The week before last was mist again, and this last week the warmer and sunnier weather has forced an algal bloom which is pretty much wide spread across the loch. The lack of wind keeps the algae spread out but with the prospect of windier, wetter weather for this coming week, I’m sure that things will clear fairly quickly. Despite the algae, some catches are still very good and the tactic seems to be go deeper and fish slower. Best patterns have included apps bloodworm (orange), black minkie, hot head damsel and large buzzers fished deep and slow. Intermediate or slow sinking lines have worked well, but there is still success to be had on the floating lines. A number of smaller browns are now being caught around the margins, which is lovely to see and people are reporting great quality fish from just about all parts of the loch.
Now, some people do say that it is impossible to anchor in Swing Gate Bay when there is a strong wind. So you can imagine my surprise when I got an SOS phone call from Gary and Bernard Cotterill who rang to say that they could not get the anchor off the bottom and were stuck in the middle of the bay. Sure enough when I got to them, they were in good spirits and sure enough the anchor was well and truly stuck. We all thought that it must be wedged between the rocks on the stony bottom, but after a minute or so of wrangling with the anchor and using the motor to help, the anchor began to move. Much to my surprise, when I got it to the surface, it was caked in mud and so Gary and Bernard win the prize for finding the only muddy bit down there but Gary, I recommend a bit more porridge for you in the mornings!!
Back to the fishing ……. We are at that time of the year when catching becomes increasingly difficult due to the warmer conditions. At the moment the water temperature is sat at around 14 degrees C which is still very acceptable indeed and it means that when fish are played and caught, they have a very good chance of recovering in the water. Once the temperature rises above approx. 18 degrees C this becomes much more of an issue and at this point we would always ask people to try to get the fish in a little quicker than usual and handle them as little as possible, keeping them in the net and the water at all times. Please keep an eye on the chalk board in reception as this will have the approximate daily temperature of the water. Fishing will become trickier as the temperature increases so there should be no surprises if people are finding it harder to catch big numbers ……. this happens every year at around this time. Despite the algal bloom there is no weed in the loch apart from around the shallow margins, which is normal. Fishing from bank and boat remain roughly on par and over the last couple of days Swing Gate Bay has been fishing well as has the eastern side of the loch. Evenings are proving to be tricky as we are experiencing very large caenis hatches on warmer, still nights and very large numbers of sedges in the evenings mean that the trout are feeding well on natural insect life. Also today large numbers of daddies were seen coming out of the grass on the western shore. All of this adds up to a loch full of trout that are feeding very well and are therefore quite selective in what they will look at during the day. Despite this some people are still managing to find the winning formula and here is a quick run through a couple of success stories for the last two weeks:
- Bob Cockburn had 10 using minkies and popper hoppers.
- Stevie Bowden fishing from the bank had 7 using bibio hoppers.
- Brooks had 15 including one lovely blue using yellow blob and bibio hoppers.
- Vic Brown 7 using various
- Bob Harrison in a short session had 8 using small black dries
- Gordon Boulding fishing the bank had 6 using a hot head damsel.
- TOTGA – 6 rods managed 16 fish and reported having had a great day.
- Fishers Tryst – had a grand total of 36 fish for 8 rods using predominantly FABs and buzzers.
- Morpeth Conservative FFC – 25 fish in total heaviest being 4lbs 10ozs.
- Mid Lothian AA – 15 fish mainly using elks hair caddis, cats whisker and emergers.
- Ladhope FFC – 25 fish for 8 anglers with Mike Blackwood catching 14 himself using a lime headed black minkie.
- As you can see from the list below of visiting clubs over the next two weeks there are very few due to the time of the year and holiday commitments. It is therefore worthwhile phoning for boats at the weekend as we will almost certainly have availability.
- Lochside Cottage has (very unusually) had a cancellation for a holiday booking in late July. If anyone is interested in making a late booking for a short or week long break end of July then please give Carmel a ring.
- We have noticed recently that boats are being returned in very clean and good condition following fishing sessions and we would like to thank individuals and clubs for leaving them as they find them. It is much appreciated.
The Loch is not the only place I fish. I often fish for Trout and Grayling on Rivers as well as visiting other Stillwaters both large and small. These different still waters often need different tactics.
It sometimes seems to me that at least a few anglers think if something worked last week on another water it should work this week on a different place.
Now if you have nothing else to go on then it is at least somewhere to start.
That said there is rarely a place where no information is available.
If you keep a diary then that is obviously the first place to look.
The staff at a loch is another useful area and Carmel and Gareth at Coldingham want you to catch fish so just ask. Log books are available at some places and can be very useful.
If you are still stumped use your eyes…………. 🙂
If there are lots of rising fish a fast sinking line may not be the best option and of course the reverse may be true.
Cobwebs on the boat shed or bushes may also provide some information on hatches.
Other anglers may also provide a useful starting point.
Setting up two rods for different methods with different flies allows for a quick change. It makes the boat a little crowded but you soon learn to manage.
Two or even three rods on the bank gives you lots of scope albeit a bit of a pain when moving from place to place.
You may also wish to give some thought to the type of place you are fishing.
Bob Cockburn is a Coldingham Expert and he was my guest at the Ellem Club Competition on the Watch Reservoir last week and before we went out on the boat we agreed to start on different methods.
These met with little success and it was Dry Flies that eventually worked for us.
However fishing Dries on the Watch is most likely different to that on the Loch.
The Watch is 70 feet deep in places, fed by streams coming off moorland and so is a bit barren.
Coldingham is the exact opposite. Spring fed through limestone.
For those who may be interested the technical terms are that the Watch is Oligotrophic and the Loch is Eutrophic.
Fancy words but what it means is that the insect life, and so the fish behaviour, can be very different.
Dry Flies on the Watch would tend to be sparse, small and black with some bigger windblown terrestrials again mainly in black.
The Reservoir being larger and more exposed I would tend to use bigger flies up to a size 10 and closer together because of the reduced water visibility and often a bigger wave as was the case last week.
The Loch is different and generally with a smaller wave and clearer water I would fish smaller flies and much further apart. A single dry is often effective and the flies on the loch tend to be a bit more colourful.
Of course nothing is set in stone. I have caught on size 21 F Flies and size 8 Sedges on both places.
Perhaps though a bit of thought on where you are might, just might give you a better starting point than what worked up the road last week. 🙂
Over the next two weeks we look forward to welcoming the following clubs:
- Ferranti FFC