By Brenda Montgomery, IFI
September 10th – September 16th 2018
‘My best fishing memory is about some of the fish that I never caught’ – George Orwell
This was another good fishing week on Sheelin with reports of impressive catches of trout breezing in at over 6 and 7 lbs and fish in the double figures coming to the boat. Autumn fishing for brown trout on this wild piscatorial jewel is extra special for it is at this time of the season that our biggest, cagiest and toughest-to-catch browns are starting to move. Specimen trout that normally stay in the deep are now working their way upwards with that seemingly inbuilt knowledge that winter isn’t that far away and so they have a tendency to feed more avidly to lay on that extra layer of fat to sustain them through the rigorous of river migration, spawning and the eventual return to base.
Water levels are low, with the lake still showing its bones with its bleached shorelines and long stretches of shallows trailing far out into the water particularly around the Tonagh side of the lake.
Although approaching mid-September it feels as if we are only on the cusp of autumn, still clinging to the remnants of summer, in the ‘jumper on, jumper off’ stage as temperatures swing from morning chill to afternoon warmth. Our migrant birds are suddenly gone and there are signs that nature is stocking up ahead of the winter months, with fish being no exception.
The weather consistently had the last say this week in the fishing here with any breaks of sunshine, blustery conditions or sudden change in wind direction clobbering the good surface movement of fish by effectively and consistently chasing them down to the lower columns. Cloud cover and a certain amount of wind preferably South to South Westerly are the ideal requirements here with variations on this ideal making fishing very possible but more challenging. Time and time again I am told that it is not the rain but the wind that matters so even on those days of wet and cold I found my angler ignoring by negativity by staring distractingly over my head studying the trees for movement.
With the seasonal chill sneaking in water temperatures are inevitably dropping which would account partially for the increased activity of the trout. The Sheelin trout are continuing to be very visible with follows, bulges, leaps and splashes. Trout are still preforming their aerial dances, leaping free of the water with a sporting exuberance, advertising their presence to the onlooker. There have been no shortage of follows to the pro-offered flies but it is the actual take that can be a bit more elusive. The smaller fish are easier to catch with the theory being that they don’t have the memory of previous hook encounters that their senior counterparts may have had. I have been told to stop trying to compare a trout’s brain to that of a human’s so although it is only the size of a pea (the fish not the human’s) it still contains enough natural wiliness to outwit, most of the time, our more developed intelligence.
September fishing here is all about teams of wets and for those persistent dry fly advocates now is a particularly challenging time. There is little or no natural fly on the water during the day. Any insects that are hatching are small which necessitates smaller sizes and a more delicate presentation as well as good eyesight.
This month is always synonymous of Daddy and Hoppers. Morning, afternoon and evening is ubiquitous of these gangly aquatic aliens and a few fish were nailed on Daddy patterns during the week and also using traditional patterns with those hopper legs. Breezy days are best for Daddies. On a bright day a Claret Hopper can provide all the silhouette trigger factors that a trout needs. Claret and black are the favourite colours in these patterns. Caddis patterns such as the CDC sedges had some success. September can provide some of the best buzzer fishing so it is worth changing to buzzer patterns for that last hour of light.
The colour claret seems to get its toe in the door on all the patterns that bring in fish on Sheelin – Claret Dabblers, Claret Hoppers, Claret Bumbles and Claret Stimulators. Trout see silhouettes of objects and pick up movement well, rather than intricate detail so the ability to work the fly along with the apparent desirable contrast that claret gives as well as that essential thread of bling as an added attractor is worth a thought.
Trout here are feeding on Daphnia so a brightly coloured fly on the bob is a good plan and to head for the deeper water.
The Dabblers are featuring heavily here and as both a sedge and fry imitator they seem to be very desirable to the trout. The most popular were the Pearly, Fiery Brown, Claret, Sooty Olive, Silver, Claret Sparkle and International (fished as a top dropper).
Other flies that worked well were the Hopper patterns, the Silver Daddies, Sooty Olive, Gorgeou George, Green tailed Peters, Black Pennell, CDC Sedges, Telephone Flies and Stimulators.
The most productive areas for fishing was mid lake, Stony, Merry pt. at the back of Church Island and from Derrahorn down along the Western shoreline.
The heaviest trout over the past number of weeks was a trout of 7lbs caught by Mayo angler John Muldoon using a Claret Dabbler fishing at Merry Pt.
Total number of trout recorded: 71
Selection of Catches
- Pat O’Toole, Trim – September 10th 2 trout at 5lbs & 5 ½ lbs on wets.
- Martin Smith, Dublin – 2 trout at 4 ½ and 5lbs fishing Claret Stimulators.
