May 7th – May 13th  2018

‘The greatest enemy of good is better’

Lawrence Hickey, Dublin with his perfectly marked Sheelin trout (released)

Lough Sheelin undeniably abides by its own rules and continually defies us, twisting and turning, never predictable and forever demanding observation and focus from the anglers that fish this capricious and moody stretch of water. We struggled through April, battling cold miserable weather, undesirable north to north easterly winds and poor clarity.  Although only in early season the tiring of this lake and its nutrient problems among the angling fraternity was palatable.  As Sheelin struggled with its issues interestingly and coincidentally  LAWCO (Local Authority  Waters and Communities Office)  during April ran a number of meetings within the Lough Sheelin catchment appealing to anyone with an interest in Lough Sheelin and its improvement  to attend, disappointingly very few turned up and the community water officer along with drawing up a vision for Sheelin out of these meetings also made this  observation ‘It seems from the discussions and from my limited experience of the catchment and the local villages I visited in the past few weeks that the local community has turned its back on Lough Sheelin. It has become a contentious space rather than the local treasure it should or could be’ – food for thought I think.

 A good day's fishing for Monaghan angler Peadar McAvinney, May 13th
A good day’s fishing for Monaghan angler Peadar McAvinney, May 13th

The Hatches

A Lough Sheelin Olive
A Lough Sheelin Olive

Now, into the month of May it seems as if the magic button of salvation has been pressed for here – the water has cleared, clarity is good and the insects have returned – lots of buzzer, a scattering of olives and a mired of unidentifiable chironomids are back and more importantly to those fishing this lake, the trout appear to be on the move, dragging themselves up from the depths and beginning to feed on the nymphs, emergers and adults.

May 8th – a good buzzer hatch but the water was too cold for the Sheelin’s mayfly.

For this week it has been all about the buzzer fishing with the Sailors Garden, Bog bay down into Goreport and round as far as Curry point being the main areas.  There are over 400 species of Buzzer which anglers thankfully don’t have to identify individually but it is good to remember that regardless of other food items available to trout, these midges in all stages of development play a big part in the trout’s meal plan.  One of the best indicators of recent buzzer activity is of course the floating shucks of the adults on the water and mud or silted areas with a reasonable depth of water are usually good places for this type of fishing. Sheltered areas on the lake are best as they warm up first, cold winds will always slow down hatches. The recent appearance of the swallows are useful as well in that they are fond of flying close to the surface mopping up emerging buzzers from the water as they hatch.

Romain Durand and Damiens Fenelon, France
Romain Durand and Damiens Fenelon, France

Anglers need to be clued up on all stages of the buzzer lifecycle. When this chironomid is getting near to hatching they lose their blood red colour and take on a more somber appearance. They then make their way from the lake bottom up through the water columns to the surface. This is achieved by a wriggly swimming action. They swim towards the surface then stop either to catch their breath or to wait for the right conditions to hatch. When they stop wriggling towards the surface they slowly sink back down before swimming upwards again. When they eventually reach the surface they hang from the surface film and hatch out in to adult buzzers or midges. It is however on the journey to the surface that Buzzers / Midges are at their most vulnerable. The midge pupae drift gently up to the surface where the survivors struggle to break through the surface film. Many do not make it, especially if the water is very choppy or if a flat calm has allowed oily film to form. At this stage trout patrol the surface sipping in huge quantities of hatching midges.

Brian McAvinney, Monaghan with his 5 ¼ lb trout, May 13th
Brian McAvinney, Monaghan with his 5 ¼ lb trout, May 13th

It cannot be over stressed that for success with nymph fishing, the speed of the retrieve should be as slow as possible and that contact with the flies should be maintained at all times.

Lough Sheelin’s Ephemera danica

One or two mayfly have been spotted in the later part of this week, at Kilnahard and Crover with a few shucks on the water at Plunkett’s pt, it is still early days here for Ephemera and because of the mixing of spring with summer it is difficult to tell when the main hatches will occur but suffice to say Met Eireann are giving a promising ‘mayfly’ weather forecast for the next 7 days.

