Lough Sheelin Angling Report, By Brenda Montgomery, IFI


August 1st – August 25th 2019


‘Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about’

Winston Churchill

Lough Sheelin


Sometimes the absence of a thing can spin a circle of wholeness and so with this in mind I return somewhat refreshed to write about Lough Sheelin, like a moth drawn to a flame.


The fishing on Lough Sheelin this season has been very good with the familiar peaks and troughs dictated by the weather patterns. The buzzer, mayfly and sedge fishing all achieved substantial weights of trout from 3 ½ – 8lbs, with the heaviest tipping the scales at an impressive 10lbs.  The most guarded secret of them all – the bloodworm fishing, was excellent and happened during the last two weeks in July.  The best areas for this were the silty areas of Bog Bay, Sailors Garden, Finea and Rusheen.  Sedge numbers have significantly improved from last year and although there were good hatches of the largest of them all – the mighty Murrough, the trout didn’t seem that interested and appeared instead to favour the bloodworm, small sedges, buzzer and fry.


Lough Sheelin Peter



Limnephilus nigriceps – one of the Lough Sheelin summer Flier Sedges 


A bunch of red tailed Peters


A Sedge trout from Sheelin – August 20th


Now, at the end of August this is a month that is often mistakenly written off by anglers as being slow and sluggish with not much happening, a sleepy interloper before that burst into the last leg of the trout fishing season.  Reports of catches gradually grind to a painful one or two simply because anglers are not fishing this lake.  The trout here, however, do not take a month’s holiday, they are still there, still feeding and with this month comes a challenging and intriguing plethora of trout food for the angler to imitate in the form of sedges, terrestrials, daphnia, perch fry and buzzers.


Shipman’s Buzzer, (good for imitating an adult buzzer)

The Shipmans Buzzer – this pattern was developed by Dave Shipman to perform when the trout are feeding on the emerging state on chironomids hatching in still water. It’s a pattern mean to be fished in the surface of the film. What is fantastic about the fly is that it works best after a few fishing sessions – when it’s rough and untidy. 


It is true that for now the trout have a tendency to fixate on the small fry, preying heavily on these pin heads but this should be looked on positively as this is what piles on the weight to transform them into those heart stopping magnificent specimens for later in the season.  An Alexander or an Octopus is a good choice of a fly or something flashy to mimic the silver of these darting small fish.  If trout fixated fry is not your thing then just avoid the shallow bays and inlets which they most frequent and head for the deeper areas.


Greg Muldowney, Dublin


Trout are also feeding on Daphnia so to target these feeders anglers must go out into deeper open water. Daphnia are quite varied in their appearance, if the water is dark or murky as it is now after the heavy rain, go for the bright colours – orange and yellow.  Bobs Bits and Humpies are good but bright Streamers, Zonkers, Damsel Nymphs and Buzzer larvae patterns can also work. Mayo angler Mark Denneny caught a lovely 3 ½ lb trout last Friday on what he called his daphnia pattern (luminous orange) using a sinking line and slow retrieve out past Inchicup.


Romain Durand, France with his Sheelin trout


August is all about the terrestrials, those non-aquatic insects that get inadvertedly blown out on to the water providing an irresistible meal to a passing trout. To the observant, Sheelin has an extensive number of weird and wonderful insects inhabiting its shoreline bushes, from Emperor caterpillars to Heather flies but to me late summer is all about hoppers, hoppers and more hoppers and in particular the Daddy Long Legs which the Sheelin trout have a particular fondness for. Some good trout have been caught this week and they have all been caught on those leggy patterns.  Anglers are using the old favourites like the sedge, peter or bumble and then adding on long legs with little knotty joints, consciously imitating the Hoppers distinctive leggy profile because they know that this is what works at this time of the season.


The weird and the wonderful – Lough Sheelin Emperor Caterpillar


The Blossom Fly (Dilophus fibrilis)


Sheelin’s Heather Fly (Bibio pomonae)


An Orchid Beetle – tempting surface food for a passing trout


Heather fly imitations


A pink variation of the common grasshopper


Leggy Hoppers


Clumsy and awkward tumbling over its unnatural aquatic surface, the Daddy is the favourite and when this fly is dapped in the right weather conditions using a floss silk line it can achieve great results. Dapping is a really simple traditional fly fishing technique that allows only the fly to touch the water- no leader, no tippet, no fly line, just the fly. It uses a small amount of line, and there is no casting.

Dapping is considered to be one of the oldest forms of fly fishing. The Compleat Angler, written in 1653, describes the technique, saying “Let no part of your line touch the water, but your fly only.” Its author, Izaak Walton has been dead for a few hundred years, so you know dapping has been around for a long time.


A pair of Dapping Daddies by Thomas O’Donovan


But why, in the modern age of advanced fly fishing technology and techniques do fishermen revert back to such a primitive method? Because it works. One or possibly two hoppers moved back and forward to simulate an insect crawling across the surface water could be a sure fire way of enticing a heavy weight.

Good advice would be to read Ronnie Chism’s ‘My Way of Dapping with naturals and artificals’.

The Daddy Long Legs – A widespread myth holds that daddy longlegs, also known as granddaddy longlegs or harvestmen, are the most venomous spiders in the world. We’re only safe from their bite, we are told, because their fangs are too small and weak to break through human skin


Silver Daddies


Heavy rainfall and changing winds has meant there was a real absence of fly on the lake so there was no surface feeding which meant it was all about fishing teams of wet flies (or dapping the Daddies)


Terry Keegan, Cavan


The flies that worked consistently well on Sheelin were those with claret in them and a touch of sparkle usually silver or green. Claret is always a good colour on this lake. Experts say using darker colours like claret, black and violet are best in low light.  The thing to realise is that the colour of your fly in the water is almost always different from what it is in the air.


