Owain with his mayfly catch
Owain with his mayfly catch

May 11th – May 17th, 2020

‘I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains’
Anne Frank

Lough Sheelin, May 12th 2020
Lough Sheelin, May 12th 2020

 A persistently cold north to north easterly wind coupled with night time frosts caused a staggered and somewhat patchy start to Lough Sheelin’s 2020 mayfly season.  Despite the unwelcome chill Ephemera danica still made its presence felt here with a particularly impressive hatch around 3pm last Thursday followed by a heart stopping rise of fish.

Owain with his mayfly catch
Owain with his mayfly catch

Covid-19 has made this a very difficult season to be writing any kind of an angling report and I am very conscious of the pain that I might be inadvertently inflicting on those that live too far away from this water and for that I apologise. The gradual easing of lockdown on May 18th is of little or no consolation to the majority of trout anglers, the Governments tentatively flagged date of July 20th effectively wipes out the best of the buzzer, olives, mayfly, murrough and even the bloodworm fishing here.

One for the future
One for the future

‘Never let a good crises go to waste’ a quote from Winston Churchill in the mid-1940s as we were approaching the end of World War two, referred to the fact that opportunities can be created in the midst of a crisis.  The Coronavirus is our crises and the ensuing lockdown resulted in weeks and weeks of human inactivity on Lough Sheelin, the opportunity was the rest that this enforcement gave to the lake – no boat traffic, no snagging on hooks, no noise, no killing and no clumsy releases.

Lough Sheelin mayfly
Lough Sheelin mayfly

We are now entering, allegedly, the most revered fishing time for most trout anglers – the mayfly season but before we get to this, there have been other things happening here. Buzzer fishing has been excellent, with dry buzzer patterns resulting in some hefty trout catches. As the weather temperatures swung from being July one day to January the next, buzzer fishing seemed unaffected.  Artificials like the Shipman’s Buzzer, Bobs Bits (in claret, black, ginger, olive or grey), Klinkhammers, Shuttlecock Buzzer and the Grey Duster generally got great results.  Silty areas of the lake were the places to head for – Goreport, Bog Bay, Sailors Garden and down by Corru.

Nymph patterns for Sheelin
Nymph patterns for Sheelin

Now into Mayfly time, many anglers are blinded by these large delicate flies and ignore the large hatches of their smaller relation – the lake olive.  This week saw good hatches of these delicate insects in the more sheltered bays neglected by the anglers who were in search of the open-water mayfly drifts.  A good combination for the olives is an Olive Bumble on the top dropper and two nymphs on the middle and point.  Nymphs such as Pheasant Tail, Diawl Bach, Hare’s Ear and Olive Nymph, in sizes 12 and 14 worked well.  Deer-wing Emerger patterns and Muddler patterns were good as top droppers if a bit of movement is needed.

The Mayfly season has started here.  The numbers of anglers fishing this lake are increasing and anglers targeting the mayfly trout are being most successful using Mayfly nymphs and traditional mayfly patterns of grey, ginger, green and yellow.  The fall of spent has been sporadic but if you were in the right place at the right time, using the right fly then you stood a fairly solid chance of catching a trout.  Towards the end of the week the lake shifted up a gear and most anglers were catching three or more trout averaging 3 to 4½ lbs.

The biggest fish for the week was a 6 ½ lb trout caught on a Mayfly nymph.

Total number of trout recorded: 131

The best areas for fishing this week were Stony Island, at the back of Church Island, Merry Pt, Wilsons pt, Inchacup, Chambers Bay and from Kilnahard down to Crover.  Bog Bay, Sailors Garden and into Goreport.

happiness is a sheelin trout
Happiness is a sheelin trout

It was all buzzer and mayfly patterns for this week with dry buzzers and wet mayfly patterns topping the pole. Goslings, Mosley May, French Partridge and a hundred and one versions of the Mayfly both wet and dry were the favourite certainly for the later part of the week with Claret Bumbles, Bibios, Klinkhammers, dry Buzzers, Spent Gnat patterns, Dabblers (Green and International), the Octopus, Sooty Olives, Muddlers and Wulffs (Grey, Yellow and Royal) featuring in the catches as well.

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

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.

tea time
Boiling up

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: www.midlandangling.com

Rusheen Bay
Rusheen Bay


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.