Lough Sheelin Angling Report April 25th – May 1st 2022

‘The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns. The pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose’.

Khalil Gibran

April angst

It has been swings and roundabouts on Lough Sheelin over the past week. There were days when this lake crushed its anglers, breaking hearts and pushing even the most resilient to the edge of despair and then there were times of absolute spotted glory, 4,5 and 6lb captures – such is Lough Sheelin.

Nature turned the dial up this week and this was reflected by the presence of huge hatches of olives and buzzers particularly in Goreport, Bog Bay, Rusheen and Corru and with these hatches came the appearance of those previously elusive trout.  Easterly winds predominated on most days but only presented a problem when they increased in strength and temperatures dipped having the immediate effect of causing the hatches to disappear and driving the trout downwards.  Monday saw enormous hatches of olives and balling buzzers with trout smashing them but Tuesday saw a different kind of cold with a pick-up of wind resulting in very poor fishing.  The best fishing days of the week were Thursday and Friday.

Sheelin’s lake olive

As the week moved into the weekend and despite the chilling effect of the rain, you could still feel an imperceptible change in the air – a pushing onwards towards summer, a softness in the daytime temperature which the winter and stark harshness of March and April had previously robbed us of, it seems everything is at a new beginning and for the anglers, the most coveted time in the fishing calendar is in sight – the mayfly season.

Rolling return

Regardless of persistent nightly frosts and swaths of cold morning fogs, water temperature rose slightly to 12.27 degrees at 0.5m and 11.7 degrees at 12.5m.  Great trout were caught with the heaviest weighing in at a hefty 7lbs 2 caught by Michael Dunboyne, Dublin on a nymph setup.  A number of four and five+ pounders were there in the returns along with a few six-pounders.

A handful of happiness

Anglers that favoured the lures are starting to struggle and catches using this method of fishing are noticeably dwindling with the fly anglers moving into top position as the season moves forward.  Nymphs and wet fly setups saw the best results but dry flies are starting to feature as well with Northern Ireland angler, Paul McMenamin catching a lovely 5lb 9oz fish on a single dry olive in Sailors Garden on Wednesday.  The weather as always dictated the angling successes, with the trout sinking deep in cold winds and rising to feed mainly sub-surface in warmer conditions.

Rods at the ready

Anglers this week basically divided their fishing escapades into two categories – buzzers and olives which encompassed all stages of the lifecycles depending on the diktat of the weather.  There was, however, a wild card thrown in there on Tuesday in the Bog Bay area, where despite prolific buzzer hatches, the trout chose to feed on snails, 3ft down in the water.  Patterns that work for snail feeding trout are peacock herl varnished over, peacock and black spider, a dark coloured Klinkhammer and the Coch-y-bonddu.  As well as being a bit of a mouthful to pronounce and new to me, the Coch-y-bonddu is a very old traditional wet fly originating sometime in the 1700s as the Shorn fly.  Like most vintage flies, the same basic pattern goes by many different names and recipes, having been replicated, modified, and plagiarized by generations of anglers.

Sub surface success
Shadowy solitude

Similar patterns over the years were named the Welshman’s Button (a favourite on Sheelin), Hazel Fly, Fern Web, Bracken Clock and Marlow Buzz among others.  This interesting tongue-twisting little fly with its soft hackle, plump body and splash of sparkle can resemble an aquatic or drowned beetle but it also looks a lot like many sub-surface insects as well.  Its inherent bugginess and long history of success makes the Coch-y-Bonddu an all-purpose subsurface wingless wet and it is working well for our snail-eating trout. Buzzer hatches were substantial from late morning into the late evening, concentrated around the siltier areas of the lake – Sailors, Bog Bay, Corru, Rusheen and Goreport.  Balling Buzzers attracted good rises of heavier trout.  The phenomenon of ‘balling buzzers’ happens when a female buzzer is ready to mate and up to 50 males will gather around her and form clumps, which in turn attracts hungry trout, mainly the big ones.  Most of the regulars to Sheelin assure me that the balling buzzer is as good as the mayfly fishing with a very real chance of catching a trout in the double figures.

