‘I think I fish, in part, because it’s an anti-social, bohemian business that, when gone about properly, puts you forever outside the mainstream culture without actually landing you in an institution’

John Gierach

Andrew Brown, Dublin with a trout tipping the scales at 7lbs caught on a size 10 Dabbler
Andrew Brown, Dublin with a trout tipping the scales at 7lbs caught on a size 10 Dabbler

Autumn moved on another notch this week. Cold and fresh south westerly winds swept over Lough Sheelin, chilly nights produced misty mornings and heavy dews, the legacy of moisture-laden air, trapped and exposed on spider webs, draped heavily over shore line bushes. There was a noticeable falling of leaves and their drying on concrete and laneways made good scuffling material particularly heading down to Kilnahard pier.

Ben McKay, Scotland tipping the scales at over 6lbs
Ben McKay, Scotland tipping the scales at over 6lbs

Sheelin’s western counterparts closed their aquatic doors to anglers on September 30th and this had a knock on effect here by increasing angling numbers substantially for this week.  Anglers would appear to be trying to wring out that last bit of fishing before the close of play on October 12th.

The back end of the season – that last chance saloon, where most struggle on a mental see saw between throwing in the towel or keeping going to the very last minute, clinging on to the hope of landing that mystical Sheelin heavy weight.

Richie Johnston’s trout, October 4th
Richie Johnston’s trout, October 4th


The fishing on Lough Sheelin this week similar to previous weeks was good and in some incidences very good. The weather influences the movement of the fish and there was a mixed bag of it over the past seven days but still there always seemed to be some gap in the meteorological pattern that was conducive to some excellent action which resulted in wonderful takes and catches of the cream of Sheelin i.e. trout over 4lb with 5, 6 and 7 pounders featuring frequently in the records.  Local angler, Andrew McFarlane broke the ‘specimen’ duck for this season by landing himself a stunning trout weighing in at a hefty13lbs 9ozs with a breathtaking length of 76cm, Andrew had been warming up to this trout by catching a 7lb 5oz one a few days before hand.  He informed me that a friend of his had caught one of 15lbs 2oz some years before but that record seemed to have slipped through the proverbial angling net.

Andrew McFarlane with the weight of the season a 13lbs 9oz trout
Andrew McFarlane with the weight of the season a 13lbs 9oz trout

The heaviest trout for the week and the season was a 13lb 9oz trout caught by Finea angler Andrew McFarlane

Total number of trout recorded: 127

Selection of Catches

  • Pat Brady, Cavan – 2 trout at 3 and 3 ½ lb on Silver and Claret Dabblers.
  • Michael Trent, Dublin – 2 trout at 5 and 5 ½ lbs on Kate McLaren’s and Claret Dabblers.
  • Peter O’Donohoe, Navan – 1 trout at 4lbs on Green Stimulators fishing Merry pt.
  • Mark Regan – 1 trout at 4 ½ lbs fishing Dabblers.
  • Pa Tormey, Kells – 2 trout heaviest at 5lbs using Red Sedges.
  • Pat Gallagher, Meath – 1 trout at 6 ½ lbs on a Mick Kelly Stimulator.
  • Andrew Brown, Dublin – 2 trout heaviest at 7lbs using Green Dabblers.
  • Larry McAlindon, Northern Ireland – 1 trout at 4 ½ lbs on Dabblers.
  • Ned Shannon fishing with Wilson Clinghan – 4 trout between 2 and 4lbs using a mix of Dabblers.
  • Aleksander Kowalski, Dublin – 1 trout at 7 ½ lbs on a Black & Gold Humungus.
  • Radley Zielinski, Dublin – 3 trout heaviest at 5lbs using Dabblers and Minkies.
  • Rafel Wojcik, Navan – 2 trout heaviest at 6lbs using Stimulators.
  • Walker Zajac, Kells – 1 trout at 3 ½ lbs using Red Tailed Peters.
  • Cathal Rush, Northern Ireland – 2 trout, both over 3lbs using Silver Dabblers.
  • Des Elliott, Dublin – 7 trout for the week 1 ½ to 3 ¼ lbs using Bibios and Claret & Mallard.
  • Liam McLoughlin, Kells – 1 trout at over 3lbs fishing wets.
David Carney, Killeshandra winner of the LSTPA Stream Rehabilitation Competition with his 5.798lb trout
David Carney, Killeshandra winner of the LSTPA Stream Rehabilitation Competition with his 5.798lb trout

Arguably one of the biggest trout competitions in Ireland was held on Lough Sheelin last Saturday, October 6th successfully hosted by the LSTPA, the Lough Sheelin Stream Rehabilitation Competition attracted a record breaking 242 anglers from all corners of Ireland and some from abroad.  Consistently, as compared to previous years, the weather was not favourable to good trout fishing with bright sunny conditions coupled with a bone chilling cold.

