The river Shannon is one enormous fishery running through several counties, many loughs and an associated, extensive canal system.
Sourced from Shannon Pot the river flows 224 miles through Cavan, Leitrim, Longford, Westmeath, Rosscommon, Offaly, Gallway, Tiperary, Limerick and Clare forming the border between counties for much of it's length.
Google Satelite View, That little spot is the soure of the Shannon. From little acorns....
The Shannon drains one fith of Ireland, 6,512 sqaure mile, passing through loughs Allen, Drumharlow, Corry, Tap, Boderg, Bofin, Forbes, Ree, and Derg. It is also linked to Dublin by the Grand Canal. There are also many canalised sections associated with the river Shannon.
Shannon is mentioned in all counties in Spinfish Where to Fish guide to fishing in Ireland but there is so much of it you really need many more references to get to grips with this famed river. Here are a few links well worth checking out:
Part of the Shannon system draining into Lough Ree the Inny offers good wild brown trout fishing. Generally a slow moving up stream the river flow picks up between Ballymahon and Abbeyshrule where there is good trout fishing especially dry fly. Trout into the 3 to 4lb range can be had as fish run up from lough Ree.
The Inny is closed at present for salmon fishing.
Google Street View River Inny, Ballymahon
Google Map Ballmahon 53.561761, -7.762142
The Upper reaches flowing through Lough Sheelin, Loughs Kinale and Derragh, Lough Derrvarargh, then Iron Lough are more suited to coarse fishing with excellent pike fishing with fishing with specimens into the 20lb plus range not uncommon.
Fishing on the Inny comes under the Midland Fisheries Group Permit which also gives access to Loughs Derravarargh, Iron, Kinale and Derragh as wells a L Sheelin.
A lough of 2 characters due to it's shape. The northern end is wide and shallow while the long southern part is narrow (almost poetic?. As a result the distibution of fish is arranged with lots of good trout of about 1.5lb in the shallower water while the bigger fish to 6lb lie in the deeper section.
Fed by the waters of the Inny, another excellent trout water, on its way to the Shannon the lough is limestone based hence the good trout, mayfly hatch, and generally great fly life with duck fly and olives abundant. plus shrimp and water louse, fry, plenty to fatten fish.
The lough also has a head of very good pike.
Lough Derravaragh Angling Association are very active in the preservation and development of the lough which is a Midland Fisheries Group water, see the link above for permit information.
Roads are back from the lough shore so getting access without the need to get permission to cross land is best at, Donore, Clintons Bay, Faughanstown and Coolure where you can also moor boat free of charge.
Google Street View, Moorings at Coolure on Devarragh. There is a tidy picnic area too.
Google Map Reference 53.671199, -7.373753
Near Mullingar, Shannon Fisheries Board permit, brown trout in the 1.5 to 6lb range averaging about 2lbs. 12" size limit and max bag 6 fish. Google Map Reference 53.466927, -7.391806
Lough Lene near Collinstown is a large water about 3.5km long by over 1km wide with deep areas of over 70 feet and extensive areas of shallows
Controlled by the Lough Lein Angling Association this clear water lake holds good stocks of wild brown trout supported by stocking of brown and rainbow trout.
The water is gin clear and surrounded by good farm land making it a healthy environment for fish to grow on. Trout to 2lbs are common and up to 5lbs in the summer hatches. Fly fishing really kicks off in April with the duck fly hatch followed by Mayflies and sedges.
The lough also supports a good population of pike which go to over 20lbs and the possibility of a 30lb fish is anticipated.
Lene AA have a lively competition scene going and they do a lot of work for local charities.
The club are have a boat giving wider access to fishing for people with disabilities. Toilet at the Lough Lene car park referenced below
Google Street View, Lough Lene
Google Map Ref 53.660484, -7.194356
Permit and boat hire from Gala Store in Collinstown.
Shannon Fisheries Board permit, near Mullingar with good stocks of trout in the 1.25 to 2lb range and some fish to 7lbs known to be about.12" limit and max bag 6 fish. Google Map Reference 53.573632, -7.395346
The borders of Cavan, Meath and Westmeath converge in the middle of the lough, a famed fishing water.
Some people would say that Lough Sheelin is the best trout lough in Ireland, some might say it is the best anywhere, the statistics tend to bear this out.
Google Street View Lough Sheelin
In a recent study the lough, which is only 4 miles long and 1 mile wide (4654 acres), was found to hold over 100,000 fish over 8 inches of which 40,000 were between 2 and 4lbs. Now that is phenomenal. The average for the lough is 3lbs with fish up to double figures taken every year.