Sheelin may fly
Sheelin may fly

The Catches

Christopher Defillon, May 7th
Christopher Defillon, May 7th

There were some days and evenings when the fishing was considered ‘excellent ‘by some, with catches steadily making the 4lb plus mark and this is where Sheelin rises like the cream to the top, ahead of many of its contemporaries because there is always that heady mixture of anticipation and expectation that on this or that particular day you land that dream fish.

Nico, France (+33685964369)
Nico, France
evas[email protected] (+33685964369)

Michael Farrell after a 40 minute play and losing his line along with most of his backing line into the bargain eventually netted 9lbs of wild piscatorial perfection which put me in mind of this week’s quote because as the angling drums beat with this news there wasn’t one angler who didn’t comment that they couldn’t get better.  So, thanks to Michael already the bar is set high.

‘Simply the best’ Michael Farrell’s 9lb trout (released) [email protected]

The biggest fish for the week was Michael Farrell’s trout weighing in at an impressive 9lbs

Total number of trout recorded: 45

Selection of Catches            

  • Peter McArdle, Dundalk – 6 trout totaling 29 lbs heaviest at 5 ½ lbs, all on buzzer patterns.
  • Michael Farrell – May 8th 8 trout, smallest at 4lbs, heaviest at 9lbs.
  • Brian and Peadar McAvinney, Monaghan – May 13th 9 fish in total, heaviest for Brian was 5 1/4 and 5lbs for Peadar.
  • Donal Ryan – 5 trout, all over 4lbs on buzzer patterns.
  • Lawrence Hickey, Dublin ( – 2 trout at 55 and 56 cm.
  • Gary McKiernan – 6 trout, best at 65 cm using Buzzer patterns.
  • David Trent, Dublin – 3 trout @ 12lbs in Bog Bay using small black Buzzer patterns.
The release of Michael Farrell's 9lb fish
The release of Michael Farrell’s 9lb fish #CPRsavesfish

The Flies

Billy Boland’s Shuttlecocks

With the lures finally taking a back seat it was the buzzer and nymph patterns that took centre stage – the Pheasant Tail Nymph, the Diawl Bach, the Hare’s Ear and Olive Nymph (size 12 & 14).

Nico, France (+33685964369)
Trout on a Diawl Bach

A combination of an Olive Bumble on the top dropper and two nymphs for the middle dropper and point worked well. The Claret Bumble, the Sooty Olive, Mallard & Claret Nymph, the Bibio, Shuttlecocks, Klinkhammers, Black Buzzers and Silver & Fiery Brown Dabblers.

Andy (

Andy (

Best areas were Stony Island, at the back of Church Island, Merry Pt, Inchacup, Chambers Bay and from Kilnahard down to Crover. Bog Bay, Sailors Garden and into Goreport.

A Klinkhammer variant
A Klinkhammer variant

The Klinkhamer, originally named LT Caddis (light tan), was devised by a Dutch angler Hans van Klinken, in the early 80’s to imitate an emerging caddis fly to catch trout which feed from them as they float in the surface film. This pattern has proven to be an extremely effective fly on Sheelin. Klinkhamers are different from many other parachute dry flies in that the thorax of the fly is designed to hang down ‘through’ the surface of the water to imitate an emerging insect. The abdomen serves as a trigger point which penetrates the surface film, which gets noticed by trout from great distances, even before any resulting surface footprint features.

Damiens Fenelon, France
Damiens Fenelon, France

In all variations of this fly, the abdomen of the fly float is underneath the surface of the water to attract the fish and improve hookups, while the parachute hackle and foam or wing is on or above the surface of the water for visibility and flotation.

Christopher Defillon with Frank Roquin, France
Christopher Defillon with Frank Roquin, France

Go Fishing…

House Rules

A permit is required to fish Lough Sheelin. Buy your permit online at: or from any of the permit distributors listed here.

Andrius Ferria releasing the future
Andrius Ferria releasing the future

A catch & release policy is actively encouraged on the lake at all times #CPRsavesfish

 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…

  A slab of a trout from Sheelin (released)
A slab of a trout from Sheelin (released)

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]

Lough Sheelin Guiding Services
Tel: 087 1245927 Web:

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:

A small 12oz trout (released)
A small 12oz trout (released)


Lough Sheelin
Lough Sheelin – no matter how safe it looks you need a lifejacket

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.

Lough Sheelin’s water carpet moth
Lough Sheelin’s water carpet moth