The September fly patch

Lough Sheelin Angling Report September 14th – September 20th 2020

“Many of us probably would be better fishermen if we did not spend so much time watching and waiting for the world to become perfect.”

Norman Maclean

Lough Sheelin is dogged by an unenviable past and a worrying present (and perhaps future) and over the past seven days this lake’s eutrophication problems were brought into sharp focus as a dense green algal bloom spread from the middle of the lake and down along the western shore. Algae (microscopic plants) can and do appear naturally in lakes and water bodies but an explosion of this size is usually the result of high concentrations of nutrients (particularly phosphorous and nitrogen) escaping into the water. The western shore and into Chambers’ Bay and Kilnahard was particularly discoloured due to persistent south westerly winds pushing the floating algae into these areas. The water on the other side of the lake, where the wind wasn’t driving into, was clear. The day time heat exacerbated the situation but with the promise of rain, wind and dropping temperatures this lake’s clarity will improve as the new week progresses and already, today Sunday 20th the water clarity has improved considerably.

Tied in knots

Back to the fishing – high temperatures and bright sunshine was the weather pattern on most days. Years ago, before we adopted the term Indian Summer from the native American Indians, our ancestors referred to a stretch of mild warm autumnal weather like this as our ‘second summer’ and so Lough Sheelin over the past seven days has basked in its second summer with temperatures soaring to 24°C. Hot weather is not conducive to trout fishing but nonetheless when cloud cover prevailed and there was a good wave, some great fish were caught. The wind directions were apt to change frequently but usually came from the south or east.

Falling for you – winged ants on the southern section of Sheelin

Anglers often refer to a ‘hatch’ of insects but this week we had a ‘fall’ rather than a hatch of winged ants and the trout loved them. As we progress further into autumn, ants that hatched in their underground colonies sprout wings. All at once, over a period of a few days, these insects fly off to mate and cross-pollinate with ants from other colonies. For some unknown reason, the dying ants are attracted to water and other shiny surfaces, much like mayfly spinners. There is no predicting this opportunity, but usually it happens on warm, still September afternoons and this is exactly what happened last Monday.

Taking a moment – Lough Sheelin’s winged ant

Anglers reported some good Daddy fishing, mainly using wet Daddies. If conditions are right, with the wind blowing onto the water’s surface, the daddy long legs, crane flies or leather jackets are easy pickings for the trout. Once airborne they are very cumbersome fliers, with their gangling legs at the mercy of the wind. It can be a little like mayfly season, with fallen daddies getting stuck in the meniscus or being drowned and becoming a ready meal for a passing trout.

This is terrestrial time and fishing terrestrial patterns like beetles, ants, grasshoppers, daddies and attractor dry flies can generate some pretty exciting dry fly moments.

Wet fly fishing – teams of three and the use of lures dominated the fishing this week, with catches of an odd trout being caught on a dry sedge or daddy.

As it comes to the back end of the season, trout will be starting to feed up before the colder temperatures start rolling in. During this feeding up process, trout will be honed in on anything that provides a large meal with as little energy expenditure as possible so it is the pin fry imitations, attractor patterns with silver included, daddy long legs and bushy patterns that create disturbance which are the ones to go for. Traditional Flies with comfortable familiar names that stood out for this week were the Dunkeld, the Silver Invicta and the Kate McLaren. The golden-orange Dunkeld is not an imitative pattern but it is a very effective attractor, ‘bright day –bright fly’ but this one also works on dark days and when the water is less clear, for it shines like a beacon. The Silver Invicta is a classic fly probably representing small fry and sticklebacks, tie it bigger for dark and windy days.  The Kate McLaren along with the Dabblers (Silver, Pearly and Claret) won top prize for this week. The McLaren pulled in the weight of the week at a cool 6lbs by Dublin angler Anthony Smith.

Interestingly, compared to the previous week’s notable absence of piscatorial aerial displays, this week saw large numbers of trout pitching and slashing through the air, mainly on the Southern and Northern side of the lake.

Going through the week:

Monday was hot with light southerly breezes. Temperatures hit 20°C and although the lake was relatively busy, mostly it was just sunburn that was reported, along with the algal bloom. Anglers reported good falls of terrestrials – winged ants on the southern section of the lake. There were poor rises in Bog Bay and just 3 catches reported, heaviest at 3lbs using Daddies and Dabblers. On Tuesday daytime temperatures hit 24°C degrees with light southerly winds. There were Daddies and winged ants on the lake along with a smattering of olives. The heat was searing and conditions were difficult, fish were caught using wet Daddies and a few sedge patterns around Bog Bay and Goreport. Wind direction changed to easterly on Wednesday but temperatures were persistently high, peaking at 20°C, there was a good wave and a number of fish were caught on the wets – Kate McLaren, Bumbles, Red Tailed Peter, Daddies and Dabblers. The easterly winds persisted into Thursday and through the weekend; trout of up to 5lbs were caught on lures and wets.

25 trout were recorded for the week.  Trout were caught from early morning to early evening.

The weight of the week was a 6 pounder caught by Dublin angler, Anthony Smith using a McLaren as a top dropper.

The most popular flies were the Red Tailed Peters, Golden Olives Bumbles, Pearly Invictas, Silver Invicta, the Dabblers (Silver, Sooty and Peter Ross), the Grey Flags, the Stimulators (Grey, Claret and Bling), the Black Pennells, small dry sedges and the Black & Peacock Spiders.  Some lures were used on sinking lines – di3 and 5.

Drifting along

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.

The best areas for fishing on the lake this week were the Southern, Northern and Eastern parts of the lake – Holywell, Stony Island, Inchacup, Rusheen, Derrysheridan, Corru, Goreport and Lynch’s pt.

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 ( 087 1245927

Christopher Defillon (+33685964369)

Michael Farrell @ 087 4194156Telephone: +353 43 6681298 Email:

Grey Duster Guiding
Kenneth O’Keeffe
086 8984172 Email:

John Mulvany 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. 


Heading out