Lough Sheelin Angling Report, August 17th– August 23rd 2020

‘But when I am alone in the half-light, all existence seems to fade to a being of my soul and memories, and the hope that a fish will rise’

Norman Maclean

This week reminded me of a remark made by TV weatherman Patrick M. Barrett who once commented, ‘to have studied as a meteorologist for years only to use the term “mixed bag” to describe the weather’; it was this mixed bag that could be aptly applied to what was dropped from the skies on to Lough Sheelin over the past seven days. The temperature was the only constant, peaking at 19°C each day but after that it was Mr. Barrett’s mixed bag – winds varying from light to gale force (courtesy of storm Ellen), rain swinging from drizzling to thundery downpours, dense cloud cover to bright skies, short bursts of burning heat to overcast chills. Missing – big yellow circle, usually in the sky, comes by the name of SUN, if you see him tell him it’s August.

The Irish Summer, August 17th

Although the strong and gusty winds which tore over Sheelin on Wednesday and Thursday dissipated the previous week’s top layer stratification, water temperatures in the upper regions are still too warm and trout showed a distinct reluctance to surface particularly during the office hours. Day time anglers appeared to be doing a great deal of moving around on the lake, in search, presumably for fish and even those reassuring piscatorial aerial acrobatics were in short supply. The best times for fishing was in the early morning but more so in the evening and as the light faded into darkness, those Dracula hours which are apparently still responsible for bring in the heavier catches of up to 6lbs.

Life is tough for cold blooded critters like trout. With a body temperature largely regulated by the weather, its ability to catch and process food changes with the seasons. Time of day and even the shade from a passing cloud can alter this animal’s behaviour. For brown trout, temperature tolerance is about more than comfort. Colder water holds more oxygen and as the water warms this oxygen starts to dissipate causing trout to feel stressed well before temperatures get really high. It is believed that brown trout begin to experience stress when the temperature rises to about 67°F and with the top layer at Sheelin registering at 66°F it is easy to understand why our trout seek thermal refuge in the lower and colder water columns of this lake.

Casting out! Warm surface layers despite the mixed bag

August can be a tricky fishing month and now at the peak holiday time sometimes it can feel as if the fish are taking a break too. It can be the most soul destroying month of them all but the  important thing is to be flexible, persevere and be prepared to try anything (legal of course!).

The three musketeers – Eadaoin Ross, Colm McCormack and Ned Clinton, cleaning up Church Island. If the fish ain’t bitin…

Towards the end of August, which is where we are heading now, wet fly fishing improves and continues to the end of the season and is generally not to any specific hatch of fly.  Terrestrials of all descriptions are important as also are fry, sedge and the bottom larder of shrimp and hog louse. The deemed, old fashioned, method of dapping with grasshoppers and daddy longlegs can tempt some of the larger fish to the surface. I notice, now as the angling season is starting to put down its landing legs that the lures are starting to appear once again and it was a Black & Silver Minkie that brought in the heaviest fish of the week at 6lbs.

Bring her in

Storm Ellen threw a curve ball at the Lough Sheelin anglers so numbers fishing the lake dropped dramatically from the start of this storm and its tailoring off which seemed to include the weekend.

19 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.

The weight of the week was a beautiful 6lb trout caught on a Black & Silver Minkie using an intermediate line by Dublin angler Declan Montrose, at the back of Church Island.

The flies that brought a rise before the arrival of Ellen were small dry brown sedges (12 -14), Red Tailed Green Peters, Peter Emergers, Shipman’s, Bobs Bits, Hoppers, Claret Bumble, Silver Daddy, Pheasant Tail Nymph (fish on a floating line with a long leader using a figure of 8 retrieve), Detached Daddy (floating line, either left static or twitched over the surface, can be even deadlier when ripped through waves), International, Silver and Claret Dabblers, Sedge hogs, small Klinkhammers, Stimulators, Zulu, the Grey Duster, Golden Olive Bumble, Connemara Black, Raymond, Silver Invicta and Kate McLaren. Sizes 8-12.


When fishing small dry sedges along sheltered areas it is best to use a floating line with a 4 – 6 lb. leader. Gaudy patterns were good for those targeting the Daphnia feeders out in the open water. Lures that rose their heads were Black & Silver Minkies and a black Humungus.

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

Catch & 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 

[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

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 mercurial beauty of Lough Sheelin