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Mayfly hatch but weather shows no mercy on Sheelin

May 15th, 2017 | by

‘Fleeting ephemeral creatures who live out their whole lives in the course of a single day’
Carl Sagan

A mayfly in the hand

Very early on this week I was reliably informed that mayfly had been spotted down at Crover – one or two, so every evening subsequently I made a point of walking the shoreline from Crover House Hotel and down into Captains Bay looking for these large and beautiful insects. It wasn’t until mid-week that I finally struck gold and witnessed myself the first of these long awaited magical flies.  Mayflies of course can emerge at any time from April through to the autumn but the principal hatches here are from mid-May into mid-June depending on the weather.  The reason why the name doesn’t coincide accurately with the month is because they were named before the Pope changed the calendar and at that time May was a couple of weeks later in the year.

Sheeling trout

Joe Featherstone, Dublin with ‘a touch of gold’ from Sheelin

This week’s daytime weather was dominated by bright sunshine and temperatures rising above 20 degrees, making trout fishing conditions far from ideal. Fish have no eyelids so if they come up near the surface on a bright sunny day the sun is shining straight into their unprotected eyes, which is as unpleasant to fish as it is to humans.  There are many reasons why trout do not rise in spells of hot sunshine but it is mainly because the natural ‘flies’ do not like or emerge in sunshine, for these kind of days it is best either to fish nymph or buzzer deep or better still to  restrict your fishing times to the evening from 7pm onwards. That’s not to say that you will never catch a trout on a sunny day, it’s just less likely.

 The Hatches


Sheelin Mayfly – hanging out

Buzzer fishing particularly on dry buzzer patterns saved the day or rather the evening and well into the night and were really the only catches right up until Thursday afternoon/evening when the weather pattern changed.

‘Simply the best’ Mick Kelly, Dublin with his first trout on the mayfly – May 12th

‘Simply the best’ Mick Kelly, Dublin with his first trout on the mayfly – May 12th

Buzzer fishing has been good on Sheelin over the past few weeks, with dry Buzzer patterns taking a lead on the wets and epoxy patterns.  Anglers who were willing to fish through the darkness were in general rewarded for their nocturnal perseverance  with fish of 4lb upwards, with one Dublin angler taking in an impressive two 5 pounders on the one night.

Lough Sheelin’s magical mayfly

Lough Sheelin’s magical mayfly gets a fly over from a Hawthorn Fly

But this is May and May for trout anglers is synonymous for mayfly so although it has been actually buzzer fishing that the Sheelin angler should have been concentrating on for the bulk of this week many anglers took their eye off the buzzer ball and somewhat lacked focus as their minds seemed to be locked in to when the mayfly would kick off on this lake.

‘Release’ Christopher Defillon on Sheelin

‘Release’ Christopher Defillon on Sheelin

Last Friday instinct told you that it was going to finally start, soft muggy temperatures, cloudy conditions and the odd mizzle of rain boded well for the appearance of Ephermera dancia.  We had two types of heat this week, there was the harsh sunshine heat edged with an easterly wind (coming down from Greenland) and then a much more desirable warm soft sluggish type where you could almost see the grass growth and could visual hordes of mayfly setting forth.  The old timers are of unmovable belief that the may blossom or hawthorn falls in tandem with the mayfly and that when this blossom is at full stretch then so too will be the mayfly hatches. 



The Catches

A happy angler participating in the solicitors competition on Sheelin (guided by D.C Angling)

A happy angler participating in the solicitors competition on Sheelin (guided by D.C Angling)

Angling numbers increased dramatically at the tail end of the week and into the weekend but the Irish weather had no mercy on the mayfly hopefuls and treated us to some heavy rain and blustery winds on Saturday and again into Sunday restricting fishing areas on the lake and affecting the tentative start to Lough Sheelin’s mayfly season.

Paul Lunney, Derrylin with his beautiful ‘mayfly’ trout caught on a wet mayfly.

Paul Lunney, Derrylin with his beautiful ‘mayfly’ trout caught on a wet mayfly.

