Sheelin Angling Report March 6th – March 12th 2023

“Perseverance is not a long race: it is many short races one after the other”

Walter Elliott


Battling the elements – Des McCullough with his piscatorial gold

March came in like the proverbial lamb but metamorphosed into a lion as Met Eireann’s arctic predictions gradually wrapped themselves around this lake as the week progressed. Battleship grey skies coupled with North easterly winds ripping across the water, effectively brought fishing in the later part of the week to a frustrating halt.

Sheelin was showing a consistent representation from the angling fraternity up until Thursday but then the elements took over – snow, sleet and hail along with nightly sub zero drops in temperature effectively put paid to any long angling stays on the lake for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. In typical Irish fashion, temperatures took a hike to a positively tropical 13 degrees on Sunday, but heavy rain had stained the waters, making visibility poor and fishing conditions challenging for the fly anglers.

Water temperatures have dropped a full 1.5 degrees from the previous week and remain hovering at just over 5 degrees, from surface to bed.

Water temperature is probably the biggest factor that affects fly fishing in early season and unfortunately sometimes March in Ireland feels more like winter than it does spring.

The lower the water temperature, the less active trout will be.  The less active trout are, the less they need to feed and consequently less likely to take that proffered fly.  When trout are not feeding they are normally flush with the bed of the lake and are highly unlikely to sprint after a swinging team of those traditional wet flies.  7 degrees is reputed to be that magical figure that anglers hang on to, below this trout are supposed to be slower, holed up near the bottom and feeding less. As the temperature gets past the magic 7, trout become more active and if we can get to 12 degrees then things should kick off properly.

Early season is a frustrating time for the fly angler, all winter they have been hankering to get out on this lake and then all the enthusiasm, excitement and preparation can often result in disappointment when the early season trout refuse to cooperate.

Despite the inclement weather this week, trout catches were recorded, admittedly only on the days when the weather was sort of behaving itself.  Days with biting cold winds, drew blanks but the early part of the week and Sunday produced some nice trout of respectable sizes.

Best fishing areas for this week was from Kilnahard down to Merry Point, Walkers Bay, Goreport, Bog Bay, at the back of Church Island and Sailors Garden.

Snowy line up


Gina Tanczos with her early season catch
Freezing entrance – visiting Sheelin anglers entering Dublin Port last friday
Flat to the mat


Lithuanian Fishing Club ‘GoandCatch’ from their recently held trout fishing competition on Lough Sheelin
Hands on the gold

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.


Braving the weather

The lures are taking centre stage – Humungous, Minkies, Zonkers and Wooly Buggers along with a selection of the ever-popular Dabblers – Green, Claret, Peter Ross and Pearly.

The Humungous is a great fly pattern at the moment, when trout are looking for a big meal without much effort. A chain bead head gives a dipping motion, a brightly coloured body with a palmered hackle gives extra movement and a marabou tail with some tinsel in it, provide an excellent trout searching combination. The Silver Humungous is particularly good on this lake for the fry hitting trout.

Attracted to myself, only by the name, the Wooly Bugger, has recorded a number of successes this week on Lough Sheelin.  Believed to have been created by the Pennsylvania angler, Russell Blessing as early as 1967 to resemble a nymph, its precise origin is unknown.  Tied in different sizes and colours, this fly can be effective in virtually any fly fishing situation and the trout respond well to it when feeding on either large insects or fry.

It would be lovely to talk about the traditional early season wet flies of Black Pennell, Connemara Black, Sooty Olive, Bumbles and Bibios but it is just too early and we need a rise in temperature. There was a small dusting of buzzer hatches in the sheltered areas of the lake and buzzer fishing with dry and epoxy patterns will feature soon.


The Kilroy Cup will be fished on Friday, March 17th from Kilnahard pier from 11am to 5.00pm. Prizes will be for the heaviest fish and entry is €30. This competition has been set at a 16 inch size limit with a 2 fish bag limit. There will be no permits available for sale on the pier on the morning so please buy your permit online beforehand or from the IFI office at Kilnahard on the morning. Contact Thomas Lynch @ 087 9132033

Andrius Bikelis with his competition trout
Chambers Bay

Heaviest trout was 6lb caught by Dublin angler, Kryzysztof Wojak using a Silver Humungous at Merry Pt.

Recorded catches : 15

Selection of catches

Aivaras Andzelis, Dublin – 2 trout heaviest at 3lbs on lures.

Mindaugas Naujokas, Dublin – 1 trout at 3lbs.

Danius Vainauskas, Dublin – 1 trout at 3.5lbs using lures.

Aleksandr Kowalska, Kildare – 1 trout at 3lbs on a Zonker lure.

Captain’s Bay