What makes Sheelin so productive? As with many of the famous Irish loughs, Sheelin lies on limestone giving the water a high Ph. Alkaline water ensures fertility which means everything grows fast, there being so much to eat that the lough sustains a fish population way above what its size would suggest.
The lough doesn't just hold trout, there are substantial pike and a large population of course fish which becomes important to the trout angler later in the season. Off course there is the fly population which is plentiful making Sheelin a top dry fly venue, then there is the Mayfly which brings the lough to the boil.
The fishing season extends from 1st March to 12th October. Given the statistics you would think that you would be into good bags of fish, well it does happen but Sheelin also has a reputation for being hard going. Maybe its because there is just so much for the fish to feed on.
The fishing starts in March with trout feeding on shrimp and water louse along the rocky shores.
By mid April the Duck Fly starts in the eastern side of the loch for about four week. Olives start in early May followed by the Mayfly hatch and a hatch of green and olive buzzers.
A big red sedge, hatches from the start of May for about 6 weeks and can attract the big fish of an evening. Caenis appear in June and July in amazing numbers which can drive the fish into a feeding frenzy (and the angler to despair) such that they are next to impossible to catch. I've seen trout cruising along with their s out of the water filtering out the caenis like mini basking sharks, the only way the catch them is to put the fly in their mouths or break the mould and use something silly like a big daddy longlegs. Worked for me.
By mid June the coarse fish fry are around in great numbers and the trout hammer into the shoals. August sees an other olive hatch and hatches of sedge fly, towards the end of the season dapping with grasshoppers or daddies is exciting and effective.
There is a positive feast of food for the fish throughout the season representing serious challenges for the 'match the hatch' fisherman, the best kind of fly fishing, where hard work, good presentation, knowledge of flies and fly life and a bit of luck can combine to give a rewarding fishing experience.
Best fly patterns are: March, GRHE, Mallard and Claret, Sooty Olive; April, Duckfly Pupae, Sooty Olive, Small Mallard and Claret, Dunkeld; May, Olive Nymph, Spent Gnat, Murrough; mayfly patterns; June / July Green Nymph, a light coloured Greenwells Glory, Sooty Olive and silver and gold bodied flies or white lures to represent the perch and roach fry; August to October, Bibio, Green Peter, Sooty Olive, Connemara Black.
For all of that the fishing permit is inexpensive. Youy must have a Midland FisheryGroup permit, Shelin is on of the waters where you need a license to fish for trout. Day and 21 day tickets are available on line or from tackle shops around Sheelin.
There is 14" size limit and a 4 fish per day bag limit. Boats can be hiredr and their are several Ghillies you can hire to guide you round the 4,000 acre lough and advise you on flies and techniques. Google Map Reference 53.805992, -7.325783
Buy you Midlands Fisheries Group permit on line:
The second biggest lough on the Shannon river system lies on the border between Co Westmeath and Longford. Located near the town of Atlone. The loch is a limestone water which ensures this mixed fishery has the food species to grow fish.
The trout fishing has improved significantly based on the fact that the size limit for trout is minimum size, 36cm, about 14 inches.
Fly fishing is very effective with good hatches of flies although many anglers troll rapalas. Fly fishing is down in the shallows especiall at Inch More, Hare Island and Inch Turk.
Fishing on the lough does not require a license. There is good access to launch boats. At Lanesboro there is a slipway, jetty, fishing platforms and specially designed facilities for disabled anglers.
Google Map Reference Landboro 53.673571, -7.997417
Hares Island 53.473660, -7.934599
Inch More 53.507111, -7.936969
Inch Turk 53.520354, -7.937316
Lough Shelin is not just a trout fishery, it has a very good population of course fish including very big pike.
You will need a Midlands Fisheries group Permit to fish on Sheelin for coarse fish and pike.
For more information go to:
Located close to Muulingar, Lough Sheever, is Midlands Fisheries Group water. Coarse fishing, permit required.
The lough holds bream to 6lbs, tench, pike some roach, rudd and hybrids.
Google Map 53.545675, -7.308374
Slevins Lake near Mullingar is about 12 acres holding good stocks of bream, roach, rudd, hybrids and pike. There are also some perch and tench.
The lough has good access and parking with a concrete inner car park for disabled anglers close to a double stand suitable for wheechair users. In addition there are another 12 stands on the lough.
Slevins is a Midland Fisheries Group water.
Google Map 53.551530, -7.321849
Royal Canal around the Mullingar area has a good stretch of the Royal Canal. Mostly tench but there are also bream, pike and perch.
There is access for disabled anglers at Kilpatricks Bridge.
For more deatils on the Royal Canal and other coarse fisheries near Mullingar go to Fishing in Ireland at: