15th – 28th May 2017

Keep your mouths closed or you might just swallow a fly or two ……. that might be my advice at the moment.

The warm weather has suddenly created the perfect conditions for insect activity and the loch and the surrounding banks are literally heaving with fly life. As a consequence the fish are enjoying a feeding frenzy and are filling up on all sorts of tasty morsels. Daddies and Hawthorns are in abundance and therefore it’s no coincidence that these two patterns are well worth trying at this time of year. Thankfully, as yet there has been no sign of the dreaded caenis but I suspect that we are not far away from that either. Good for the fish but frustrating for the fishermen.

Apps bloodworm and damsel are also now making an impression and are well worth trying if the surface action becomes difficult or slow.

The loch has been fishing well in all areas with Swing Gate Bay still not being fished heavily but producing a good number of fish, particularly from the bank.

Bank and boat are both fishing well which might indicate that the fish are holding around the edges, and just yesterday, Andy Richmond reported seeing a huge amount of fish rising along the eastern shore. He also reported having had a lot of action and missing a lot of fish and losing a good number too. Today saw a change in fortunes and everyone out there reported conditions as being very tricky indeed …….. the fish that were caught we well earned.

Losing fish does seem to be a trend at the moment and it’s often quite unbelievable that a fish, seemingly well hooked and played for a length of time, can slip the hook whilst still under tension. But it does happen all too often. Not many of us stop to check the hooks and line at this point because we are in a hurry to cast and try to re-establish contact with that get-away fish, but I’m sure that a minute or two spent checking at this point is time well spent and could save you repeated frustration.

There are lots of other forms of wildlife to observe around the loch at the moment as well. There are the usual suspects such as deer, hares, rabbits, badgers, otters and foxes and a plethora of birds to enjoy. It’s sometimes worth just stopping for a moment at the top end of the loch, near to the reed beds, and just listening to what’s going on. Reed buntings, and little grebes are often sounding off and we suspect that it shouldn’t be too long before we are seeing a hatch of cygnets from the swans nesting in the corner (see photos).

There was however a siting of something not so welcome around the loch. Ken Wood, out fishing with Ronnie Hunter last week, reported seeing a mink not too far from the boat house and just this morning I picked up the tracks of one in the soft mud following the incredible thunder storm that we had here last night. Needless to say, I’m on the case but if anyone does see one of these blighters please let us know. I was always led to believe that where there were otters, there were no mink but clearly this is not always the case. Interesting.

So let’s move on to a list of who’s done what over the last two weeks. As you will see, catching has remained strong despite the increase in natural food available to the fish but as we approach the summer months there will be the inevitable slow down and my advice would be to take full advantage of the excellent conditions at the moment.

  • Holiday guests, Dave Roberts fishing with his good pal Ken Mason had a fabulous week fishing dry flies on a drift, with double figures each to the boat on each of their 6 days of fishing. Ken’s best day saw him have 28 to the boat and Dave’s best day was 22 to the boat. Various dries.
  • Robbie Bell had 14 to the boat (see blog). Midges.
  • T Perkins fishing from the bank had 9 including a brown. Rainbow dancer.
  • Les Lockey staying in Lochside cottage again had another superb week of dry fly action and stated that is there is a better top of the water fishery anywhere in the UK he would like to know about it. A typical 3 hour evening session for Les saw him landing 18 to the boat with fish up to 8lbs in weight. Hatching buzzer and various dries.
  • Kenny Me had 8 to the boat including a brownie. Buzzers
  • David Auld 21 to the boat. Buzzers.
  • Graham Dea 26 to the boat including 5 browns. CDC palomino
  • Colin McIssac had 20 the boat including a superb brown of approximately 4lbs. On his latest outing today he had a further 8 … very good considering the conditions. CDC shuttlecock and black gnat
  • Billy Mackey fishing from the bank had 11. CDCs and his friend John Askell had 7 using black beetle
  • Freddie carter had 8 to the boat. Damsel and black spider
  • Dave Turpie fishing with his friend Dave Haliday had a great day with 12 and 13 respectively to the boat. Black and peacock spider
  • Nicky Stenhouse had 10 to the bank including one brown. Red worm
  • Ronnie Hunter 9 to the boat in a four hour session. Buzzer and cormorant
  • Ricky Taylor and boat partner Iain Thomson had 13 to the boat including one brown. Buzzer and yellow fritz
  • Mikel Benatinski had 8 to the bank including one brown. Mikel is from Slovakia and wrote in the book that his fly was a ‘Black Bugger’ ….we’re pretty sure he meant buzzer!
  • John McGregor fishing an evening session had 13 to the boat. Shipmans
  • Shaun Eales and co had another great stay with us fishing for 3 days and staying in , the best session of the bunch went to Andi Steininger with 30 to the boat using various dries
  • Andy Young had 7 to the boat. Dries
  • Pascal Cognard had 14 to the boat including 2 browns. Black bits.
  • Bob Cockburn had 18 to the boat including a brown. Black dries and black minkie
  • S Banks had 12 the boat. Hawthorn
  • Gordon Brines had 7 off the bank including one brown. Hoppers and buzzers
  • Bob Harrison had 6 to the boat in a short session including 2 browns and his first fish of the season on the dap. Hawthorn and dapped hawthorn.
  • Taff and Rob Green enjoyed a great day with 13 to the boat. Black beetle, pheasant nymph and bloodworm.
  • Holiday guest Steve Boden had some great session from the bank for a few hours each evening total of 38 fish on his 4 outings. Bloodworm, hopper, bibio hopper
  • Dewhurst and Glover had 9 to the boat. Wets and buzzers.


