Lough Sheelin Angling Report
By Brenda Montgomery, IFI
March 19th 2018 – April 1st 2018
‘When all the world appears to be in a tumult, and nature itself is feeling the assault of climate change, the seasons retain their essential rhythm. Winter, will be forced to relent, once again, to the new beginnings of soft greens, longer light, and the sweet air of spring.’ Madeleine M. Kunin
‘March is always fierce tough going on the water’ I was assured at the weekend but now touching on April there is an impatience to shake off the shackles of winter, and a restlessness among many to go fishing. The polar cold, nightly frosts and wind chills have all contributed in keeping the trout lethargic and inactive and fishing here over the past week has been slow and difficult with Sheelin taking no prisoners and making its anglers work hard for their rewards.
In early season it is the cold winds in particular that are the enemy especially when from the north or east which was the case on most days. A cold north or east wind will kill off any potential hatches as it chills down the surface film, sending any emerging nymphs back down to wait another day. Earlier in the week Lough Corrib broadcasted that their duck fly had finally arrived but Lough Sheelin being that bit further north cannot as yet boast of this progression into fly life. There were a few late afternoons when a false heat prevailed which led to a dusting of chironomid and duck fly hatches but not enough to spark the interest of the trout. The fishing is still hampered by this tenacious wintry weather, but the water clarity here is gradually clearing from that previous dark ominous colour, this welcome clearness being most evident in the shallows and the shelters of bays and inlets depending on the prevailing wind.
Fishing numbers rarely made the double figures during the week but the bank holiday weekend saw a predictable increase in angling activity with, despite the cold, the LSTPA’s Kilroy Cup on Saturday March 31st attracting 32 anglers with 6 fish being recorded at over 3lbs, the winner being Monaghan angler Brian McAvinney with a lovely silvery trout of 4.24 lbs, 2nd was Kenneth O’Keeffe, Cavan with a 3.89 lb fish and Martin Kearney came in at 3rd with a fish weighing in at 3.78 lbs.
Deividas Firsovas, March 25th “Go&Catch”
On Sunday March 25th Lithuanian Fishing Club “Go&Catch” ran the second leg of their lure fishing ‘Spar Energy’ Cup competition on Lough Sheelin. The bitter cold and extensive discolouration of the water didn’t make things easy for the 16 hardy competitors but their extensive knowledge of Sheelin helped them considerably and 17 trout of over 30cm were caught. The top winners were:
- Giedrius Paskevicius 3 trout 142cm
- Arunas Sinkevicius 3 trout 124cm
- Zydrunas Ausra 3 trout 111cm
Longest trout was caught by Valdas Sankauskas at 67cm.
It is thanks to the sponsors Spark Energy and Deeper that this league has been able to run successfully.
I find all fishing clubs a fairly responsible and environmentally caring group of people but for me Go&Catch have perhaps the edge on them all because of my recollection of a few years ago when this club, precedng one of their competitions here, spent a number of hours collecting and bagging up huge amounts of litter which had been dumped over the years at Sailors Garden and which everyone else had just turned a blind eye to. Continuing on from this, this club have never deviated from their very obvious appreciation and care of this lake seeing it as ‘a gift of nature’ and being impressively tuned in to Lough Sheelin’s fragile status.
My cousin the M.D of the Ford Garage in Cavan and an avid fan of catch and release, died suddenly and tragically in the earlier part of this week and in memory of these two aspects of his life and complementing Sheelin’s fishing over the past weeks I will paraphrase a famous quote from Henry Ford ‘ you can have any colour as long as it’s black’ . Ford believed that if something was good then you stuck with it and was against ‘monkeying around’ with styles. This is very sound advice for Lough Sheelin and the flies and lures necessary for good fishing not just for March but throughout the season. Early season here has been all about fishing lures and traditional wet flies and it just so happens that the colour black dominates – black Humungus, black Minkie’s, black Snakes, Black Buzzers, Black Blobs, Black Hoppers, Black Pennels, Connemara Black, dark coloured Dabblers and Sooty Olives.
The Dabblers made their mark on Sheelin particularly in the past week with Silver, Pearly, Green , Sooty, Hare’s Ear and Fiery Brown being the most popular. A size 6 Claret Dabbler fished as a top dropper using a di3 or di5 can be good for taking early season feeders here. The Fiery Brown Dabbler is a very versatile fly representing freshwater shrimp in early season, duck fly in Spring and sedge for the summer.
The other flies and lures that brought trout to the boat and into the landing net were the Black & Silver Minkies, Black Humungus, Rainbow Humungus (with abit of red mixed through the black marabou tail), Glister Ollie, Bibios, Black Pennels, Diawl Bachs, Sooty Olives and Golden Olive Bumbles.
The areas that produced the results were the shallows – bays, inlets and around islands which made sense as trout usually voracious after the long winter and keen to put weight on feed on the
Shrimp and Water louse that are abundant in these areas. Best areas for this week were Stony Island, at the back of Church Island, Merry Pt, Inchacup, Chambers Bay and from Kilnahard down to Crover.
The thing to remember is that for early season trout fishing everything is fairly simple and basic, anglers can forget the ‘match the hatch’ theory as there isn’t that much movement of fly or any stages of their lifecycles (courtesy of the Arctic weather) and trout are not that picky so its just a question of presenting them with something that gives the impression of a food source that they are used to. Anglers who know the lake know where the fish are so for the novices, for this difficult early season fishing a guide would be highly recommended (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com)
Please remember anglers to abide by BYE-LAW 949 which strictly prohibits from June 14th 2017 onwards:
- The taking of any brown trout of less than 36 centimeters.
- 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.
Lough Sheelin Guiding Services (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) 087 1245927
Michael Farrell @ 087 4194156Telephone: +353 43 6681298 Email: [email protected]
Grey Duster Guiding
Tel: 086 8984172 Email: [email protected]
John Mulvany [email protected] 086 2490076
D.C Angling & Guiding Services – contact David @ 087 3946989
A catch & release policy is actively encouraged on the lake at all times
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 biggest fish for these past few weeks was a 67cm trout caught by Valdas Sankauskas using lures.
Total number of trout recorded: 47
Selection of Catches
Peadar & Brian McAvinney, Co.Monaghan – 2 trout heaviest at 3lbs caught on a Humungus off Stony Island.
Ben McKay, Scotland (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) – 9 fish for 3 days fishing – heaviest at 61cm.
Andrew Brown, Dublin – 2 trout using a Sooty Dabbler (54 & 58cm) 26/3/18 in Chambers Bay.
Szymon Nowak, Meath – 2 trout heaviest at 4lbs on lures fishing in Ross.
Franciszek Wisniewski, Dublin – 3 trout heaviest at 4 ½ lbs using a black Minkie, fishing at Merry pt.
Aleksander Kowalczk, Dublin – 2 trout heaviest at 4lbs using lures.
Kristaps Ozolins, Dublin – 1 trout at 3 lbs using Minkies, fishing at the back of Church Island.
Edgars Jansons, Meath – 3 trout, heaviest at 4lbs using Humungus and Minkies.
Daniels Aditajs, Meath – 2 trout heaviest at 4lbs fishing in Ross Bay using lures.