Mid afternoon yesterday and the airwaves around Loch Leven began to hum – someone had caught a monster trout on Loch Leven which was going to tip the scales north of 11 lbs! The angling community surely is not normally prone to exaggeration but we did get slightly ahead of ourselves on this occasion. In the event, Michael Mackenzie from East Whitburn in West Lothian weighed in a magnificent brown trout which tipped the scales at 9 lbs 6.125 ozs (to be exact!).
The fish caught yesterday by Michael is the largest fish caught on Loch Leven for almost exactly 100 years. In what is an extraordinary coincidence, the largest brown trout ever caught on the loch was that caught by Colonel Scott on what this coming Thursday will be exactly 100 years ago (8th September 1911). Colonel Scott reputedly foul hooked his fish that weighed in at 9 lbs 13 ozs that day but the same cannot be said of Michael who caught his one yesterday near to the East Buoy while fishing with his club, the West Lothian Fly Dressers. The fish was caught on a black deer hair snail imitation and took 20 ‘anxious’ minutes to land – they even had to start the engine to motor after it when it took off! The line Michael was using was a full floater.
For the record, yesterday’s brown trout measured 760mm (30 inches) and the educated (?) guesses of those present at the weigh-in put its age at between 11 – 13 years but scale samples have been sent to the Marine Scotland laboratories in Pitlochry to get a definitive answer.
Aside from all the excitement yesterday, some very nice baskets of fish have been caught this week. Dave Bonnington and James Gardiner had 11 fish between them on Friday, the largest of which was estimated at 7 lbs (only!!) and they returned all but 2 nice breakfast trout. Alan Smith, out on Saturday fishing just off the weed beds, had 4 fish estimated at over 16 lbs total – they were all returned. His partner on the day, John Reid, had 2 very small fish just to ‘retain the weight balance’.
For quite some time now, anglers have been coming in saying that there are some really big trout out there in the loch and it is nice to see that being borne out. It will be fascinating to see if someone manages to land one weighing over 10 lbs for the first time over the next season or two because it is starting to look quite possible – if we were Ladbrokes, the odds would be being slashed!
Finally, to more mundane matters, open water drifts are still fishing well near to the drop offs and also fish are feeding heavily at times on fry all along the shoreline weed beds.
Best flies are still the imitative patterns such as snatchers, emergers, muddlers etc but the Dunkeld Sparkler and the like are also worth a try till the end of the season. Buzzer methods are still working but appear not to be as successful as they were a few weeks ago.
Water clarity has improved to 2 meters this week and the water temperature stands at 15.5°C which is all pretty comfortable for the fish at the moment.