21st August – 3rd September 2017

With the arrival of September we should see a return to normal, and already we are noticing a welcome boost in returns. July and August proved once again to be difficult with a plethora of fly and fry life giving the fish more than enough to sustain them without having to look at the variety of imitations being thrown their way and we are sure that the arrival of an egret and a number of king fishers is also indicative of the amount of small fry that have exploded into the loch this year.

But as we said earlier, September usually gives us all a lift and we have already noticed that the much cooler evenings are reducing the water temperature which in turn livens up the fish and produces good sport. It’s also time for the daddies to emerge and this year we are once again seeing large numbers rising from the grass around the banks and looking at the returns it would seem that the fish are well and truly locked on to them at the moment. Buzzers, biscuit booby and blobs are also being shown as flies to try at the moment.

The south end in to Swing Gate Bay and the eastern shore have been the most productive areas over the last fortnight with a lots of fish being caught in the deeper water around the buoys. That said, when we are down there early in the morning and the water is calm, it is possible to see fish rising in just about every part of the loch and so distribution is good.

One feature of the last two weeks has been the number of brown trout being caught and we are delighted to hear people reporting catching brownies of approximately 1lb in weight and over. As you may know, we introduced a number of fingerling brownies into the loch last year and it’s great to see

a/ that they have survived


b/ that they are doing so well.

Blues have also featured well over the last week or so and just yesterday one of 4.5 lbs was caught and earlier in the week one of our resident anglers reported returning one which he conservatively estimated to be 6lbs plus. Robbie also had a Russian guest out for tuition last week and his last of 5 fish was a decent sized blue but I’m sure that Robbie will tell you more about this in his latest blog.


Here is a quick run down of those that have had some success in this last period:

  • Stevie Bowden whilst staying at Hawthorn Chalet last week had his usual evening bank sessions and was rewarded with some good fish. Whilst he reported the fishing as being “ not easy” he still manged to enjoy his outings.
  • Robert Learmonth had 5 from the boat and a further 11 from the bank on his next outing which included two blues. He reported having an excellent day with great quality fish. Dries and blobs
  • Bob Cockburn on his last two outings had 12 and 16 respectively with a total of 12 brown trout being included in these catches and he also reported having missed loads of fish. His best brown was approximately 2lbs. Daddy, black dries, and lure
  • Colin McIssac had 8 to the boat, 7 of which were browns. Tiny black dry fly
  • Graham Dea and David McAdam had 7 to the boat including a blue and two browns. Cdc and bibio
  • Bob Stewart and Al Brough reported great sport and landed 10 to the boat in a four hour morning session. Cats whisker, blob and lures
  • Barry Hutchinson whilst on holiday here had 2 good days with 5 to the boat on his first outing and 7 on the next including a blue of 6lbs plus then another 5 on his third outing. Daddies.
  • Jock Hunter had 6 to the boat. Biscuit blob
  • Colin Crabbie and Al Rutherford had 7 to the boat including 3 browns
  • Les Lockey fishing today had 8 to the boat including one blue. Daddy
  • Peter Kerr and boat partner Stewart Wallace fishing Coldingham for the first time today landed 10 to the boat including one brown. Stuart took a rainbow home weighing 4lbs 4 oz and they reported catching fish that were in great condition. Daddy and cormorant
  • Last but by no means least Maisey Gillespie was delighted to have caught her first ever trout whilst fishing with her dad when the family were here on holiday in Lochside (see photo)


Club News:

  • Edinburgh Post Office AC 12 rods had total of 54 fish the most successful flies were diawl bach, fabs and beetles
  • Roslin British Legion AC had 30 fish for 7 rods and buzzers cormorant and olives were the most successful flies
  • Priory AC reported having a ‘great day with first class fish, the best being 4 and half pounds’ Their 9 rods landed 53 fish which included two blues. Buzzers, vicar buzzer and diawl bach

Other News:

