Press Release

New Lough Sheelin angler survey

94% of Lough Sheelin trout anglers now catch-and-release more fish from lake – IFI survey

Friday, January 12th, 2024: An IFI survey has found that 94% of anglers are now releasing more of the trout they catch back into Lough Sheelin than they did when they started fishing.

New Lough Sheelin angler survey

Brown trout caught and released at the lake

The Inland Fisheries Ireland(IFI) research involved 132 participants, and more than half of these had over 25 years’ experience fishing for wild brown trout in the lake. Lough Sheelin, bordering counties Cavan, Meath, and Westmeath, attracts anglers nationwide and internationally.

Lough Sheelin trout anglers behavior

Shore fishing at Lough Sheelin

Catch-and-release methods ensure that trout stock have a greater chance of survival within the freshwater lake.

Dr Cathal Gallagher, Head of Research and Development at IFI, commented: “The trends, over the four decades studied in the research, were mostly positive regarding the abundance and size of trout in the lake and its ecosystem.

“Respondents commented they now believe the lake is currently fishing well.

 “However, some expressed concerns about threats to Lough Sheelin’s trout stocks, including pollution, pressure from angling activity, poor water quality, and protection of fish.

“This research highlights the growth in awareness of fish conservation among anglers.

“Seasoned fishers on Lough Sheelin have a deep understanding of the lake’s surrounding ecology that’s been developed through long-term interactions with the natural environment.”


Lough Sheelin trout anglers

Lough Sheelin – Kilnaleck Shore

The research used a method developed by IFI called Fishers’ Local Ecological Knowledge Surveillance Indicators.

It is designed to track environmental impacts and changes in fish stocks through local information sources by asking anglers about different aspects of the fishery now, compared to when they started fishing on the lake. 

Engaging Ireland’s anglers as citizen scientists is now an important element of research programmes at IFI, added Dr Gallagher. 

“Their very important contribution can help us to fill gaps in knowledge about the history of fisheries, and to develop sound, evidence-based management strategies.”

Lough Sheelin Trout Anglers FLEKSI Survey 2022
(3.34 MB)

Researchers at Inland Fisheries Ireland have expressed their thanks to all local anglers who participated, and to the Lough Sheelin Trout Protection Association.