Loch Leven Fishing Report – period ending 29th June

All in all, it has been a very interesting week’s fishing at Loch Leven.  Some nice big fish have turned up in returns, topped by a beautiful fish weighing 7 lbs 14 ozs caught by Stuart Hunter out on Saturday fishing with his club ABCD.  Stuart caught his fish on a size 12 Invicta at the East Buoy on a floating line.

Stuart Hunter with his cracking Fish of the Week here at Loch Leven weighing in at 7 lbs 14 ozs

Stuart Hunter with his cracking Fish of the Week here at Loch Leven weighing in at 7 lbs 14 ozs

Also out on Saturday, Norman Aird from the Isle of Skye had a nice brownie at 5 lbs 8 ozs on a teal & claret at the Sluices whilst James Stewart from Uddingston had a fish of 5 lbs 6 ozs which was one of four in total kept weighing 10 lbs 12 ozs.  James and his friends were drifting through the shallows from the Mid Buoy using traditional flies and low density lines.

Aberdour AC were out on Sunday in very challenging conditions but had 16 fish with their top rod being Mike McKenna with 3 fish weighing 6 lbs 4 ozs (biggest was 3 lbs 14 ozs). Finally, Nick Dales who had travelled up from Whitby Bay, Newcastle had a fish on Saturday evening and then another lovely one on Sunday weighing 4 lbs 6 ozs.

Stop Press: A late bid for ‘fish of the week’ today (Monday) saw Frank McFarlane come up just short with a fine specimen weighing 7 lbs 4 ozs which he caught just off Roy’s Burn.

Water clarity is holding up at about 3 meters and water temperature is at a moderate 15.5oC. Weed growth is well established.

Fish are now holding round the weed beds in good numbers, feeding on various food sources courtesy of the good cover provided by these beds.  Open water drifts are still producing fish especially inside the buoys all the way through the ‘shallows’.

We are still waiting for the big hatches of Yellow Owl which assuredly will bring the fish up out of the deeper water drifts particularly in the evenings.

Pulling methods are probably the No 1 choice of most anglers with traditional flies of all ‘breeds’ working depending on the time of day, place and conditions.  Buzzers are still working at times but, now that weed growth is so prolific, conditions are becoming less suitable for them – but they are still worth a try.

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Loch Leven Fishing Report – period ending 23rd June

I think that the fishing on Loch Leven over the last week could best be described as ‘interesting’!  One day the trout simply will not look at a buzzer and yet the next day they are all over them.  The same to perhaps a lesser extent applies to pulling methods.

As we reach midsummer, the main food source for the trout is very much sub surface, which means that buzzers do go down well with the fish, as do ‘wets’ fished with high density lines.  Fish are now starting to come up to feed at or near the surface in localised areas in the evening, where hatches of Caenis and some Sedge are coming off and some good rises have been seen.  A huge thanks to Martin McLaughlin for posting this lovely photo looking out from the pier on Monday evening when he reported ’.. flies all over the surface and fish rising around the pier’.

Lovely photo by Martin McLaughlin looking out from the pier at dusk

Lovely photo by Martin McLaughlin looking out from the pier at dusk

Until Tuesday evening, we had not recorded any big fish being caught over the period with a few reported as having been hooked but lost.  However smaller fish had put in a welcome appearance.  On Friday evening, Ally Wells 23 trout, most of which were small but measurable (10 ½ inches or more).  Ally had most of hi fish drifting onto the Levenmouth Bank but he had 4 at the Castle Island using an intermediate line.  The rest of the time, he was using a full floater and his best fly was a black UV Spider, with the orange UV Spider also working well.  That same evening, Kinross AC had 24 fish for their 7 boats.

Earlier that day, SANA held one of their Area Semi-Finals.  Unlike those fishing in the evening, the day session was pretty tricky for anglers with fish relatively hard to come by.  Donald McGregor was top qualifier with 6 trout, Mick Thomson second with 3 whilst Ally Middlemass claimed the 3rd and final qualifying place with two.

