After the lovely warm spell, more traditional April weather kicked back in last week with a vengeance. We had a few inches of snow on Tuesday followed by some pretty hard frosts on Wednesday & Thursday, resulting in water temperature dropping from an unseasonally high 11°C the previous week back down to 6.5°C before recovering to 8°C on the surface by Sunday – typical April!
Water clarity, however, remains at 2.1 metres which is pretty good for this early in the season and measurably better than we have seen in early April in previous years. Weed growth has already started and we are probably 2-3 weeks ahead of where we were last season. Weed growth is very important for a natural fishery like Loch Leven because it provides cover for young fish, increases food availability for all age groups and also uses up nutrients that perhaps would be available otherwise to our old friend, the algae!
Flies have been hatching in small numbers and in relatively small areas. Fish have been spotted rising to them but have proved pretty hard to ‘fool’.
Cormorant numbers are still pretty high for this time in the year – we counted 80 or so last week on the loch. We have been checking a couple of roosts and it would appear their diet at the moment is made up mainly of perch. We are in discussions with SNH and others about the possibility of culling a limited number of cormorants for scientific purposes in order to properly analyse their stomach contents to see if there has been a change in their feeding habits over the last decade since the study was last done. Our suspicion is that the percentage of trout in their diets will have fallen, perhaps significantly, from the 90%+ figure last time but it would be interesting to see if that was backed up by evidence. Certainly the apparent recovery in perch numbers in the loch is definitely helping with regard to cormorant predation.
Despite all the wintery weather last week, there were some nice fish caught. Colin McGlone and pal caught and returned two lovely fish – one was estimated at 4 lbs and the other ‘comfortably over 5 lbs. Brian Mackenzie and Tom Burnett had 4 fish (all returned) on Saturday whilst Peter Cameron, out that same day, had 3 fish, all returned.
The west point of St Serfs and the Hole ‘o’ the Inch seemed to be the best areas last week but the area just north of Castle Island is also producing a fish or two.