Mid- July already, and half way through another season at Coldingham Loch. It seems to be flying by this year and maybe it is because of the unpredictable nature of the weather and the seemingly endless days of strong winds and below average temperatures for the time of the year? Indeed as we write this report the Open at St. Andrews is delayed due to the strong winds over the last two days and no doubt the winner will be the one who is capable of weathering the conditions and using the right tactics over the course of play.
With that in mind the similarities to the fishing are not that far apart except for the fact that we then have to factor into the fishing a loch full of trout that are also watching the conditions and are behaving accordingly. Feeding patterns are at the moment are best described as erratic and spasmodic and what we are witnessing, is a reluctance from the fish to feed at certain times of the day if later on in that day they sense a hatch of something tasty, like the caenis flies or the abundance of sedges that are apparent in the evenings. The up side to this is of course, that when the fish are taking they are not holding back and a savage swirl can then often result in an epic fight which hopefully ends up with a fish in the net but can sometimes end in a broken line or a fishless hook.
Dry flies have certainly been working best over the last two weeks and just recently more and more success has been coming to the likes of daddies, hoppers and other such leggy offerings. Cdc / shuttlecock buzzers are also accounting for a good number of fish and a firm favourite amongst these, the yellow owl, is proving to be particularly successful. When the fish are being a little more choosey, something bright like a FAB, blob or sparkler dragged or twitched through the water occasionally seem to liven things up and old favourites like Olive Damsels, Wickhams, Bloodworms and Kate McLarens are usually good for a couple of fish.
Water clarity remains excellent and although the weed has not caused any problems at all this year we did begin to do a little weed cutting at the end of last week, paying particular attention to the top end of the loch and the narrows. Two loads in however, and a mechanical issue with the weedcutter has forced a temporary halt in proceedings but we are hoping to have it up and running again this week and will resume cutting at times when the loch is quiet. (See photos of engine being removed using mini digger in the loch! What else are you going to do at 9 o’clock on a Friday night?)
There is quite a lot of wild life to be observed around the loch at the moment so watch out for: Roe deer with fawns at foot; mallards with ducklings; kestrels with newly fledged youngsters; a family of otters; an array of different coloured dragonflies and damsels and moths (see photos) and many more creatures too numerous to mention. If you manage to see something unusual, let us know and we will feature it in the loch report and if you are able to photograph it even better. We have had lots of great comments following the photographs from Ian Whyte a few weeks ago when he was lucky enough to photograph a young roe deer being born and it’s this sort of activity / opportunity that makes this loch such a special place to visit and creates a welcome addition to the fishing.
Catches of note during the last two weeks:
- Tony Averill had a superb two hour session from the bank fishing a single dry fly. His yellow owl accounted for 7 fish to the net plus 6 lost and 3 snapped lines
- The next day Bob Cockburn had 18 to the boat fishing yellow owl and daddy and his dad James contributed a further 7
- Two days later James Gardiner had 12 to the boat using a combination of cdc, yellow owl and f flies
- Douglas Aitchison had a nice brownie on his day off the bank (see photo)
- Bob Harrison had 6 to the boat in a four session using cdc buzzers and dapped daddy
- John Bruin staying in Sunnyside chalet had 7 from the bank using cdc, shipman’s buzzers, yellow owl and hoppers
- A Anderson and J Ducie had 9 fish to the boat including 2 blues
- J Connolly had 8 to the boat using cdc hoppers
- Zander Kenny using a combination of flies recorded a brilliant day with 12 to the boat and commented that he had lost more than he had caught
- Mr Ord from Leicestershire on his annual trip to the loch had a lovely brownie to the boat (see photo)
- Holiday Guests Bobby McMillan and fellow guest Billy Nicoll reported having a brilliant weeks fishing the comment on leaving was ‘Fish galore! Great week, great place, great people – booked for next year. Happy days.’ I guess they must have been pleased with their holiday!
