Lough Ennell, Mullingar, Co Westmeath
OPEN SEASON: March 1st – October 12th
Lough Ennell is situated to the right of the Mullingar to Kilbeggan Rd, 4 miles south of Mullingar. There is good public access to the shores off the Mullingar – Kilbeggan road and off the Mullingar – Castletown Geoghegan road. Public piers and jetties are located at Buttlersbridge, Whitesbridge Bay, Ladestown and Lilliput.
The Lough is approximately 4.5 (7Km) miles long by 2 miles (3Km) wide, with an area of about 3540 acres. A dominant feature of this Lough is its huge area of shallow water. Nearly two – thirds of its area is less than 25 ( 8m )feet and almost half of it is under 10 ft (3m) deep. It is a high pH ( 7.5) with the potential to produce vast quantities of fish food and to carry big numbers of trout. In recent years the average size of trout has been nearly 2lbs. ( 0.9Kg), and 3 pounders are taken frequently. The largest fish taken in recent years has exceeded 6lbs. (3.3 Kg). It is interesting to note that Lough Ennell produced Irelands largest ever lake brown trout at 26lbs (11.8 Kg).
The conformation and colour of Ennell trout is remarkable, shaped more like a summer salmon ( grilse ) than a trout and coloured like a seatrout and they are renowned for being a very hard fighting fish.
Early Season – March to Mid April
The season opens in March, at which time the fly fishing areas are limited. Depending on weather conditions, the best areas are Kilcooley Bay and from the Burrow Hill to Hump Shallow – both on the west shore. It’s the areas along the east shore that are most likely to produce a trout at this time of year and are located from Bog Island northwards along the Robinstown shore, Brackagh and Carrick Bay, and around the blind Island and Rinn Point. The flies most commonly used are Bibio, Watsons Fancy, Sooty Olive and March Brown, sizes 10 and 12 are best. You can find the dressings and colour photographs of these flies by clicking here.
Early – Mid Season – April Fly Hatches
The Duckfly, chironomid Sp, hatch commences around the middle of April and usually peaks between the 18th – 25th of April. Ennell gets the heaviest hatches of any lough in the country and species that hatch there is unusually large, with the pupa measuring almost .75 inch ( 19mm). The hatch distribution is quite localised and tends to be concentrated in the middle areas of the Lough. The best areas are located west of Blind Island and from Dysart Island and Geoghegans Bay. The hatch commences shortly before noon and can last for a couple of hours if weather conditions permit.. A second hatch occurs during later evening at about 8 p.m. and with a lot of egg laying females can produce plenty of activity. Useful imitations for the duckfly are Connemara Black, Blae Sooty Olive, Fiery Brown, Mallard & Claret, Duckfly and various pupae imitations. Sizes in the range 10-14 are fished.
Mid Season May – June
Lake Olives make their appearance during the first week of May and lasts for about three weeks. The hatch is localised. The important areas are along the Keoltown Reeds, the southern part of the Lough from Malachys Island to Lady’s Island, Bog Island and along by the Robinstown Shore. The Alder make its appearance at this time.
The Olives are an important group of flies. Fish with take a range of flies this time of year. Good imitations are Golden Olive, Greenwells Glory light and dark ( represents collectively all the green olive species), Sooty Olive, Olive Nymph, Claret & Mallard and size 10 is the most popular size.
The Mayfly hatch is the second most important hatch of fly on the lake. It starts in or around the 19th of May and can go on for three weeks. The hatch starts on the Robinstown shore and is concentrated along the Belvedere shore. There have been some heavy hatch’s in recent years. Trout seem to prefer the Green Drake rather then the spent gnat? Though on a suitable evening the Spent Gnat can be good.
The Midge Chironomid Spp emerge around the 20th May and lasts for about three weeks into mid June. The two most important species are the Apple Green Midge ( Blagdon Green Midge ) and the Campto Chironomid the later a large coloured specimen. These flies can begin hatching as early as 9.30 am and certainly not later than 11am. The hatch lasts well into early afternoon and there is further activity around 10 p.m. to well into dusk, to both emerging insects and females returning to the water. The important areas are from Lyons Island to Northwall and all the shallow area towards the river. Other areas worth mentioning are by the Keoltown Reeds to Dysart Island and in the vicinity of Malachy’s Island, Lady Island and Bog Island. Angling tactics depend very much on prevailing weather conditions and the individual anglers preference. Wetfly fishing should prove the most successful method and trout will be taken on patterns such as Sooty Olive, Blae Sooty Olive, Black & Peacock spider Size 12’s, a rather odd choice but it works. Various imitations of chironomid pupae, two of which should have a claret and the other an apple green in the body. Nymphs will produce good results and take fish feeding close to the surface, particularly along a ripple.