Robbie’s corner:


I have worn glasses all my life.

My eyesight is not the best.

However a major part of eyesight is the brain.

If you cannot process and then utilise what you are seeing then that 20/20 vision is at least partly wasted.

So……….. you are about to go out on the Loch and there are rising fish everywhere and your boat partner then announces to you that he is starting with a slow sinking line.


Well I suppose not all the fish are up but it seems at least a touch illogical.

Rising fish tell you quite a bit.

First of all they tell you where they are!

Multiple rises by the same fish can tell you where they will be by the time you are ready to cast

Even a single rise can show you which way they are probably headed.

They also tell you that they are feeding and a good look at the water might show you what on.

If your boat is anchored or to a lesser extent drifting there is often a small current coming around each end of the boat caused by the wind.

This often gathers up insects and allows you to see what is on the menu.

Is it small and Olive or big and Black?

Observation of the rise form is a bit of a Black Art but some of it is basic.

If the fish are just “bruising” the surface then a suspender buzzer or hanging nymph might be the answer.  Maybe the Washing Line technique?

 A more aggressive rise may indicate a fully hatched adult which may take off any second and in the summer possibly a Caddis.

Gentle head and tails could well be a windblown terrestrial struggling in the surface.

Trout soon wise up to the fact that these cannot escape and they can take their time.

One “mistake” I often see is that quite a few anglers tie on the fly that they want the fish to eat instead of some thing that the fish might have on the menu.

Your call.  (Smiley face – apologies to Robbie from Carmel that there is supposed to be a smiley face here but the software won’t allow me (or I am unable to find it…) ) 


Robbie Bell        Resident  Instructor and Guide



 Club News:

  • Kelso British Legion had a day of mixed fortunes with 54 fish in total with anglers fishing from both boat and bank using a damsels, buzzers and various dries
  • Ellem FC had something of a tricky day with 14 anglers catching 40 fish in total with variety of flies
  • Wiremill AC had 50 fish for 14 rods reported having an easier morning and more difficult afternoon with a good day being had by all. Damsel, cormorant, apps bloodworm and dries
  • Railway Inn AC fishing today on a warm, bright and breezy day found the going tough. And to be fair it was for everybody.


Other News

  • A reminder that evening session are now well under way and are certainly worth taking advantage of. We close at 10pm until further notice.
  • We were really pleased to be able to trial our newly acquired wheelie boat this week. It was a great success and we hope that it will get the use that it deserves. Prices for the wheelie boat are the same as our normal boat and engine prices.


Visiting Clubs

During the next two weeks we will be hosting the following clubs:

  • Cockburn AA
  • Heriots FFC (evening session)
  • Morpeth Conservative Club FFC
  • Mid-Lothian (afternoon and evening session)
  • Ferranti FC
  • Black Bull FFC


Please click on the photos to enlarge and use the arrows to scroll through



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