Sheelin olive

Sheelin experienced some tremendous hatches of olives this week and although this fishing too is affected by the weather, it is less so than for the buzzer fishing.  The intensity of olive hatches is such that they can pull the trout off the buzzers during the day, olives hatched mainly from mid-day to early evening.  The olive gives the angler the first real opportunity in the new season to dry fly fish and although a few good trout were caught on single dries, the use of olive nymph patterns proved to be more successful as Susan Byrne’s from Edenderry verified with her beautiful trout of over 6lbs.


Susan Byrne with her magnificent Sheelin trout caught on a nymph

Nymph fishing is often considered challenging or difficult as it is a natural approach. Leaders consisting of multiple; small flies, with little movement and casting out in a huge expanse of water.  Nymph fishing worked very well for a number of anglers this week but is often dismissed by those that lack patience, with one angler confessing that ‘he would rather lick the N52 from top to bottom than try it’.

Silver torpedo

Large numbers of trout were feeding in Bog Bay, Goreport, Corru and Sailors Garden.  Although trout were making themselves very visible, they weren’t giving themselves up easily and anglers patience was tested to the last in their attempts to tempt the pernickety trout.  ‘Anger is one letter away from danger’ so it is important to be mindful not to let frustration build into something close to this noun.


One in a million
Crover, Lough Sheelin

Flies that worked best were the Bits-type patterns in claret, fiery brown, black, ginger, orange, hare’s ear, olive and grey, the Klinkhammer, Grey Duster, Nymphs – Pheasant Tail, Diawl Bach, Hare’s Ear and Olive in sizes 12 and 14, Mini Muddler as a top dropper, Epoxy Buzzer, Shipmans Buzzer, Flashback Buzzers,  Black & Peacock Spiders (good snail imitation), CDC Emergers, Greenwell’s Glory, Bibios and Dabblers.


And now moving away from the complexities and contrariness of fishing Lough Sheelin – 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.

On the dry – Pat Magee’s 5lb 9oz trout

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.


Still waters run deep


  • 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. 
Netted for a nymph

Sheelin Guides

Lough Sheelin Guiding Services:
Tel: +353 87 1245927
Web: www.loughsheelinguidingservices.com

Christopher Defillon:
Tel: +33 685964369
Email: [email protected]
Web: evasionpecheirlande.net
Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/christopher.defillon?refid=0&fref=seaperch#

Michael Farrell:
Tel: +353 87 4194156 & +353 43 6681298
Email: [email protected]

Grey Duster Guiding:
Kenneth O’Keeffe,
Tel: 086 8984172
Email: [email protected]

John Mulvany:
Tel: +353 86 2490076
Email: [email protected]

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.

A 3lb trout on a Buzzer

The biggest fish for the week was a 7lb 2oz trout caught by Dublin angler, Michael Dunboyne on an Olive Nymph

Total number of trout recorded: 49

Selection of Catches               

  • Paul McMenamin, Northern Ireland – 1 trout at 6lbs on a dry olive, fishing in Sailors.
  • Pat Magee, Northern Ireland – 1 trout at 5lbs 9oz fishing a small green dry fly.
  • Eugene Stiris, Dublin – 1 @ 3lbs using a small lure.
  • Dean Kerins, Kells – 5 trout up to 5lbs on April 29th on Buzzer patterns, 1 trout at 6.5lbs on April 28th.
  • Henry Keating, Cavan – 5 trout for the week, best at 5lbs, all on Buzzer patterns.
  • Eamonn Ross, Cavan – 4 trout on April 29th, best at 6.5lbs on Buzzer and Olive patterns.
  • Susan Byrne, Edenderry – 2 trout over 5lbs on April 28th, 1 trout at 6lbs on April 29th caught on nymphs.
  • Alan and David Byrne, Edenderry – 5 trout, heaviest at 6lbs on April 28th and 29th.
  • Cian Murtagh, Cavan – 2 trout, best at 4lbs on small wet Olive patterns.
  • Michael Polin, Orkney Islands – 2 trout at 4 and 6lbs on Buzzer patterns in Bog Bay.
Early morning, Lough Sheelin




Lough Sheelin, Co. Cavan