Lough Sheelin Angling Report June 15th – June 21st, 2020

 ‘A man can be destroyed but never defeated’

            Ernest Hemingway             

The fishing was tough going on Lough Sheelin this week due to the weather persistently playing cat and mouse with the anglers. ‘Nothing is certain about trout fishing’ said Arnold Gingrich except ‘its glorious uncertainty’ and over the past seven days nothing could have been further from the truth. Summer solstice or midsummer’s day fell on Saturday June 20th, marking the longest day and the shortest night. Although a day widely celebrated in some circles, it still feels as if we are now on a slippery slope towards winter darkness and the urgency to get in some good fishing is now foremost in the trout fisherman’s mind.

The lonely boatman

Lough Sheelin took no prisoners this week and fishing was tricky and opportunistic. Angling numbers averaged 10 to 15 per day with recorded catches scrambling to make it over the 30 mark.

There is normally a fallow period following the mayfly but I feel this is always down to the unconducive surface trout feeding weather rather than the presumption that the portly trout are lying back allowing time for the food to digest after a spell of ephemeral over-indulgence.

Two’s company

The next phase of insect activity here following on from the mayfly and of interest to the dry fly angler are the summer hatches of caenis, usually in the very early morning and the sedges and buzzer hatches which are generally evening and nocturnal pursuits. Despite the present temperamental ‘summer’ weather, Sheelin has not disappointed from an entomology perspective producing ‘biblical’ hatches of Grousewing sedges, Murrough and Caenis along with the odd terrestrial in the form of beetles, damselflies, daddies and moths.

An impressive hatch of sedge on Sheelin, June 15th

The surface piscatorial larder is full to the brim with all sorts of tempting stuff but still there is little or no surface takes from the trout. Fishing here is irrevocably tied in with the weather; it is a marriage where there will never be a divorce. We have had two consecutive weeks of dropping temperatures and nightly chills, sudden wind changes and downpours all of which have had the effect of reducing insect hatches and causing the trout to stop looking upwards for food and to start looking downwards instead. Trout do not stop feeding because the weather is bad, instead they drop down to the lower water columns and become hooked on whatever abundant food there is available here – daphnia and pinhead fry as well as the bottom dwellers of shrimp and hog louse. Trout will always go for whatever is available to them to stuff themselves with, with the least expenditure of energy so in order for them to latch on to the Murrough or any surface hatch of sedge there needs to be substantial numbers to tempt them upwards and for this to happen we need the weather to behave itself.

Although some hatches of the greens were reported earlier in the week around Crover and the odd spent on the surface in the evening this section of the season is wrapping up to be replaced by sedge, daphnia and caenis.

Trout view

At the moment caenis are hatching in their millions on Sheelin. Trout love this miniature mayfly but before we all get excited caenis fishing is definitely not easy. Firstly if you have dodgy eyesight just tying a caenis fly pattern on your hook can be a challenge in itself, secondly weather conditions have to be nigh on perfect – mirror calm or with a slight corduroy ripple. Caenis is very small, for the fly angler maybe size 20 at the most and down to size 28 at times, you literally have to have the ability to be able to see a speck on the surface at 10 metres. This tiny insect hatches all at once, literally thousands at the one time on the water and with so many naturals it really is pot luck as to whether the trout will find the artificial among the dozens sitting upon the surface film which of course greatly reduces your chances of a hook up. A good pattern to use is Davie McPhail’s simple CDC caenis but if you can’t get your hands on that, a tiny F-fly will do almost as well.

If anglers have difficulty with fishing the standard mayfly – Ephemera danica then be warned the Caenis is another universe of difficulty. It is not called the Angler’s Curse for nothing plus you have to be on the lake around 5am……..


Many of the Sheelin trout have moved on to Daphnia and pinheads. Head for open water if chasing the daphnia feeders and remember that depths are important; these water fleas swim downwards on bright sunny days and upwards towards the surface if it is dull or as darkness approaches. Brightly coloured traditional flies like the Dunkeld or Kingfisher Butcher have worked well on Daphnia-feeding trout for hundreds of years but Orange Blobs have recently appeared on the scene with a reasonable degree of success.  If trout are focused on the pinhead fry either avoid these areas of the lake, usually the bays and inlets or cast a floating fry imitation and pray hard.

The weather has hampered a lot of the sedge fishing up to now and although there have been some good hatches of murrough, trout in general have shown no interest.

It is still early days for the sedge fishing here so if meteorological conditions improve there is a lot to look forward from Sheelin’s caddisflies.

34 trout were recorded for this week, with the heaviest trout weighing in at an impressive 8lb 1oz caught by Gary McKiernan of Lough Sheelin Guiding.

Trout caught averaged 2½ – 3½lbs.

Fish catches this week were caught on a variety of patterns. Teams of wets were used as dry fly conditions deteriorated. Anglers were still using spent gnat patterns with the Wulffs in Grey, Green and the Royal being responsible for a modest number of catches.

Successful flies were Claret Bumbles, Golden Olive Bumbles, Bibios, Klinkhammers, dry Buzzers (sizes 8-12), Grey Duster (size 10), Spent Gnat patterns, Stimulators, Dabblers (Green, Golden Mayfly and International), the Octopus, Welshman’s Button, Chocolate Drop, Muddlers and small dry sedges.

Hoppers worked well for some anglers and fished on a slick these can be brilliant in their imitation of those terrestrial insects. The Balling buzzer late in the evening around Bog Bay was good for some.

The places that produced catches were down along the Western shore of the lake, Stony Island, at the back of Church Island, Merry Pt., Wilson’s pt, Inchacup, Chambers Bay and from Kilnahard down to Crover, Crane Island, Bog Bay, and Sailors Garden and into Goreport, Lynch’s Pt, Derrysheridan and Derry 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 (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. 

Lough Sheelin at dusk