‘I fish to dip into that great and awesome pool of power that propels these epic migrations. I fish to feel – and steal – a little of that energy’.

Carl Safina

Catch and Release
A chance to recover before a safe release. #CPRsavesfish

There are two separate dates which could be said to mark the start of autumn. The astronomical one of September 22nd and the meteorological one which begins on September 1st.

Lough Sheelin’s trout behaviour has always been intrinsically and irrevocably intertwined with the weather so it is the meteorological date of last Saturday that we choose to mark the back end of the fishing season here.

Dawn at Crover, Lough Sheelin

Autumn can offer a series of distinct challenges to the angler that are specific to the season. Water levels on this lake are still low and clarity in most areas good, temperatures are dropping,  sun angles shifting and like previous weeks natural hatches have tapered off.  There were however small hatches of sedges increasing during the mid day heat along with the appearance of autumn olives, dancing in bushes, too scattered in numbers unfortunately to be of any account to our marauding trout.

Its difficult to hold on – Greg Muldowney, Dublin tries to keep hold of this substantial catch
Its difficult to hold on – Greg Muldowney, Dublin tries to keep hold of this substantial catch

This week encompassed the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, early mornings were marked by encroaching darkness and  lower temperatures, that familiar soft gauzy covering of cobwebs across shoreline bushes and the feral penetrating call from the number of buzzards which soar over this lake , a sound that is evocative of this beautiful wild aquatic landscape.

Danny Murray, Dublin – catching between sunshine and cloud
Danny Murray, Dublin – catching between sunshine and cloud


Lough Sheelin presented good fishing opportunities for its anglers this week. I find, more than at any time of the season, that anglers spend a great deal of time looking up into the sky, fixating about cloud cover and rightly so because it is those dull, sultry conditions that spur the fish into feeding in contrast to the bright sunshine which drives them down deep.

Christopher Defillon with one of Lough Sheelin’s finest
Christopher Defillon with one of Lough Sheelin’s finest

Although takes and catches for the Sheelin angler have slowed down here, good catches of mixed weights of fish were recorded and the trout continued to be very visible with their display of aerial jumps and dives. Every angler fishing this lake is currently witnessing the impressive show of trout that this lake holds.  There are vast numbers of small trout in this lake but there is also a substantial percentage of those heavy weights which Lough Sheelin is renowned for – fish of 4, 5, 6lbs and above.  One angler reported that there were so many ‘heavy’ trout rises that he suspected that someone was dropping concrete blocks from the air into the water beside his boat and when he told a neighbouring boat this their reply was that they thought he was throwing them back at them!

Cal Healy, Cork with his 59cm trout
Cal Healy, Cork with his 59cm trout

The heaviest trout over the past number of weeks was a trout of 8lbs caught by Denis Kennedy, Dublin on Wednesday August 29th  using a yellow Stimulator.

Total number of trout recorded:  67

Selection of Catches

  • Danny Murray, Dublin – 1 trout at 48cm on Dabblers.
  • Cal Healy, Cork – 1 trout at 59cm using a team of wets.
  • Pat Brady, Cavan – 2 trout at 2 and 3lbs on Gorgeous George patterns.
  • Mark Kinade, Dublin – 7 trout best at 4lbs using Stimulators and Dabblers.
  • Mark Douglas, Northern Ireland – 3 trout biggest at 45cm using Peters and Dabblers.
  • Gary McKiernan (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) – 15 trout for the week heaviest at 3 ½ lbs using Stimulators, Dabblers and Green Peter patterns.
  • David Trent, Dublin – 2 trout best at 5lbs caught mid lake on a George variant.
  • John Kilroy, Northern Ireland – 2 trout at 3 and 3 ½ lbs caught on Stimulators and Fiery Brown Dabblers.
  • Owen Jacob, Dublin – 3 trout, August 28th , heaviest at 3lbs using Stimulators.

The trout here are very active with their crashing, splashing and dashing back beneath the surface and this is great to see but it can also be intensely frustrating to the onlooking angler casting endlessly, with few if any hook-ups to show for the effort, to fish that they are know are there because of numerous piscatorial aerial rocketing. Its hard not to take it personally.

Christopher Defillon with his magnificent Sheelin trout
Christopher Defillon with his magnificent Sheelin trout

Everyone has their own theory as to why the fish jump in this way – from getting rid of lice, to jeering at the anglers to the approach of the spawning run but I think the best line of thought is from angler Dennis Dobson who is convinced that ‘Mother Nature sees to it that every organism above a certain point in the food chain is blessed with enough sense of self to enjoy being what they are. One universal expression of this joy is the exuberance of physical activity.  In other words, fish jump because they can.  Because it feels good’.  It’s that simple and for Sheelin these leaping antics adds the very comforting reassurance that this lake is stuffed to the gills with superb wild trout.

Mark Douglas, Northern Ireland with one of his Sheelin catches
Mark Douglas, Northern Ireland with one of his Sheelin catches

15 – 20 boats frequented these waters on most days with an increase at the weekend despite being in direct competition with the All Ireland Final.

Anglers are still favouring the Church Island to Finea end of the lake but it was the deeper areas around the middle of the lake which were the most productive.

‘Tools of the trade’
‘Tools of the trade’


The trout here were going daft on daphnia so it was the deeper sections of the lake which reported the best results. Good cloud cover will rise daphnia to the surface but as sunlight increases these plankton will move deeper in the water column.  It has been widely accepted for years that orange seems to be a particularly good colour to use for daphnia feeding trout, apparently in sufficient mass these microscopic bugs have a somewhat orange colouration but whatever the reason orange does seem to do the business much of the time.


George Variants
George Variants

Flies that worked well were the ones sporting strong colour at the tail, bright greens, reds and oranges. Brightly coloured gaudy lures worked well too.

Dry fly fishing again took a back seat for this week with teams of wets being the norm. The favourite flies being used are the Stimulators (as a top dropper), the Daddies (particularly silver but more so in dark brown), the Raymond, the Bibios, Golden Olive Bumbles, Gorgeous George & variants, Humpies, Red tailed Peters, Hoppers (used as a point fly) and the Dabblers (Fiery Brown, Silver, Claret and Green).

Variants inclusive of those hopper gangly legs worked well as we are still in terrestrial time and the trout seldom resist this non aquatic bug imitation.

Floating lines work well for now with a concession, depending on depth, of using a sink tip. There are still a vast array of artificial flies on the market but remember these are to catch fishermen and most probably not fish so keep it simple, use the old reliables remembering that confidence is the key to success, confidence in the fly and how you work your team wins over every time over fancy names and zany patterns.

It is still a little early to be thinking about the trout starting to move towards their spawning areas so all the usual favourite drifts are still good for another few weeks.

boat on sheelin

Upcoming Competitions

The McIntyre/Guider Cup

The McIntyre/Guider Cup – Saturday September 29th, 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.

Stream Rehabilitation Competition

Click to download the 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

A night time catch on Sheelin
A night time catch on Sheelin

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 will be at 6p.m sharp at Crover House Hotel.

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

Meal afterwards in Hotel Kilmore

For further details please contact Dessie McEntee on 047 77216 or 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

Lough Sheelin’s ‘Gold’ #CPRsavesfish

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: [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.

The end