Lough Sheelin angling report March 13th – March 26th 2023

‘I think, therefore I am’

Rene Descartes

The shimmer of Sheelin gold

Right now, it feels as if Spring and Winter are in a custody battle.  The weather over these past two weeks has been full of meteorological contradictions as temperatures fluctuated madly between a minus 4 to a high of 16 degrees. Met Eireann have recorded 179.7 ml of rainfall for this month, over four times higher than for March 2022 (39ml).  Heavy rain has caused lake levels inevitably to rise, making that washed out hemline look along our shoreline, which was in evidence for the first week, to disappear in a flood of reeds and foam. The term El Nino (Spanish for ‘the Christ Child’) was bandied about, basically this term refers to a warming of the ocean surface or above-average sea surface temperatures.  The use of this term was due to the unseasonably high temperatures and would be associated with global warming.

Water temperatures have risen slightly to 8 degrees which is good news for trout movement as 7 is deemed to be that magic number to incentivise trout to move upwards.

Wicklow angler, Craig Newsome with some Sheelin magic

Lough Sheelin has been busy, with seldom a day blanking for boats.  The lures – Humungous, Minkies and Snakes are still achieving the best results. Trout don’t seem to be stuck to the bottom regions as much, and anglers have reported some surface ‘tossing’ on the warmer days.  Heat at mid-day and early afternoon produced small hatches of duckfly, twirling like little spinning tops above the surface.  These welcome little chironomids are still not in big numbers and are mainly confined to the sheltered areas and shorelines.  Old favourites like the Bumbles, Dabblers, Sooty Olives, Black Pennells and Wickhams Fancy are starting to reappear on lines.

The local angling club – The LSTPA hosted their first competition of the new season – the Kilroy cup on March 17th.  Despite heavy rainfall, a great day was had by all.  Forty-five anglers fished with an impressive nineteen fish landed, fourteen of which were over 3lbs.  The winner was Sligo native – Trevor Goulden with a lovely trout of over 8lbs caught on a Colga Bumble, a fly which was originally invented for Lough Mask.  Northern Ireland angler, Cathal Rush had an impressive day with a bag of two trout at over 4lbs each.

The weekends here were the busiest, with the past few weeks attracting over forty boats per day.  Winds were predominantly southerly, with a few days where north easterlies crept in.  Mostly the wind strengths were manageable, with gusty and strong glueing the anglers into the coves and sheltered areas. If the wind behaves itself, the best areas for results were Chambers Bay, Kilnahard and down along Merry Point, Walkers Bay and across to Stony Island.  The shallows were the best place to fish.  Shallow water warms the quickest and this is where the greatest abundance of trout food is – shrimp and hog louse.  Some anglers reported catches carrying passengers of leeches which would indicate again that the predominance of fish are still flush with the lake bed.  Trout are still after the big meal as small silver lures, imitating bait fish, were achieving the biggest successes.

Slab of gold

It would be remiss of me not to mention the death of Sheelin fishing legend John Murphy which occurred on March 12th.  John lived most of his life on the shores of Lough Sheelin, down at Crover.  There really wasn’t anything that he didn’t know about the ebb and flow of fishing and flies on this lake, and his passion and love of this place was inspiring.  He used to dive in his younger days, with a trophy steering wheel retrieved from a ship wreck from one of his diving expeditions, displayed in his sitting room.  He told me that women made better divers and then promptly burst my bubble by following on to say that this was because they have an extra layer of fat…  He taught me how to fish, we walked our dogs together around the lake, and he will be forever associated with the early season Sooty Olive as this was the only one he managed to teach me how to tie. Requiesce in pace John.

Whether the weather

The quote at the beginning of this report by french philosopher Rene Descartes is a phrase seen as the first step towards attainment of knowledge, and there is no better place than Sheelin to test and increase our knowledge.

We are heading towards April – warmer days, lengthening daylight and increasing chironomid activity.  The available food density is building up and the trout are switching from bottom feeding to the much easier, and freely available zone feeding on pupae. There’s a lot to look forward to.

Mick McShane big flies for big fish size 6 Humungous variants for Sheelin


Kevin Coyne with his early catch
Telling the tail


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.


Sitting pretty


Trevor Goulden with his winning trout of over 8lbs


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


Number of catches recorded: 49

Heaviest trout over the past two weeks was caught by Sligo angler, Trevor Goulden at 8.198 lbs using a Colga Bumble

Selection of catches

Darius Galickas, Dublin – March 25th 1 trout at 2.5lbs caught on a lure.

Jurijis Blinovs, Dublin – March 25th, 1 trout at 3lbs caught on a small lure, Church Island.

Aleksandrs Trifonovs – March 26th, 2 trout at 2.5 and 3.5lbs caught at Merry point using small lures.

Cathal Rush, Northern Ireland – 2 trout at 4.4lbs and 4.6lbs, March 17th.

Kevin Sheridan, Cavan – 1 trout at 3.4lbs

Three’s company