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Sheelin trout fishing: Good but hard in erratic conditions

August 24th, 2017 | by

‘It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see’
Henry David Thoreau

A Sheelin sedge

A Sheelin sedge

August is a fishing month that can sometimes be mistakenly written off by anglers as being slow and sluggish with not much happening, a month of ‘resting up’ as such before that final blast into the last leg of the trout fishing season.

Ned Shannon, Belfast with his 5 ½ August trout

Ned Shannon, Belfast with his 5 ½ August trout

Despite having struggled with water clarity issues, Lough Sheelin is pulling away from its contemporaries and is producing some excellent and diverse fishing for those tenuous anglers whose passion for this stretch of water can, at times, be only admired.  I am definitely in awe of those anglers who display a continuous and unwavering faith in this unique stretch of trout fishing water and because of their faith often reap the benefits.

Fishing on Lough Sheelin this week has been good but hard and it is important to note that word hard.

The hatches

One of the many Sheelin sedges

One of the many Sheelin sedges


Catch and release is encouraged on this lake but still in order to know what exactly the fish are feeding on, an odd spooning job is necessary – buzzer pupa and a terrestrial, along with a greenish and orange mush were the results from one stomach content last week.  Late summer is terrestrial time and trout love the nutrient packed meal for one of a Daddy Long Legs, fly or beetle that inadvertedly tumbles on to the water, adult buzzers are there in good numbers in the evenings in the sheltered areas so it was no surprise seeing their pupa but the other greenish/orange mush present was Sheelin’s water fleas or Daphnia.

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Daphnia of course are not actually fleas they are only sometimes referred to as that because of their minuscule size and this size of course makes it impossible to recreate perfectly an individual so instead the angler heads for a minic of a group of Daphnia to lure the trout.  Trout feed on Daphnia by swimming around with their mouths open, simply gulping groups of them at a time.  Although there are quite a few options when it comes to colour as Daphnia are quite varied in their appearance, if the water is dark or murky as it is at present, go for the bright colours – orange and yellow.  Bobs Bits and Humpies are good but bright Streamers, Zonkers, Damsel Nymphs and Buzzer larvae patterns can also work.  Trout know that Daphnia only sink very slowly so you want to fish it while it is sinking as opposed to on the retrieval.  On days where the trout seem to be extra elusive using flies that mimic Daphnia just might make the difference.

A Sheelin Buzzer

A Sheelin Buzzer

Lough Sheelin is a lake full of human contradictions so in order to give as accurate an account as possible the only way is for me to get out there myself, for example this week  a worried angler sought me out to inform me that there was a big reduction in the sedge numbers this year on Sheelin and that he had seen hardly any, well, I can contradict that one, as for the past number of weeks I have been amazed and bewildered by the huge quantities of sedges that are at Sheelin.  In fairness to my worried angler, the weather has been unkind to our sedges and because of the rain and winds, the Sheelin sedges have been regularly stuck in the bushes and not in evidence out on the water but rest assured they are there and in vast numbers.  There was some sedge fishing this week with two 3lb plus fish caught on a Murrough pattern and a Green Peter.  The best sedge fishing remains in the evening and those first hours of darkness and with the recent chilling down of temperatures are not a popular option with anglers.

Stomach contents of a trout - Corixa, buzzer pupa & a terrestrial fly

Stomach contents of a trout – Corixa, buzzer pupa & a terrestrial fly

The Catches

‘No Kiddin' Davey Kidd, Belfast with a beautiful 3 pounder using a George pattern, fishing around Church Island

‘No Kiddin’
Davey Kidd, Belfast with a beautiful 3 pounder using a George pattern, fishing around Church Island

On Thursday August 18th, the Ulster Shield was held on Sheelin.  Bright sunny conditions prevailed but despite this far from ideal weather there were no complaints as there were lots of trout seen and a fair amount of misses.  Seven trout were weighed in for sixteen anglers with the winner being Dundalk angler Vinny Connell with a lovely 3lb 11oz fish.

Ned Shannon’s fish of 5 ½ lbs

Ned Shannon’s fish of 5 ½ lbs

The best areas for fishing on the lake this week were Lynch’s pt (good for Murrough and Green Peter hatches) , Chambers Bay, the middle of the lake, Ross Bay round to Derrahorn, Inchacup and off Wilson’s Point.

Peter Neeson, Northern Ireland

Peter Neeson, Northern Ireland

The heaviest fish for this week weighed in at 6 ½ lbs caught by Dublin angler Finten Blakely using a Silver Dabbler fishing in the middle of the lake.

Total number of trout recorded: 32

Selection of Catches

  • Kenneth O’Keefe and Jack Egan, Cavan – 5 trout averaging 2 ½ to 3 ½ lbs.
  • Ned Shannon, Belfast – 1 trout at 5 ½ lbs
  • Des Elliott, Dublin – 1 trout at 2lbs using an Octopus, August 15th.
  • Davey Kidd, Belfast – 1 trout at 3lbs using a George pattern, fishing around Church Island.
  • Vinny Connell, Dundalk – 1 trout at 3lbs 11ozs using wet flies.
  • Mark Bradshaw, Dublin – 3 trout averaging 2 ½ lbs using Stimulators and Daddies.
  • Cian & Dara Murtagh, Cavan – Friday August 18th 5 trout averaging 2 – 3lbs on Daddies and Dabblers.




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Rain? Just a good sky



The Flies

Sedge patterns for Sheelin

Sedge patterns for Sheelin

The flies that were most successful over the past number of days were the Silver Invictas, the Pearly Dabblers, the Claret Bumbles, the Claret George, Daddies, Hoppers, Dabblers (Claret, Green and Silver) 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, the Hare’s Ear Sedge, CDC Emergers, the Alexandra, the red-tailed Green Peter, the Mallard & Claret and the G&H Sedge.

A Murrough pattern

A Murrough pattern

The best line to use at the moment is a floating line (forget the midge/sink tips for the time being) and of course it is the top dropper (in a 3 rig set up) that is the most important – one angler tells me that his top dropper has become a permanent feature for the season while the point and middle are replaced frequently as they become chewed and battered. Because of the discoloured water, bright flies are a good choice.  The wet flies that featured most was the Octopus, Gorgeous George (and variations), Bob’s Bits, Humpies, Daddies and the Dabblers.  Claret is still in there as the top colour.

Silver Invicta - Kevin Sheridan

Silver Invicta – Kevin Sheridan

I don’t know whether this is an Irish or universally human thing but sometimes we have a habit of asking a question and then answering it ourselves without listening to the person to whom we have asked the question.  Sheelin anglers in general have a reluctance to share information but those that do wryly comment to me that they are seldom listened to – ‘use a floating line’ being the advice at the moment but ‘sure would you not use an intermediate ‘ is the reply from the angler who is continually blanking – I rest my case…

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)

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.

The lake of dreams

The lake of dreams

This post is in: Lough Sheelin, Trout fishing reports