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Steady catches with trout to 8lb on Sheelin

October 1st, 2018 | by

‘They say that to catch wild brown trout, you have to be near invisible’

Jimmy D.Moore


Jack Spratt, Northern Ireland with his beautiful 3lb 14oz Sheelin classic (September 29th)

Jack Spratt, Northern Ireland with his beautiful 3lb 14oz Sheelin classic (September 29th)

Mornings are later, evenings are shorter and there’s already a distinct nip in the air – autumn’s chilly tentacles are finally starting to tighten around us. It’s that time of the year where, when out fishing on this lake you begin to feel as if you shouldn’t be there, that you’re somehow on borrowed time.

The back drop to Lough Sheelin is gradually changing colour from previous greens to multitudes of browns, oranges, yellows and reds.  The first frosts of the season occurred this week and Keats ‘seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ was re-enacted as shrouds of mist consistently blanketed Lough Sheelin’s surface in the early mornings.

Gerry Teggart, Belfast with his beautiful Sheelin trout

Gerry Teggart, Belfast with his beautiful Sheelin trout

Although we are at the very back end of the trout season here there is still plenty of enjoyment and good fishing to be had out on this lake.  This is a magical and special time for the angler for it is this part of the season that perhaps offers the biggest opportunity of catching one of Sheelin’s much fantasied heavy weights.  From September on, the trout are in pre-spawning mode and included in this mix of moving trout are, of course, the larger, perhaps wiser and much coveted bigger fish.  These are the trout that spend most of the season feeding down in the lower water columns, seldom gracing the upper layers until now when their mission is to gather at pre piscatorial planned points in the lake before their eventual run to the river to spawn from late October onwards.

boat on sheelin


Lough Sheelin produced a steady number of catches on all days this week despite weather conditions wavering between bright and sunny, cloudy and warm. Anglers fixated about good cloud cover and south to south westerly winds but the weather did not always oblige and those northern cold winds crept in followed by mirror calm conditions.  Regardless of the unpredictability of the autumnal weather coupled with Sheelin’s mercurial temperament amazing trout in prime condition were recorded, averaging 3 to a top weight of 8lbs.

Michael Byrne

Michael Byrne, Clonee with his first ever fish on Sheelin, a 5lbs 12oz slab of perfection (released)

The areas of the lake which fished best (weather dependent) where mid lake, the back of Church Island, the Long Rock, Merry Point, Stony and from Derrahorn down along the western shoreline.

The heaviest trout for the week was an 8lb trout caught by Dominic Murphy, Tallagh, Dublin

Total number of trout recorded: 57

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Selection of Catches

  • David Kidd, Northern Ireland – 1 at 4lbs on wets.
  • Gerry Teggart, Belfast – 1 at over 6lbs
  • Tony Grehan, Dublin – 1 at 3lbs on a Claret Sedge at Crane Island.
  • Tommy King, Northern Ireland – 2 trout at 3 and 3.10lbs using Daddy variants.
  • Pat Magee, Northern Ireland – 1 at 2lbs fishing green wets.
  • Cal Healy, Cork (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) – 4 trout 2 ½ to 4lbs fishing Dabblers and Peters.
  • Lawrence Hickey, Dublin – 2 trout heaviest at 5 ½ lbs fishing Claret Dabblers.
  • Michael Byrne, Clonee – 1 trout at 5lbs 12ozs (September 30th).
  • Pat Brady, Cavan – 2 trout at 3 and 2 ½ lbs using Cock Robins and Bibios.
  • Frank Smith, Coothill, Cavan – 3 trout heaviest at 4lbs using Claret Dabblers and Gorgeous George.
  • Michael Shaw, Dublin – 2 trout heaviest at 4 ½ lbs using Pearly Dabblers on an intermediate line.

The McIntyre/Guider Cup was held on Saturday September 29th and despite breezy cold sunny cloudless conditions, trout of 5, 4 and 3lbs were landed. This is a nice competition organised by Dessie McEntee and with the biggest competition of the season looming in the horizon on the following Saturday October 6th, you would imagine this one would offer an excellent warm up to this event.  Suggesting this to last Saturday’s competitors was a mistake as the response was that ‘every day is a practice day’ on Sheelin and that these waters could be alive one day only to be like the dead sea on others.  There is seemingly no pattern to this lake as far as the trout are concerned, sometimes they are there and sometimes they vanish.

