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

Lough Sheelin's sedge
Lough Sheelin’s sedge

Over the past seven days Lough Sheelin has baked under blue cloudless skies and blistering heats of between 28 and 30 degrees. Met Eireann last Friday announced a partial drought for some parts of Ireland and our lake came under that unenviable title.  The definition of this kind of drought is 29 consecutive days with less than .2mm of rainfall which apparently we seem to have had.

Summer sunset on Lough Sheelin
Summer sunset on Lough Sheelin

Sweltering under these unfamiliar Mediterranean heats there is a reluctance among us to complain as we continually remind each other of the ’10 month winter’ when the Beast from the East incarcerated us in our homes for days at a time and so we lash on the sun cream and soak it up at every available opportunity reassuring ourselves that burning up is an necessity in preparation for another long and cold winter.

Ruairi Coleman, Swords Angling Centre
Ruairi Coleman, Swords Angling Centre

Whatever our reasoning is, hot weather like this is disastrous for good trout fishing coupled with the worrying fact that the nursery rivers feeding into Lough Sheelin are extremely low and suffering continual oxygen depletion as the temperatures remain high.  A discharge of any kind of pollution would undoubtedly result in a fish kill so we all need to play our part in being extra vigilant to prevent this from happening.

Frank Kelly, Cavan with his 5lb trout caught on a spent
Frank Kelly, Cavan with his 5lb trout caught on a spent

Lough Sheelin is a challenging and contrary lake to fish at the best of times so now along with this piscatorial fact an extra dimension of difficulty has been added by our present heat wave.

'Getting acquainted'
‘Getting acquainted’

Trout are cold water fish and they don’t like it when the water temperature gets too warm. They need lots of oxygen and the amount of oxygen water holds decreases the warmer it gets.  When the water temperature goes over 22 degrees (which it has done this week) the oxygen level drops so much that the trout get uncomfortable and typically they stop feeding until things cool down again. Of course, the water in lakes isn’t at a constant temperature throughout, unless there is wind (which we got little of this week – another angling obstacle) it becomes stratified – layers of warm and colder water.  Surface water gets warm but the depths and any shady spots often remain cool.  Fish can be caught during the day in hot weather but it will be much much harder.


Ned Clinton with his Murrough trout
Ned Clinton with his Murrough trout

This has been an extremely tough angling week here and although there are photographs and results from those that did catch fish, these anglers had to work tirelessly often through the night for their quarry. I appreciate their efforts more than most as I feared I might be producing an insect rather than an angling report for this week!

The future – a young Sheelin trout
The future – a young Sheelin trout

The majority of catches happened late into the night and in that first hour after dawn. There were few reports of fish moving until well after 11pm and because there were not considerable nocturnal temperature drops the trout were slow to become active again.  The trout, of course, just don’t just stop eating because it’s hot but they will confine their meal times to night time and early morning so certainly for this week this was the only window of opportunity open for striking lucky.


The biggest fish for June was caught by Scottish angler Mark Lough, an impressive 68cm beautifully conditioned Sheelin classic, caught on a spent pattern.

Mark Lough, Scotland with an impressive 68centimeters of Sheelin perfection (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com)
Mark Lough, Scotland with an impressive 68centimeters of Sheelin perfection

Total number of trout recorded: 23

Selection of Catches            

  • Frank Kelly, Cavan – 2 trout – 5lbs on a Spent Gnat pattern and 4 ½ lbs on a brown sedge (10pm).
  • Jim Condron, Kells – 1 trout at 4lbs using a Spent pattern.
  • Sean Reynolds, Cavan – 1 trout at 4lbs on a Spent Gnat pattern.
  • Cathal & Aidan Rush, Northern Ireland – fishing wet may fly patterns heaviest trout recorded 5 and 5 ½ lbs.
  • Brendan Corr, Belfast – 2 trout at 4 ½ and 5lbs using Spent patterns.
  • John Delaney, Northern Ireland – 2 trout heaviest at 3lbs fishing Murrough patterns in the Bog Bay area.
Trout caught by a Northern Ireland angler on a Yellow Wulff
Trout caught by a Northern Ireland angler on a Yellow Wulff

Hatches of mayfly were still in evidence on parts of the lake – Holywell to Crover, into Chambers Bay and around the islands.  There were small hatches of caenis in Goreport, Sailor’s Garden and Chambers Bay at first light. 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.


