3rd – 23rd April 2023
Loch Reports

3rd – 23rd April 2023

Eventful. I suppose that’s the word I would choose to describe the start to this season. Some great catching taking place alongside some specimen fish being landed would probably sum up the first few weeks of fishing and alongside the quality rainbows being caught we are also seeing a very large number of brownies. Some of the browns will undoubtably be resident from previous years whilst others will be those that have been recently introduced.

As some of you will now know, our usual stockist, Billy Ferrans of Belhaven Trout Farm, who has provided fish here for many years has unfortunately had to call time on his business. Billy has served the loch very well over the years and we would like to thank him personally for his friendship and service to the loch. We wish him and his family well for the future and who knows, he might well start up again at some point. Thanks Billy!

With Billy no longer able to supply us we turned our attention to Yarrow Trout Farm which coincidentally, and for other reasons, is also set to close in the next few months. Stephen, the owner, has been very helpful in the interim and has supplied us with some superb quality rainbows and browns which many of you have already been enjoying. Again, we would like to thank Stephen and we will certainly be keeping in touch with him in the hope that Yarrow may re-open in the future in some form or other.

Looking forward then, our stocks will be coming from much further afield and with transport costs understandably escalating (in fact X5) our policy will be to stock more fish less frequently as opposed to our historical policy which was to stock more frequently with less fish each time.

In short, we will maintain our stocking levels, which are always very generous, whilst at the same time trying to keep down the overheads. (I hope that make sense?)

We always try to provide variety with our fish and alongside the usual stock of around 2 – 4 lbs there are a good number of larger fish out there. For those of you lucky or should I say, skilful enough to land them please be extra careful in handling them. It’s inevitable that when someone lands a fish of a lifetime that a photo or two goes without saying, but please remember that handling a fish and removing it from the water is not great practice. Far better to keep the fish in the net, in the water and take the photo with as little handling as possible. As there is a ‘release all browns’ policy at most fisheries, including this one, safe handling of these fish which might survive for a considerable number of years, is even more important. This will become even more critical as we approach the warmer weather and some fish which have fought hard need much more time to recover before releasing. As always, please ensure that you are using barbless / de-barbed hooks when intending to release fish.

With the weather within days let alone from day to day, being quite variable at the moment, it’s important to be prepared to change tactics accordingly. Those people who have done best have done this and have kept on the move around the loch in search of the fish. Tactics have varied from fishing a DI5 using lures over the deeper water to a mixture of dries around the margins and both boat and bank anglers are doing equally well.

The best of the flies have included:

Wets: Hot head damsel, apps bloodworm, cormorants, blobs, IPN (idiot proof nymph)

Dries: Griffiths gnat, yellow owl, shipman’s buzzers, black foam beetle, FABs.

Buzzers and nyphms have yet to really switch on but my feeling is that over the next week or so, with the increase in temperatures, they will soon be pretty lethal.

No particular hot-spots. All areas of the loch are fishing well in spells.

Visiting Clubs over the next two weeks:

  • Saturday 29th – Northumbria Police and Edinburgh Breadalbane
  • Friday 5th May – Midlothian FFC and Leith FFC

A warm welcome to all four clubs and we hope that they all enjoy their outings.

Other News:

  • Firstly, our usual request to all anglers to send in your accounts of your days fishing which we can then incorporate in to our loch reports. These only need to be a few lines long but it does make for interesting reading for the other fishermen.
  • Not long now before we see our first swallows of the season at the loch. Please keep your eyes peeled and let us know if you see them first.

Fishing Report from Colin Riach on day of Heriot AC club day:

Report & photos by kind permission of Colin Riach, please see his website link here: Coldingham Loch, 15 April, 2023 – CapnFishy

What a day of up and down temperatures (and fishing conditions)!  The car thermometer was showing 3 C on the way down.  I arrived to a flat calm and bright sun, and had to peel half my clothes off so I did not bake myself.  By the time we were into the day, we had cloud and a cold easterly had got up.  I had to dig out all the layers I had discarded and get them all back on.  Then the cloud dispersed and we had bright sun and the same cold easterly for the rest of the day.

There were rising fish on the go at the start, and so John Miller and I both tackled up with dries.  We just about managed to get a morning’s sport out of the fish to our dries, though it was never red hot.  Just a few small buzzers hatching, and the rises were very oncey.  But if you got in front of a fish, you had a reasonable chance at it.  I did best with a black crippled midge and an olive and ginger hopper, both size 14s.  I had a couple of the big stockie browns at 4 lb or so, plus a couple of overwintered rainbows.

