Opening Loch Report 15th – 30th March 2014

Opening day finally arrived, and with the loch carrying a large quantity of fine over-wintered fish alongside our recent stock fish we were looking forward to seeing just how well the loch would perform.

But before the fishing began we opened the loch to the sound of the pipes and the procession of cars followed the piper to the loch where a wee dram was shared amongst the anglers to mark the start of the season. Hugh Gordon was the piper and we have to thank him for the tremendous job that he did not just leading the cars down but continuing to play beside the loch whilst the excited anglers tackled up in anticipation of what they hoped was to follow. As is tradition, the season began with a shotgun start ably conducted by our good friend Dave Brabbin who has now become a regular for our opening day and (as always) an invaluable help to us.

Whether it was Hugh’s playing that enchanted the fish or it was Dave’s shot that woke them up we are not sure, but whatever the reason it wasn’t long before the anglers were enjoying the delights of fishing at Coldingham at it’s very best. First fish of the season almost certainly went to Peter Davison fishing from the bank and he continued his good fortune with a further 16 rainbows all of which he reported to be in superb, fighting condition. Furthermore, we are pleased to say that every angler on Opening Day caught fish and many recorded high numbers and an excellent days sport.

The unfortunate feature of Opening weekend was the wind which meant that on Saturday afternoon the boats could not anchor past the fish cage so were in boathouse bay, however fish were still being caught and sport enjoyed. It proved more of a challenge for the Sunday anglers for the first part of the day in particular but some good fishing was still enjoyed and we were delighted that on both days there was good chats & banter amongst everyone as we gathered around the barbeque for bacon sandwiches at lunch time, and thanks to Neil Keillor (on the Sunday) for the square sausage with black pudding centre – a first for many & a firm favourite with the ghillies.


Since opening the wind has been a regular feature which has maybe put off some folks coming but for those that have come and fished, the loch has offered great sport with ‘challenging but a great days fishing’ being a regular comment. Hotspot areas have been, Swingate Bay, along the eastern shore and more latterly between the fish cage and the aerator buoys. Afternoon rises have become a common feature over the last week or so and as a consequence, some fantastic dry fly fishing has been enjoyed by those confident enough to employ the dries at this time of year. Despite there being a number of hotspots, fish are being caught in all areas of the loch and as the temperature starts to rise this will become even more of a feature. Currently the water temperature is hovering around the 5C mark.

Most productive fly patterns have been:

  • Damsel
  • Apps bloodworm
  • Buzzers and Diawl Bachs
  • Dries including black spider, elks hair, grey duster.
  • Lures of various kinds.



As is tradition, local club The Anchor Inn AC were the first club on the loch for 2014 on Opening Day and enjoyed a rod average of 3.9 and Gus being the top rod after netting 10 rainbows and a blue.

Newmarket AC returned again to the loch this weekend (see photo) and had a fantastic day and all anglers caught with 32 fish being landed to their 8 rods  –  a very good haul considering the cold easterly wind.

Today (Sunday 30th) we woke to a pea soup of a fog which was a disappointing way for the Civil Service Sports Association Rosyth area club to have their first visit to the loch on their annual mystery tour. Unfortunately the loch remained a mystery for those who had not been before as the fog didn’t lift. Despite some tough weather conditions they reported a grand day out and a good days fishing with a rod average of 2.9.  Members said they would be coming back and we certainly hope so – it would be great for them to actually see the loch in its full glory next time!

Border Bears also fished today all from boats and reported having a great day with Steve Bird getting a bit lost in the fog thinking we had built a new jetty across on the eastern shore until he realised he had come full circle and was back at the boathouse! The club also fared well despite the cold fog with a rod average of 2.75.

Other News:

  1. We managed to get through quite a lot of work over the winter period thanks to the unusually mild conditions.
  • Elm chalet has been completely refurbished and is looking splendid both inside and out.
  • Work on the west shore of the bank at the northern end of the loch has created a much better path for the bank anglers.
  • Two septic tanks have been refurbished
  • Lochside Cottage chimney has been repaired
  • Access roads on the site have been re-surfaced.
  • All boats have had their usual winter over-haul.


  1. A very early notification for everyone that the date for the Lad(y)s and Dads has been pencilled in for Sunday 28th September. We will give you periodic reminders but to avoid disappointment for this popular event please try to book your places well in advance.
  2. Loyalty Cards. Due to the high number of cards that we are carrying forward we have made a decision that as from this year all loyalty cards must be used in the year in which they are issued. In other words they will not be carried forward into the next year.
  3. A heads up that evening sessions will begin from Monday 28th April by which time it should be possible to get a four hour session in from 5.30pm onwards. Evening sessions will then run from 5.30 – 9.30 pm with the loch closing at 10pm.
  4. A new addition to the loch this year is a dip tank for all nets, waders and motors. The dip tank is located outside the boathouse and there are signs reminding people to use this facility at the start of each visit.

Next we have two other items to report both of which are quite sad.

Firstly …. yesterday was the last day of trading for Robbie and Margaret Bell in their tackle shop, Game Fair, in Berwick town centre. Robbie and Margaret have run the shop for nearly 30 years and during this time have helped many a needy angler. Whilst it is sad that they will no longer be at the helm they assure us that the shop will continue to operate as a tackle shop and we wish the new owners success in their new venture. Robbie intends to do a spot of fishing in his new, spare time so I guess, not much change there!! Good luck to you both and thank you for your service to the angling community and the wider community over the last 30 years. I’m sure that you will be missed.

Secondly … It was with great sadness that we learned of the severe illness and subsequent death of one of our keenest Coldingham stalwarts last week. Eddie Wright first began fishing here in 1979 and since then rarely missed his fortnightly visit to the loch despite living in Wallsend, Newcastle. A keen Newcastle United supporter, Eddie fitted in his visits to the loch in between Newcastle’s home games and would fish in all weathers despite his senior years. He was the first angler that Carmel and I met when we were considering buying the loch and we will miss seeing him here. Along with Pete Davis, we attended the funeral last week in Newcastle and represented the many people that fished with Eddie and shared his company over the years.


Finally during the next two week period we are pleased to be welcoming the following clubs:

  • Leith FFC
  • Heriots AC
  • Edinburgh High Constables AC

We hope that the weather is kind to them and that the fishing maintains its current level of sporting challenge.

To enlarge photos please click on the photo and use the arrows to scroll through the gallery and hover over photos to read the caption

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