SANA Semi Final Qualifiers - Mick Thomson, Donald McGregor & Ally Middlemas

SANA Semi Final Qualifiers – Mick Thomson, Donald McGregor & Ally Middlemas

As intimated earlier, we did have one good sized fish recorded on Tuesday evening by Brendan McWilliams who reported ‘5 1/2lb fish taken at the Green Isle on Tuesday night on a Deer Hair sedge. It took off in the direction of Glenrothes in a bad mood and took a fair bit of effort to get him into the boat, ably assisted by R McKean on the net – that’s his hands holding it. Safely returned to fight on’.  Thanks so much Brendan for the photo and commentary!

5 1/2 lbs brown trout caught by Brendan McWilliams

5 1/2 lbs brown trout caught by Brendan McWilliams

Water conditions are pretty stable with water clarity having reduced a little from last week to stand now at 3.3 meters.  The water temperature of 14.5oC is pretty low for mid June.  Some algae are now present and weed growth is well underway as reported previously.

As high summer approaches (well, we live in hope!), the large Yellow Owl should become prevalent and hopefully give us some good evening sport.

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Loch Leven Fishing Report – period ending 16th June

Last week’s fishing on Loch Leven was very encouraging.  Fish were being caught on both buzzer and pulling methods with big fish continuing to register in returns.  On Saturday when out fishing with his club Butcher Boys AC, Darren Scott from Kilbirnie in Ayrshire had a fabulous looking brown trout weighing 6 lbs 4 ozs on a Sparkler lure at the North Buoy.

Darren Scott with his lovely looking 6 lbs 4 ozs brown trout

Darren Scott with his lovely looking 6 lbs 4 ozs brown trout

On Sunday, Tony Black had a fine fish weighing 6 lbs 14 ozs on a buzzer in the Hole ‘o’ Inch, the only strange hing being its deformed top lip (or pug nose as some described it!).  Anyway, this was one of 18 fish in total Tony had, all but 2 of which were returned.  Also out that day, Kinross AC had a nice outing, recording 38 fish between their 6 boats.  Paul Wilson was their top rod with 9 fish, all measured and returned.

Bigger - but not perhaps as pretty!  Tony Black's nice 6 lbs 14 ozs trout with deformed top lip

Bigger – but not perhaps as pretty! Tony Black’s nice 6 lbs 14 ozs trout with deformed top lip

Water clarity is very good at the moment, measuring some 4.2 metres on the Secchi disc.  There is a bit of algae showing in the water column but it appears to be only one variety at the moment and is not compromising clarity much at all at the moment.  The water temperature did rise at one stage to 17.7oC in the warm sunny weather but it has since dropped back as cooler conditions have taken over.  Weed growth is now prolific in all the areas of the loch we would expect it.

Fish are being found in a number of areas, especially close to the drop offs but, in a good wind, you can pick up fish in all the open water drifts.

As yet, fly life has not proved overly abundant in the evenings in particular but some good hatches have been encountered in the right conditions. Caenis (white moth) are just beginning to show as two anglers found out one evening last week just off Castle Island.  They saw a good number of big fish 9sipping’ the Caenis off the surface and were rewarded with 2 fish of 2 ½ lbs and 5 lbs (estimated & returned).  The larger of the two fish apparently went berserk when hooked as it was only in water 3 ½ – 4 feet deep.

As we approach mid season – high summer (?!) – we are looking forward to some good hatches of the big Yellow Owl flies in the evenings which will surely attract good numbers of fish to have a go at.

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Loch Leven Fishing Report – period ending 10th June

Last week saw a continuation of the very windy conditions – indeed on Saturday, all fishing was cancelled and boats confined to harbour.  It was hardly what we would expect in June. However, everything now appears to have settled down and the past couple of days have seen bright, warm and mercifully calm conditions which, despite bright sunshine, has seen some cracking individual fish being caught as well as some pretty big baskets (for Loch Leven anyway!).

