29th June – 12th July 2020

The summer weather is here and with it the usual uncertainty as to how the loch will be fishing one day to the next. No better example than last week when on the Tuesday all the rods found it very hard going and on the Wednesday, with boats and bank well occupied the rod average was close to 10 for the day. Go figure?

The water remains gin clear and is holding a temperature of around 17-18 degrees C. There is no issue with weed and all areas of the loch are well fishable ….. although the weed cutter remains on standby for when and if needed. The occasional bursts of rain are providing a much needed source of top up water for the loch but the water level remains well below what it would normally be for this time of the year which is good news for the bank anglers as it’s providing easier wading in most areas.

The bank has been fishing particularly well and from the bank, Swing Gate Bay has been producing some very good returns. Floating lines and dries continue to be the best option with foam daddies, black foam beetle, F Fly, CDCs and foam buzzers being the pick of the flies. In the evenings we are still seeing large hatches which are producing some spectacular rises but during the day the fish are less apparent. Despite this, perseverance with the dries is paying off.

Our COVID 19 measures are still in force and we are delighted to say that in the main they do not seem to have hindered our operations to any great extent. Everyone is demonstrating good common sense in the way that they are approaching their fishing and as a result things are running quite smoothly here. A reminder that we are now allowing two to a boat, with social distancing measures still being applied as much as possible. We are still not hiring out electric motors and batteries and the fishing hut remains closed but as and when we feel that  the guidance allows us to change this, we will of course let you know.

Robbies Blog:

It Depends.

That is probably the only true answer for any Fishing Question.

However, one thing I frequently get asked as an Instructor or as a reasonably successful Angler is how long should my leader be?

Well it De………….     you can guess the answer.

Take one of those Concrete Bowl Reservoirs such as Farmoor.                       a

One method used there is to cast out a sinking line and crawl a Booby along the bottom.

In that case the leader may only be 2 or 3 feet long.

On a local smallish river like the Whiteadder a single Dry Fly could be fished on a shop bought 9 foot tapered one.

Loch Style fishing on Midlands Reservoirs with 4 flies often involves something a tad over 20 feet.

Fishing two lures from a bank I might use 16 feet with the wind behind me but a lot less and maybe only one fly if in to the wind.

I recall fishing in 1999 on Eyebrook Reservoir in John Horsey’s Competition.

A group of lads from the Czech Republic had come to fish it. Amongst them was Tomas Starychfojtu.

At the time he was the current Individual World Fly Fishing Champion.

He sat up the front of the boat like a Heron and fished a single Dry Fly on a leader about 15 feet.

Nine feet of it tapered and six feet of level tippet.

We won the competition by 3 clear fish and he had about 5 times the rod average on the day.

So how long a Leader should I use?

Well it depends…………………………………..

Best wishes

Robbie Bell


Other News:

  • As you can see at the end of this report, we have launched a new feature in our loch report this month. It’s Fly of the Month and has kindly been supplied by Les Lockey who many of you will know has been a regular here for many years and knows the loch extremely well. He is a terrific fly tier and we hope that you will enjoy seeing his pictures and having a go at tying the flies that he suggests might work during each month. We had intended launching this at the start of the year but I suppose it’s always better late than never. Many thanks for your input Les.
  • Pete Dann added to the collection of lost property in the loch by losing his landing net over the side of the boat in almost exactly the same place that Darrel Young lost his rod and reel. If anyone is fortunate enough to hook either item, please let us know.
  • We are fast approaching the point at which we will make a decision regarding our proposals for next year and numbers are very encouraging. We would once again urge anyone who might be interested to submit an expression of interest via our web site to avoid disappointment.
  • It’s great to receive feedback from time to time and we have been delighted by the positive comments that we have received concerning the work that has gone into making the banks as accessible as they are. Each year we have been constantly looking at ways to improve things and we are now reaching a stage where we feel we have achieved what we would like to around the bank. So now it’s there to be enjoyed and we hope to see more and more people enjoying a change from the option of boats.
  • The cottages are now re-open for business and we are glad to say, are in full swing with bookings looking very encouraging for the remainder of the year. It’s always worth phoning Carmel to check availability even when the on-line booking system might suggest that we are full as there is sometimes a space to be had in one or other of the cottages.

