23rd March – 7th April 2019

Welcome to the 2019 season and we hope that everyone has a fantastic and enjoyable time this season. As always we look forward to seeing friends old and new at the loch again this year to enjoy the fishing and the setting of this beautiful place.

Things have got off to a great start with plenty of fish being caught and some unbelievable dry fly fishing being enjoyed by those who have been able to get here in the first few weeks.  

The weather has, of course, had a key part to play in the way the loch has fished particularly the unusually mild spell we had in February. We also need to add the comments that we have had from all those who’ve been here this last fortnight on the fight and quality of the fish in the loch at the moment. We know we have carried a good head of fish over the winter and as usual we stocked early too to allow the fish to naturalise before the start of the season. And they are certainly giving a good account of themselves.

On the first week we had the snow and cold of opening Saturday, the wind of opening Sunday and then a couple of milder, calmer days when the fish were rising all day across all parts of the loch. On one of those days 7 rods landed 118 fish mainly on dries. A number of anglers have enjoyed catching browns and we have also had three tiger trout landed by three different rods in that first week.

A quick count up through the book shows that since opening day a total of 2,500 have been landed, and goodness knows how many more hooked and lost. By anyone’s standards this is impressive but as we all know this cannot continue throughout the season and it is wise to take full advantage of the excellent fishing whilst it lasts. Due to the high numbers being caught it is almost impossible to list those that have had good days because the number far outweighs those that did not and so we will summarise things by says that the last two weeks have been exceptional for the vast majority of anglers that have fished here.

As mentioned earlier we had a ten day period that saw fish rising from dawn to dusk and this provided us with some of the best dry fly fishing that we have ever seen. Not a usual comment for the end of March! Patterns such as yellow owl, suspender buzzers and shipman’s buzzers all worked well. More recently the fish have been a little less visible on the surface and so buzzers fished straight-line or as a washing line, apps bloodworm and hot head damsels to name but a few flies, have been very effective.

The loch is fishing very well in just about all areas and this bodes very well for the first heat of the Coldingham Cup which is taking place next Sunday 14th April. Please note that the loch will be closed for all other business on this day. (We also have 3 rod spaces left for this day see below)

Please note that due to the high numbers of fish being caught, of which the vast majority are being returned, it has never been more important that all anglers net and release the fish properly.

So points to note:

  • If fishing catch and release please make sure that all your hooks are ideally barbless or have been properly de-barbed.
  • If fishing a kill ticket, please ensure that once your bag limit is reached, that you also then use barbless or properly de-barbed hooks thereafter.
  • When the fish is in the net it is important that it stays in the water at all times and that you reach down to un-hook it. When doing this, hold the line in one hand and use your other to remove the hook either with your fingers, forceps or a release tool. Doing this will reduce or remove the need to handle the fish at all.
  • If you are photographing the fish please keep it in the net and ideally in the water and do not pick it up.
  • Before releasing the fish from the net make sure that it is the right way up and looks eager to swim away from the net.

By observing the above actions it should be possible to keep the fish in good health and condition and with catch and release being so popular these days, it is vitally important that we all do this. Please remember that this loch and every other fishery can only support so many fish and it is counter- productive to over-stock our waters, therefore without the turn- over of numbers of fish leaving the loch we need to ensure the safety of the ones that are remaining. This is a growing dilemma for all fisheries as the popularity of catch and release is clearly on the up. It is also a massive dilemma for the suppliers or fish farms who rely on turn over to maintain their businesses.

Coldingham Cup and Youth Competition:

  • As mentioned earlier the first heat of the Coldingham Cup is being held this coming Sunday 14th April. There are only 3 places remaining and so please ring to book one of the last remaining spots if this is of interest to you.
  • The Youth Trophy is being held on Monday the 6th May and is open to boys and girls, with or without experience of fly fishing, aged 16 and under. There are a few places left on this and so again please phone to talk about the format of the day and to book.

Robbies Blog:

Catch More Fish?

I suspect that few anglers would like to. Perhaps more than a few!

We do go fishing to catch and whilst we all have had a blank at some time I would think nobody particularly likes them.

I also know for some anglers it is purely a numbers game these days.

Being a Marine Engineer in a former life I had to be reasonably good with maths but these days I often lose count around fish number Four!

 Especially if I have had a couple of more takes and perhaps a dropped fish or two..

I have worked conscientiously on my fly fishing in the past but now I am more than happy to just take what comes on a day out.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t bother about a blank.

However because of the time, effort and money I have invested in the past those days are pretty rare now.

Touch Wood   Touch Wood   Touch Wood! Ha Ha

Now no names, no pack drill but a while ago I was up at the Loch and another angler who was there had the dreaded blank. This was while other anglers were catching.  In fact one of them had over 20 trout and another in the high teens.

So what can you do if you are struggling?

Well if I am there and managing to land a few and if you know me come and ask.

If you don’t know me still come and ask!

In fact ask any angler who is having some success. 

Start the conversation by saying how well they are doing. This nearly always loosens the lips!

But and it is a big but……….

Ask the right question.

Most anglers will ask   “What are you catching on?”

The correct question is “How are you catching them?”

Some anglers seem to think it is only or mainly the Fly that counts.

Not for me.

90% of the time it is the technique.

So ask HOW!   Then unless they have given you full running commentary use a few follow up question to determine Fly Line, Retrieve, Depth, Leader and lastly Flies.

Then from a reasonable advantage point Observe..

Put your rod down and spend 5 or 10 minutes just looking at what successful anglers are actually doing. Have a cup of coffee while you do this to resist the temptation to fish.

I can pretty much guarantee it will be worth it.

Get that line tightened!!!

Best Regards



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Club News:

  • Bank of Scotland – had a day of two halves weather wise – a freezing cold morning which unfortunately meant a couple of anglers went home at lunch time and by the afternoon had turned into a warm and sunny day. Total fish caught was 42 (we think – a bit unclear in our book)
  • Heriots – the club had a great first outing with fish caught mainly on dries despite it being a breezy day. Total fish caught was 67 including six browns for 9 rods giving a rod average of 7.4. Colin Riach took some great photos as usual and with his permission they are on a gallery at the end of this report – thanks Colin.
  • Edinburgh Post Office fished today (Sunday) on a mist shrouded day with a cold easterly wind – not desperately easy conditions but despite these conditions they landed 57 fish to their 12 rods giving a rod average of 4.75

Visiting Clubs:

During the next two weeks the following clubs will be fishing the loch:

Mid-Lothian FFC

Leith FFA

Edinburgh Breadalbane

Ellem Club

As always we wish them a warm welcome and hope that the current catching levels continue for their outings. If so, they are in for some great fishing!

The gallery below are pictures taken by Colin Riach on the Heriot AC trip and displayed with his kind permission

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