Loch Leven Fishing Report – week ending 10th August 2014

Small fish have made an appearance big time at Loch Leven this week with some anglers reporting having caught loads of little brownies in the 5” – 10” size group, most of them frolicking around in the top 2 feet of the water column.  These small fish were being found all over the loch but particularly in the open water drifts.

That said, some bigger fish were also being caught, one lovely  3 lbs 1 oz specimen by Graham Birse who posted the following on our Facebook page together with a couple of nice photos (below):

Graham Birse shows off the 3lbs 1 oz brownie caught at last light

Graham Birse shows off the 3lbs 1 oz brownie caught at last light

‘After a bright and sunny Saturday on the loch, fishing was hard; so I was very pleased on the last drift of the day to hook up with this beautiful 3lb 1oz hen fish, at about 10pm, just off the Reed Bower, having changed my point fly to an Alexandria to try and mimic small fry.’

Close up of Graham Birse's trout showing its fabulous condition

Close up of Graham Birse’s trout showing its fabulous condition

Out the previous day (Friday afternoon & evening session), Rab Walls had 5 fish which he kept as well as another 9 or 10 which measured over 10” as well as numerous other smaller fish.  That same evening, Bill Barnes had 5 fish which ‘measured’  and another 8 or 9 below the 10” mark, and Ally Wells had 4 good fish that same day.  On Sunday afternoon, Kinross AC had 19 fish, nearly all of which were returned as well as numerous smaller fish.

Water clarity stands at 1.4 metres currently.  Background algae have become more prominent just lately following the bright, warm weather but the larger blue-green algae appear to have reduced in numbers.  The water temperature is still relatively high at 17.8oC but is now starting to fall slowly.

All of the open water drifts such as the North & South Deeps, are producing fish, as is the area between East Buoy and Castle Island.  Two anglers did see a particularly big fish on Sunday close to Reed Bower which they estimated at 10 lbs or more – it leapt out of the water and crashed down ‘like a slamon’.  It does pay to watch the drifts closer to the shorelines as some of the large fish are starting to chase some of the bigger fry.

The best flies at the moment are the traditionals such as Kate McLaren, Black Pennell, all of the Snatchers (emergers) and all of the many Dabblers and Muddlers tied to traditional patterns.  Fish have been located near to the surface and full ‘floaters’ down to intermediate 2 are probably the best line choice.  However higher densities will also work especially when pulled fast in the top 2-4 feet of water.

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Loch Leven Fishing Report – week ending 3rd August 2014

The fishing on Loch Leven has definitely improved over the last week.  Algae levels have dropped by around 25% and water clarity is improving again, now up to 1.6 metres or so over most of the loch. Water temperature has also dipped back down to 18oC which makes it a little more comfortable for the fish.

Lots of small fish are now chasing flies very close to the surface and they are a joy to see as they are key  to the loch’s performance as a fishery over the coming years.  Bigger are being caught, sometimes amongst the shoals of small trout as Andy Kemp, fishing with Perth RASC, found on Sunday when he hooked a lovely trout weighing 3 lbs 6 ozs.

However the biggest fish of the week was a lovely brownie weighing 4 lbs 4 ozs caught by Jeff Lawson – one of 8 trout caught by Jeff, 5 of which were returned at or near to the Reed Bower on Thursday.

There was one other large fish hooked and lost by an unlucky angler fishing in pretty rough conditions on Saturday with the ABC&D Club.  The poor chap lost his net over the side of the boat early on in the day – I am still not quite sure how!  During the course of the day, he hooked several fish, one of which was estimated at over 5 lbs, but he didn’t manage to get any of them into the boat!

Hopefully, as the season matures, fish will continue to be active near to the surface, particularly in the open water drifts and near to the drop offs along the bank from the North Buoy to the East Buoy.  Fishing onto a shoreline can also be successful  especially for big fish who can be found collecting food on the ‘bouncy’ windward shore

Best flies of the week have been Claret & Fiery Brown Snatchers, Claret & Pearly Dabblers and various Muddlers fished behind low density lines – even full floaters have been working in calmer conditions.

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Loch Leven Fishing Report – week ending 27th July

The very warm, sunny weather over the last week has seen temperatures on a number of days peaking at around 29oC.  That in turn has seen the water temperatures in the Loch rise sharply, with the top 2 foot layer reaching 21oC which is pretty uncomfortable for the fish, tending to push them into deeper water.