We eked it out, but really outstayed our welcome with the dries.  We did have a spell of cloud cover that accompanied a switch of the breeze from west to east and kept us going through the mid morning period.  But thereafter, the cloud dispersed, the breeze freshened and the risers dried-up.  Now we were playing catch-up.  We both changed to washing lines on 10 ft tips.  Our drifts were dictated by where we could get a clear line from upwind to downwind shores without running into anchored boats.  that was basically from the SE to NW across the main drag, but that was OK, as there were fish to be had on that line.  We picked up another couple of lumps of brownies and a mix of stockie and overwintered rainbows – more on the booby on the tail than the nymphs on the droppers, truth be told – including the overwintered fish.

It went quiet on us mid-afternoon.  Wondering what I could try, I pulled out a fly-tying experiment I had done last October.  Snakes!  I had tied up a couple just to see how the technique worked.  The only previous time I tried one – right at the end of last season – I had a load of knocks that didn’t connect, plus a couple of fish hooked and lost.  So, I had yet to land a fish on a snake.  Well, I put on a black one – dead plain – one material in the whole fly – just a skinny strip of black rabbit.  and the same thing happened.  I was getting knocks and not connecting.  I was getting the weight of the fish… and then off.  I hooked a fish, but it fell off.  Finally, at long last, I hooked and landed a fish on a snake!  What I can’t understand is why a dressing designed to have the hook right at the extreme end of the fly – which ought to make it an excellent hooker – should prove to be exactly the opposite???  Anyway, I got pelters from both club and fishery management when relating this tale of derring-do.  “A snake?  How could you?!”  Ach well; is it any worse than a tequila FAB or a cat’s whisker booby or a yellow dancer?

Keith Logan adds…

Dougie Goddard and I had an enjoyable and interesting day’s fishing.  As usual, we got a warm welcome from Gareth and Carmel.  The early season fishing has been really productive and notable for the quality of the brown trout being recorded.  Darrel Young, a Coldingham member, has been waxing lyrical about the fishing, from opening day.

What we thought remarkable was the water clarity, which was like gin, even as we motored away from the beach.  We came across little pods of fish all the way to the reeds and there were a few lumps clearly patrolling the margins.  We headed right to the top of the wind (initially a slight north-westerly) by the far end shallows, aiming to start our drift by the reeds.  To be honest, it was difficult not to stop the boat and start fishing straight away, since fish were showing all the way.  Dougie and myself are not ones for anchoring and with the modest breeze we were not going to employ the drogue to begin.

Dougie started with the bung and a couple of nymphs, I had elected the 10ft tip with a booby and a couple of skinny cormorants.  It was good to get a bit more insight into the shallow water features before the weed gets hold.  There were a few bank anglers out, so we drifted more into the middle to give them plenty room, although we would have preferred to cover the margins.  I picked up one to a fluo green-cheek cormorant; a fairly standard rainbow.  We had a fairly slow start, though.   Dougie came up in the water.  I switched over to the 3ft tip.

Our fortunes changed when we focussed our attention around the eastern shore and in particular drifting out from Swing Gate bay.  We could see a lot of club members netting fish on a regular basis but with a real range of lines and tactics.

Dougie netted a superb brown trout to a lovely little olive nymph and also had a few close encounters. By this time I’d gotten into a bit of a rhythm on the midge tip with the lion’s share being stunning quality brown trout, with many in the 4-6 lb range and a couple in excess of that, all safely returned to fight another day.

Dougie had a 2-fish kill ticket with all browns to be safely returned.  We actually struggled to successfully net rainbows!  It all went quiet for us by early afternoon, so we changed tactics and went deeper: intermediate and Wet-Cel 2.  We then enjoyed another memorable afternoon session.  Dougie picked up his rainbow trout to complement the browns.  We ended up the day with 24 fish to the boat and a bit of a red letter day’s fishing.

Congratulations to Gareth and Carmel.  They have set up a first class fishery.  Our 12 rods recorded a total of 99 fish, a rod average of 8.3.  A great day for our club

Colin’s Photo Gallery from 15th April 2023:

Gallery 2: A selection of photo’s of the many browns & rainbows enjoyed by members and holiday guests over this last period:

Gallery 3: A selection of photos sent by Deepta Churm of the Churm children Layla & Ashok fishing with dad Austin on their family holiday at Easter. The children both landed very good sized brownies (Ashok a 6lb & Layla a 5lb!) – they will soon be out-fishing their Dad!