Lough Sheelin Angling Report October 5th – October 12th 2020

“A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”

Henry David Thoreau

It has been a strange week, one that has been wrapped up in a peculiar mixture of emotions – apprehension stirred up by the imminent close of another season, anticipation at perhaps landing a last minute Sheelin heavy weight, worry for a lake who has exposed its ongoing environmental problems and an uneasiness as our Covid numbers surge.

Now, well ensconced into autumn, summer is becoming a distant memory. Of course, our summer was a bit iffy but there were some odd sunny moments. It wasn’t a 1 out of 10 grey write off but at the same time we aren’t exactly rocking mahogany tans, basically along with a backdrop of a tenacious virus, it is not a memory worth hanging on to.

Chambers Bay, Lough Sheelin (pic John Byrne)

Summer has officially left the building and now into autumnal October, this week saw the end of the fishing season here on Monday, October 12th with the winter months uncomfortably visible on the horizon. This week nature was putting on a colour show, all those lovely tones in the foliage, for a week or so until some storm, embellished with a human name, comes through and blows them all off to block up the drains and cover the slipways and roads, emanating that distinctive smell of autumnal decay.

Angling numbers fishing this lake were in the double figures on most days with an increase at the weekend. Winds were predominantly west to south westerly and varied from light to moderate throughout the week and with temperatures reaching up to 14°C, fishing conditions were as good as you could get at this late stage of the angling season.  Trout were lively and took flies aggressively. Reports of fish behavior varied radically from ‘lots’ of fish pitching to ‘only one or two’ depending on what areas of the lake was being fished.

Hanging around in the cool autumn sun – the Daddies

Some good trout were caught and in great condition, weights averaging from 2 ½ lbs up to the top weight of over 6lbs, with two or three 5 – 5 ½ pounders in the mix.

The Dabblers featured heavily as did Pat Magee’s Rambler fly, Bumbles, Silver Daddies, the Kate McLaren and the Stimulator. The Stimulator, in particular, has fished consistently well throughout the season here and is worth a special mention. A great searching or attractor pattern, this fly resembles many things while imitating nothing in particular and most importantly the trout go for it. Just for interest sake, the original design has been credited to Jim Slattery who first called it his Fluttering Stonefly and then renamed it to the Stimulator. It is closely related to another fly, the Sofa Pillow, developed by Pat Barnes in the 1940s. Mick Kelly’s Claret Stimulator works wonders on Sheelin so it would be worth prising out a few from him for the next season. Patterns with muddler style heads and hopper legs got results. Claret was a popular colour along with green, yellow and silver.  A hint of flash in the form of silver, gold or green worked by adding that extra attractor element to the pattern, reminding me of what I was once told by one of our Scottish visitors who reliably informed me that– ‘a thread of silver can entice a trout from over 20 yards away’.

The appearance of a few sedges, olives and buzzers presented small windows of opportunity to the dry fly enthusiasts with modest successes for Des Elliott who caught a nice fish on a dry Olive and another angler striking piscatorial gold on small dry sedge.  The best time to fish the autumn olives was from mid to late morning.

Most other trout lakes close their waters to angling on September 30th and in normal times anglers would travel here to eke out their last days of trout fishing on Sheelin with its later finishing date. Due to the ongoing Covid crises, earlier this week the government moved all counties on to level 3 restrictions which included instructions to remain within your residential county unless for essential travel so this naturally has impacted on end of season angling numbers here.

24 trout were recorded for the week; the weight of the week was a 6.2lb trout caught by Oliver McCormack using a Green Peter Bumble fishing at Orangefield.

The most popular flies were the Red Tailed Peters, Golden Olives Bumbles, Claret Bumbles, Green Bumbles, Gorgeous George, Pearly Invictas, Silver Invicta, the Stimulators (Grey, Claret and Bling) fished as a top dropper. A Bibio as a top dropper with a diawl bach on the point, the Black Pennells, small dry sedges, Klinkhammer, Dabblers (Fiery Brown, Claret, Green, Pearly Green (size 8 & 10) Gold and Silver), Pat Magee’s Rambler, a Cormorant with the striped quill body and hares ear thorax used as a top dropper and fished static or slow, Minkie as a top dropper with two Dabblers, the Clan Chief fished on as a top dropper on a 3 fly set up, using a floating or sinking line.

The traditionals with hopper legs added in were particularly good and a silver, green or gold glint through the tying seemed to be the essential ingredient. A few trout were caught by dapping a daddy or hopper in a wave.

Ear plug Daddy Muddler

Some lures were used on sinking lines – di3 and 5. Lures that were successful were Black & Silver Minkies and a black Humungus.

Fast intermediate and floating lines (sometimes with sink tips), all had a reasonable degree of success.

The best areas for fishing on the lake over the past week was Orangefield, Lynch’s pt. down to Derrysheridan, a drift out from Stony Island, Derry pt. down along Derrahorn, Gaffney’s Bay, Goreport, Corru, Wilson’s Pt., the Long Rock, Chambers and Church Island.

Kilnahard, Lough Sheelin, October 9th 2020

The 2020 fishing season is now closed on Lough Sheelin (not just for trout but for all fish) until March 1st 2021.

The fishing has been undeniably tough because of measures outside our control, mainly the weather but also our unprecedented lockdown in April, but true anglers generally accept the ups and downs and thankfully the magnetism of Lough Sheelin, whatever the obstacles, seems to remain embedded in the hearts of those hundreds of anglers who return year after year to fish this mercurial jewel. As one Cork angler put it ‘tell me a better lake than Sheelin’ and I can’t.

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

Catch and 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.
At the end of the day (pic John Byrne)


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

Going into battle

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.  


I used John Byrne’s beautiful moon photograph captioned with Ben King’s song ‘stand by me’ as a closing shot for two reasons – that we stand by each other (mentally not physically) for the duration of this pandemic and also that we stand by Lough Sheelin with its environmental problems.

Stay Safe.

 When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we’ll see
No I won’t be afraid
Oh, I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

Ben E.King

When the night has come