Windy conditions on Saturday cancelled all fishing and kept boats tied up in the harbour

Windy conditions on Saturday cancelled all fishing and kept boats tied up in the harbour

Most interesting basket of the week undoubtedly goes to John Reid who was out fishing with Donald McGregor on a still pretty breezy Sunday.  He had a 6 lbs 6 ozs trout which would have been notable enough in itself but he and Donald also had the distinction of netting a red squirrel whilst out fishing in the North Deeps.  How it got there, nobody knows but there it was all of a sudden scampering along the gunwale of their boat before leaping back into the water.  Although squirrels can swim perfectly well, it was a long way from the shore and so John & Donald netted it, took it ashore where it was safely released.

John Reid & Donald McGregor's surprise fishing companion!

John Reid & Donald McGregor’s surprise fishing companion!

Otherwise, top weight for the week as far as we are aware is a 6 lbs 9 ozs brownie caught by Steven Bett on a Buzzer yesterday. Alan Smith, fishing with his international team mate Chris McAllister lost a ‘very big fish’ at the North Buoy but it is hard to feel too sorry for them when you consider that they had 33 fish between them for the day drifting teams of Buzzers – all their fish were returned.

Steven Bett with his cracking 6lbs 9 ozs brownie

Steven Bett with his cracking 6lbs 9 ozs brownie

In the same vein, John Watt and friend had 32 fish mainly on Diawl Bach flies fished on intermediate lines.  Eck Dewar and Frank McFarlane had 23 at the Willows on the South East point of St Serfs – they kept 3 and returned the rest.  Rod McLennan, out very early yesterday morning  (4am !) had 5 and then returned in the evening to catch a further 10 at the North Buoy, all returned.

Tony Black had a life changing bag of trout (or so he told us!). He had 20 fish on buzzers at the Hole ‘o’ Inch anchored on buzzers. Kept 6 weighing in at just over 20lb and returned the rest which he tells me were all around the same size. His smallest fish was 2lb 8oz.

Tony Black had a day to remember on Loch Leven with 20 trout in all

Tony Black had a day to remember on Loch Leven with 20 trout in all

These sort of ‘baskets’ of fish have rarely been seen on Loch Leven for many a year and it is great to see our regulars getting to experience a degree of payback when they happen to be ‘in the right place at the right time’ after sticking loyally with us during some pretty lean seasons. That said, Loch Leven remains a challenging water to fish and nothing is ever guaranteed about catching fish here – and nor should it be with wild brown trout!  It is just that, at the moment, a lot of fish are being caught and we need to take advantage whilst conditions appear favourable.

Last week, when it was still pretty windy, Tam Easton had a lovely 4 lbs 5 ozs brownie as part of a bag of 16 in total.  Whilst by no means the largest of the week, it is worth a mention because Tam’s wife Shona kindly sent in photos not just of Tam proudly holding his fish but also of the trout being prepared for the smoker. The colour of the flesh is a fabulous salmon like red which is one of the features of a Loch Leven brown trout – and they taste as good as they look!

Tam Easton had 16 fish and kept this one weighing 4 lbs 5 ozs

Tam Easton had 16 fish and kept this one weighing 4 lbs 5 ozs

...and here it is ready for the smoker - what fabulous colour the flesh is!

…and here it is ready for the smoker – what fabulous colour the flesh is!

As you may have gathered, buzzer methods appear to be the most productive at the moment but it pays to keep ‘both eyes open’ as to where the fish the fish may be in the water column, especially in the last couple of evening sessions in the warm, calm conditions.  Evening fishing has really started to work with reports of plenty of fish being seen moving.  Connor Campbell was out last night with Lewis Kerr and they had 7 fish.

Connor Campbell with one of 7 trout caught yesterday evening

Connor Campbell with one of 7 trout caught yesterday evening

Fish are being found pretty much on any of the recognised drifts but it does appear that they are more inclined to be more vulnerable near to the many drop offs in the loch.  Most productive fly patterns have not changed a great deal with Buzzers in variations of black or green (olive) obviously working well.  Emerger patterns are beginning now to catch fish in the evening and Kate McLaren seems to keep getting a mention in catch returns.