On Tuesday, before the onset of the really warm spell of weather, Jeff Lawson & Eck Dewar had 13 fish, all on buzzers.  They kept in 4 of those fish for the pot, all in the 1 – 1½ lbs range and their condition was a joy to see.  An examination of the stomach contents revealed a mixture of pin fry, snail, corixa and midge larvae. It goes without saying that day time angling became an awful lot trickier after that as the sun shone brightly.

Evening fishing however has been producing some good fish around last light when conditions have cooled down.  Small fish are again very active on the surface which, whilst very encouraging to see, can be very frustrating for anglers looking to hook something more substantial!

As is so often the case at this time of year, algal blooms have become established pretty much all over the open water which has resulted in water clarity dropping to 1.4 metres but there are some indications that these algal blooms may have already peaked.  Weed growth too has peaked and some of the big shoreline weed beds are now attracting some nice fish which are probably feeding on the huge amount of fry now present in the loch.

Long drifts in the open water are working best at the moment, especially in the evening sessions.  The south shore of St Serfs to Carden Bay is reported to be holding good numbers of fish.  We are still not seeing many big hatches of Yellow Owl although some very sizable  hatches of Silverhorn Sedge have been taking place but these do not seem to have been sufficiently attractive to cause the trout to rise in large numbers.

Small traditional flies (ie 12s & 14s) have been catching fish – all the Snatchers, Dabblers and, when the wind is up, Muddlers.

PS – sorry it is so late!

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Loch Leven Fishing Report – week ending 20th July 2014

Historically, July has often proved a real challenge for anglers on Loch Leven and July this year has continued in a similar vein. At times, it has certainly been difficult but then along comes some bumper sessions which get our attention.  That was very much the case here last week.

Fish are to be found in the evening sessions very close to the surface and, for the first time this season, they have been chasing traditional flies!  But Buzzers are also still working as Jeff Lawson and Eck Dewar proved last Tuesday when they had 25 fish between them, nearly all returned, during a combined day & evening session.  Just to prove it was no isolated ‘spike’, the two of them also had 10 fish during the day session on Thursday.

Jeff Lawson and Eck Dewar with 2 of the 23 fish they caught

Jeff Lawson and Eck Dewar with 2 of the 23 fish they caught

It has been encouraging to report that there have been some pretty good catches recorded by evening boats during the week.  Out on Friday evening, Kinross AC had 23 fish in their 5 boats.  They posted this report on our Facebook page that evening:

“Cracking night on Leven. Kinross Ac had 23 fish for 12 anglers. Even Donald [McLaren] caught 3! This one pictured [below] is 500 mm and weighed 3 lbs 7 ozs and took a Kate. The winner was Ally Middlemas with 5 for 1760mm. Most fish were caught in the mid deeps and south deeps area on top of the water tactics however 2 boats ventured to Dunlop bay including Stan Headley and found a large number of taking fish. One Lochgelly boat had 11 fish once they eventually ventured out from the quiet water. Well done Archie and Stevie.”

Michael Wilson with his 3 lbs 7 ozs brownie taken during the Kinross AC outing

Michael Wilson with his 3 lbs 7 ozs brownie taken during the Kinross AC outing

Rab Walls was out on Saturday afternoon and evening and had 6 fish but reported returning a whole load more, many of which were undersized.  Out on Sunday evening, Alistair Middlemass and David Bowie had 10 fish above the qualifying size limit and several more below it.

Congratulations too to Nadine Jarvis who sent us in a photo of her first fish caught on Loch Leven which she got on Saturday evening. It was a beautiful brownie weighing 2 lbs 4 ozs – not a bad way at all to kick off your account here (and she only started fishing a year ago!).

Nadine Jarvis's maiden Loch Leven brownie - a 2 lbs 4 ozs beauty

Nadine Jarvis’s maiden Loch Leven brownie – a 2 lbs 4 ozs beauty

Best areas still seem to be the open water drifts between Reed Bower, Mid Buoy and Point of St Serfs. The other productive areas holding good numbers of fish have been along the south shore of St Serfs and off the east end of Cavelstone Strip.

As mentioned earlier, traditional flies such a Kate McLaren, Pearly Invicta, Yellow Owl, Hopper and Black Pennel have all been working, as have all the many Snatcher variants.

The recent fine weather has seen the water clarity dip somewhat to just over 2 metres pretty much all over the loch whilst water temperature is now very high at 19.50C. If this weather continues as it looks as though it might for a while, I would expect to see some more good evening fishing, particularly if conditions are favourable (dull with a bit of a breeze) whilst day fishing should continue to produce fish.

