Lough Sheelin Angling Report, March 28th – April 3rd, 2022

By Brenda Montgomery, IFI


‘When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there’.

Zig Ziglar


Gary McKiernan’s ‘North Star’ a 64cm Sheelin classic was the biggest trout on Sheelin this week 

This was a consistently cold week on Lough Sheelin.  As temperatures dropped to lows of minus three, so too did the spirits of many an angler who ventured out.  Boats dwindled to two or three per day with the predictable rise at the weekend by those released from the constraints of work.  Trout catches seemed like mini miracles rather than just rewards from a hard day’s flogging these temperamental waters.  During the week, the winds, when they happened, blew from an easterly direction changing to northerly at the weekend.  Despite bright sunshine, there was an underlying bitter chill courtesy of a blast of biting polar air drifting down from Scandinavia.  Scattered showers of hail mixed with harsh sunshine did nothing to improve the status quo of the fishing during the week where reports ranged from ‘total blanks’ to ‘the odd one’ to ‘a surprise hook up in the flat calm’.

Saturday was the pick of the week with good trout of up to 6lbs being taken on lures.  Despite nightly frosts, plummeting evening temperatures and lingering morning fogs the water temperature increased to 9 degrees for the surface with the bottom being marginally cooler at 8.8.

Holding Gold – Lough Sheelin, Saturday April 2nd

Huge hatches of buzzers and duck fly occurred outside Chambers Bay and in other more sheltered coves and bays of Tonagh, Bog Bay and Crover but no fish answered the call.

It’s time for some blue-sky thinking here for anglers who love fly fishing but who are becoming frustrated at their inability to break their duck egg for this new season and catch a trout.

It is time for some practical change, and that involves moving to the dark side i.e. lures and large attractor patterns, at least for the next few weeks.  There are good buzzer hatches but the trout are just not interested in feeding on either the pupa or emerger stages because there is simply too much easier food to be had on the bottom of the lake, the larder is full there so why use up energy searching elsewhere.  The trout are still feeding predominantly on hog louse, freshwater shrimp and snails.  A few fish were got on teams of wets and there were a few rises in the heat of the day, fishing around the shallows of Stony Island, at the back of Church Island, Merry Pt, Inchacup, Chambers Bay and from Kilnahard down to Crover but in general, it was poor and laborious – many hours of fishing with not much encouragement from our piscatorial friends.

Piscatorial pleasure

Fishing large flashy lures are what is working well at the moment – Zonkers and Minkies fished on a glass or sinker, Cats Whiskers, Humungus fished on a sinking line with a slow pull, black & gold for bright conditions, black and silver when it’s dull, Snakes, Boobys, Muddlers, Streamers and Wooly Buggers.  Lures allow anglers to cover a lot of water at different depths and this is what is the most productive for early season, as trout are actively feeding to regain condition.  With the right movement and presentation lures cover the depths, mimic the forage and can trigger off an aggressive territorial take.  They tick all the boxes. Trout are predictably efficient.  They rarely expend more energy than necessary.  Looking for easy meals, they maximize their motion, for the highest calorie return.  This is instinct and not a thought process.  For now, with the exception of a few sub-surface takes, the trout are getting their snacks down in the deep.

Chilly calm

The flies that were used this week were the Dabblers – Silver, Pearly, Green, Sooty, Hare’s Ear and Fiery Brown.  A size 6 Claret Dabbler fished as a top dropper using a di5 landed a 2 plus fish at the weekend.  The Fiery Brown Dabbler is a very versatile fly representing freshwater shrimp in the early season.

Owen Pickersgill with his late March trout, caught on a lure

Duckfly fly patterns include: Black Pennell, Connemara Black, Blae & Black, Watson’s Fancy, Bibio, Mallard & Claret, Duck fly and Sooty Olive.  Other flies were the Cock Olive, Peter Ross, Fiery Brown, Claret Dabbler and Golden Dabbler, Hog lice patterns, Coch-y-Bondhu, Silver Invicta, Glister Ollie,  Duck fly Pupa and Emergers. Sizes 10-14.

Successful lures were large and bright – Snakes, Humungus, Muddlers, Blue Flash Damsels, Titanic Bug Black, Cats Whisker, Boobys, Minkies and Zonkers.  The ubiquitous Wooly Bugger, which always sounds like a curse word, did well and was responsible for a few nice fish of over 4lbs.

Spring 2022 began on Sunday, March 20th.  This date marked the spring equinox and the astronomical first day of spring around the Northern Hemisphere.  Before we even try to balance that egg of what is the spring equinox and what happens on this day, all anglers need to know is that after this date, the Northern Hemisphere begins to be tilted more towards the sun, resulting in increasing daylight hours and warming temperatures.  There is hope on the horizon, we are moving in the right direction – long bright evenings, an increase in temperatures, lots of insects and a lake full of trout, what more could an angler ask for.

A Dabbler trout



  • McDonald Cup 13th of August
  • LSTPA Stream enhancement competition 2nd of October
  • Interprovincial Championships 20th of August 

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.
The Silent Observer

Angling Guides

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 always actively encouraged on the lake

Catch & Release

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 biggest fish for the week was a 64cm trout caught by local guide Gary McKiernan

Total number of trout recorded: 17 

Selection of Catches               

  • Filip Kowalska, Dublin – 1 trout at 4lbs on a Cats Whisker.
  • Janusz Lewandowska, Kildare – 2 trout, heaviest at 5lbs on large lures, fishing mid lake.
  • Darek Wojak, Kildare – 1 trout at 4lbs on a Wooly Bugger.
  • Krzys Wisniewska, Dublin – 1 trout at 4.5lbs on a Minkie (Black & Silver).
  • Fabrice Mell & Jules Mell – 6 trout, heaviest at 5lbs.
  • Armands Kalnins, Longford – 2 trout, heaviest at 4lbs on a Humungus.


Mullaghboy, Lough Sheelin