27th April – 11th May 2014

A hard start to this period meant that some clubs and individuals struggled whilst others managed good catches in between. The changeable weather was certainly affecting each and every day with fog being a constant visitor for nearly 5 days straight. That said the water quality and temperature continues to be just about perfect for the time of the year and the abundance of hatching aquatic and terrestrial insects means that despite the changeable weather fish are freely feeding in all parts of the loch.

The reed bed at the northern end of the loch is currently holding large numbers of fish which can be seen daily topping and tailing, mainly feeding on a small black fly either in buzzer form or just as it is hatching. Seeing the fish is one thing …. trying to catch them is another! As is often the case matching the hatch is difficult and sometimes doing something that is completely different to what you might imagine can prove very effective. That was certainly the case last Friday when a muddler / cormorant combination, cast almost on to the bank and dragged back quickly was attracting fish almost every cast in the last few hours of the day whilst dry fly fishing to rising fish resulted in nothing but frustration. The feeling is however, is that we are just a day or two away from some better weather and if the forecast is right, it should mean that the time for dry fly fishing is well and truly here. Hatches of crane fly (daddies) and further in-land, Hawthorns can only spell anticipation for what the fish will soon turn their attention to and we are looking forward to watching the odd angler or two trying their hand with the dapping rod again. However whilst we might be painting a picture that might suggest difficult fishing the more general picture is one of great fishing with some superb catches. Bob Cockburn is back to winning ways with 22 fish for his last two visits whilst Andy Richmond fishing from the bank yesterday almost managed to equal this in one visit with a superb haul of 21 hard fighting rainbows. Unusually, his fishing partner Ricky Taylor had caught none by lunch time but in a game of two halves he redeemed himself in the afternoon with a final total of 15 fish, again fishing from the bank. Bob Harrison and Judy Whitelaw had a great evening fishing dry flies (CDC buzzers) in Swing Gate Bay. 15 to the boat and many more missed and lost in a very active 3 hour session. Pete Hill had a good day yesterday also fishing from the bank with 5 fish to the net but his buddy Pete Dann had his best day yet at Coldingham. Using one of Pete Hills home tied flies he caught 8 fish with his last one estimated to be at least 10lbs in weight. To say that he was chuffed is an understatement and we have no doubt that we will hearing about that one for some considerable time to come. Well done Pete and well done Pete Hill for tying the fly, netting the fish and verifying the weight. Other catches worthy of note go to Andy Salisbury with 12, Terry Carr 14 fish, Robbie Bell 14 fish, Austin Churm (bank) 12 fish, Jim Forrest 13 fish, Keith Renton 11 fish, Tony Averill 12 fish and last but not least Les Lockey who typified the up and down nature of the fishing related to the weather. Les was on holiday in Lodge Cottage and his tally was thus: first evening (3 hours) 11 fish, next day (8 hours) 1 fish, last day (8 hours) 14 fish.

If one had to choose a fly that had been repeatedly successful it would have to be the humble but deadly buzzer. Shipmans, black and red or black and orange cheeked fished static or very slowly seem to be most effective. Sizes varied between 12 and 18. Montana, Black and Peacock, Bloodworm, Damsel, Foam Daddy, and a selection of lures including, yellow dancer, Biscuit FAB and Sunrise FAB have also played their part in catching well.

With better weather forecast for the middle of next week, let’s hope that we can get a sustained period of settled weather which will lead us in to a productive second half of May.

Club News:

  • Mid Lothian AC – fog and cold winds made fishing very tricky for some of their members. Despite this they reported having had a great day, thoroughly enjoyable. Biggest fish went to Jim Morrison 3lb 6oz rainbow.
  • Heriots AC – experienced much better weather conditions just 2 days later. Their 13 anglers caught an impressive 87 fish giving them a rod average of 6.7 per angler. Worthy of note were Trevor Gibson and David Tyrie with 13 fish a piece, both fishing buzzers.
  • Norhet AC – Fished the very next day and struggled to match the previous days succeses. Only 17 fish to 12 rods meant an average of just over 1.4 per angler.
  • Thurston Manor – unable to report due to lack of information at the end of the session. However this is perhaps understandable as many of their anglers got soaked in heavy showers and were caught out by not having waterproof gear with them.
  • Fisher’s Tryst – 10 anglers caught 37 fish for an average of 3.7 per rod.
  • Norham and Ladykirk fished today from bank and boat. They caught a total of 53 fish for 18 anglers giving them an average of 2.9. Winner on the day with four fish weighing 10lbs 3ozs was Mark Straughan . The junior winner was D. Cockburn with 2 fish weighing 4lbs 3ozs. Mark Straughan also won the heaviest fish, a rainbow of 4lbs 7 ozs.

