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Sheelin ‘a dream despite the worst of weather’

September 4th, 2017 | by

‘Things fishermen know about Trout aren’t facts, but articles of faith’
 John Gierach

Lough Sheelin

Lough Sheelin

This week saw a mix of days that were hanging in the balance between summer and autumn.  In a way September is a slightly sad month as the creeping onset of autumn marks the end of another summer.  The tell-tale signs of Keats’ ‘Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ were in evidence on a few mornings this week with  those all too familiar morning  chills accompanied by intrinsically woven cobwebs draped endlessly over shore line bushes like some sort of grand mystical architectural  design.

Christopher Defillon, Navan

Christopher Defillon, Navan

Putting that niggling seasonal melancholia to one side, a lot of things happen during this month which tend to bode well for the angler here.  The first is that the winds tend to cool the water.  Longer nights and autumnal drops in temperature increase this effect and the trout become much less lethargic as a consequence.  Now with the spawning season in sight, the fish seem to sense the winter drawing in and will feed voraciously to pack weight on in anticipation of the lean cold months ahead.  September is a great month for bring large well conditioned trout to the surface and this is already being seen in the increase of catches of marvelously conditioned fish averaging from 3lbs up to the weight of the week, a 7lb 8oz trout caught by Baltinglass angler Gerry Fogarty using a Red Tailed Peter.

The Hatches

Despite the usual meteorological hiccups Lough Sheelin fished well this week with artificials like the Silver Dabbler, Red Tailed Peter, Silver Daddies and Stimulators appearing again and again in the reported catches.  As one angler who, favours the Daddies in a big wave, put it ‘this place is fishing like a dream despite the worst of weather’.

August & early September is all about the sedge for Lough Sheelin’s dry fly purists

August & early September is all about the sedge for Lough Sheelin’s dry fly purists

Lough Sheelin offers plenty of food choices to its trout – sedges (in their hundreds), buzzers, daphnia, terrestrials (daddies and hoppers), the odd olive not to mention all those developmental stages in the form of nymphs and emergers.  The perch fry have got bigger so the flies targeting the fry feeders should get bigger too.  A good plan would be to fish with an intermediate line with a black lure on the point, with droppers of a wet Daddy and Pheasant tail.  Sometimes something as simple as a black lure just under the surface will work.  Worth a try is to fish Shipman’s, Daddy and Black Lure on the same cast.  The drop allows the dries to fish as such and then you end up fishing wet on the retrieve.  For some reason Daddies work far better when fished wet and early afternoons have a tendency to be best during the first few weeks of September.

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The Catches

A beautiful conditioned Sheelin trout

A beautiful conditioned Sheelin trout

The best areas for fishing on the lake this week was predominantly out in the deep but along the Western shore particularly Orangefield, Church Island, Inchacup, the Long Rock, Lynch’s pt and in and around Kilnahard and Chambers were good as well.

Enrico Fantasia, Dublin with his 60cm trout, August 31st

Enrico Fantasia, Dublin with his 60cm trout, August 31st

The heaviest fish for this week weighed in at 7lbs 8ozs caught by Gerry Fogarty , Baltinglass using a red tailed Peter.

Total number of trout recorded : 52

Gerry Fogarty, Baltinglass with is one of his four trout, caught on a red tailed Peter

Gerry Fogarty, Baltinglass with is one of his four trout, caught on a red tailed Peter

Selection of Catches

  • Des Elliott, Dublin – 11 trout for 5 days , heaviest at 4 ½ lbs and 3 ½ lbs  caught on Black Pennells, Orange Dabblers and Golden Olive Bumbles.
  • Owen Jacob, Dublin – 2 trout at 2 ½  and 2lbs caught on Muddler variants.
  • Paddy Brady, Cavan – 3 trout heaviest at 3lbs caught on Dabblers and Hoppers.
  • Tony Grehan, Dublin – 1 trout at over 3lbs on an Octopus, fishing out from Curry rocks, September 1st.
  • Gerry Fogarty, Wicklow (loughsheelinguide@hotmail.com) – 4 trout heaviest at 7lbs 8ozs, rest between 3 – 4lbs fishing Peters.
  • Cian Murtagh, Cavan – 1 at over 20″, 1 at 2lbs, both using Mick Kelly’s Silver Daddies.
  • David Mathews, Dublin – 7 trout for the week, averaging 1 ½ – 2lbs, heaviest at 4 ½ using Stimulators, Daddies and Klinkhammers.
  • Enrico Fantasia, Dublin – fishing with LoughSheelinGuiding – 4 trout at 50, 54, 55 and 60cm, all on wets.
  • Carlo Negri, London – 1 trout at 46cm on a Silver Dabbler.
  • Michael Collins, Dublin – 1 trout at 2lbs on a Red Tailed Peter.
  • Pat Magee, Northern Ireland – 1 at 1 ½ on a Daphnia imitation.

