Loch Report 28th Aug – 10th Sept 2023
So, “How’s it fishing” is probably the question that we get asked the most and sometimes I’ll often reply, “well you’ll probably tell me when you come in!”
Now I’m not looking to be glib when I say this but as we all know no two days and often, no two hours within a day are the same. I guess that the beauty of fishing therefore lies in its unpredictability and the need to have enough ability to try to work things out, particularly when the going is tough.
However, and having said all of the above, one thing that I can say with a fair degree of certainty is that often the nicest conditions to fish in are often the hardest to catch in. Hence every year when we get to the months of late June, July and August we say to people to manage your expectations as invariably things are going to be tougher. It therefore remains a mystery to us that people who have fished for many years are still seemingly surprised by the inevitable and will look for answers as to how this can be.
This year we can safely say that recent conditions are probably the toughest that we have experienced in the 13 or so years that we have been here and whether this is symptomatic of climate change or just a one off remains to be seen. Normally, by September we are seeing a change to the weather which is normally more conducive to better catching but this year the hot and very calm conditions are extending the summer doldrums beyond what we would class as normal. In fact, just today it was stated by the met office that the UK has had temperatures in excess of 30C consecutively for the last 7 days which is unprecedented for this time of year.
Coldingham is absolutely no different from anywhere else in this respect and we are all too aware of just how hard things are for fisheries up and down the country. As fishery owners and managers we are in constant contact. I guess one thing that we have in our favour which some other venues do not is that we have a very deep area which allows the fish some respite. Many fisheries no not have this “luxury” and as a consequence suffer more than we do in such extended periods of hot weather. As a result, we see them taking very difficult decisions about fishing which is contrary to their normal practices. Fully understandable and yet, I’m sure you’ll agree, quite sad at the same time.
So back to “How’s it fishing” the answer is – tough.
But here’s the good news – the forecast is for rain on the way later today and cooler temperatures and with this we hope to see a change in fortunes. The loch now has a later than usual abundance of perch fry which are quite obvious around the margins and we are seeing the occasional flurry of activity as the trout charge in to the unexpecting shoals. All good signs that better times are ahead of us.
We will include below a fishing report from Les Lockey who was here last week and you will be able to see from this just how unusual he considers things to be and how hard he found it. Having fished this venue for approximately 43 years I consider Les to be qualified to share his thoughts and experience and it’s great to see that he concurs with much of what we are saying. Many thanks for taking the time to share your report.
From the people who have done relatively well over this last two weeks it would seem that a combination of flat daddies and black foam beetle have been the best of the fly choices. Fished on a floating line and covering fish as soon as you see them has been paying dividends. Mornings and evenings have been the best times to fish with the middle of the day and the hottest temperatures being avoided if possible.
Fishing Report by Les Lockey.
2nd – 8thth September 2023
My second successive fishing trip to Coldingham Loch coincided yet again with very hot, sunny and dry conditions that had resulted in very high water temperatures and a dense algal bloom, so it was no surprise that words like difficult, hard, and tough, littered the catch return book. It was however reassuring to note that despite the disappointing returns, many anglers also noted that they had enjoyed their day. We all know the loch is stuffed with fish, and in favourable conditions, it is capable of regularly producing returns well into double figures, but the combination of excessive heat and bright sunshine negatively impacts water quality as well as fish behaviour, and we as anglers, need to learn to limit our expectations under such adverse conditions.
In terms of my own fishing during the week, I fished Monday to Thursday and mostly restricted myself to a couple of hours before noon. Monday saw one fish brought to the net with another lost. On Tuesday I blanked and didn’t touch a fish, but Wednesday morning saw the loch shrouded in a sea mist and as expected, the fish seemed keener to come to the surface. Fishing in and around the boils, I managed to land 5 fish and lost another 2 before the sun burnt off the mist and the rising fish disappeared. Thursday saw some high light cloud in the morning and again the flat daddies hooked into 5 fish but annoyingly, I only managed one to the net as one fish broke me at the dropper, while the other 3 took off like rockets as soon as they were hooked and eventually came off, so my tally for the 4 days was 7 fish netted and 6 lost. Interestingly, all the fish landed were rainbows and all took a dry flat daddy in either black or tan.
Fly life on the water was limited to lots of large crane flies bumbling over the surface, but I didn’t see any of them taken. Large red dragonflies were very numerous all around the loch perimeter, and on one of my evening strolls around the loch, vast numbers of perch fry dimpled the surface down into Swing Gate Bay occasionally dispersing in a shower of spray as marauding trout took full advantage of the bounty, which bodes well for the back end of the season.
Over the next two weeks these are the clubs that will be at the loch:
Saturday 16th Sept – Ladhope FFC and Leith FFC
Tuesday 19th Sept – Pentland Civil Service FFC and Cockburn AC
We extend a warm welcome to them and hope that they have good days.
It is also worth noting that on Sunday the 24th Sept we will once again be holding our annual Charity Day in aid of St Abbs Independent Lifeboat. The loch will be closed for all other fishing on this day.
A final request / plea from us for anyone that fishes here to please send us a brief report of your days fishing (just a few lines is all it takes). It’s a request that we make regularly but sadly receive very few returns. I’m sure that you’ll agree that the best information does come from other fishers who have fished the loch recently and who can give an independent and honest appraisal of their day on the loch.