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Loch Leven Fishing Report – fortnight ending 13th July 2014

Fishing has continued to be fairly challenging over the last week or so – there are fish being seen often in large numbers but they are proving difficult to actually catch.  The main reason, particularly during the evening sessions, has been the continuing lack of good fly hatches. When small localised hatches have occurred, the fish have indeed responded in those areas but, as is so often the case on Loch Leven, it has been a question of being in the right place at the right time.

The Friday evening before last, for instance, some  nice catches were recorded.  Kinross AC had 3 boats out and recorded 14 fish caught, measured & released.  That same evening, Ally Wells was out fishing on his own and had 8 fish, most of which were caught around the Reed Bower where a reasonable hatch of flies were ‘up’.  More recently, evening fishing has been showing some encouraging signs of picking up.  Last Saturday evening, Alistair Middlemass and David Bowie had 6 fish between them, ranging from 2 lbs down to ¾ lb, as well as numerous fish under the 10” limit.  Stephen Rougvie and Greig Davie, out on Sunday evening, had 4 fish with the best weighing 3 lbs 2 ozs and the other 3 between there and 1 lb (all returned).

John Spittal with a 3 lbs 13 ozs trout caught at dusk off the Reed Bower

John Spittal with a 3 lbs 13 ozs trout caught at dusk off the Reed Bower

Day fishing is traditionally pretty tough on Loch Leven in July but Stuart Moodie did have 4 good fish on buzzers at the Point of St Serfs the week before last (sorry – no report that week).  Mr Henderson had 4 fish, the best estimated at over 4 lbs, at Reed Bower.  Alistair Middlemass (again) had 1 fish when out that week but lost another estimated to be in the 7-8 lbs range – this fish was twice out well into the backing and eventually broke his cast (and his heart!).

Water clarity remains good at just on 3 metres and, although there is algae in the water column in areas of the loch, counts remain low for this time of the year.  There is a thought that the prodigious areas of weed throughout the loch are helping to supress algae to an extent.  Weed growth has probably now peaked for the season but there are now some very nice looking shore line weed beds which are now established and which should provide a good environment for all sorts of trout food including fry which are in abundance in the loch at the moment.

As you might expect, open water drifts are doing best at the moment, with the area from Reed Bower east to St Serfs holding fish.  Some small hatches of buzzer have been seen along the north shore from Green Isle to Old Manse Bay, so hopefully we may see a rise of fish in that area sometime soon.

Buzzers are working when conditions are favourable but traditional flies fished using low density lines are now beginning to take fish especially in the evening.

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SPECIAL WEEKDAY PROMOTION

As announced on our Facebook page, we have launched a Special Weekday Promotion whereby boats can be booked at a flat rate of £30 for the Day Session (10am – 6 pm). This compares with our normal boat charge of £48.

Until now, Single Anglers have been charged £30 for a boat but our new promotion now proposes that same £30 charge for a boat regardless of whether there are 1, 2 or 3 anglers in the boat. Whilst that may seem a little unfair on Single Anglers, it is worth noting that the Fishery’s costs per boat let are to all intents and purposes exactly the same whether there is 1angler in the boat, or 2 or 3.  Single anglers have actually had a pretty good deal up until now and they are not going to be any worse off – it just makes far more sense to fish now with a pal!

This offer covers the day session (10 am – 6 pm) Monday – Friday only.  Weekend charges remain the same.

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Loch Leven Fishing Report – week ending 29th June 2014

Once again, the fishing over the last week has been on the whole tough going.  Fish seemed reluctant at times to make an appearance even when conditions might have seemed quite favourable and when they did, they proved tricky to tempt.

As always though, some nice fish were indeed caught.  John Donaldson from Dalgety Bay had an amazing trout which was estimated at around the 10 lbs mark.  Apologies for the fuzzy photo below but it was late evening after all and at least John managed some photographic evidence before returning the fish to the loch to fight another day.  The scale on the photo does indeed appear to back up his rough estimate regarding the weight.

Grainy photo of John Donaldson's fish estimated at around 10 lbs

Grainy photo of John Donaldson’s fish estimated at around 10 lbs

John’s fish was apparently in pristine condition and he caught it on Tuesday evening  just to the south of Roy’s Folly on a cormorant.  That same evening, David Dun had a trout weighing a smidgen  under 5 lbs and reported losing another fish of a similar size.