With cold early mornings the best time to fish was from mid morning to around 7pm and it was fishing teams of wets that took in the highest number of fish.

Tony Grehan's 'lump of a fish' Sept.1st

Tony Grehan’s ‘lump of a fish’ Sept.1st

Lough Sheelin anglers should stick to the old tried and tested flies when fishing this lake, those fly set ups that have worked repeatedly  for each phase of the fishing season here. The flashy tyings with flasher names  are really only designed to catch fishermen  and not fish.

Danny O'Keefe, Mullingar with his trout caught at Orangefield on a red tailed Peter

Danny O’Keefe, Mullingar with his trout caught at Orangefield on a red tailed Peter

Angling author John Gierach supports this theory when he wrote ‘ There’s always a hot new fly.  Precious few of these patterns are genuine breakthroughs destined to last for a hundred years, but more often they’re idle comments on existing traditions, explorations of half-baked theories, attempts to use new and interesting materials, to impress other tiers, or excuses to rename old patterns.  The results are often pointless fads like the craze in some pretentious restaurants or plopping fried quail eggs on everything or calling sandwiches “paninis”.

Too long for a 20" net - Cian Murtagh's impressive trout caught on a Mick Kelly Silver Daddy

Too long for a 20″ net – Cian Murtagh’s impressive trout caught on a Mick Kelly Silver Daddy

Anglers are in general very evasive about the flies that they are using, something which I find personally very hard to understand as regardless of what particular fly is working, you still have to actually go out there and fish it, as well as according to some of the old timers on this lake, knowing how to work your cast.  This week a Northern Ireland angler told me that he was recently at a competition (not Sheelin) where all the flies on the competitors lines seemed to be silver but upon closer examination he realized that their owners had wrapped their secrets in tin foil so that the rivals wouldn’t copy them…..

Resting up

Resting up

We can make fishing too complicated, the best approach certainly for this capricious and challenging lake is to start simple and get more complicated as the fish dictate while never loosing site of the fact, particularly at this time of the season when fish are on the move, is that sometimes all the fish want is to have a fly stuck under their noses.

Another fine Sheelin trout

Another fine Sheelin trout

Whatever the flies used, red, claret, gold, orange and yellow are the dominant colours.  Artificials with a red chunk of colouring at the back or tail are doing the business (particularly the Red Tailed Peters) with Stimulators and Dabblers in orange, silver and gold combinations hooking up with these ‘on the move’ trout.  Anglers that targeted the Daphnia feeders (out in the deep) used Octopus and Orange Bobs Bits while mini Muddlers are still proving successful for fish swimming near the surface.  The Muddlers or Muddler variants are a great tying as the muddler head pushes through the water creating a bubble which acts as an effective attraction to the passing trout. Anyone using lures like the Humungus and Minkies should fish them very slowly for best results.

A heavy weight for Mick Kelly, Dublin

A heavy weight for Mick Kelly, Dublin

The Flies

While it was really all about fishing the wets these past seven days, the dry fly advocates got some opportunities this week with evening hatches of sedges (5 -6pm) and trout starting to rise to them.  A Klinkhammer worked well as did small (12 -14) brown sedge patterns.

Golden Olive Stimi

Golden Olive Stimi – Kevin Sheridan

The weather conditions are seldom stable here so it was important to take full advantage of the brief moments of wind subsidence when it happened although the flat calm, mirror effect on Wednesday evening was going to the other unwelcome extreme.

Sid Rainey's Hopper fly

Sid Rainey’s Hopper fly


The flies most used this week by anglers were the Murrough, the Green Peter’ a Small Brown Sedge (12-14 or smaller),  Stimulators, Klinkhammers, Gorgeous George, Yellow Humpies, the Fiery Brown Sedge, the Chocolate Drop, hoppers, the Hare’s Ear Sedge, the red-tailed Green Peter, the Sedge Invicta, the Pearly Invicta, the Mallard & Claret, G&H Sedge,  the Black Pennel, the Claret Pennel, a variety of Bumbles and the Silver Invicta.

Black Hopper

Black Hopper – Kevin Sheridan

Shipmans' Buzzer

Shipmans’ Buzzer – Kevin Sheridan

Go fishing…

Up coming competitions

The McIntyre/Guider Cup – Saturday September 30th, 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.

The LSTPA Stream Rehabilitation Competition will be held on Sunday October 1st (details later)

Carlo Negri, London with his 46cm fish

Carlo Negri, London with his 46cm fish

House Rules

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.

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

 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 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.

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.

Another day passes on Sheelin

Another day passes on Sheelin

This post is in: Lough Sheelin, Trout fishing reports