September 7th – September 13th 2020

 “Beginners may ask why one fishes if he is to release his catch.  They fail to see that the live trout, sucking in the fly and fighting the rod is the entire point of our sport”

Ernest G.Schwiebert

'Spotted magic' A beautiful 'autumn' 5lb trout caught by Co. Antrim angler Cathal McNaughton
‘Spotted magic’ A beautiful ‘autumn’ 5lb trout caught by Co. Antrim angler Cathal McNaughton

 As autumn pulls its tentacles slowly around us in the form of encroaching darkness, morning mists and evening chills, the colours at Lough Sheelin seemed to reflect the mood of the season – clarets, oranges, yellows and browns for flies, dark moody waters and captures of beautifully clear spotted trout with tremendous fight in them.  Chasing trout in autumn here can be one of the best times to capture a Lough Sheelin reputed heavy weight, ‘hand on heart it is strongly recommended to fish this lake now, rarely easy but definitely worth the effort’ – and certainly for this week these words rang true as some beautiful trout were caught but at a cost – lots of time, lots of luck and lots of patience.

This is such a temperamental lake and for the past seven days it surpassed itself,  giving the angler perhaps 20 – 30 minutes of ‘lively’ fishing followed by hours of nothing.

In some countries autumn trout fishing is referred to as the season of 10,000 casts and whereas maybe it doesn’t quite get to that number certainly a persistent stamina is required to get fish to move to the proffered flies.

September ushers in some of the best if not the best trout of the fishing season.  The explanation is both elemental and monosyllabic – food.  The days are getting shorter, water temperatures are dropping, albeit by only a degree or two to start, and trout recognize these changes.  Like a black bear packing on the pounds prior to hibernation, trout, too, sense this need to prepare themselves nutritionally for the upcoming months when their larders may be a little thin. But hungry trout are one thing, catching them can certainly be another matter particularly on Sheelin.  The need for a trout to feed doesn’t magically transform trout into ravenous beasts.  In many waters and in particular here, these piscatorial survivors are seasoned veterans: some have been caught and released, while others have grown notoriously wary of upright bipedal figures and the subsequent surface disturbances wrought by these shapes.  All this is worth remembering in order to stave off frustration and disappointment if the going gets tough.

Martin Cruthers, Lisburn with his beautiful autumn trout, September 10th
Martin Cruthers, Lisburn with his beautiful autumn trout, September 10th

Back to the week gone by – Undoubtedly the bigger fish and even the not so bigger ones are on the move, it was important to be in the right place and it was all about fishing wets.  Water levels are still high and there was some discolouration in areas earlier on in the week. Claret Dabblers, Daddy and Hopper patterns, Bibios, Red tailed Peters, Stimulators and Bumbles all featured strongly and with the much desired South-westerly winds dominating the week it was a question of perseverance and then maybe one or two results.  Dry fly fishing is far and away the most exciting and is perhaps what most people are looking for when they get into fly fishing.  Seeing a fish strike your carefully tied fly, right in front of you is a pretty exhilarating experience.  Presentation and delicacy can matter a lot when fishing dries and except for some of the large terrestrial patterns, splashing dries can spook fish.  There was sadly little opportunity for dry fly fishing this week, except perhaps fishing a Daddy or two at the butt of the wind.

While everyone gets excited about fishing dries, most trout (95%) get their food below the surface.  Not surprisingly, then wet flies are extremely productive, even if they are less exciting.  Wet or dry fly our trout can be amazingly picky about the speed and depth of their food, even if you have got the pattern correct so, everything you do should be to maximize the amount of time your fly is at a depth and speed that doesn’t arouse suspicion.

Going through the week:

Monday was mild and muggy, overcast with patches of drizzle.  Fishing was reported as being slow, the Claret Stimulator working well in the waves and a few fish of 3 – 4lbs being caught.  Trout were reported to be in lovely condition.  Tuesday was humid at 23 degrees with south- westerly’s, trout were caught in Rusheen, Goreport and Derrysheridan using Claret Stimulators, Dabblers, Golden Bumbles and Bibios, heaviest was 3 ½ lbs.   Wednesday was dry and overcast with a change of wind direction to Northwest which made it seem cooler.  Anglers reported a slow day with little fish showing; nonetheless trout were caught using Claret Dabblers and Black Pennels around Derrysheridan, Goreport and Bog Bay. Trout were refusing to play ball on Thursday despite good fishing conditions of light to moderate south- westerlys.  Fish were falling short of taking flies and there was only an odd pitch here and there. Flies that got results were the Stimulators, Silver Daddies, Welshmans Buttons and the Daddies.  Friday was wet and overcast in the morning changing to bright non conducive fishing conditions in the afternoon, a number of anglers were out but few catches were recorded.  Moderate to fresh west to south- westerly’s graced Saturday and angling numbers increased thanks to the Kilroy Cup competition run by the local angling club.  Some lovely fish were recorded and anglers reported lively fighting fish in great condition. Sunday was a slow day with fresh and gusty south west winds, trout of up to 4lbs were caught on teams of wets and on a few Daddy patterns.

The local angling club – The LSTPA ran their Kilroy cup competition last Saturday.  Results were encouraging with Monaghan angler Brian McAvinney taking the cup with a hefty 6 pounder.

Angling numbers averaged 8 to 10 boats per day with the preferred fishing times in the early morning, from 10am onwards and the later part of the afternoon.

31 trout were recorded for the week.

The weight of the week was Brian McAvinney’s 6 pounder caught at the Kilroy Cup competition on Saturday September 12th.

The most popular flies were the Red Tailed Peters, Golden Olives Bumbles, Pearly Invictas, the Dabblers (Silver, Sooty, Claret and Peter Ross), the Grey Flags, the Stimulators (Grey, Claret and Bling), the Black Pennells, Welshmans Button, Pheasant Tail Nymph and the Klinkhammer.  Some lures were used on sinking lines – di3 and 5.

Pat Magee's Ramblers
Pat Magee’s Ramblers

The Green George, Claret George and Detached Daddy were good, these are great teaser flies and were excellent as top droppers. The Muddlers worked well on the lake, these flies push through the water creating a bubble which attracts the feeding trout.  Other ‘pusher flies’ used to create a disturbance and used again on the top dropper were the Bibios, Zulus and Sedgehogs.  Something sleeker and more imitative on the middle like the Claret & Mallard, Silver Invicta and Wickham’s Fancy and then a flashy attractor on the point like a Dunkeld, Peter Ross or Alexandra.  The Bibio is a very versatile fly as it can work both as a top dropper attractor and a tweaked dry, when greased.

Gaudy patterns were good for those targeting the Daphnia feeders out in the open water.

Lures that were successful were Black & Silver Minkies and a black Humungus.

Floating fry patterns worked for some in the shallows and weeded areas.

The best areas for fishing on the lake this week were Lynch’s pt. Chambers Bay, mid lake, at the back of Church Island, Bog Bay, Goreport, Rusheen, Derrysheridan, Corru and Merry Pt.

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.

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…

Lough Sheelin Guiding Services
087 1245927

 Christopher Defillon
[email protected]

Michael Farrell
087 4194156
Telephone: +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

Michael Flanagan,
Trout and Pike Guide.
Email: [email protected] Web:


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.

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.