‘Fishing makes us less hostages to the horrors of making a living. It is a time warp we may step into for a little peace’
Richard Harrison

Rusheen Bay, Lough Sheelin
Rusheen Bay, Lough Sheelin

Lough Sheelin or the Gaelic version Loch Siodh Linn means ‘Lake of the Fairy Pool’ and for this week, particularly last Friday, it seemed as if the head fairy had finally flicked the ‘on’ switch as this premier wild brown trout fishery became alive with rising trout and in the process silenced the months of negativity as it rose like a phoenix out of the ashes of human doubt.

Walter from France with his Sheelin trout
Walter from France with his Sheelin trout


Beautiful trout of all sizes were caught by lots of anglers and anyone who was out on the water over the past number of days was left in no doubt as to the huge trout stock that this lake holds. Incredulously the weekly returns took a momentous leap from a meagre twenty one to well over one hundred in just seven days.  It wasn’t just about catching, although of course that was a welcome bonus, anglers were having tremendous sport as well with one Northern Ireland angler rising 32 fish (catching 8) for a day’s fishing and then being unable to return to the water for the evening rise as ‘he was all fished out’.

Thomas Walsh, Naas with Lough Sheelin’s weight of the week, a beautiful 7 pounder caught on a Green Peter pattern at almost midnight on July 18th
Thomas Walsh, Naas with Lough Sheelin’s weight of the week, a beautiful 7 pounder caught on a Green Peter pattern at almost midnight on July 18th

The heaviest trout for the week was a 7lb trout caught by Thomas Walsh, Naas using a Green Peter pattern.

Total number of trout recorded: 128

Selection of Catches

  • Pat Marsh, Athlone – using at size 10 Greenwells Glory, fishing off  Derrysheridan on Friday July 20th 1 trout at 5lbs.
  • Richie McDermott Longford – 3 fish at 1.5 1.75 and 2.25 lbs on a Green Stimulator, July 16th.
  • Des Elliott, Dublin – 28 trout for the week, heaviest at 5lbs, rest weighed in at 1 ¾ to 3 ½ lbs, caught on wets – Mayfly, Bibio and Golden Olive Bumbles.
  • Thomas Harten, Cavan – 4 trout, best at 2 ¾ lbs on a dry Sedge.
  • Brian and Peadar McAvinney, Monaghan – 6 trout, best at 2lbs fishing dries on the surface.
  • William Craig, Northern Ireland – 8 trout, best weights at 3 and 5lbs, caught on sedge patterns.
  • Andrew Brown, Dublin – 3 trout heaviest at 3lbs caught on dry sedge patterns.
  • Mark Delaney, Dublin – 8 trout for the week, heaviest at 4lbs using Daddies and Stimulators.
  • Danny Murray, Dublin – 2 trout over 3lbs each fishing with wets, July 20th.
  • Pat Brady, Cavan – 4 trout averaging 2 ½ – 3 ½ lbs caught on Stimulators and Bumbles.

Best places for sedge fishing on this lake are behind Stony Island, Gaffney’s Bay, Ross Bay, Rusheen and the bottom of Goreport and Bog Bay.


It is important to understand or at least attempt to understand this sudden change in fish activity and (without being a kill joy) to be conscious at all times of the ‘set in stone’ fact that just because a water fishes well on one day that this is no guarantee that it will repeat that behavior on the following one.

Lough Sheelin’s ants – they can range from black to a reddish colour
Lough Sheelin’s ants – they can range from black to a reddish colour

There was plenty going on on the insect front here over the past week. On Monday a Dublin angler reported huge numbers of large trout feeding exclusively on ants – ‘sipping them on the slicks, a very slow take and hard to hook’, this same angler also reported plenty of trout feeding on small sedges but they were smaller trout.  Aquatic environs aren’t part and parcel of an ant’s make up but wind can toss them out on to the water surface where they then can make an irresistible treat for a passing trout.  Falls of ant which normally produce localized feeding usually occur maybe two or three times between now and the end of August and the triggers for these falls are dense heat and good cloud cover.  If an angler chances across these ant eating session and hasn’t any ‘ant’ tyings to hand a good stand in is to tie a couple of black knots on a hook and this will often do the trick.

An open and shut case – Lough Sheelin’s Green Peter – anglers are reporting the largest hatches of green peters ever seen on this lake.

Sedges dominated the dry fly fishing with anglers getting good numbers of trout fishing a variety of small sedge patterns in the surface film. There are over 200 species of sedge flies identified in Ireland but thankfully only 20 are of major interest to the angler here.  This year has seen colossal hatches of sedges and sometimes it can all get a little confusing but still it is important to get the basics right if you want to put the right fly out there.  The slang term ‘sedge’ originates from the fact that adult Caddis flies can often be found clinging to sedge grass near the water.  They have four wings, do not have tails but most have long antenna.  The Latin name for this group of flies is Trichoptera which is Greek for ‘hair wing’ which distinguishes them from moths who have scales instead that are tend to rub off when held.  At this part of the fishing season the sedge larvae are becoming pupae and armed with hair-fringed paddles this stage is much more animated than its previous larval stage. These make for the surface with an impressive turn of speed and as they emerge into the open water and their vulnerability is of considerable interest to trout.

