. Buy your permit online at: shop.fishinginireland.info or from any of the permit distributors listed here.

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

Dawn over Lough Sheelin
Dawn over Lough Sheelin

Guides and ghillies

Grey Duster GuidingGrey Duster Guiding
Kenneth O’Keeffe
Tel: 
086 8984172 Email: [email protected]

Lough Sheelin Guiding Services
Tel: 087 1245927 Web: www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com

John Mulvany
[email protected] 086 2490076

D.C Angling & Guiding Services
contact David @ 087 3946989

Michael Farrell
Tel: 087 4194156 or  +353 43 6681298
Email: [email protected]

Michael Flanagan,
Trout and Pike Guide.
Email: [email protected] Web: www.midlandangling.com

Guide Fishing Ireland   www.guidefishingireland.com

Christopher Defillon, Navan
Christopher Defillon, Navan

House Rules

All anglers are required to have a Fishery Permit to fish Lough Sheelin which must be purchased before going out on 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
Gina releases her 4lber. A catch & release policy is actively encouraged on the lake at all times
Gina releases her 4lber. A catch & release policy is actively encouraged on the lake at all times

Lifejackets

5 year old Noah Breen Johnson isn’t taking any chances on the water this season and neither should you
5 year old Noah Breen Johnson isn’t taking any chances on the water this season and neither should you

Life jackets are required by law – SI No 921 of 2005 – Pleasure Craft (Personal Flotation Devices and Operation) (Safety) Regulations 2005.

Water rarely gives second chances and a life jacket is just that – it saves your life.

We would implore anglers and all other users to wear life jackets for their own safety as well as it being the law.

Please put on and keep on that life jacket until you are back on dry land.

Crover, Lough Sheelin
Crover, Lough Sheelin

 

Sheelin...
Sheelin…