Water clarity is still good at just under 3 meters with the temperature now up to 14oC and weed growth now really forging ahead.  Zooplankton are still very much in evidence and we are now seeing large shoals of fry in the open water, probably gorging on the plentiful supply of ‘wee beasties’ (zooplankton!).

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Loch Leven Fishing report – period ending 2nd June

Virtually all week, weather conditions on Loch Leven have worked against those intrepid anglers who have ventured out in a persistently strong westerly wind.  In spite of the very testing conditions, the fishing has been trying hard to perform!  Out on Saturday, Peter Cameron and friend Paul were out fishing with Rowbank AC and had a fairly remarkable 24 fish between them, most of which were duly returned.  They were fishing mostly between the Cavelstone Strip and Roy’s Folly.  Also on Saturday, Gartmore AC had 10 fish, 4 of which were kept weighing up to 3 lbs 2 ozs.

Last Sunday, Kinross AC were out in particularly windy conditions and had 29 fish between their 6 boats, all bar 6 of which were returned.  Earlier in the week, on the Wednesday evening, Alan Ramsay and friend from Peebles had 4 good fish, the best of which weighed in at 5 lbs 5 ozs fishing just off the north side of the Sluices and their most successful fly was the Coch Y Bonddu.

Best areas remain much the same as last week, namely Hole ‘o’Inch, Roy’s Folly, the north side of Castle Island and the North Shore from Green Isle to Old Manse Bay.  The open water drifts have perhaps quietened down somewhat although I suspect that is largely due to the strong winds.

Again, the best flies too are little changed from before – small Sparklers and traditional patterns are all working and, of course when conditions have been favourable, Buzzers have been working very well.

Water clarity is still pretty good in spite of everything being churned up by the strong winds, although it has dropped a little from last week to just over 3 metres.  The water temperature is still a bit low for the time of year at around 13oC.  Weed growth is becoming prolific in all the usual places which, as mentioned in the past, is so important for the well-being of all aquatic life in the loch – and in particular for our brown trout!

As we have now entered ‘Flaming June’, hopefully the weather will settle down and we can enjoy some more settled conditions for fishing.  Although, at the time of writing this, blustery conditions continue seemingly unabated, the forecast of later this week looks much quieter and indeed warmer even if we miss out on the predicted heat wave that will settle over the south of the country. Warmer conditions and less wind should allow us to see whether some promising signs about the evening fishing are actually fulfilled as we get some good fly hatches.

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Loch Leven Fishing report – period ending 25th May

Despite the often breezy conditions on Loch Leven over the last week, there has been some really good fishing with some excellent baskets being taken, mainly on buzzer methods.  Some cracking fish have also been recorded.  For example yesterday (Monday 25th), Ewan Clark had a fish weighing 6 lbs 13 ozs which was just one of the 26 fish in total which he caught  and which nearly all of which were released.  They were all caught on buzzers in the Hole ‘o’ the Inch.  Also out yesterday, Greig Davey had a fish weighing 6 lbs 2 ozs which is one of 5 that he and Steven Rougvie had in their boat.

Greig Davey with a cracking Loch Leven brownie weighing 6lbs 2 ozs

Greig Davey with a cracking Loch Leven brownie weighing 6lbs 2 ozs

Last Saturday, Stuart Moodie had 26 fish which he then followed up with a further 18 yesterday – 44 fish in twp outings, all on buzzers and all returned, which is some performance.  It was also lovely to see Rosyth Civil Service AC recording 37 fish on Saturday between their 5 boats and it was a small payback for the club’s loyalty over recent years when catches have been harder to come by.  Finally Mr Scott had 5 fish out in the open water, drifting along the north shore with low density lines and traditional flies – so it was not all about buzzers!

It is always nice for anglers to see big fish – and there certainly seem to be good numbers of these fine specimens making appearances at the moment – but we as a fishery are really encouraged that all age groups of fish are well represented in catches at the moment.  Indeed, the vast majority of fish being caught are just either side of the one pound mark which is what you would expect and indeed hope for in a wild brown trout fishery.  Almost without exception, these fish look to be in wonderful condition.

