Lough Sheelin Angling Report, August 10th – August 16th 2020

“…it is not fly fishing if you are not looking for answers to questions.”
Norman Maclean

There is no doubt that August can be a bit of a different animal in the fishing calendar. Stuck three quarters of the way through the fishing season, this is the month that can be slow and trout successes are mainly down to a great deal of a hard work, both physical and mental.

This is a time which is sometimes referred to as ‘the dog days of the summer’ – nothing to do with dogs of course but an expression taken from Greek mythology which referred to the rising of the star Sirius (the dog star) which occurs in August and which was associated with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs and bad luck. A more modern take is that August is supposed to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

Lough Sheelin as the sun sets on a dog day

This week has supported the ‘dog days’ theory, temperatures soared to 26°C and sultry conditions permeated days and nights, it was hot, with that rare ‘burning’ feeling experienced when out on the water. The trout, true to form, disappeared, sinking down into the cooler regions of the lake with only the odd splashy rise as a kind of  acknowledgement to us that they were actually still there. Although not ideal fishing conditions Lough Sheelin for this week was not to be written off and combinations of perseverance, good fly tying, good presentation and analytical thinking produced some beautiful fish with the heaviest being caught by Michael Farrell weighing in at an impressive 8 lbs. The majority of the trout were caught in the evening and at nightfall. Day time fishing was poor although anglers reported seeing plenty of small fish and Sunday was particularly busy with lots of small fish pitching in the middle of the lake.

A beautiful 5 pounder by Pat O’Connor, caught on a dry Green Peter – a rare daytime fish

The local angling club – the LSTPA, ran their annual McDonald Cup on Saturday last, conditions were unfavourable to say the least with water temperatures reaching 19°C and unforgiving sunshine persisting throughout the day. Some 26 anglers took part, with Monaghan angler Brian McAvinney winning the cup with a lovely 4¾ lbs trout and Ned Clinton taking second place.

Brian McAvinney – winner of the McDonald Cup

Going through the week:

Monday was a mild and muggy day with good cloud coverage but little movement from the fish. The hatches of the Peter sedge were poor, very patchy and only happening in a few areas of the lake and sometimes it was only one or two caddis at a time. Day time fishing was a challenge, with a few trout around 2 lbs caught on tiny sedge patterns fished static.

Evening fishing, Monday, August 10th

Temperatures climbed to 23°C with light breezes and good cloud cover on Tuesday, nothing happened for anglers during the day but there were some lovely trout caught as the light faded into darkness. The Peters have reduced considerably in number and at this stage appear to be bowing out of the angling season. All fish caught were on small dry Peter patterns.

Wednesday was the hottest of the days with temperatures climbing into the mid-twenties after the early morning mist burnt off. A lovely trout of 3lb 12ozs was caught on a small Klinkhammer pattern during the day along with three others averaging around 2½ lbs on Stimulator patterns. There was a small hatch of sedges later on in the evening.

Klinkhammer water

Air temperatures stayed around 23°C – 24°C for Thursday, there were a few trout caught during the day, all before noon and after that little else happened, there were only a few sedges hatching in the evening and no sign of Murrough or Peters. Trout were caught on Golden Olive Bumbles, Green Peters, Silver Daddys and Claret Dabblers. There were small hatches of Peters in a few areas on the lake with fish feeding on them in the dark.

Friday was warm and sultry with light east to north east winds, day time fishing was slow and successes confined to the early morning and late evening, fish averaged 2½ lbs, heaviest at almost 4 lbs which was caught on a Green Peter sedge pattern.

The weekend was close and humid with water temperatures hitting 19°C. Very few catches were recorded and the anglers fishing the the McDonald Cup on Saturday struggled through the day under a hot sun and light easterly breezes. Sunday was overcast with temperatures reaching 23°C, a few fish were caught on lures, heaviest at 3lbs.

The magic of the Sheelin sedge (Welshmans)

It seems as if the Peters are leaving the building here but, although not really happening during the day, there were huge hatches of small sedges at dusk particularly on Thursday night; there is still some dry fly fishing to be had so anglers should not throw out the small sedge patterns yet.

August is a time of plenty in the water world. There is more food available to trout than at any other time of the year; invertebrates, fry and insects – sedges, terrestrials and late olives to name but a few. Basically, in terms of catching, anglers must give the trout something that is too good to pass up, it sounds easy but Lough Sheelin is far from easy and now more than anything is putting its anglers through the mill.

Beauty and the beast

The Peter fishing has been exhausting as well as exhilarating as with Peters you put all your eggs in the one basket; it is so short lived that if it doesn’t happen where you choose to fish then it’s over before there is time to pick another area of the lake to go to – the window of opportunity could be as short as 5 – 10 minutes.  Sheelin will wear you down at times because the fish are so selective about what they are on and they keep changing what they are on so it can be both exasperating and exhausting. It is ironic that this idyllic pastime that people think is recreation and is a privileged pursuit is as mentally demanding as it is. Fishing Lough Sheelin is harder than any work imaginable but anglers do it purely because of the bliss that is possible when it finally comes good.

Midnight magic, Michael Farrell with his beautiful 8lbs Sheelin trout, worth including despite the poor photo quality. When it finally comes good, it’s really good on Sheelin

25 trout were recorded for the week. The majority of the catches were as dusk fell and the best of the day time catches were before noon. Brendan Daly from Loughrea caught 5 ‘night time’ trout on Green Peter sedges, between 3½ and 4½ lbs while Peter Donoghue had no complaints with his 6 lbs catch, all fish were returned. The weight of the week was a beautiful fighter of 8 lbs caught by Michael Farrell.

Fiery Brown Dabblers

The flies that rose and caught trout were large Murrough patterns, small dry sedges (12 -14), small dry Green Peters, Peter Emergers, Shipman’s, Bobs Bits, Hoppers, Claret Bumble, Silver Daddy, International Dabbler, Sedge hogs, small Klinkhammers, Stimulators, Sedge pupae, Daddies, Zulu, the Grey Duster and a Red Tailed Peter. For those anglers after the daphnia feeders, head for the open water using a bright orange fly. When fishing small dry sedges along sheltered areas it is best to use a floating line with a 4 – 6 lbs leader.

Humans, not just fishermen have been griping about the weather as far back as written history reaches. Civilization has long credited the objects in the sky with influence over the earth and its inhabitants; if it’s not the Dog Star cursing you with sultry summer heat and madness it’s the moon driving you to lunacy so it seems you can’t win when it comes to the celestial bodies.

The weather however, does have a huge influence on the fishing and it’s hard not to gripe when the weather is not conducive to trout fishing. It makes sense that trout will not rise into warm deoxygenated water and because Lough Sheelin has an abundance of food in the lower cooler larder, surfacing is just not a sensible option for them. Things will change, the weather will change and the fishing will speed up somewhat but whatever is thrown at us Lough Sheelin never blanks and always produces catches for her most experienced anglers, regardless.

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

4lbs 12oz release


 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 

evasionpecheirlande@gmail.com (+33685964369) evasionpecheirlande.net


Michael Farrell @ 087 4194156Telephone: +353 43 6681298 Email: loughsheelinguide@hotmail.com

Grey Duster Guiding
Kenneth O’Keeffe
086 8984172 Email: trout@live.ie

John Mulvany  johnmulvanyfishing@gmail.com 086 2490076

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

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.

In between darkness and light