Robbie’s Corner:

‘A week is a long time in Fishing’

Last week I was on the Loch with Roger Johnson.

Roger had kindly donated £100 to Team England Fly Fishing in return for a day out on the Loch with me as his Guide.

The weather in the morning was a bit grim. It was the 1st of May and we could have expected better but once more it was cold wet and windy. In fact it was Baltic!

The fishing matched the weather and when we went in for an early lunch we were both blank.

There had been some action with a lost fish each and a couple of tentative pulls.

However as my good mate Tony Curtis always says  “You can’t Fry a Pull.”

Actually he says “You can’t Fry a Rise” but there was not a chance of a rising fish in those conditions!

At lunch the Fishing hut was packed with members of the Mid Lothian Fishing Club and the stories were much the same but with an odd fish having been caught.

One Chap even had two which everyone who was blank thought was a bit greedy.  🙂

The afternoon was better.

Conditions eased somewhat and a few fish were caught and myself and my Guest managed seven fish to the Boat. Mainly caught pulling lures.


Many thanks to Roger for his company and generosity.


One Week Later.

Conditions were better but not tropical by any means.  A degree or two warmer and only showers.

I had two rods set up, One with the lures that worked last week and one with dries for later in the day.  However on a whim I decided to try the dries to start with.

I wasn’t particularly hopeful as I had not seen anything rise and with a cool night behind us the day had not warmed up. Also Gareth who had been around since early in the morning had not seen a single fish rise or any insect activity.

Then again the day before had seen quite a few fish caught on Dries so I was hoping that at least some of the Trout had better memories than their Goldfish Cousins.

So I set off from the Boat Shed on a drift out to the Aerator Buoys.

I was just approaching the Buoys and was thinking of picking up the lure rod when I had a swirl at my point fly.

Two more swirls followed without a touch and I was just beginning to contemplate a fly change when  all hell broke loose.

What turned out to be a perfect 3 lb. Blue sipped my fly down and then went airborne.

I was only using a six weight rod and fine leader so it was about 5 minutes later before I could remove the hook and slip it back out of the net.

I am sure that at one stage it went right to the bottom.  My line was straight up and down and I was in at least 30 feet of water.

My size 18 Black F Fly needed a bit of TLC after that but not long after I was into my second fish.

A nice Rainbow well over two pounds.

By lunchtime I had seven fish in the net with one lost on a double hook up. I had also had multiple inspections and missed offers.

 I caught the whole length of the Loch having drifted from the Boat Shed right up to the Top End reeds.

Interestingly apart from the double hook up I had all the fish on the point fly.

I was fishing two identical flies and even changed them round at one stage but still only the point fly was working.

After lunch I changed to fishing Buzzers on the washing line and ended up with another 7 fish to the net with some others  lost and quite a few of those non friable pulls. 🙂

So although it was only a week and conditions were only marginally better the response of the trout was completely different. Always good to be aware that what works one week will not always work the next week.  Maybe not even the next day………………

This will be my last “Blog” for a month or so as I am off to the Czech Republic next week. I am taking part in the World Fly Fishing Championships where I am coaching the Canadian Team.

Wish us Luck.

Robbie Bell         Resident Instructor and Guide



Other News:

  • Despite our plea in the last report for smokers to pocket or bin their cigarette ends we are still picking up far too many. We are asking secretaries of clubs to make it clear to their members that this is not acceptable and that we will be taking a tough line on those that continue to litter the loch. We will also be making it clear to individual users that this is not acceptable.
  • Continued work on the bank around Swing Gate Bay means that walking access for bank anglers is being further improved. Plesae let us know what you think of it.
  • Finally, we had some great news a couple of days ago. Trout Fisherman wrote to us to let us know that an independent panel of adjudicators had voted Coldingham Loch as one of the top 100 stillwater fisheries in the British Isles. There are apparently 540 fisheries in total so to be chosen in the top 100 is quite an accolade. Apparently we will receive a certificate and a full list of the top 100 will appear in issue 460 on the 23rd July. Many thanks to you all for helping us to achieve this  ……. Without you the fishermen, this would not be possible.

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

  • Ashington Kingfishers
  • Deed Firrit FFC
  • Benedictine AC
  • Game Angler FC
  • Railway Inn FFC

We hope that the weather is kind and that to you and the fishing, top notch.

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