The water temperature has actually eased down a little but most evenings it is still several degrees higher than the air temperature.  Water clarity is holding up well at 3.3 metres with background algae levels relatively low – blue green algae are actually unusually low for this time of the year but we are not complaining.  Weed growth is now probably at or near its peak with different types of weed being found the length and breadth of the loch.

The summer hatches of big chironomids (Yellow Owl or Curly Bum) have so far largely failed to materialise and this has led I believe to the somewhat limited rises of trout being seen.  There have instead been big hatches of Caenis (White Moth) and Silverhorn ( Silver Sedge) taking place but the Loch Leven brownies tend not to ‘switch on’ to these rather annoying little flies.

Fish are to be found along the bank from the North Buoy to the East Buoy, Cavelstone Strip, Reed Bower and from Scart Island to the Green Isle.  Buzzers are still working on occasions, as are pulling methods using various line densities.  In the evenings especially,  pulling methods using lower density lines should produce some action.

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Loch Leven Fishing Report – week ending 8th June 2014

Generally tricky conditions for much of last week appeared to affect catches on Loch Leven for much of last week.  On Saturday for example, anglers initially had to contend with bright sunshine and a fairly stiff breeze.  However, during the afternoon, the wind freshened further accompanied by torrential rain which turned it pretty much into a test of endurance.  On Sunday, conditionswere much improved but the fish didn’t respond, perhaps due to wind and waves having stirred everything up, and Kinross AC who had done very well on their previous outing, this time struggled to catch a few fish mostly on pulled lures.

That said, it is good to be able to report that evening fishing showed signs of coming on and some good rises have been seen in the open water drifts which is very encouraging.  The result has been some pretty good  catches being recorded.  Ally Wells had 7 fish over 10 inches in length and a further 6 slightly under the limit while drifting through the Mid Deeps.  Michael Wilson went out for barely an hour at dusk just off Roy’s Folly to pass the time before the evening boats came in and ended up with 6 good trout just under the one pound mark.

Although it is easy to comment that the fish in both Michael’s & Ally’s catches were fairly small trout, it is worth bearing in mind that the average weight of the over 2 million brown trout weighed in on Loch Leven since records began about a century ago is a fraction over 15 ozs.  So in effect, these trout being caught were pretty much in line with the historical average and arguably fairly typical of wild brown trout lochs.  That said, the average size of fish caught (and recorded) on Loch Leven has definitely been increasingly over the last decade or so, partly because of the increasing trend towards catch & release and partly because of the return to health of the loch itself which has provided trout with abundant food.

On the subject of size, the biggest fish of the week was caught by Eck Dewar from Glenrothes.  It weighed just over 5 lbs and was one of 4 fish which he and Jeff Lawson had, the total weight of which was 11 lbs 6 ozs – they returned a further 7 fish.  They caught their fish on Buzzers just east of Reed Bower.  On Friday, the same deadly duo had 7 fish – same place, same method, all returned!

Despite being churned up by the wind and waves, water clarity in the loch remains good at about 3.3 metres and with the water temperature steady at 16.50C.  Weed growth is now prolific everywhere we would normally expect to see it.

Several of the best areas have already been mentioned in the report above but we could perhaps add most of the drop-offs near to North Buoy and East Buoy, together with the Cavelstone Strip.

As mentioned earlier, evening fishing is showing definite signs of getting going.  There have been some very good hatches of smallish olive Buzzers but also some of the bigger Yellow Owl (aka Curly Bum) have been seen hatching in reasonable numbers which is rather early as July is traditionally Yellow Owl month on Loch Leven – and they definitely can get the fish on the move!

Trout in the Classroom Update

Finally, it is perhaps worth reporting back on the Trout in the Classroom initiative which is organised in this area by SNH in conjunction with Loch Leven Fisheries (Willie).  It has been going several years now and is very popular with the schoolchildren who this year came from Kinross Primary (P5), Fossoway (P5 & 6) and Portmoak (P5).

In March, each class was provided with tanks, pumps etc for their classroom as well as 70 – 100 point of hatch eyed ova.  Under the watchful eye of the children, the eggs then hatch out and, in April, as Alevins, were taken to specific locations on 3 burns which eventually feed into Loch Leven.  Finally, they have just been back with Willie to electro-net the exact 3 same locations were they released the Alevins to see what had become of them.  Expectations were not hugely high as the burns had been in full spate during the April release.  But surprisingly, and very encouragingly, Willie and the school children found far more small trout than they ever have recorded since this programme started many years ago.  Again, this just seems to back up anecdotal reports that the burns are holding far more young trout than they have for many a year – which is great news for the future.

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