- Rob Woolston staying in Lochside cottage with his family fished periodically through the week and finished with a very respectable 35 rainbows and 7 blues caught on various dries.
- Pete Dann fishing from the bank yesterday caught 5 fish in his 4 hour session but of particular note was a brownie estimated at over 4lbs in weight
- Last night Ali Mabon fishing with his mates Neil Martin & J Cook also landed a cracking brownie estimated at over 5 lbs in weight. The four reported having a quality night with excellent top of the water action
It was that time of year again (where do the years go!) and I had been asked to look after the Loch so Carmel and Gareth could have a day off.
As they were also going to be out for the evening the first job was to stop off in the village to get a couple of pies from the local butcher Peter Walker.
It was going to be a reasonably long day so some solid sustenance was needed. A tin of peas would accompany the pies so there was no danger of me fading away………
Fishing conditions for the anglers were perfect first thing in the morning and a few fish were being caught. However this soon changed as the sun came out and the breeze strengthened.
Never good conditions.
Anglers who changed to something like a Di 5 continued to pick up fish.
I sometimes hear anglers say they are fishing deep because they have a gold head on while still using a floating line. This may be true but what is certain is that it does not fish deep the same way as a full sinking line.
Something like a Di 5 will fish in a U shaped pattern and hopefully will go down through the level of the fish and back up through them. This should double your chances.
Adding a fly with a bit of foam in it such as a FAB will exaggerate this U shape and is often a successful method.
Using a Goldhead on a floater can get down but I see a lot of anglers pulling fairly quickly after casting and I am sure they are not fishing as deep as perhaps they may think.
By the evening the catch return book had taken on the usual pattern with some anglers doing well and some not so well.
At around seven o’clock I was the last one there and so decided to have a few casts.
I slipped the boat out just past the boat shed and threw out a team of small Black Dries.
Within a couple of seconds a nice head and tail rise and I lifted into nothing but fresh air!
Half an hour later and I had not had another offer.
By this time the south east wind had picked up even more so I decided to have a drift from Lochside Cottage up to Rainbow Point as there was a touch of shelter over there.
First cast an offer and next cast a nice Rainbow of around two pounds.
Ten minutes later and with my flies only a yard or so from the shore another good take.
This turned out to be a stunning Brown Trout (see photo) again about the two pound mark.
There was now a few fish to cast at. Some completely ignored my flies and others had an inspection with no contact. Perhaps I missed them but I prefer to think they missed me .
However after fifteen minutes one more came to the net. A lovely Blue Trout again around the two pound mark.
So a hat trick of fish, Rainbow, Brown and Blue in well under an hour. A size 16 Black Hopper was what the fish were picking out.
One more rainbow came before I decide to call it a day as by then it was well past Beer O’Clock.
Same time next year Carmel?
Robbie Bell Resident Instructor and Guide
For an article on bank fishing at Coldingham Loch please click on the link below – it is an article written by Simon Robinson who came and fished the loch for the first time earlier this year and produced a very interesting article for the July issue of Total Fly Fisher Magazine and this is an additional article he has done for Fulling Mill and is definitely worth a view on their website.
- Newmarket AC (see photo) the club reported having a hard but enjoyable day and Martin Craig was top rod with 4 rainbows
- West Lothian Fly Dressers fished on an extremely windy day (when, co-incidentally, the Open golf was suspended due to wind!) reported a tough day their 10 anglers managed just 14 fish between them but credit should be given to them for attempting to fish in such challenging conditions
Clubs visiting in the next period will be:
- Thurston Manor fishing a half day session
- Eyewater AC
- Border Bears fishing an afternoon and evening session
As always we look forward to seeing these clubs at the loch and wish you all a successful fishing trip.
Opening Weekend 2016:
Opening weekend 2016 will be weekend of 12th March 2016. We know it’s only July 2015 but the boats are already fully booked for the Saturday but there is still space on the bank please book if you are wanting to fish the bank that day. Boats are still available on the Sunday and limited bank space, again please ring to book.