  • We have now replaced boat 11 (the pink boat) with boat 18 which is another Lomond Style boat. These are great boats and we are delighted to add them to the fleet. There will be another one to replace boat 1 in due course.
  • September is the month that we hold our annual Lad(y)s and Dads Competition and as always this will be held on the last Sunday of the month i.e. 24th Sept. Please note that on this date the loch will be closed to all other anglers. Please also note that raffle tickets are on sale in reception to support this day and all proceeds from the day and from the raffle will once again be donated to St Abbs Independent Life Boat.
  • The nights are drawing in quickly now and so the evening sessions are coming to an end. Please take advantage of what’s left of the lighter nights as some of the best fishing is in the evening.
  • As is always at this time of the year the clubs are taking advantage of the weekends that remain of the season and as a result boat spaces at weekends are limited so please phone to check availability and make bookings. Space on the bank is usually not a problem and week day boats have more space too.
  • The season ends the last Sunday in November which this year is Sunday 26th November 2017

Robbies Blog:


Not everybody likes them!

Some are even vocal against them.

There has even been an odd case of people cheating.

However just because an odd player dives on a football pitch it does not mean the game should be banned altogether.

If you don’t like Fly Fishing Competitions that’s fine and I will respect your opinion in return for you respecting mine.

So let us look at the whole range of competitions.

They go from just two friends in a boat all the way up to National, International, European and World Championships and everything in between.

So maybe we could look at the good competitions do.

Well at a local level there is the fellowship and other social aspects of small Clubs.

In regard to the Fisheries competitions often provide a small but welcome boost to the day’s takings.

In the Ellem Club most of the Members are either retired or self employed and so most of our bookings are midweek.

Taking all the boats and perhaps a few on the bank at the Loch on a Tuesday will be a welcome boost to the day and just having the Treasurer and one cheque to deal with will also make a nice change.

Then the Club will often go for a meal at a local Hostelry. Twenty odd covers early on a weekday evening will always be welcome. Perhaps providing a bit of work experience and pocket money for a couple of teenagers helping out.

Moving a little up the scale local eliminators for National Competitions often have reasonable entries and with the addition of practice days more income for the fisheries.  

Competitions often go ahead when the weather is not great so turning what would be a quiet day into a busy one.

This may sometimes be the difference between a price increase for everyone or perhaps even a fishery closing down or reverting to coarse fishing as has happened particularly in the south.

I recently fished the National Rivers Final held in rural Wensleydale and with around 40 competitors and officials over 3 days this would be a significant boost to the immediate local economy.

National Loch Style Finals in England have over a 100 Competitors and many will be there for 3 or 4 days with other practice days in the weekends leading up to it binging in significant sums of money to that particular local economy.

World Championships can often have over 200 people in an area for two to three weeks.

This could add around $500,000 to a local economy!

The Championship could also have long lasting implications by significantly enhancing an area and improving a countries publicity and reputation.

Then we have other more hidden effects. The local Clubs who fish Competitions on the River Whiteadder often provide a few fish to the Tweed Trout and Grayling Biologist.

 These provide opportunities for autopsies and stomach content analysis as well as scale readings.

These records have been built up over many years and may provide an early warning of changes in the environment.

Global Warming?

Furthermore Napier University is now involved in Mitochondrial DNA Analysis and Stable Isotope Research on these Trout.

This is providing valuable data on where the fish are spawning so that Habitat Improvement can be directed to where it is needed most and where it will do the most good to improve the fishing for everyone who fishes the River.

Then we can look again at the social aspects. These can be far ranging.

 I now have good friends in the USA, Canada and the Czech Republic as well as the Home Nations that I have met and fished with in competitions.

Surely anything that promotes International as well as Local Friendships is a good thing in these troubled times.

So these competitions may not be for you but before you knock them perhaps you should at least take a minute give them some thought.

A local Competition at Chatton Fishery last week raised around £5000 for the Bradley Lowery Neuroblastoma Children’s Cancer Research.

The Lads and Dads Competition here in September on Coldingham raises around £1000 every year for the local St Abbs Lifeboat.  Either of those could one day save someones life.

Food for thought I hope.


Robbie Bell


Visiting Clubs:

Over the next period we have  Leith FFC, Fishers Tryst, Norham and Ladykirk , Mid Lothian, Railway Inn FFC and West Lothian FFC visiting the loch.  As always we wish them tight lines and an enjoyable outing.

Please click on the photos below to get the full image



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