‘Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting’
Joyce Meyer

Kilnahard, Lough Sheelin
Kilnahard, Lough Sheelin

Lough Sheelin suffered from the remnants of storm Gert in the first two days of this fishing week, in the form of torrential downpours. It is a well-known fact that all weather, good or bad, has a direct effect on the trout here and therefore the anglers.  A capricious and changeable stretch of water at the best of times, a sudden influx of fresh cold water will automatically throw  out a different dice as the trout sink deep to avoid that sudden cold surface blast.  Despite this meteorological hiccup Lough Sheelin was a good place to be this week, for the fishing for some was excellent.  A number of 5lb plus trout in prime condition were reported as well as a fine selection of 2 to 3lb catches.  Big trout seemed to be on the move and anglers were treated to some aerial gymnastics by a few piscatorial exhibitionists.

‘Life is not measured by the breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away’
The ecstasy of a Sheelin trout – Owen Jacob, Dublin 25/8/17

The hatches

A late summer Sheelin olive – a Pheasant Tail Nymph is a good choice when fish are feeding on this insect
A late summer Sheelin olive – a Pheasant Tail Nymph is a good choice when fish are feeding on this insect
A Sheelin sedge - Agrypnia pagetana
A Sheelin sedge – Limnephilus species
Sheelin’s female Buzzer
Sheelin’s female Buzzer

Now, into late summer, this is a ‘not to be missed’ fishing stage on this lake with a plethora of ‘on the menu’ food available to the trout here with a corresponding artificial choice for the Sheelin angler.  There is definitely no shortage of insects with olives, sedges and buzzers being the three main courses (plus their metamorphical stages – larva, nymphs, emergers and adults) but along with these, to add further confusion to the equation, are the terrestrials and Sheelin’s Daphnia. To avoid getting bogged down in a entomological minefield it is important to keep it simple, for time and time again simplicity is the only thing that works on Sheelin so good advice is to go back to the traditional tried and tested patterns, those that have been used down through the years – the Raymond and the Dunkeld, the Dabblers, Pennells and Bumbles.

Happy French anglers (guided by Christopher Defillon)
Happy French anglers (guided by Christopher Defillon)

There are impressive numbers of a vast array of sedge species here but because their passage on to the water is very weather dependent and with consistently unfavourable hatching conditions for this week, the more predominantly nocturnal sedges like the Peters, Long Horn and Murrough seldom ventured out. Anglers did report some late afternoon/evening sedge fishing using size 12 – 14 brown dry sedge patterns.  A good combination for Northern Ireland angler Jordon Loughray was a dry sedge on the top dropper, a shipman’s in the middle and a suspended buzzer on the point, all of which landed him a 4 ½ lb Sheelin prize.  The Shipman’s imitating an adult buzzer is a good consistent fly for Sheelin.  This was a warm week and that warmth was reflected in the large number of buzzer hatches in the sheltered areas of the lake.

Nocturnal perfection - Lough Sheelin's Peter Sedge
Nocturnal perfection – Lough Sheelin’s Peter Sedge

A floating line was best with claret, silvers and greys being the dominant fly colours. Using a Maxima line 8lb strength is recommended, lighter will mean that although you’ll take in a fish, it will also mean a huge length of time playing him increasing the chance that he will die from exhaustion.

Lough Sheelin’s Peter sedge
Lough Sheelin’s Peter sedge

August is the month for hoppers, hoppers and more hoppers for we are in peak terrestrial time and fishing these imitations on a slick are brilliant in imitating those non-aquatic insects. Nearly all the flies that are getting results now seem to have the Daddy or Hopper legs, spindly appendages with the small knotted joints.  Some anglers tried dapping but although a traditional method of trout fishing, dapping Daddies or Grass Hoppers requires specific conditions, ideally a light wind and cloud and although there was good cloud cover this week, the wind with all its changeability made hard work for the dappers.

Sheelin’s Apple Green midge
Sheelin’s Apple Green midge

The catches

Peter Thompson, Dublin
Peter Thompson, Dublin

The best fishing areas of the lake were out from Church Island, the middle of the lake, Inchacup and around by the Long Rock. There was some good Murrough fishing at Lynch’s Point. Last week it was all about fishing in the middle of the lake but for the past seven days fishing has moved slightly outwards heading to points like Stony Island, Long Rock and Derry Point although not hugging these area and still favouring towards the centre of the lake.  Last Friday was the pick of the days with 4 boats out reporting eleven fish with a top weight of over 5lbs.

Unhooking a trout in preparation for the release

The heaviest fish for this week weighed in at 6 lbs caught by Belfast angler Mathew Grenshaw using a Claret Stimulator fishing out from Church Island, August 25th.

Total number of trout recorded: 52

Guided by Christopher Defillon
Guided by Christopher Defillon

Selection of Catches

  • Des Elliott, Dublin – 7 trout for 4 days, heaviest at 5 ½ and 3 ¼ caught on Black Pennells and Golden Olives.
  • Owen Jacob, Dublin – 4 trout heaviest at 5lbs on a Muddler.
  • John Chaney, Dublin – 1 trout at 3lbs using a Chocolate Drop Sedge fishing off Church Island, 25/8/17.
  • Paddy Brady, Cavan – 3 trout heaviest at 3lbs caught on Dabblers and Hoppers.
  • Danny Murray, Dublin – fishing with Lough Sheelin Guiding, 3 trout at 54, 56 and 60cm using wet flies.
  • Kevin Sheridan, Cavan – 2 trout at 1 ½ lbs on a Stimulator and 21″ on a Silver Dabbler.
  • Peter Thompson, Dublin – 1 trout at 63cm on wets guided by Lough Sheelin Guiding.
  • Enrico Fantasia, Dublin – 1 trout at 61cm (guided by Lough Sheelin Guiding).
  • Wilson Clingham fishing with Ned Shannon, Belfast – 3 trout averaging 3lbs each, using Gold and Black Dabblers.

The fresh cold surface water and changing winds meant there was little surface feeding so it was all about fishing teams of wet flies.  Obvious as it sounds if you don’t see fish boiling or occasionally breaking the surface, it’s a good bet that they’re holding down below (trout rarely feed on the surface, hitting insects in the surface film no more than 10 per cent of the time) and there was very little breaking the surface this week.

The flies

Midge pupa imitation
Midge pupa imitation

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, CDC Emergers, the Alexandra, 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.

Paul Caslin's Claret & Silver Dabbler
Paul Caslin’s Claret & Silver Dabbler

Other flies that got results were the Dabblers as top droppers (in black, gold, pearly and silver), the Black Pennell, Sedge patterns (particularly the Chocolate Drop), Daddies (in brown and claret), the Octopus (good for Daphnia feeders) and the Stimulators (as the top dropper with silver and claret flies as middle and point).

Paul Caslin's Bibio variants
Paul Caslin’s Bibio variants

The stimulator is a great attractor fly which doesn’t really resemble any specific type of insect but does a great job at resembling a whole lot of bugs at the same time. The Muddlers in all their variants and in particular the Muddler Minnow (when pulled through the top surface as part of a dry fly team) had high success rates.

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: [email protected]

Christopher Defillon
Tel: +33 68 596 4369  Email: [email protected]
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christopher.defillon

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

John Mulvany
[email protected] 086 2490076

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

Michael Farrell
Tel: 087 4194156 or  +353 43 6681298
Email: [email protected]

Michael Flanagan,
Trout and Pike Guide.
Email: [email protected] 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.

'Somewhere under the rainbow'
‘Somewhere under the rainbow’