“IRELAND picked up gold during the International Fly-Fishing Championships on Lough Sheelin.
“The hosts topped the standings against England, Scotland and Wales – with excellent work by the Lough Sheelin Trout Preservation Association helping present a perfect venue and plenty of wild brown.
“Mayo’s Seamus Kelly was the Ireland captain, with Robert Reilly from Galway the coach.
“Most of the team had previous international experience, with success across the practice session and positive team meetings.
“Each team included 14 rods, with a piper leading each team up to Kilnahard Pier.
“Conditions proved cool and overcast with a moderate wind blowing from the north-east direction.
“The catch-and-release format featured fish measured on a points system to calculate team and individual scores.
“The competition operated from 10-6 o’clock and Ireland finished first on 34 fish to collect the Graham Munroe Hall Memorial Cup.
“It was a first victory since 2004 for Ireland.
“Wales were next home on 32, followed by Scotland and England.
“The Brown Bowl for Best Basket was lifted by Wales’ Kieron Thomas with seven trout for 470 points.
“Arden Pollock finished with the top basket for Ireland thanks to six trout and a 355-point total for the Harry Lafferty Cup.
“The presentation was made during a dinner in The Crover House Hotel.
“The quality of our brown trout angling attracts impressive tourist numbers.
“Lough Sheelin was considered one of the finest wild brown trout lakes in Europe before eutrophication and invasive species in the mid-1970s.
“However, Lough Sheelin can now boast a population level higher than anything since 1996.
“On another good note, the warm weather should reignite the flylife and river anglers can get some surface action.
“The Bann trout, despite last week’s cold, remain active and were taking nymphs on the Banbridge and Gilford waters.
“There was plenty of black gnat on the Cusher, with the Annalee in Cavan enjoying impressive hatches of mayfly, olives and iron blues.
“The Liffey is also producing plenty of fish, mainly due to iron blues but also some black flies.
“I recently fished the River Nore with the Irish International Rivers Team and we enjoyed heaps of quality trout abound with fly life.
“The mayfly is underway on the big loughs, with Mark Duncan and Greg White enjoying exceptional periods on the Erne.
“Jason Russell and Neil Cardwell managed to account for 26 trout on Lough Conn.
“We have heard whispers that the first of the grilse have started arriving on the Foyle, with some landed at Cloghan on the Finn or also the top of the Doctor’s Pool on the Mourne.”