This is a subject that you could get really bogged down in so its best to keep it simple and remember that trout feed by looking up towards the surface of the water which means they have difficulty distinguishing specific colours so it seems the contrast is the most important thing.

‘Looking up’ – a trout’s view of a sedge fly


Some anglers however believe that the silhouette of a claret coloured fly takes a blood red colour on it to the upward looking feeding fish and this triggers a take.

A well fed Sheelin trout


The artificials that got results were the Dabblers as top droppers (in black, gold, pearly, green and silver), the Black Pennell, Sedge patterns (12-14 – brown, fiery brown), Daddies (in brown and claret), the Octopus (good for Daphnia feeders), the Cock Robin, Bumbles and Muddlers (for creating much needed surface disturbance) and the Stimulators (as the top dropper with silver and claret flies as middle and point). The Stimulator is a great all-rounder as although it doesn’t resemble any specific type of insect it does a great job at resembling a whole lot of bugs at the same time.

A sink tip worked best.


Darren Maguire, Fermanagh, wins Catch of the Week with thise fabulous looking trout.


Fish were caught mostly in Holywell and down to Crover, Merry pt, Stony Island, at the back of Church Island, Wilson’s pt. and down along the Long Rock.

For Buzzer fishing it was all along the weeded silted areas – Bog Bay, Goreport and the Sailors Garden.

Friday stepped up to being the best fishing day of the week with near perfect conditions of south westerly winds, warmth and good cloud cover resulting  in some lovely trout being caught including  the weight of the week by Cavan angler Cian Murtagh using one of Mick Kelly’s dark Leggy sedges.


Cian Murtagh with a 6 ½ lb beauty caught on Mick Kelly’s Leggy Brown Sedge pattern, August 23rd


Cian Murtagh’s fish


The only thing that is predictable about Lough Sheelin is its unpredictability – moody and capricious, this mercurial stretch of water unfailing tests the metal of every angler who fishes it and this month has been no exception. Fishing here is tough but it’s tougher if you aren’t actually out on the water.  For success the answer is get out there, work hard and keep thinking.  Failing that, do nothing and hope that the wind drops and the fish start moving, then madly fish like there is no tomorrow.



A good catch by Brian McAvinney, Monaghan


Christopher Defillon making it look easy on Sheelin


No hackle CDC dry olive pattern



Peadar McAvinney winner of the McDonnell Cup with a 4.4lb trout August 10th 2019

 This competition was hosted by the LSTPA, 17 anglers participated with 5 fish being weighed in.



Peter McEntee’s well-conditioned trout




Sheelin spots 




Brian McAvinney, Monaghan with his beautifully conditioned Sheelin trout




When there is activity on the surface a two-fly cast is recommended, with a foam Daddy on the point with an ungreased Amber or Orange Hopper on the dropper.



The McIntyre/Guider Cup – This open fly fishing competition will be hosted by the Butlersbridge Angling Club on Saturday September 28th at Kilnahard, 11.0am to 6pm, entry fee €20, all welcome. For further information please contact Dessie McEntee @ 086 8937568.

The Cavan/Monaghan Garda Divisional Fly Fishing Championship and Open Competition will be held at Lough Sheelin on Sunday October 6th from Kilnahard Pier, 11a.m – 5.30p.m.

Weigh in at 6.30pm and meal at Pat Bannon’s Pub, Ballyjamesduff. Entry fee of €25 taken at Kilnahard.

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

For further details please contact Dessie McEntee @ 086 8937568, Pat Foley @ 087 2405313 or Colin Dodd @ 086 6000630.

The LSTPA Stream Rehabilitation Competition will be held on Saturday October 5th (details later)

 Please remember anglers to abide by BYE-LAW 949 which strictly prohibits from June 14th 2017 onwards:


  • The taking of any brown trout of less than 36 centimeters.
  • 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.


Lough Sheelin Guiding Services (www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com) 087 1245927


Christopher Defillon 

[email protected] (+33685964369) evasionpecheirlande.net



Michael Farrell @ 087 4194156Telephone: +353 43 6681298 Email: [email protected]


Grey Duster Guiding
Kenneth O’Keeffe
086 8984172 Email: [email protected]

John Mulvany [email protected] 086 2490076


D.C Angling & Guiding Services – contact David @ 087 3946989



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

Please remember All anglers are required to have a Fishery Permit to fish Lough Sheelin which must be purchased BEFORE going out on the lake.


The biggest fish for the week was a 6 ½ trout caught by Cian Murtagh on Mick Kelly’s Leggy Brown Sedge

Total number of trout recorded: 35


Selection of Catches            

Dara Murtagh, Cavan – 1 trout at 2 ½ lb using a Leggy Sedge fishing off Merry Pt. August 15th.

Des Elliott, Dublin – 1 trout using a Green Peter variation fishing Chambers Bay.

Thomas Harten, Cavan – 1 trout at 2lbs, wet fly fishing in Holywell, August 22nd.

Richie Johnson, Dublin – 4 trout averaging 1- 1 ½ on Flashy Dabblers.

Mark Denneny, Mayo – 1 trout at 3 ½ lbs using an Orange Daphnia pattern, August 23rd.

Cian & Dara Murtagh – 5 trout, heaviest at 6 ½ lbs, fishing Leggy Sedges, August 23rd.

Sean Smith, Dublin – 1 trout at 3lbs using a Cock Robin fishing off Lynch’s Pt, August 23rd.

John Brennan, Longford – 2nd in the McDonnell Cup with a trout of 4.39lbs.