On Saturday I had the joy and honour of witnessing a phenomenon, often recounted to me but one which I had never actually witnessed – late in the afternoon there was a particularly heavy shower and then directly afterwards, as if to compensate for the drenching I had received, the water, certainly where I was, at the back of Church Island, literally erupted with trout, this displayed  only lasted around twenty minutes but gave me an insight into the magical and inexplicable world of Lough Sheelin’s brown trout.

‘Saturday’s downpour’

‘Saturday’s downpour’

May fly hatches came in fits and starts with reports of great hatches then lots of gaps when nothing was seen again. It was all weather dependent and the deluges of rain didn’t help matters, ideal conditions are cloudy, a southerly wind with a soft wave – hopefully Poseidon, the god of weather is listening…….

Kevin Murphy, Louth

Kevin Murphy, Louth

We are just at the cusp of the season here on Lough Sheelin, the jewel in Ireland’s angling crown is on the verge of sparkling.

This week the total number of trout reported to the office was 89 – a big leap forward from the previous week. The heaviest fish for this week was a trout of over 6lbs caught by Dublin angler Mick Kelly using one of his own dry Mayfly patterns on May 11th.

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Selection of Catches

  • Pauric Coughlan, Tralee – 2 trout at 2 and 4lbs both on brown wet mays.
  • Brendan Corr, Belfast – 2 trout at 3 ½ lbs each on a dry green mayfly pattern and a spent.
  • Donal Ryan, Meath – 1 trout at 2 ½ lbs on a Spent Gnat pattern..
  • Paul Lunney, Derrylin – 2 trout at 3 ½ and 4lbs both caught on a Green Mayfly.
  • Thady McAleese, Meath – 1 trout at 3lbs on a French Partridge.
  • Finbar Foley, Kildare – 1 trout at 5lbs on a Dry Buzzer at 12pm.
  • Brendan Considine, Kildare – 2 trout at 3 & 5lbs on a Dry Buzzer, late night fishing.
  • Aaron Considine, Kildare – 1 trout at 4lbs on a Claret Bumble fishing in the late afternoon.
  • Joe Power, Ardee – 1 trout at 3lbs on a small Grey Wulff.
  • Vradislov Skorokodov, Balbriggan – 1 trout at 4lbs on lures.
  • Larry Tierney, Stradone, Cavan – 1 trout at 2 ½ lbs on a wet Green Mayfly pattern.
  • Vincent Clarke, Knockbride – 1 trout at 4lbs on a wet Green Mayfly pattern.
  • Bill Chapman, Antrim – 1 trout at 4 ½ lbs on a Grey Wulff.
  • Barry Fox, Rathoath – 6 trout on May 12th , 3lb plus, 3 on spent.
  • D.C Angling – 22 trout up to 4lbs
  • Peter McArdle, Dundalk – 5 trout over the weekend, 3lbs upwards, biggest at 54cm, all caught on Buzzer and Mayfly patterns.
Guided by D.C Angling

Guided by D.C Angling


The Flies

It was all buzzer and mayfly patterns for this week with dry buzzers and wet mayfly patterns topping the pole. Goslings, Mosley May, French Partridge and a hundred and one versions of the Mayfly both wet and dry were the flavor certainly for the later part of the week with Claret Bumbles, Bibios, Klinkhammers, dry Buzzers and Wulffs featuring in the catches as well.

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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.

House Rules

A catch & release policy is actively encouraged on the lake at all times

A catch & release policy is actively encouraged on the lake at all times

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
Catch and Release

Catch and Release

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 GuidingGrey Duster Guiding
Kenneth O’Keeffe
086 8984172 Email: trout@live.ie

Christopher Defillon
Tel: +33 68 596 4369  Email: evasionpecheirlande@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christopher.defillon

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

John Mulvany
johnmulvanyfishing@gmail.com 086 2490076

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

Michael Farrell
Tel: 087 4194156 or  +353 43 6681298
Email: loughsheelinguide@hotmail.com

Michael Flanagan,
Trout and Pike Guide.
Email: mick@midlandangling.com Web: www.midlandangling.com


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

 Getting it right – Caoimhe & Oisin Sheridan

Getting it right – Caoimhe & Oisin Sheridan

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.

Crover, Lough Sheelin, May 9th 2017

Crover, Lough Sheelin, May 9th 2017

This post is in: Lough Sheelin, Trout fishing reports