Murroughs hatch in large numbers at dusk by the reed beds and here the trout will take an artificial fished dry which can be left almost stationary or twitched along the surface.
Late May and early June can see a lot of black terrestrials blown onto the water. When this occurs, the wetfly fisherman could do no better than tie up a small black fly, size 12 or 14. A Black Pennell is the best bet. The Halfords Welshman Button, a large dark sedge, which emerges during the day has become a very important hatch of fly, and it begins in or around the third or fourth week of May and continues for about three weeks. A number of fish of 4 – 6lbs fish are recorded during this time every year. It can easily be recognised as it sits motionless on the water for quite long periods. The adult fly is rarely of any great interest to trout or angler, but the trout readily feed on the pupae as they rise through the water column. Imitations of the pupa will produce results during this time.
In the latter part of June and all of July comes a huge explosion of perch fry in the Lough. The trout prey heavily on the fry, piling on the weight that transforms them into the magnificent specimens later in the season. This can be a slow month for the fly angler. Fish can be taken on suitable imitations. An Alexander is a good choice.
The latter part of July brings a return of evening fishing. Various sedges, including Silverhorns and Mourroughs, get the fish moving near the surface and buzzers make a return as well, with the apple green midge predominating once again. The important areas are along at Keoltown, Malachy’s Island, Bog Island and from Carrick Bay to Whitesbridge Bay. Tactics are usually dictated by weather conditions and location. A small dry sedge or a pupa imitation of the apple green midge can prove irresistible to trout feeding at dusk in the lee of an island or by the shore. For wet fly fishing a good combination worth a try are Claret Mourrough or a Green Peter, a Golden Olive and a small Black Pennell on the point. The body of the Green Peter should have a faintly yellow hue.
The dapping season begins in early August and a Grasshopper or a Daddy Longlegs dapped during the day can be very effective right up to the end of the season on October 12th.
The High Season ( September – October 12th )
For most Irish trout fisheries, the end of season peaks in May. This is not the case on Ennell. Here the high point of the season begins about the second week of August and continues into the middle of September. The second seasonal hatch of Lake Olives begins early in August and Ennell gets a huge hatch. Some days the trout feed avidly on them and other times they are ignored serving to demonstrate the unpredictably of trout fishing. Most parts of the lough fish well and areas to keep especially in mind are Carrick Bay, Rinn Point to Northwall, Dysart, Keoltown and the area off hopes point.. When the trout are taking Olives they are likely to take a nymph presented on a floating line and fished slowly with little movement. For wet fly fishing, a small Black Pennell is a must on the point. Other useful flies well worth a try are Greenwells Spider, Green Olive, Green Peter, a small Claret Mourrough, Raymond, Bibio, Invicta and a Daddy Long Legs on a windy day when there is a good wave on the lake.
At the end of September to the close of the season trout are eager to snatch up every bit of available food they can in preparation for spawning. Examination of stomach contents will reveal the remains of many insects from sedges, olives, chironomid pupae to terrestrial insects and perch fry. You are likely to pick up a trout anywhere. Many of the afore mentioned patterns will get results.
BYE-LAW 949 strictly prohibits:
- The taking of any brown trout of less than 36 centimetres.
- 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.
PERMISSION TO FISH
This fishery is part of the Inland Fisheries Ireland’s ‘Midland Fisheries Group’ of managed waters and anglers require a fishing permit (ticket charge) to fish here.
- Anglers can only fish one rod per angler.
- Rods must not be left unattended.
- All under sized fish must be returned to the water with as little injury as possible.
- The Management reserve the right to refuse and revoke a permit to anyone violating, these regulations or acting in a manner detrimental to the fishery, fishing or the surrounding countryside.
- Anglers who are found to have acted in an ‘unsporting manner’ may have their permit revoked
Other useful information
Excellent and boats are available for hire
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