‘You usually have to wait for that which is worth waiting for’
Craig Bruce

July 23rd  –  August 19th 2018

Stuart Marry, Dublin on his ‘wonderful’ Lough Sheelin (August 15th)

Traditionally on Lough Sheelin, August is a month that tends to be mistakenly written off by many anglers, it is the middle child of the fishing season, a no man’s land sandwiched between the hype of the mayfly and the end of season improvement brought on by the movement of pre-spawning trout.
Christopher Defillon with his beautiful August trout

Over the past ten years or so there has been a comfortable predictability about the fishing here – early season for lures, mid-season for olives, buzzers, mayfly and sedges with the back end culminating in lures again and large fly patterns.
This year however complacency made us all guilty of forgetting that the only thing predictable about Lough Sheelin is its unpredictability.
A very happy French angler with his summer Sheelin trout

This piscatorial jewel has over the past three weeks turned its anglers on their heads, smashing all our trends and theories and producing consistently superb fishing with catches of 4, 5 and 6 lb being the norm and plenty of trout of all sizes being seen and caught.
Brian Jameson with one of his 4 trout caught using Bibios, Green George and Black Pennels

‘A picture may be worth a thousand words but well- chosen words will take you to where pictures never can’ and so along with plenty of photographs of beautiful fish I struggle to find those well-chosen words to describe what has been happening here, which in a nut shell can be said to be arguably the best fishing for over ten years.  Anglers have used words like ‘mad and brilliant, special and magical’ and for a few precious weeks happiness prevailed among the angling fraternity as it seemed everyone was catching fish and duffers fortnight had unobtrusively  moved from May to August.
John Chaney with a hefty 5lb trout caught mid lake on a Chocolate Drop

One of the biggest allurements about Lough Sheelin is its refusal to behave to our human rationale – mercurial and moody, capricious and incalculable, this stretch of water can swing from being a trout angler’s mecca to a biblical dead sea and we are left trying to figure out the next move in what would seem to be akin to some  complicated angling game of chess.
Tony Grehan’s trout of 3lbs, August 2nd 2018


Fishing started to radically improve here in mid July but at this stage exhausted by a frustrating mayfly many anglers were left disillusioned, demotivated and dismissive about this lake so although the angling drums were beating louder and louder  with the message that Sheelin was exploding into life, there was a lack of belief and only the true advocates of Sheelin returned and were amply rewarded for their faith.

Andrew Boyle, Chairman L. Owel angling club, July 28th – 4 fish best at 3 ¾ lbs

In order to put some sort of an understanding as to what has happened here we need to look at the weather, for those meterological patterns  and the angling performance of this lake is a partnership to which there can be no divide, an irrevocably intertwined marriage of nature which cannot be parted.
Declan Conlon (guided by Dessie McEntee) Chambers Bay

Quite simply Lough Sheelin is a premier wild brown fishery which carries and has the ability to carry one of the largest trout stocks unrivalled by any of its contempories.  When we lost our absolute drought status around mid to late July the weather changed to the more traditional Irish summer of warmth, rain and bouts of sunshine.  We were treated to weeks of excellent trout feeding conditions producing  near perfect fishing  because of a combination of warmth, south to south westerly winds and good cloud cover.  Good cloud cover played an integral part in some great fishing on this lake and was the Sheelin angler’s best albi.  I am reliably told that a milky ‘soft’ grey sky provides ideal fishing conditions.  Most anglers are only too aware of targeting the shadows but with the predominance of overcast weather for the past number of weeks, there was a shadow everywhere which meant that the trout were more confident to attack and to feed.  The fish feed this way because the cloud cover makes the water darker which means they can hide from their prey more efficiently and therefore hunt more effectively.  Once the sun breaks through a gap in the clouds, everything runs for cover and the opportunity dries up.
 Total number of trout recorded (July 23rd – August 19th) : 647
Brian Jameson with his 3lb trout caught in Rusheen Bay on a size 12 Black Pennel (24/7/17)

Selection of Catches

The heaviest trout over the past number of weeks  was a 8 ½ lb trout caught by Michael Hennessy, Dublin using a Silver Daddy fishing mid lake.

  • Andrew Boyle, Mullingar – July 28th 4 trout best at 3 ¾ lbs.
  • Des Elliott, Dublin – 11 trout heaviest at 4lbs, caught using Bibios, Claret Dabblers and Golden Olive Bumbles.
  • Ben McKay, Scotland – August 14th 5 trout at 3 and 4lbs fishing Daddies.
  • John Mulvanney, Kells – August 9th 6 trout for the day, best at 4 ½ lbs.
  • Frank Kelly, Cavan – August 10th 3 trout best at 3lbs.
  • Michael and Gerry Leddy, Stradone, Cavan – August 8th 4 trout best at 2.8lbs using Claret Hoppers, Black Pennels and Bibios.
  • Pat Magee, Northern Ireland – 1 trout at 3.7lbs, August 4th.
  • Niall Burns, Kingscourt, Cavan – 2 trout heaviest at 3 ½ lbs on wets, August 5th.
  • Peter Neeson, Antrim – August 13th 3 trout averaging 3lbs on Stimulators and Daddies.
  • William Craig, Northern Ireland – August 14th 6 trout heaviest at 6 ½ lbs on Golden Olive Bumbles.
  • Ronnie Child, Northern Ireland – August 14th 6 trout heaviest at 4 ½ lbs.
  • Brian Jameson – fishing mid lake, Church Island and Kilnahard 4 trout heaviest at 4 ½ lbs using Bibios, Green George and Black Pennels.
  • Cian & Dara Murtagh – 1 and 2 trout averaging 3 to 4lbs fishing Silver Daddies and Green Peters.
  • Gary McKiernan guiding 2 Northern anglers, August 11th 11 trout for the day best at 4lbs on wets.
  • Danny Murray, Dublin – 2 trout at 4 and 6lbs using Stimulators and Daddies.
  • Pat Foley, Monaghan – 13 trout, heaviest at 4 ½ using Bumbles, Stimulators and Daddies.
  • Pat Brady, Cavan – 7 trout heaviest at 6lbs, fish were caught using Golden Olive Bumbles and Bibios.

