“The act of fishing – for fish, dreams or whatever magic is available – is enough. It transports us to a special world, and a state of mind, where we are free.“
Fennel Hudson

Lough Sheelin
‘some say the world will end in fire’ R. Frost

This week most days saw a sky full of unbroken cloud offering a perfect balance of sunlight and shade. Day time temperatures dropped mid-week but the accompanying gusts of fresh air only served to breathe life over the water and large pockets of fish turned at the surface.  Lough Sheelin’s trout were up and in lively mood with extensive pitching, splashing and jumping in most areas with mid lake exhibiting a particularly impressive piscatorial acrobatical display for its angling onlookers.  Visually over the past seven days, Lough Sheelin was action packed and full of excitement. The dry fly anglers were afforded some opportunities with a small increase in sedge numbers on Wednesday and Thursday but overall there was very little natural fly in evidence to match the chasing mood which the trout were in here, it was all about the thrill of pulling those teams of wet flies through the upper layers.

The wild trout oasis of this magnificent lake deserved a fishing technique that was in tune with its beauty and nature so it was all about those traditionally tried and tested patterns of Bumbles, Stimulators, Bibios, Daddies and Dabblers fished on floating lines with sink tips.

Greg Muldowney, Dublin with one of Lough Sheelin’s finest caught on a Sheelin Dabbler

There were many productive drifts here but anglers consistently created a top heavy effect by favouring the Church Island to Finea section – Derry Point, Derrysheridan, Lynch’s pt. and into Sailors Garden and although good numbers of fish were caught, the bigger trout which had featured over the previous weeks seemed to have become wary of the human intrusion and were hard got and difficult to entice to take the proffered artificial.

Dessie McEntee’s making one of the top weights of the week, tipping in at over 6lbs caught Tuesday August 21st

We anglers scare off fish far more often than we realize thanks to sound, vibration and other factors that might never even enter our enthusiastic heads. A big issue is our failure to understand our quarry.  Trout ‘hear’ sounds and ‘feel’ vibrations via their lateral line, which is a series of special sensory organs running along the fish’s flank.  Engines scare fish.  The biggest offenders are two-stroke outboards particularly when in neutral, they create a real racket. Sound travels through water.  In shallow water and calm conditions, when stealth becomes imperative, the best workaround is to plan your approach to hotspots so you can shut down the engine while it’s still in gear, then drift into position.  One of the loudest sounds made below the waterline by most engines – electric engines included – is prop noise, directly related to prop speed.  In other words SLOW DOWN and we even have a law here to help us.

Lough Sheelin is governed by the 2008 Watercraft Bye-Law which states that A person shall not cause or permit any boat/craft to be operated at a speed greater than 5 knots (nautical miles per hour)”

One of Ben McKay’s trout caught wet fly fishing on Sheelin


Some great trout were caught this week with the heaviest tipping the scales at 7lbs. All the trout being caught are being reported as being in superb condition.  The smaller fish are compact and muscle bound with the bigger ones displaying those characteristic spots and wide girth around the shoulders.

Stuart Marry, Balbriggan with one of his Sheelin catches

Larger fish although present in comfortable numbers for this week were harder to catch and appeared to be much more cautious than their junior contemporaries.  It is usually the smaller trout that repeatedly jump and clear the water as the larger fish seemed to have worked out that it’s not worth the energy but occasionally particularly if a large stonefly scuttles across the surface, a much larger trout will clear the water in pursuit creating quite a memorable spectacle.

Brian McAvinney with his 3lb trout

The fact that the younger fish seem more fool hardy leads us into the fascinating and controversial topic of trout intelligence and more particularly their ability to remember. Trout can’t possibly have any idea what we are, or what a fishing line is or what an artificial fly is. Nor do they associate us in any way with the lures at the end or our lines, or have any reason or ability to ‘suspect’ them.  They certainly haven’t got the cognitive horsepower to perceive our fly as a fake, in other words, in terms we use to describe human intelligence, trout aren’t that smart.  Smart or not the simple process of learning from one’s mistakes applies to fish as it does to us.  The fundamental nature of ‘aversion learning’ (the sort of experience a fish has to being caught) applies to our trout and when they are caught, released, jagged and scared off by the sound and vibration of heavy boat traffic they simply move down deep to the lower water columns when the food is plentiful and life is peaceful and they don’t come up.

