Lough Sheelin Angling Report, March 23rd-26th 

‘Write what should not be forgotten’

Isabel Allinde

The Cambridge English dictionary defines ‘normal’ as ‘being ordinary or usual, the same as would be expected’ so it’s safe to say that after another week of battling to control this  insidious virus and with our economy collapsing like a deck of cards around us, nothing now can be classified as normal. This is a very stressful and challenging time for all of us, we are unenviably living a part of history the likes of which has not been seen in a very long time and the mental effect of being catapulted into the unknown is disconcerting to say the least.

Fishing was once defined to me years ago as being ‘a necessary nourishment to the soul’ and if there was ever a time when our souls needed nourishment than this is it.


‘The spots have it’ Max Mirebel with his beautiful Sheelin trout

With careful adherence to the government guidelines of distancing and preferably social isolation, a respectable number of anglers fished Lough Sheelin for this week with some lovely trout being recorded.

This lake, along with many more was proving a haven from a world that is currently in a dark place. But this aquatic escapism came to an abrupt end for many anglers when on Thursday night, March 26th Ireland’s Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar announced a lockdown on Ireland which advised that people remain at home and only leave their houses for essential duties with a 2km limit within their own locality for exercise.

It’s time to all pull together

To most of us who have been following the steady progression of Covid-19, Thursday’s announcement should not of come as a surprise but still when it came it felt like a kick in the solar plexus, shredding our already frayed nerves and feeling as if another piece of our world had been taken from us. Lough Sheelin with all its mercurial magic will of course be returned to us eventually and so, like fishing, we must exercise patience for the good of all.

With the lack of rainfall water levels are slowly dropping giving that washed out hemline effect bordering the contours of this lake. Water temperatures climbed to 7 degrees and an increase of daytime heat brought with it some most welcome buzzer hatches. Wednesday and Thursday were nearly ‘taking off jumper’ warm and some nice fish were caught using duck fly patterns.

Underwater Dreams (Robert Logan)

There are other insect hatches around of course, but it is the appearance of the buzzer/ midge or chironomid that is the first major bit of excitement for the fly anglers. This is a large group of insects with over 5,000 described species. Males are easily recognized by their plumose antennae (see photograph in this report). Anglers in various countries have entertainingly given the adult buzzers some great names – ‘lake flies’ in parts of Canada, ‘sand flies’, ‘muckleheads’ or ‘muffleheads’ in various regions of the USA’s Great Lakes area and ‘blind mosquitoes’ and ‘chizzywinks’ in Florida. In adult form some midges are large – up to hook size 14 – but the majority are size 22 or smaller. I digress – the buzzer or chironomid midge has four stages to its lifecycle: larvae, pupae, emerger and adult. There are patterns to imitate each stage but the important thing for the angler to work out is at which stage in the buzzer life cycle that the trout are feeding on at a particular time of the day.

Now, at the end of March and as the weather continues to warm up and the days lengthen, the buzzer activity will increase building up a sufficient density to finally lift the trout off the bottom region and into the freely available zone feeding where they will feed on the chironomid pupae. Trout will feed on the buzzer pupae in relatively shallow water, no more than 10 to 15 feet deep. Buzzer pupae are easy to target as they lie suspended somewhere between the bottom and the surface, waiting to make the slow ascent to hatch. It’s hard not to plough into an entomology lesson but to be successful anglers need to know the rudimentary life cycle of the insect hatches on their lake. It is still too early for emergers but the epoxy buzzer patterns which imitate the pupae were quite successful and although not taking top position they are making an appearance as being responsible for some nice trout catches. The retrieve is important as the imitation must imitate the wriggle of the pupa to the surface, usually a figure of 8 retrieve with an odd twitch (nothing too violent).

Although it’s like a breath of fresh air to be able to talk about some fly life and the corresponding imitations, the lures still caught the bulk of the trout on Sheelin for this week. The Black & Gold Humungus, Black Minkies, Snakes and Cats Whiskers using heavy sinking lines brought the big trout up from the lower levels of the lake.

Lough Sheelin’s traditional wet flies are reappearing steadily with the Bibios, Dabblers, Golden Olive Bumbles and Invictas featuring the strongest.

The favourite flies being used in the wet fly teams were Dabblers in Claret, Green, Silver and Fiery Brown (as top droppers they seem to be consistent in their ability to catch trout), Pheasant Tails (on the point), Hare’s Ears, Black Pennells, Golden Olive Bumbles, Claret Bumbles, Glister Ollies, Sooty Olives, Claret Bibios, Buzzer Emergers and Silver Invictas.  This week’s new discovery for me was The Yellow Dancer fly, this is a lure with Scottish roots, good for cooler temperatures with just the right movement and life to attract a passing trout.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

The lures that worked best for the past seven days were a Gold & Black Humungus with beaded head (using a figure of eight retrieve on an intermediate line), Black or Olive Snakes, Black and Silver Minkies, an Ace of Spades and a Black Zonker.

Di3, 5 and 7 were used.

Best areas for this week were down along Crover shore, Stony Island, at the back of Church Island, Merry Pt, Inchacup, Gaffney’s Bay, Bog Bay, Rusheen, Chambers’ Bay, mid lake and from Kilnahard down to Holywell.


All fishing Competitions on Lough Sheelin are cancelled until further notice

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

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


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 humble frog – one of the best indicators of a good clean environment

The biggest fish for the week was a 6½ lb trout caught by Dublin angler Franciszek Mazur using a Black and Silver Minkie fishing at Crover

 Total number of trout recorded: 43

 Selection of Catches             

 John Kennedy Westmeath  –  1 trout at 2lbs using a small lure

Colin Bennett, Meath – 2 trout using Silver Dabblers

John Brennan, Westmeath  –  4 trout all caught using a Claret Dabbler .

Anatoljis Eglitis, Navan – 3 trout at 5 and 2½ lbs using lures fishing mid lake.

Vasilijis Kalnins, Navan – 3 trout heaviest at 4½ lbs using Gold & Black Humungus lures.

Eammon Ross, Cavan – 2 trout at 2½ and 3lbs using a Silver Dabbler and Silver Invicta.

Lawrence Hickey, Dublin – 2 trout heaviest at 55cm caught on Buzzer patterns.

Pat Magee, Northern Ireland – 2 trout using Black Pennels.

Damien Willis, Meath – 1 trout using an International Dabbler.

Dominic Murphy, Dublin – 6 trout, 50 – 55cm on teams of wets

Jakub Dabrowski, Dublin – 2 trout at 5½ and 3 lbs fishing Crover using Ace of Spades and Minkies.

Jan Kaminski, Dublin – 3 trout heaviest at 4¾ lbs using lures.

Wojciech Jankowski, Dublin – 2 trout heaviest at 4lbs fishing lures and Dabblers.

Filip Wojciechowski, Galway – 3 trout averaging 2lbs fishing lures.

Macief Dabrowski and Krzysztof, Meath – 4 trout heaviest at 5lbs using black, red and silver lures.

John Brady, Cavan – 1 trout at 2lbs using a Sooty Olive  fishing Chambers bay on friday March 23rd.

‘Before the lockdown’ Kilnahard, Lough Sheelin March 29th