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Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Contents - BY IAN MUCKLE MARCH

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.

Per­fect trout

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.

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