Cian Murtagh's trout on a French Partridge
Cian Murtagh’s trout on a French Partridge

Despite the constant searing heat here, the entomogical clock keeps turning and Sheelin is awash with all sorts of potential fish food – regardless of the dining apathy of the trout. Impressive hatches of sedges (at dusk), alder flies, buzzers, olives, some spent and the odd terrestrial inadvertently blown on the surface water all offered potential meals for the trout.  The terrestrials are interesting in that they may have aquatic relatives but none intentionally spend any of their life cycles in the water.  The bees, butterflies, damsel flies, spiders and so on only comprise less than 1% of trout food and they only become that statistic if they accidently get blown in front of the trout but there again this is sometimes just what the fish feel like.

The mayfly is still in evidence here but preferred the cool of the shoreline bushes with only a scattering of spent going out late on some evenings. There were some nice fish caught using spent patterns but the trout were still sluggish to avail of this surface food.

Lough Sheelin’s murrough
Lough Sheelin’s murrough

Murrough patterns and small brown sedge patterns in a size 14 or 16 brought in the majority of the catches for this week. The Murrough is consistently a late evening sedge, the ideal time is at dusk and using short pulls is best to imitate the natural as it leaves a big wake fluttering and agitating on the surface.  Best fished as a single fly either static or skated across the surface on a floating line.  Any shoreline with rocks can be promising for fishing this great red sedge, Lynch’s pt or in and around Chambers Bay.  There were impressive hatches of a variety of species of sedges along banks and in sheltered bays – Goreport, Bog Bay, at the back of Church Island, Crane Island and up along the western shore of the lake.

After the mayfly, anglers always hope that they will get a run at the sedge fishing before the appearance of a very popular trout food – the pinheads – shoals of tiny roach and perch fry which traditionally dominant the shallows particularly around Orangefield, Plunketts Pt. down along Derrysheridan and into Goreport. During the week, a Drogheda angler dashed these hopes when he spooned his fish caught in Bog Bay and found its stomach was bloated with fry. Once the trout become fixated on these fry it adds another challenge for the angler and really the best option is just to simply stay away from these areas.

This week provided ideal caenis fishing weather, calm and warm. Caenis is definitely a late evening and early morning sport, requiring perfect conditions and precision fishing using usually a single small fly – a grey duster in 14 or 16 might fit the bill but sometimes a fly as small as a size 22 is necessary so good eyesight is a requisite. A two team set up of a Balling Buzzer and the Duster is worth a try as well. In years gone by Sheelin saw big hatches of caenis but nowadays, for whatever reason their numbers have declined and although still holding on can only to be found in certain spots.

hard work

Lough Sheelin at the moment seems a lot of hard work but bolstered by a comment from angler Fennel Hudson’s which goes ‘I propose that it only matters that you attempt to catch a fish’ things will improve and there are a lot of good fishing opportunities lining up in front of us here – buzzer, bloodworm, murrough and green peter along with the myriad of sedges, apple green midges, terrestrials, daphnia and even imitations for those fry bashers.

Spent and Buzzer
Spent and Buzzer

This week’s weather promises to be cooler with freshening winds which bodes well for better fishing here.

The flies

Dry sedges
Dry sedges

The flies that were most used this week by anglers were the Murrough, a small brown sedge (12 -14 or smaller), Spent Gnat patterns, the Fiery Brown Sedge, the Chocolate Drop, the Grey Flag, the Hare’s Ear sedge, the Wulff (grey and yellow), the G&H Sedge, the Welshman’s Button, Klinkhammers, Balling Buzzer, Dry Buzzers and Bumbles.

In very hot weather, trout will often stop chasing flies so fishing a pattern static, either under an indicator or fishing a buoyant fly on a sinking line could help to attract fish. Their lethargic behavior means that they are more likely to take a fly that’s not moving much, or at even at all, so slowing down the retrieve or keep the flies completely static could be a good plan.

Aquatic snail
Aquatic snail


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.

The Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association will be hosting a Youth angling day on Saturday July 21st. For further details contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033 .

A trout of almost 3lbs caught on a spent pattern off Crover shore
A trout of almost 3lbs caught on a spent pattern off Crover shore

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

Damien release
Damien willis releases a fish for the future #CPRsavesfish

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

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

Resting up
Resting up


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.

tern chick
tern chick