Water clarity is still very good at just on 4 metres and the water temperature has edged up to 13oC.  Weed growth is just getting underway and I expect it to make regular appearances in future reports because it has become a real feature of the loch over recent years.  Zooplankton is prolific in the water column and is a great food source for the juvenile trout as well as keeping algae well under control.

Evening fishing looks encouraging with some nice rises of fish to some early season Yellow Owl (aka Curly Bums or Curly Andrews).  When the wind does eventually calm down, and as long as it doesn’t switch to the east, we would expect some good evening fishing.

At the moment, fish are being found all over the loch but the Hole ‘o’ the Inch is definitely the hot spot for buzzer fishing .  The persistent high winds have largely kept boats away from the open water drifts where we know there are good numbers of fish available.

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Loch Leven Fishing Report – period ending 19th May

The weather has probably been the dominating factor on Loch Leven with wind speeds approaching gale force persistent during much of the period.  Those anglers, who were brave enough to venture out, were effectively restricted as to where they could fish and the methods they could use.

That said, some very nice baskets of fish were recorded.  On Sunday, fishing the open water onto East Buoy, Tony Black and Stevie O’Neill caught 22 brownies, all of which were returned bar one!  Both anglers were using DI 7 lines and mini lures.  Also on Sunday, Brendan McWilliam was out with his club East Kilbride AC and had a cracking trout weighing 7 lbs 12 ozs (the Facebook post diddled him out of 4 ozs when stating it was 7 lbs 8 ozs!).  Brendan caught his fish in the Hole ‘o’ the Inch on an Orkney fly, the Merkister Maid.

Brendan McWilliam with a cracking 7 lbs 12 ozs brownie caught on a Merkister Maid

Brendan McWilliam with a cracking 7 lbs 12 ozs brownie caught on a Merkister Maid

Yesterday (Tuesday), Alan Campbell had 11 fish also in the Hole ‘o’ the Inch, all on buzzer patterns and all returned.  He reported that 2 of the fish were in the 4 lbs class.  Regular readers will recall that in May 2013, Alan caught the largest brownie ever taken on Loch Leven at just over 11 lbs 5 ozs, beating the previous record which had stood for over 100 years.  By pure coincidence, we received back the record-breaking fish which has been beautifully mounted by Ronnie Glass and we were able to get a nice photo of Alan being reunited with his fish which will have pride of place in the refurbished Boathouse café.

Alan Campbell reunited with record Loch Leven brown trout

Alan Campbell reunited with record Loch Leven brown trout

Also taking place yesterday on Loch Leven was a SANA prelim for the Scottish National.  A total of 46 fish were caught, 22 of which were kept and weighed in at 16 lbs 6 ozs.  The remainder were released with an assumed weight of 1¼  lbs each although several were actually well above this weight.  The top 3 qualifiers were 1st Brian Mackenzie with 14 fish, 2nd Tom Burnett  with 9 fish and in 3rd place was that old campaigner from Dunfermline, Ian Simpson, with 6 fish.  The 3 of them are pictured below, together with the full SANA heat results.  Well done to all the anglers who fished on what was a very challenging day by all accounts.

SANA Loch Leven Prelim podium - Ian Simpson, Brian Mackenzie and Tom Burnett

SANA Loch Leven Prelim podium – Ian Simpson, Brian Mackenzie and Tom Burnett

SANA Loch Leven Prelim results

SANA Loch Leven Prelim results

Pike anglers are still doing well, particularly in the early evening with the fly probably the most effective method.  Top weight this week was an 18 lbs pike caught by Rod McLennan.

Water clarity is very good at the moment, measuring some 4 metres on the Secchi Disc.  There is a profusion of Zooplankton at the moment in the water column and there have been some good buzzer hatches taking place given suitable weather conditions.  The water temperature is still a tad cool at just on 12oC.

Fish are to be found pretty much all over the loch but it probably pays to have a word with Fishery staff before setting out as areas may change day-to-day depending on the wind direction.  Hopefully the weather will now settle down a little and allow anglers to fish with less restrictions laid on them by the weather and also allow some more consistent fly hatches.

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