Lining up for kick off at the LSTPA Stream Rehabilitation Competition
Lining up for kick off at the LSTPA Stream Rehabilitation Competition

Despite the weather god frowning on us, this was a great day with superb trout in excellent condition being weighed in.  First prize of a 19ft Sheelin boat was taken by Killeshandra angler David Carney with a 5.798 lb trout caught using a red tailed mayfly type creation, 2nd was Aidan Gonnelly, Dundalk with a 5.648 pounder and third was Paul Lunney with a trout of 5.614lbs. Peter Gleeson came in at fourth with a 5.158 lb trout.  There were a large number of 3 ½ and 4lb catches and with a competition limit at 16” 46 cleared that bar with ease.

Jim Hughes, Monaghan who won the visitors prize in the Garda Competition held on Sheelin on October 7th
Jim Hughes, Monaghan who won the visitors prize in the Garda Competition held on Sheelin on October 7th

On Sunday last October 7th the Cavan/Monaghan Garda Divisional Fly Fishing Championship & Open Competition was held on Lough Sheelin.  This was a cold day with fresh blustery South Westerly winds relentlessly churning up the water making fishing difficult.  Despite the challenging conditions this annual event attracted 78 competitors with Pat Foley sweeping the top prize in the Garda section with his lovely trout of over 3lbs.  The visitors section was claimed by Monaghan angler Jim Hughes with a fine fish of 5lbs 2ozs.

Best areas on the lake were very dependent on wind directions which chased anglers all over the place in their search to find good areas for boat control. The most productive areas for fishing was down by Crover, Stony, Merry pt. at the back of Church Island and from Derrahorn down along the Western shoreline.


Lough Sheelin’s trout are on the move, they are undergoing physical and chemical changes along with the most inherit one – their need to migrate to the rivers to spawn. Anglers, throughout the season have seen plenty of fish in this lake but they have mainly been the mixed smaller weights ½ to 4lbs (remembering that a 3 to 4 lb trout is considered small in this lake) but  now it seems as if the ‘monsters’ have left the depths and our anglers are catching a percentage of them.

Late season meals for trout - Anatolia nervosa
Late season meals for trout – Anatolia nervosa

Deep water is where the Daphnia feeders hang out but although plenty of smaller fish were caught in these areas, using brightly coloured flies, it is seldom at this stage of the year that the bigger fellows will be there.  Trout of course don’t do a mass exodus to the rivers, rather they gather near certain features year on year prior to running their genetically chosen spawning river.  Knowing where these areas are gives the angler a huge advantage as these movements to the exact same spots are repeated year after year, a chemical footprint stamped indelibly in the brain of the trout.


With ‘the end in nigh’ anglers tend to be slightly more loose tongued with their fly tying secrets. From the start to almost the end of the season prising successful flies and fishing locations on this lake has been similar to trying to put trousers on a spider.

Red Ass Green Peter Muddlers by Jackie Mahon

Red Sedges, Kate McLaren, the Dabblers (Green, Silver, Gold, Black, Pearly, Peter Ross and Fiery), the Stimulators, Gorgeous George, Bibios, Cock Robin, Muddlers, Golden Olive Bumbles, Black Pennels, Silver Daddies and Red and Green Tailed Peters, along with variants with hopper legs attached.  At this time of the year because the fish are travelling and not totally focused in on food, the need to stimulate a feeding response from the trout is of paramount importance and so it’s all about movement and colour.  Flies with long hackles, sizes 8 and 10 in silver, pearly, claret and green colours worked.  The muddler head is great for a disturbance, a silver or pearly Daddy in a 8 or 10 long shank danced through the waves got results.  Small black flies weren’t to be ignored either but in all the patterns that thread of glitter through seemed to be an essential ingredient.

kate mcclaren
Kate McClaren Muddler George by Jackie

The Kate McLaren which hasn’t really been coming up on my radar bombarded me this week, producing impressive trout of up to 8lbs in weight. This classic Scottish wet fly was originally designed for sea trout but it appears to be better for their brown counterparts.  It is designed to be fished below the surface and is tied as a deceiver or attractor.  The success of this fly depends far more on its action in the water than on its resemblance to a particular insect.  The beauty about this pattern is that it excels itself when trout are preoccupied or need tempting and this is exactly the phase that the trout are in now so for those last few ‘mop up ‘ this is certainly one worth remembering.

Ronan Baggott’s Iced Pearl George
Ronan Baggott’s Iced Pearl George

The lures are back and working well – minkies and the humungous along with trout patterned lures using intermediate lines.

Putting lures to one side the lines that worked best are still the floating and intermediate ones.

Peter Ross Dabbler

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sean Reynolds and his brother in law for rescuing an angler and his young family off Lough Sheelin late last Saturday night. Without their expert knowledge of this potentially dangerous lake there could have been a very different outcome for those concerned.

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 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.

Rusheen Bay
Rusheen Bay