Lough Sheelin’s Murrough
Lough Sheelin’s Murrough

Good sedge flies are the Goddard’s Caddis and the Elk Hair Caddis patterns.  A team of flies with some buzzers or nymphs along with a good sized Sedge suspending them with simple slow retrieves can work well.

Pat Marsh, Athlone with his superb 5 pounder caught last Friday off Derrysheridan using a size 10 Greenwell’s.
Pat Marsh, Athlone with his superb 5 pounder caught last Friday off Derrysheridan using a size 10 Greenwell’s.

There were some serious hatches of Green Peter, reportedly to be the biggest ever seen out on this lake. Green Peter fishing is very much a nocturnal pursuit usually starting when the light is fading into blackness and is not for the faint hearted.  Naas angler Tom Walsh caught the weight of the week, a fish touching on an impressive 7lb, using a Green Peter wet fly.  Green Peter fishing is by no means easy as the main adversary is the darkness so casting accuracy and even playing the fish can be challenging.  A lake turns into a different animal at night, you work on silhouettes and outlines and is not for the timorous angler but putting all this to one side sedge and particular this kind of almost exclusively nighttime  sedge fishing has to be one of the most thrilling and exhilarating of all the methods of fishing on this lake.  There is a kind of spiritual element about it, an escapism from that technologically hyped world that we are forced to belong to, enveloped in darkness hearing the fish feeding around the boat and bring the angler into what Jim Harrison refers to as ‘a time warp we step into for a little peace’.

The Flies

The most successful flies this week were the Daddies (Silver and Purple), a good combination was a Purple Daddy as the top dropper and a Pearly Green Dabbler on the point, Stimulators, small brown Sedge patterns (12 -14)and Black Gnat dry fly also got a look in. Other patterns catching fish were the Dabblers (Claret, Green and Silver), Klinkhammers, Murroughs and Bumbles (Golden and Cock Robin).

Other popular choices were the Murrough, a Small Brown Sedge (12-14 or smaller), the Stimulators, Green Peter patterns, Greenwell’s Glory, Mallard & Claret, the Golden Olive Bumbles, the Daddies (Silver and Purple), Klinkhammers, Sedgehogs, International Hoppers, the Bibio, Gorgeous George, Yellow Humpies, the Fiery Brown Sedge, the Chocolate Drop, the Grey Flag, hoppers, the Hare’s Ear Sedge, the Alexandra, the Sooty Olive, the red-tailed Green Peter, the Sedge Invicta, the G&H Sedge,  the Black Pennel, the Black Gnat, the Welshman’s Button, the Silver Invicta.

The clarity of the lake remains good except in patches in Goreport and Corru. Weed growth makes access difficult in certain bays particularly Corru.  All areas of lake accounted for fish catches this week.

More considerations

There is no doubt that daily weather patterns have a profound influence on the hatches and the feeding behavior of the trout here. Over the past number of days there has been good cloud cover and we have had some rain, not a lot but enough apparently to stir things up. Surface water temperatures are still high at 19 but at the same time are low enough not to deter trout movement.  Lough Sheelin fished well throughout the day and into the night and we can thank the succession of over cast days for the good ‘office hours’ fishing.  Both trout and aquatic insects tend to be more active in low light and cloudy conditions spread these light conditions over a longer part of the day.

mixed cloud
mixed cloud

This behaviour reflects one of the most basic generalizations about weather and that is that clouds are the anglers best friend.

For a very informative account of the senses of trout ‘Through the Fish’s Eye’ by Mark Sosin & John Clark is worth a read.

The timing and density of hatches also favours the angler on those cloudy days. On warm, bright days, hatch activity usually starts earlier in the day but will be shorter in duration, often producing brief but very intense activity.  Conversely, on cloudy days, hatches show a later onset, but will produce steady numbers of bugs for a longer period of time.  Other advantages, albeit small ones, to those clouds and grey mixed skies are that longer hatches give the angler a better opportunity to make some mistakes and still have time to catch fish.  There were huge hatches of sedges and with the higher humidity of an overcast day the wings of the emerging insects take that bit longer to dry which means the length of time when they are most vulnerable to marauding trout increases which in turn gives the angler more time to change patterns to one that might be more noticable among a raft of naturals.

Crover, Lough Sheelin

The second biggest contributary to a spectacular fishing week on this lake has got to have been the wind. Of all the vagaries of weather, wind is probably the one most dreaded by anglers but for this week, the wind behaved itself and the much coveted South to South Westerlies persisted across the water on most days.

Angling Events

The McDonnell cup

The McDonnell cup will be held on Saturday August 11th on Lough Sheelin, fishing from 11am till 6pm from Kilnahard pier… This competition has been fished catch & release for the last five years, which proved to be very successful. Measures will be provided for all boats with the cup awarded to the longest fish. This competition is open to members of the club only but membership is available on the day

There will be lots of prizes on offer and this day is generally viewed as a great day out.

For further details contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033.

Crover shore
Crover shore

Youth angling day

The Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association will be hosting a Youth angling day on Saturday July 28th. This day offers an exciting opportunity to our younger anglers.  The day includes a fly tying demonstration, 2 ½ hours on the lake with an experienced boatman, a Bar B Q and photo call as well as lots of prizes and further information on training programmes.

For further details contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033.

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 landed trout as high water temperatures 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: [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

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.