Christopher Defillon, August 22nd

Angling author Simon Blanford’s believes that it pays to give trout the benefit of the doubt and fly fishers to cleave to a simple verity – a spooked fish is a fish you are unlikely to catch, well not immediately anyway.

The heaviest trout over the past number of weeks was a trout of 7lbs caught by Damien Willis on a Sheelin Dabbler

 Total number of trout recorded:  67

Selection of Catches

  • Brian Jameson, Rathoath – 2 trout at 2 ½ and 4 ½ lbs caught on a size 10 Green George and a size 10 Claret Dabbler
  • Michael O’Shea, Dublin – 9 trout on Monday August 20th, fishing Stimulators and Daddies, heaviest at 4 ½ lbs fishing Merry pt, Walkers and mid lake.
  • Brian McAvinney, Monaghan – 2 trout best 3 lbs fishing Stimulators.
  • Rory McAvinney,Monaghan – 1 trout at 3lbs fishing Stimulators.
  • Damien Willis fishing with Greg Muldowney – Tuesday August 21st , 7 trout heaviest at 7lbs fishing Peters and Sheelin Dabblers.
  • Kieran Sherlock, Cavan – 1 trout at 3lbs fishing teams of wets.
  • Dessie McEntee – 1 trout at 6lbs using Dabblers.
  • Pat Brady, Cavan – 2 trout heaviest at 4lbs using Stimulators and Daddies.
  • Martin Jameson, Wexford – 4 trout heaviest at 3 ½ lbs using Claret Dabblers and Bibios.
  • Mark Eastwood, England – 3 trout heaviest at 4lbs using Claret & Green Dabblers and Silver Daddies.
  • Andrew Brown, Dublin – 18 trout heaviest at 6lbs, all on Green Peters.
Peadar McAvinney on Sheelin
Peadar McAvinney on Sheelin

The most popular places for fishing this week were from Church Island across to Finea and down along Lynch’s Pt and this might have been because of the wind direction which led to clearer conditions in this particular area but most although less frequented places fished well too. Deep water was good and there were patches that were sheltered from the discolouration of wind turbulence which were very productive.




Because of the absence of natural fly on the water, except for the odd hatch of sedges, it was all about opportunist feeding for the trout. The trout were very visible but seemed to be more picky for this week, coming up to look at the fly and then frustratingly opting to turn away.


The teams that worked well were the foam bodied Daddies, the Golden Olive Bumble, the Stimulator, the Peters, the Dabblers (Silver, Claret, Green, Fiery and Peter Ross), Dabbler varients (like the Sheelin Dabbler with JC with a mix of black, claret and silver on the hackles, Black Pennels, Daddies (silver and Detached), Octopus, Grass Hoppers, Bibios,Yellow Humpies and Gorgeous George. There were of course various angler varients on these patterns but more or less the core remained the same.  The addition of those long spindly Daddy legs was popular. A red or luminous green butt to the fly, a claret colour with some sort of a shine there, green or silver proved very successful.

Jackie Mahon’s trout flies
Jackie Mahon’s trout flies

Muddler flies are worth a consideration at this time of the year and accounted for some of the heavy weights in this week’s report. The original Muddler flies designed by Don Grapen has spawned a large number of variations that are all very recognisable with that clipped natural deer hair head.  .  This buoyant deer hair keeps the Muddler off that bottom so it can be fished at all depths.  This is a good late in the season wake fly, when the weather is dull and when the odd sedge might be skating on the surface.  Stripping a Muddler across the waves can induce tremendous takes from trout which will follow it for yards.  Best tied in natural colours and fished with a sinking line.

Fishing a team of flies that you have most confidence in is the key to successful fishing. Nothing comes in isolation so its not just the flies it is the way that the angler works those flies adjusting continually to the main influence – the weather.

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 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

Lough Sheelin
Resting up…

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

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.

Lough Sheelin