Dessie McEntee

Dessie McEntee with his winning 5lb 1oz trout at the McIntyre/Guider Cup (September 29th)


At this time of the season there is little or no point arriving too early in the morning as the water needs to ‘come to life’ at this time of the year. Terrestrials like daddies are at their most active from mid morning and generally it’s the middle hours of the day, veering towards the afternoon that will be the most productive.  The temperature drop in the evenings is guaranteed to send the fish down and out of casting range.

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The flies that were successful were a mixed bunch from dry Daddies, Gorgeous George, Stimulators, Dabblers, CDC Sedges, Leggy Peters, Red Tailed Peters, Hoppers,Telephone Flies, tiny dry sedges, large lure like creations, Silver Invictas, Sedgehogs and Bibios.  It was interesting to see the lures creeping back in and Kevin Sheridan’s streamer (see photograph included in the report) which took a 3 pounder looks as if it might be something that you’d find in the reptile section of a pet shop.  Minkies and Humungus seem to be back on the menu for the final weeks (apologies to the purists out there).

Kevin Sheridan’s Streamer – responsible for a 3lb trout

Kevin Sheridan’s Streamer – responsible for a 3lb trout

A competition gives me a great opportunity to have a proper look at what anglers are putting on lines and because it’s close to the end of season here there’s a more relaxed approached to sharing those ‘secret’ flies. Claret still features heavily in fly colour but greens and browns are holding their own too.  Patterns are the traditional ones – the daddies, bibios, Peters and dabblers with a thousand and one angler variants imposed on these.  One Northern angler showed me one of his most successful flies which was effectively a collapsed Daddy, a Daddy pattern which after being used frequently had lost its body and was a flattened straggly version of its original self, green with a hint of sparkle, this was the fly that had nailed him 5 or 6 fish during the week.

Sheelin’s Gorgeous George

Sheelin’s Gorgeous George

Angling magazine ‘Trout Fisherman’ has an interesting twist on the usual Match The Hatch theory changing it to Match The Thatch implying that fish fall to a fly that matches not so much the bug as its back ground so it’s all about browns, reds, greens and golds in fitting with the changing shoreline foliage.

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Anglers are having no problem moving fish but many stumble at the final post i.e. to actually get the fish to take the fly. There are two reasons why trout change their minds at the last minute when it comes to a fly, either the pattern is just not close enough to the shape of the real thing or else they have seen the line and have become spooked.  This week intermediate lines had the edge on the floating ones and going down that bit deeper proved a more successful ploy.

Upcoming Competitions

Stream Rehabilitation Competition

stream rehab competition

Click to download leaflet [pdf]

On Saturday October 6th Lough Sheelin’s angling club The Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association will host their annual Stream Rehabilitation Competition starting at Kilnahard from 11am to 6.0pm.

All proceeds of this event go towards the enhancement and rehabilitation of the rivers within the Lough Sheelin catchment.

The club and organisers of this competition, now in its thirteenth year, welcome all anglers who wish to fish one of the best wild brown trout fisheries in Ireland and to experience first-hand the magic and allure of this lake which has the potential to produce the heaviest trout in the country.

Denis O’Keefe Memorial Cup

The LSTPA have added an additional cup on to their list this year, this cup is in honour memory of great angler and Sheelin advocate – Denis O’Keefe and will be awarded to the best member over the 3 senior competitions (Kilroy Cup (18/3/18), the McDonald Cup 9 11/8/18 & The River Enhancement Comp. 6/10/18).

For details please contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033

Cavan/Monaghan Garda Divisional Fly Fishing Championship and Open Competition

The Cavan/Monaghan Garda Divisional Fly Fishing Championship and Open Competition will be held at Lough Sheelin on Sunday October 7th from Kilnahard Pier, 11a.m – 5.30p.m.

Weigh in at 6.30pm and meal at Pat Bannon’s Pub, Ballyjamesduff. Entry fee of €25 taken at Kilnahard.

This competition is for:  The Heaviest fish – visitors and The Heaviest fish – Cavan/Monaghan Division Garda Members.

For further details please contact  Colin Dodd 086 6000630Pat Foley 087 2405313 or Dessie McEntee on 086 8937568.

Go Fishing…

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.

Catch and release

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


Extra care is needed when playing and releasing trout during periods of high water temperatures as additional stress at these times will decrease the survival rate of hooked and released fish.

 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

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.

‘Into the clouds’

‘Into the clouds’

This post is in: Lough Sheelin, Trout fishing reports