News round-up from Scotland
the traditional opening of the Scottish brown trout season, also marks the opening day of several major fisheries. Sadly, bitter, gale-force easterlies swept over the venues, with heavy rain for much of the day. Because of melting snow, the water colour at several locations was not the best, and all of these factors made for a difficult day. My local ‘patch’ – Linlithgow Loch – suffered accordingly, with only part of the loch safe to fish. Even there, anchors were dragging in the strong winds and casting was difficult. A number of regulars struggled in the conditions, and the top catch for the day was one of six overwintered fish for 24lb, taken by Messrs Bell and McBride on green and black lures. Some heavy overwintered rainbows were landed, including a superb six-pounder, taken by Jim Frew on a Minkie. Things had improved a bit by the following Saturday, and Falkirk Fly Dressers’ five boats brought in 33 fish for 92lb. The trout caught were in fine condition, and once conditions settle, Linlithgow visitors will be guaranteed some excellent sport with hard fighting fish. The Lake of Menteith opened later in the month, in slightly more favourable conditions. Manager Quint Glen celebrated 20 years at the helm, and this was probably the coldest start of the 20. Chairman Alan Simpson pointed out that this was the 100th season of stocking the Lake, which began in 1918 in an effort to increase food production after the disasters of World War 1.
In spite of a new policy of boats being available through the winter, the severe weather conditions meant that few anglers had ventured forth, and even the pike anglers were not around in the usual numbers. Mind you, Stuart Sutherland landed a magnificent out-of-season rainbow, for which the management quote read “trout don’t get more perfect." Anglers seeing the photograph of this fish on the website would certainly have their pre-season adrenaline pumping. Hats off, also, to piper Stewart Marshall, who played for the opening ceremony – his fingers must have been frozen! Some fine catches were made in Hotel Bay, the road shore and Lochend, with the sheltered Sandy Bay also producing its fair share of rainbows. Apparently, the stockies were going for the brighter flies and lures, while the resident trout were on nymphs and Buzzers, with intermediates the most successful line. The smaller bank fisheries continued to fish well, although the horrible weather meant that there were days when even the keenest angler preferred to stay indoors. Orchill Loch in Perthshire has been productive throughout the winter, and a recent catch by Linden FFC illustrated this, with 24 fish for 78lb 12oz. Top rod was Kevin Haughton with four for 15lb, taken on black and green Fritz. Swanswater, near Stirling, celebrated the opening of the brown trout season with the capture of several excellent spotties, including a fin-perfect 9lb 4oz fish, taken by Jim Spiers from Falkirk. As usual, the fishery produced bags of mixed species for most anglers, and one regular, Danny Docherty from Denny, had five for 16lb 4oz – two rainbows, two golds and a blue. Top patterns were Dancers, Cats, black/ green Fritz and Ally McCoist. One of the best blues I’ve heard about over the winter came from the Boathouse Pool at Forbes of Kingennie, and tipped the scales to 7lb 8oz. Its captor was Ken Jones, who released another four trout. Jock Leslie returned 10 fish on the same pool.