- Tom O’Malley, Dublin – 4 trout heaviest at 3 ½ and 4lbs using Leggy Peters, Gorgeous George and Claret Dabblers.
- Thomas Harten, Cavan – 1 trout at 5.5 fishing wets.
- Peadar Smith, Meath – 5 trout heaviest at 5lbs fishing wets.
- Paddy Brady, Cavan – 2 trout heaviest at 2lbs on Dabblers.
- Frank Kelly, Cavan – 4 trout heaviest at 3 ½ lbs fishing Claret wets.
- Christy Cox, Multyfarnham – 4 trout heaviest at 6.25 lbs fishing off Holywell shore using a Pearly Dabbler.
- Lawrence Hickey, Dublin – 2 trout at 43cm and 46cm fishing Leggy wet flies.
- Stuart Topp, Orkney – 2 trout at 56 and 59cm fishing small Claret Dabblers.
- Dean Reed, France – 5 trout heaviest at 4lbs fishing Claret wets.
- Cathal McNaughton, Northern Ireland – 1 at 2lbs on a Red Tailed Peter.
The Royal Cup
On Saturday last September 15th local angler Pat Bannon held The Royal Cup on Lough Sheelin. Of all the competitions held on this lake I think this is one of my favourites. Relaxed and informal Pat has the ability of making us all feel like part of one big happy family. It was a great day with nine superb fish being caught with an impressive seven of these weighing in at 4lbs and over. Lisnaskea angler Albert Berry took the cup with his 4.98 lb trout. 2nd was Robert Keen at 4.73lbs with Kells angler John Mulvaney on his heels with a 4.47lb fish.
The McIntyre/Guider Cup
The McIntyre/Guider Cup – Saturday September 29th, starting at Kilnahard 11.0am to 6pm, this is an open fly fishing competition and gives a good warm up before the biggest competition of the season on October 1st. For further information please contact Dessie McEntee on 047 77216 or 086 8937568.
Stream Rehabilitation Competition
On Saturday October 6th Lough Sheelin’s angling club The Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association will host their annual Stream Rehabilitation Competition starting at Kilnahard from 11am to 6.0pm.
All proceeds of this event go towards the enhancement and rehabilitation of the rivers within the Lough Sheelin catchment.
The club and organisers of this competition, now in its thirteenth year, welcome all anglers who wish to fish one of the best wild brown trout fisheries in Ireland and to experience first-hand the magic and allure of this lake which has the potential to produce the heaviest trout in the country.
Denis O’Keefe Memorial Cup
The LSTPA have added an additional cup on to their list this year, this cup is in honour memory of great angler and Sheelin advocate – Denis O’Keefe and will be awarded to the best member over the 3 senior competitions (Kilroy Cup (18/3/18), the McDonald Cup 9 11/8/18 & The River Enhancement Comp. 6/10/18).
For details please contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033
Cavan/Monaghan Garda Divisional Fly Fishing Championship and Open Competition
The Cavan/Monaghan Garda Divisional Fly Fishing Championship and Open Competition will be held at Lough Sheelin on Sunday October 7th from Kilnahard Pier, 11a.m – 5.30p.m.
Weigh in at 6.30pm and meal at Pat Bannon’s Pub, Ballyjamesduff. Entry fee of €25 taken at Kilnahard.
This competition is for: The Heaviest fish – visitors and The Heaviest fish – Cavan/Monaghan Division Garda Members.
For further details please contact Colin Dodd 086 6000630, Pat Foley 087 2405313 or Dessie McEntee on 086 8937568.
Catch and release
A catch & release policy is actively encouraged on the lake at all times
Extra care is needed when playing and releasing trout during periods of high water temperatures as additional stress at these times will decrease the survival rate of hooked and released fish.
BYE-LAW 949 strictly prohibits:
- The taking of any brown trout of less than 36 centimetres.
- For a person to fish with more than 2 rods at any one time.
- To fish with more than 4 rods at any one time when there is more than one person on board the boat concerned.
- For a person to take more than 2 trout per day.
- All trolling on the lake from March 1st to June 16th (inclusive).
- To fish or to attempt to take or to fish for, fish of any kind other than during the period from March 1st to October 12th in any year.
Join the Club…
For anyone interested in joining Lough Sheelin’s Angling Club – The Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association 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
D.C Angling & Guiding Services
contact David @ 087 3946989
Tel: 087 4194156 or +353 43 6681298
Email: [email protected]
We would implore anglers and all other users to wear life jackets for their own safety as well as it being the law.
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.
Please put on and keep on that life jacket until you are back on dry land.