Loch Reports

Opening Weekend 2023

Even frozen pipes can’t stop the flow!

What is he on about you might ask? Well, our opening day got off to it’s usual great start with Hugh Gordon, immaculately turned out, piping in the new season. He did a fabulous job despite his bagpipes freezing up half way down the hill but a quick thump of the elbow and business was resumed as normal. It is such a treat to have Hugh here to open the loch and we can’t help but feel emotional each time he plays. It’s a very special day and one which we feel is a fitting tradition for such a lovely venue as this.

In a change to past practise, this time the fishermen stayed at the bottom of the hill and made an arch with their rods for Hugh, Carmel and I to pass through. A toast was made to the new season, a dram went into the loch and the shotgun signalled the opening to 2023.

Typically, it wasn’t long before we saw the first rod bending and as we said at the start, from here on in the flow of fish was pretty constant. A mixture of new fish and a good proportion of over-wintered fish were caught and everyone justifiably commented on the quality of the fish that they caught. Perhaps most pleasing for us was the number of brownies being caught and safely released and as most of you will be aware now, we introduced a good number of hard fighting browns pre-season to add to the quality and variety of fish in the loch. So far, there have been reports of two browns over 10lbs (see photo of Bob Cockburn’s 10.25 lb brownie in the gallery below) and one of 12lbs 7ozs, all weighed in the net and safely returned. Now that should get the fishing juices flowing!!

More browns will be added a little later in the season along with the usual input of rainbows and blues.

There are a good number of larger rainbows out there now too and for those people who are taking fish we would ask that you restrict the number of larger fish that you take at any one time. At some fisheries, people are asked not to take more than one rainbow / blue over 5lbs at any one time and we feel that this is absolutely reasonable given the increased cost of stocking that we all now face. We would be grateful if members, clubs and guests could adhere to this guideline. Of course, our rule that all brown trout must be returned still stands.

With Maggie and Pip once again on hand to help out, the bacon rolls at lunch time were a great success and provided a welcome break from the finger nipping temperature. Maggie and Pip, as always, were here in the week leading up to our opening day and without their help it would be hard to see how we could prepare as well as we do. There’s a lot of work involved in getting ready for the new season and we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude for all their efforts. A big thanks also to Karl Ferguson who once again was on hand to help with turning and launching the boats. The general size of the boats now means that it is certainly a three-man job and this year we were so in front of ourselves that we actually launched an extra boat by mistake! We must have got carried away, which is easily done when you’re having fun.

Back to the fishing on opening day. The best tactics seemed to be floating or midge tip lines pulling a team of cormorants or IPNs (idiot proof nymphs). Fish were very evenly spaced out and bank and boat fished equally well. The rod average for opening day was a staggering 18.6 with opening Sunday fishing slightly less well. The weather was atrocious on Monday and so there was nothing to report for this day.

The opening week has fished, as you might expect, tremendously well and with the water quality excellent at the moment, this looks set to continue.

Club Outings:

We had our first club of the season here on Saturday, Bank of Scotland. An initially slow start quickly turned in to an excellent day for all the rods with 117 fish caught between the 10 rods and a good number of hard fighting browns included in this number. Needless to say, a very happy group of anglers!

Over the next two weeks the club days are:

  • Sunday 26th March – Ashington King Fishers Bank Competition. (Members please note that the loch will be closed to all other anglers on this day due to the large number of bank fishermen)
  • Sunday 2nd April – Edinburgh Waltons

We look forward to seeing both clubs here and hope for good weather for both outings.

Other news:

  • We have worked hard over the winter to repair and improve access around the bank, particularly on the south shore and round Swing-gate Bay.
  • Starting tomorrow, Tuesday 21st, we are undertaking to clear some of the gorse around the loch as part of a management plan involving Nature Scot who oversee the management of SSSI’s like Coldingham Loch. Most of the clearance will be around the outer edges of the gorse and so will not impact on the surrounds of the loch. We will however be cutting back in some places around the bank to help improve my access when mowing and which should also help in terms of casting for bank anglers. We have already done this in one or two areas on the south shore.
  • Our usual request goes out to all anglers to help with our loch reports by sending in a small summary of your days fishing. This only needs to be a few lines but we know how much other anglers appreciate this as it gives them first-hand information from other anglers. So please start sending in your reports.
  • Youth Competition: A date for the Youth Competition has now been set for Saturday 27th In the first instance this will be offered to members with youngsters 16 and under and places are limited to 12 in total. Members will hear more about this through the members web site this week.
  • Fly Fishing Gear & Demo Day: An early heads-up for this one. This day has now been set with Fishers of Penicuik for Sunday 25th This day will be open to members, holiday guests and others to come along and try out new gear. Mike Wilson (owner of Fishers) will be here with a range of gear for everyone to try and assures us that there will be some very good deals to be done on the day. Also on hand will be Jim Fearn from Guide Fly Fishing. Many of you will know Jim for his casting demonstrations at many of the big shows and fairs around the country and it’s a chance not to be missed to come and take advantage of his knowledge and skills. We will also have David Bilbrough and possibly Steve Cullen. What a team! Anyone interested in coming along to this please get in touch with Gareth or Carmel

Our next Loch Report will be on Monday 3rd April. Members and holiday guests who would like to send a fishing report and/or photos to include in this loch report please send via the members website or email it to or you can send photos by WhatsApp message if that is easier

Gallery below for a selection of photos from Opening Week