Water quality has remained good here despite the summer temperatures. The most popular fishing places were mid lake, from Church Island to Kilnahard, Chambers Bay, Derry Pt., Derrysheridan, Corru, the Long Rock, Lynch’s Pt. and Derrahorn.

Competitions Results

Two competitions were held on Lough Sheelin recently and results are provided below.

The McDonnell Cup

Pat Foley, Monaghan winner of the McDonald Cup

The competition which was held on Saturday August 11th attracted 32 anglers.  13 trout above 16” were weighed in and more than half the anglers recorded putting as many as 4 trout back. 45 trout were caught on the day.  Pat Foley, Monaghan won the cup with his 4.28lb fish with Niall Burns from Kingscourt coming in at second with a 4.1 lb fish and Pat Sweeney clipping in at their heels with a close third at 4.0 lbs.

The Garda Competition

Damien holding fish

This was held on Thursday August 16th.  19 anglers participated with 13 fish being weighed in.  The winner was Galway angler Phil Donohoe with a 4 ½ pounder, second was Vinny Hughes, Clones and third was Joe O’Connor, Cavan.

The Hatches

Agrypnia obsoleta – Lough Sheelin’s dark Peter

For the last week in July there were some excellent hatches of Green Peter and like the mayfly these seem to exceed all previous years figures but although there was a great rise of trout to these evening sedges it was difficult to connect to the fish and most anglers were left as frustrated onlookers watching the extensive rises as well as the seagulls who were mopping up the left overs.  Up to early August anglers were reporting the lake as being alive with trout pitching in all areas up to 10pm and later.  As the sedges decreased, day time and early evening fishing took off with plenty of fish on the move.
‘Night Flyer’
Lough Sheelin’s mighty Murrough

The deeper sections were initially the most productive as the shallows still struggled with higher temperatures but with dropping night time temperatures the band widened and soon all areas were producing good fishing.  Huge numbers of small trout were reported in the middle of the lake interspersed with some ‘pigs of fish’.  Over the past two weeks anglers fishing here have been left in no doubt as to the huge stock of trout that this lake holds with the words ‘stuffed’ and ‘shoulder to shoulder’ being bandied around.

The Flies

Most of the success here have been down to fishing wet flies.  There are still sedges on some evenings depending on the weather and small size 12 -14 dry patterns did produce the odd good result.

Trout's eye view of a sedge
Trout’s eye view of a sedge

All the old reliables appeared for the wet fly successes – Bibios, Daddies (Silver, Purple & Foam Bodied), Golden Olive Bumbles, Black Pennels, Stimulators, Red Tailed Peters, Green George, Red Breasted Peters, Chocolate Drops, Dabblers (Claret, Green, Pearly, Fiery and Silver), Greenwells Glory and a variety of Hoppers.
Daddy Long Legs by Jackie Mahon

August is of course terrestrial time so a fly with a bushy body (to create surface disturbance and attract attention) and gangly clumsy legs usually did the trick.  The Stimulator is a great attractor fly pattern for the warmer months and worked very well here.  This fly doesn’t resemble any specific type of insect, but does a great job at resembling a whole lot of bugs at the same time.  It floats high and has enough buoyancy to keep a nymph suspended below it when using a two fly rig. Mick Kelly’s Stimulator worked like a dream so if anyone can persuade him to part with one of these tyings they would be in business.
shipman's buzzer
Shipman’s buzzer

As the traditional Sheelin flies lined up next to large numbers of trout I was put in mind of Stevie Munn’s article on The Evolution of Flies.  In one section he refers to having just watched a TV documentary about Charles Darwein, the famous English naturalist whose theory of evolution is perhaps one of the greatest contributions ever made to science.  It was Darwin that came up with the term ‘Natural Selection’ which is one of the cornerstoens of modern biology.  The great man introduced this term in his groundbreaking 1859 book – On the Origin of Species.  It is a term that could be easily applied to great fishing flies as they are survivors of time due to the process of natural selection by the angler and more importantly the natural selelction of our quarry, the fish.  It’s simple if the flies are good they survive and if they are not they fade away.
Golden Olive Bumble
Golden Olive Bumble

The flies that also accounted for catches were the Murrough, a Small Brown Sedge (12-14 or smaller), , Mallard & Claret, the Golden Olive Bumbles, Klinkhammers, Sedgehogs, International Hoppers, 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 Sedge Invicta, the G&H Sedge, , the Black Gnat, the Welshman’s Button, the Silver Invicta.
sedge pattern
Sedge pattern

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

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: [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.

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