‘Poets talk about “spots of time”, but it is really the fishermen who experience eternity compressed into a moment. No one can tell what a spot of time is until suddenly the whole world is a fish and the fish is gone’.
After the reasonable successes of the first week of fishing on Lough Sheelin, harsh weather conditions with plummeting temperatures caused this lake to stumble somewhat in the early days of the second week into this 2017 season. Bitter cold and deluges of freezing rain chased even the most hard core angler off the lake for Monday and Tuesday but then the weather took a most welcome turn with temperatures reaching the early teens with a distinct spring/summer like feel and this change in turn encouragingly was reflected in the fishing as trout catches slowly increased.
The recent fresh water and subsequent increase in water level does have an impact on the fish in that they will favour the lower columns because of the unattractiveness of colder upper layers and lack of surface food so for this week it was still all about lures and sinking lines.
Flies that got results were the brightly dressed ones, the ones that had a bit of shine and dazzle threaded through and this makes sense as with high water discolouration the marauding trout needed something that would grab its attention.
It can be tricky to predict trout movements but early season food will always be a deciding factor. This was a late spawning year for Sheelin so for a month or two after (March and April) trout have returned from the rivers they will be feeding heavily to regain the weight and energy they expended so the search for food is more urgent and because they have not yet been spooked or snagged by boat pressure or anglers, these trout will be more confident in their takes thus increasing the catching chances for anglers who brave the elements.
At this early stage I find that anglers divide clearly into two camps – those who are after the big trout so favour the big lures and deep water and then there are the fly anglers who just want to catch a trout, to break their duck egg so to speak, into their new season here on the lake.
There is room for both but perhaps there is a more pressing urgency for the ‘big trout’ lure brigade because although a specimen fish can be caught at any time here, these anglers know that their time is short for it is very early season which is the optimal time for catching that dream weight. Minkies, Zonkers Humungus, baitfish imitations and sinking lines are what dominate these anglers boxes and bags but somehow regardless of their successes they never quite match up to the finesse of the fly angler who carries with him a myriad ( in direct contrast) of delicately tied flies of numerous colours and combinations.
The heaviest fish for this week was shared between two anglers both of which got fish of over 2kgs each, the anglers were local ghillie Gary McKiernan of Loughsheelinguidingservices and Dominic Murphy from Tallagh, Dublin.
Total number of trout recorded: 27
Selection of Catches
- Dara Murtagh, Cavan – 1 trout @ 3lbs on March 8th using a Leggy shiny Cockrobin off Merry pt.
- Thomas Harton, Cavan – 1 trout at 3lbs on March 6th.
- Dominic Murphy, Dublin – 1 trout at on March 5th at 54cm
- Gary McKiernan, Cavan – 1 trout at 54cm on wet fly.
- Andris Jaunais, Dublin – 2 trout at 2 and 3lbs using lures.
- Ivars Dancis, Dublin – 1 trout at 4lbs at the back of Church Island using a Gold Humungus, Sunday March 12th.
- Janis Gailis & Valdis Auzulauks, Dublin – 3 trout on March 11th fishing along the Western shore using lures, heaviest trout was 4lbs.
- Thomas Lynch, Cavan – 3 trout on Sunday March 12th averaging 2lbs.
- Stephan Preiss, Dublin – 1 trout at 1 ½ lbs on wet fly.
Early season on Lough Sheelin for the fly angler usually means using di3 lines or if sticking to the shallows a floating line with a sink tip would suffice. In early March it is strongly advisable to stick to the shallows, rocky shores, bays, inlets and exposed points and there’s a very good reason behind this. Lough Sheelin has a natural post spawning movement that is repeated every year. The inherent need to gain condition rapidly will drive the trout in search of food. Shallow water warms the quickest and this is where the trout will find the most abundance of food. Extensive areas of shallow water and along shorelines are the areas that are the most attractive to the Sheelin trout in their search for food because it is these areas which have the biggest numbers of freshwater shrimp and hog louse as well as bottom feeding organisms like chironomid (buzzer) larvae, snails and caddis which make up a hefty snack.
The areas we are talking about on Sheelin are Chamber’s Bay, Kilnahard shore, Merry Point, Arley Point, Curry pt., Ross Bay and the South shore of Derrysheridan.
Useful fly patterns at this time are the Bibios, Mallard & Claret, Dabblers and Watson’s Fancy, sizes 8 and 10 and a Sweeney Todd dressed on a long shank 6 or 8.
The most successful flies for this week were the Humungus, Minkies, 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.
Because the main early season food items will be asellus and shrimp, it is these small invertebrates that need to be replicated in the artificials. Flies such as the March Brown, Hare’s Ear, Fiery Brown, Sooty Olive and patterns that incorporate some hare’s fur, mixed with olive seal’s fur or ginger seal’s fur in their body dressing work very well. The March Brown and Hare’s Ear on the point are particularly great suggestive patterns for asellus.
Rhitrogena haarupi, belonging to the Mayfly family, it what our artificial March Browns are supposed to represent. The insect exists in fairly fast flowing waters only, nevertheless it very well for Lough Sheelin. It is best used as a top dropper, and not only in March and is surprisingly good after a blast of fresh water into the lake.
Lough Sheelin’s attractiveness lies in the size and quality of its trout – in somnis avolavimus – in our dreams we fly and that dream is Lough Sheelin.
For anyone interested in joining Lough Sheelin’s Angling Club – The Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association please contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033.
The local angling club – the LSTPA will be kick starting the fishing season with their annual early season competition – The Kilroy Cup on Sunday March 19th.
This is a members only competition but membership is available on the day. Starting time from Kilnahard pier is 11.0am to 5pm with a 16” two fish bag limit.
The heaviest fish wins and there will be several prizes up for grabs.
For further details please contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033
Guides and ghillies
Grey Duster Guiding
Tel: 086 8984172 Email: [email protected]
Lough Sheelin Guiding Services
Tel: 087 1245927 Web: www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com
[email protected] 086 2490076
D.C Angling & Guiding Services
contact David @ 087 3946989
Tel: 087 4194156 or +353 43 6681298
Email: [email protected]
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
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.