Lough Sheelin angling report, May 30th – June 5th 2022

“Expect nothing and accept everything and you will never be disappointed”

David Connor’s Sheelin

We put on band-aids to cover up our failures, to hide battle wounds and to temporarily mask heartbreak. We put on band-aids in an attempt to blunt pain when we slip hard, and to ease the brunt of our falls. It is now time to rip off the band-aids and accept the painful fact that for this season, the mayfly on Lough Sheelin has been ‘the worst ever’ , difficult, tricky, and unbelievably frustrating. At this stage, many anglers just want the torture and crushing disappointment of this much anticipated section of the season to be over with so that they can start afresh with renewed hope for the next part, which are the sedges.

Of course, there were successes for this week, heavily spotted well-conditioned 5-, 6- and 7-pound feisty fighters caught mainly on spent patterns but some on wets and a few on nymph patterns.  Impressively there were two top weights of over 9lbs.

Kevin Sheridan with his 5lb 10oz Nymph trout

Our trout in Sheelin are seemingly well educated and not easily fooled so any fish that were caught somehow merited a small celebration.  This is the time of the year when catching our piscatorial friends is allegedly easy, throwing a piece of an old boot is supposed to be enough to get that desired take and a photograph of a lifetime but instead, most anglers reported blank after blank and no fish stirring the surface despite a trickle of spent and hours of constant flogging.

Keith Lough with his capricious Sheelin trout

A new fishing competition to Lough Sheelin – the Robert Chambers Memorial Cup was run on May 29th, weather conditions were harsh with bright sunshine and northeast winds hampering fishing – ‘good for nothing, only flying a kite’ as one participant wryly commented.

Over thirty anglers took part with the winner catching a 4.86 lb fish.

Meteorological summer began on Wednesday June 1st. Meteorological seasons follow the annual temperature cycle (in comparison to the astronomical seasons which follow the position of the earth in relation to the sun). It did not feel like summer for most days this week, with temperatures dipping on some nights to 4 degrees and biting easterly day time winds cutting in at the weekend and taking a fair share of the weekdays as well.  Water temperatures rose slightly to just over 15 degrees at 0.5 metres with 14.79 degrees registering at 12.5 metres. The Sheelin mayfly have remained tenacious, with good hatches of the greens in some areas of the lake – those sheltered places like Walkers Bay and down along Crover when the winds dropped, and temperatures rose into the late teens.  Hatches, of course, are weather dependent but usually started late morning around 10 or 11am but sometimes did not get going until the mid-afternoon.  There was some daytime fishing on wets and dries with an odd success using nymph patterns but really this week was about spent fishing, usually from 4pm till dusk and perhaps a little beyond.

Mirror mirror on the wall

There were impressive falls of spent in sheltered bays and inlets and sometimes stretching far out into the lake. These meticulously constructed little flies lay, wings splayed in the last throes of death covering the water’s surface like a thick insect carpet and offering an irresistible meal to hunting trout.  As is always the problem, with so much natural on the surface, it was nigh on impossible to get the fish interested in an artificial and this coupled with changing wind directions added another twist to the angler’s modus operatordi.

Wednesday looked to be a promising evening, with a final rise in temperature to t-shirt conditions but Sheelin refused to co-operate by producing mirror calm conditions for the optimal spent fishing time.  Takes were hard to achieve as there was no set direction in the movement of fish.

Damien Willis making it look easy

The best fishing evenings of this week were Friday and Saturday.  Both days recorded good fish being caught but there was a distinctive difference between them in that for Friday regardless of some impressive catches, anglers reported that the fish seemed particularly wary and easily spooked whereas on Saturday ‘they were on their best behaviour and took whatever was put in front of them’. The stark contrast in fish behaviour on the two days must be put down to boat numbers as the lake was busy on Friday while Saturday only saw a handful of anglers out.

The Dance

We still seemed to be entrenched in the mayfly season here, but we would be lucky to stretch the presence of these delicate little creatures out for another week, but there is a possibility if the weather was to behave.  Already the sedges are starting to appear with hatches of the Welshman’s Button and Murrough (Lynch’s Point) making their presence felt and causing some anglers to reach for their sedge patterns.