Club News:

  • Given the changes that we are proposing for next year, we would once again urge all clubs that are interested in using us as a venue for next year to get your bookings in as early as you can. There will only be one club day per week from March next year and so it important to get your bookings in at the earliest opportunity. We are glad to say that most clubs are already doing this.


Fly of the Month – July (See accompanying pictures in the gallery below)


Damselfly Nymph


Hook: Kamasan B170, size 10, medium wire hook or similar.

Thread:  Olive Semperfli Nanosilk, 50 Denier, or any fine olive thread.

Eyes: A pair of small, black metal, bead chain.

Tail: Medium olive marabou.

Rib: Medium gold wire.

Abdomen: Medium olive marabou feather tips.

Thorax cover: Cock pheasant centre tail fibres.

Legs: Dyed yellow, partridge feather.

Thorax: Medium olive marabou, dubbed. 


Photo 1. Place the hook in the vice, catch on the thread behind the eye and wind on a short bed of thread to the thorax, cut off excess thread and return thread to about 2 mm. from the hook eye.

Photo 2. Catch in the bead chain under the hook shank and secure in position using figure of eight thread wraps over a small dab of superglue, then run the thread in touching turns down the shank to opposite the barb.

Photo 3. For the tail, tie in a small bunch of marabou fibres about the same length as the hook shank. Catch in the wire rib followed by some fine fibres from the tip of a marabou plume and bind down all the loose ends with thread stopping at the thorax position.

Photo 4. Wind the fine marabou fibres up the shank, tie in at the thorax and remove the excess marabou. Now bring the wire rib up the abdomen in open turns, tie it in at the thorax and worry off the excess wire.

Photo 5. Take a bunch of cock pheasant tail fibres and tie them in with the tips forward of the eye. Bind down the fibres to immediately behind the hook eye and return the thread to the thorax.

Photo 6. To form the legs, snip out the tip of a partridge feather to form a V shape. Leave about a dozen or so fibres either side of the V and remove all the other fibres. Position the V on top of the shank with the fibres on either side of the shank and pointing rearwards, now tie it in securely and then remove the excess feather stalk.

Photo 7. Pinch off a few marabou fibres and dub them sparingly onto the thread then wind the dubbing over the thorax, around and between the bead chain eyes and back to the thorax position.

Photo 8.  Pull the pheasant tail fibres back between the bead chain eyes and over the top of the thorax and tie down with two turns of waxed thread. Add a drop of varnish or superglue to the thread and whip finish through it with no more than 3 turns of thread then cut off the thread.

Photo 9. Trim off the excess pheasant tail fibres leaving a small stub to complete the fly.


Tying tips

  • Using a fine thread produces a neater finish by avoiding an unsightly build up at the rear of the thorax.
  • Tying the bead chain eyes below the shank helps to stop the fly from swimming upside down.
  • Damsel nymphs are slim and only about 3 cm long, but they move sinuously in the water, so keep materials to a minimum – fine and sparse is the way to go. A slim marabou tail of a dozen or so fibres will maximize movement in the water.
  • For added security, the fine marabou fibres used for the abdomen can be wound over wet varnish or superglue and left to dry thoroughly before completing the rest of the fly.
  • When creating the thorax, add the marabou fibre dubbing little and often onto the thread and dub the head, eyes and thorax separately, so as not to compromise the bead chain eyes.
  • Damsel nymphs tend to darken as they mature so for spring fishing it is worthwhile having a few patterns tied with pale olive marabou.


Fishing notes

  • This pattern works best for me on a floating or sink tip line, fished around the loch’s weed beds and along the edge of the lilies, using jerky short pulls or a steady figure of eight retrieve. That said, the fly can be fished on any density line and with higher summer water temperatures, searching deeper water with a sinking line and a slower retrieve, is a sensible alternative tactic.
  • I always fish the fly on the point with a smaller nymph, usually a diawl bach or cruncher, on the dropper, but a pheasant tail nymph, hare’s ear nymph or buzzer are all decent alternatives.
  • When weed cutting is in progress, many aquatic invertebrates are dislodged from the safety of their weedy lairs and are eagerly mopped up by hungry trout, so shadowing the weed cutting boat can be very rewarding, if rather noisy.


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