6th June to 9th July 2023
Loch Reports

6th June to 9th July 2023

A slightly unusual loch report this time as we’ve had a very rare in-season break to go and see family and so cannot really comment on things over the last few weeks.

Hence, we will be posting a report sent to us from Les Lockey who fished here the week before last. We have also posted Les’s fly of the month for July (with apologies for its late posting) which is always worth seeing and copying.

The other thing that we would like to draw your attention to is the closure of yet another fishery and one which I personally enjoyed fishing at …. Stenhouse.

Whilst we personally aren’t users of Facebook or any other social media platforms, we did take the time to look at the Stenhouse page when we heard that they had closed. I was particularly drawn to a response posted by Ross Murdoch of Harelaw Trout Fishery and have subsequently spoken to Ross and thanked him for what I consider to be a particularly well penned response to the Stenhouse closure. With his consent I will include it here so that you can see it.

Ross and I also spoke about the difficulties we all face and he mentioned the unusually high temperatures that we have had in June and the effects that that has had on numbers of anglers at his place. Weather conditions are undoubtedly changing and as such we need to accept the difficulties along with the benefits, that this brings with it.

Ross Murdoch – Facebook comment:

“Very sad to see Stenhouse Fishery go out of the game, never heard about word about the place, the Harelaw boys were booked in for a club outing in a couple of weeks, really feel for the guys running the place who have had to make this difficult decision.  I’m actually sure it will now come as a bit of a relief for them…it’s a very stressful job running a fishery at the moment. Constantly rising prices, unprecedented weather conditions, fickle customers who can run their hard work into the ground on social media if they have a bad day fishing…it’s a constant uphill battle.

Here is the thing though…I believe fishing customers have never had it so good, in terms of quality fish, facilities, constant reports, deals to encourage kids, deals to encourage newbies to the sport… I could go on.

The alternative to no fisheries…? Everyone out hammering rivers and lochs for wild fish…no thanks!

Someone said to me this morning, “Ah, that might be good for you, they are a boat venue, you might win out of it” …. very short sighted, and not how I feel knowing the hard work that goes into these venues, it’s a worrying trend, support your local fisheries folks, use them or lose them”

Written by Ross Murdoch from Harelaw Trout Fishery & Coffee Shop posted on Stenhouse Facebook page 11th July 2023

We concur completely with what Ross has had to say about the Stenhouse closure and we equally feel no satisfaction at all about hearing of the demise of yet another quality venue. It is indeed a very worrying trend which is further exacerbated by the closures of the trout farms that supply the fisheries.

As you know, we made changes here a couple of years ago that have proved to be invaluable in being able to maintain and run Coldingham Loch as a fishing venue and we remain very grateful indeed for the support of our members, holiday guests and fishing clubs.


Les Lockey – Fishing Report:

Fishing Report by Les Lockey.

24th – 30th June 2023

Clear blue skies, temperatures touching an uncomfortable 26 degrees Celsius, shorts and sandals the required dress code, and already a warning about prolific blanket weed growth at the North end of the loch, could this really be Coldingham Loch in the last week in June? One thing was certain, the fishing was not going to be easy, particularly as high temperatures and a lack of rain in the preceding few weeks seemed to have decimated the usually prolific fly life. With the exception of blue and olive damsel flies, an odd sedge or two, and the inevitable evening Caenis hatch, selecting a suitable dry fly imitation was going to be a challenge.

Given all of the above, I reasoned that early mornings and late evenings were likely to provide the best chance of success, and not being an early morning person, my first couple of sessions were for last knockings from the bank, but with only wellies, wading was extremely limited. Fortunately, the wind was favourable and the Caenis hatches brought fish within easy casting range and a small black foam backed hopper slowly figure of eighted was all that was required to produce positive responses from the fish.

Thankfully by Monday conditions had become much more normal with a strong wind and very heavy showers, but fish were noticeable by their absence, at least anywhere near the dry flies I was offering. Only one fish to the net and that was just as I was lifting off to recast.

Wednesday was an altogether different day. Overcast, mild and with a light north westerly breeze, I gingery headed to the North end of the loch with the engine shaft raised to its highest setting which allowed me to carefully manoeuvre the boat close to the reeds where, after a review of last year’s fishing diary, I set up a cast of two flat daddies, a black one on the point and a tan one on the dropper and as the odd fish began to move, I attempted to cover any rise within casting distance and the results were nothing short of spectacular. 20 fish landed before lunch and several others lost, with the black flat daddy outscoring the tan by two to one. Why don’t more anglers keep a fishing diary? I have found, particularly as I get older, that a fishing diary is am extremely beneficial “aide memoir” of previous successes and failures at any given time of year. I find there is little better on a long cold winter’s evening than sitting by the fire with a glass of my favourite red and reading through my diary remembering the highs and lows of a season past. 

Thursday and Friday saw me back at the North end using the same flies although the position of the flies was alternated to see if this had any effect. Interestingly the point fly, irrespective of its colour, always outscored the fly on the dropper, which for me at least, has been a regular occurrence over the years. Friday proved a particularly interesting morning for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I landed three fish in my first three casts and every one of them was a stunning brown trout averaging around 5lbs. I then had a double brown trout hook up but unfortunately the largest fish of the day on the point fly managed to slip the hook. Then, not to be out done by their native cousins, the rainbows proved to be equally beautiful fish and as vividly coloured as I can remember catching at Coldingham, and they fought so hard that on several occasions they took off like torpedoes and were virtually impossible to stop on my 5-weight dry fly set up. Fortunately, most stayed clear of the surrounding weed and eventually came to the net. A big shout out must go to Gareth for stocking such fabulous fish. It also became quite apparent that the position of the boat was very important, as other anglers in close proximity and despite using the same flies, produced little or no response from the fish.

My tally for the week was 61 fish from two- day sessions, 2 morning sessions and a couple of hours from the bank. All the fish, with the exception of those from the bank, were caught on either a black or a tan flat daddy fished on a

5 weight floating line. For those fly tiers wanting to tie some flat daddies, tying instructions can be found in the archive section of the website dated August 2021.

Once again, a big thank you to Les for sending this to us and a request to anyone else that fishes here to do the same if you can.

We’ve put some great pictures of some of the fish caught recently and you’ll also see the remains of one that was caught by one of the local otters. Unfortunately, the otters never seem to go for the smaller fish when there are bigger ones on offer and to lose what we estimated to be at least a 12lb brownie is never nice to see. If only they would eat the whole fish …. They might then not take quite so many? Yet another example of the trials and tribulations of running a fishery.

Visiting Clubs:

Over the next two weeks we would like to welcome the following clubs:

Sunday 16th July – Edinburgh Amateurs AC and Oddfellows AC