Gerry Teggart

While a standard four weight rod is ideal for fishing during a mayfly hatch, mayfly imitations are bigger and bulkier than most other dry flies.  Their extra air resistance makes them tougher to cast and turn over neatly, so it’s worth bumping up the size of the leaser and tippet to air turn over.  Giving an accepting nod to the continuous and persistent winds, it might be a good idea to go up to a five or six weight rod in blustery conditions as casting a big, bulky dry on a four weight in the wind isn’t as easy as it is on a bigger or stiffer rods.  I have never seen so many anglers arriving back after many hours fishing with a slight stoop and clutching their lower backs as the relentless casting against squally winds have given their backs a undesired work out.

Buffing a branch – L.Sheelin’s Buff-tip moth


Niall Gelston
Pointing the way
Holding fast, L.Sheelin’s Hawthorn fly
Under Ross castle
A clean take – Keith McClean with his beautiful spent gnat trout




Shedding the past


Best patterns for the week

Walker’s Mayfly Nymph, French Partridge Mayfly (best fished as an emerger), Fulling Mill Crippled Mayfly, the Wulffs – Green, Green and Royal, Davie McPhail’s Spent Gnat, Mak’s Detached body mayfly Emerger, Green Drake mayfly patterns, Chocolate Drop, Red Tailed Peter, Claret Dabbler, Stimulator, Klinkhammer, CDC Mayfly, Grey Duster, Gosling Mayfly wet (size 10), the Bits-type patterns in claret, fiery brown, black, ginger, orange, hare’s ear, olive and grey, the Klinkhammer, Mick Kelly’s Joe Mac,  Nymphs – Pheasant Tail, Diawl Bach, Hare’s Ear and Olive in sizes 12 and 14, Mini Muddler as a top dropper,  CDC Emergers, Greenwell’s Glory, Wickhams Fancy, Bibios and Dabblers (Claret, Olive and Green), , Golden Olive Bumble, Spent Gnat and Buzzer patterns, sizes 8-12.

Daytime fishing was all on the blind with few surface rises to merit the dries.



 McDonald Cup 13th of August

LSTPA Stream enhancement competition 2nd of October

Interprovincial Championships 20th of August



Damsel Fly


Patience is a virtue

The best areas for fishing (wind dependant) were the back of Church Island, Corru, Walkers Bay,  Derrysheridan, Inchacup, Stoney Island, Chambers, Merry pt, Ross, Lynch point and Plunketts point.


A carpet of Spent

And now back to our survey – Inland Fisheries Ireland is asking anglers to fill in a survey which plans to capture anglers’ knowledge and hands-on experience to help track changes in fish stocks and ecosystems. The new method is called FLEKSI, which stands for Fisher’s Local Ecological Knowledge Surveillance Indicators.  The results of this survey could shape future plans for this lake, but we cannot do it without the anglers who fish these waters.

This survey is easy to do, takes a maximum of 10 minutes (unless you want to add extra in on the comments section) and is important.  We are asking anglers to have their say by taking the time to complete this survey.  The link is included in this report and if contact details are submitted that person will be automatically entered into a draw for angling tackle (one voucher at €200 and two for €100) but this is entirely optional.  If anglers are having difficulties with the online version, please contact IFI where the local staff at Sheelin are more than willing to help out.


The Bend For Home



On the menu


 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


Smooth Release

 A catch & release policy is always actively encouraged on the lake

Paul King’s cracking ‘spent’ trout


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.

Niall Gelston with a beautiful Mayfly trout


The biggest fish for the week was a 9.5lb trout caught by Gene Haran on a Spent pattern.


Total number of trout recorded: 57

 Selection of Catches

Cathal Rush – 1 trout at 6lbs on a Spent Gnat pattern.

Thomas Lynch, Kilnaleck – 2 trout at 4.5 and 6lbs on Spent Gnat patterns.

Michael O’Keefe, Dublin – 3 trout heaviest at 5.5lbs, all on Royal and Grey Wulffs.

Martin MacEvoy, Wexford – 1 trout at 5lbs on a McPhail spent fishing in Walkers.

David Troy, Kildare – 1 trout at 4.5lbs on a Grey Wulff fishing off Merry Pt.

Graham Mees, England – 2 trout, heaviest at 3lbs on Grey Wulffs.


Into the night