The weather here on Loch Leven last week proved to be not overly fishing friendly – generally chilly & bright. The result was that the water temperature continued to fall which is not really how we would want things to be at this time of year with the fishing season just getting underway. At the end of the prior week, the temperature had stood at 8°C but now stands at just 6.7°C. We even had ice on the boats on Saturday & Sunday mornings – still, it is only April! In contrast, water clarity is currently stands at 2.5m which is really good for this time of the year.
All this quasi scientific stuff made me wonder how the current conditions differed from where we were in the last few seasons in mid April:
———————————————–Water Temp——————-Water Clarity
April 2012 6.5°C 2.5m
April 2011 11.5°C 1.8m
April 2010 8.2°C 1.5m
April 2009 7.8°C 1.6m
So, yes, the water temperature is slightly on the cool side but not dramatically so – with the exception of last year’s warm April. What does look interesting though is the dramatic improvement in water clarity. The scientists have been telling us that water quality has continued to improve over recent years and we suspect that this has been one of the key drivers in the recovery of the loch as a brown trout fishery because greater water clarity leads to more weed growth, more food etc etc. Although it would be a mistake to read too much into the apparent dramatic leap in water clarity this year – it could be a timing issue – nonetheless the improving trend would seem to be still intact.
Although the conditions made it very tricky for anglers last week, fish were still being caught and there were a couple of standout catches. Early in the week, on Monday, Brad Chalmers caught (and released) this lovely fish estimated at 4-5 lbs at the Hole ‘o’ the Inch with a mini humungous on a DI5.
Later in the week, on Saturday when the conditions were pretty tricky, Alan Smith & Ally Middlemass had 8 fish (all returned) between them in their boat. The best of their fish, caught by Alan, was estimated by both of them as being comfortably over 5 lbs and was caught while they were drifting across the west point of St Serfs Island. They landed another one in the Hole ‘o’ the Inch (east end of St Serfs) and then decided to move to the north corner of the loch where they contacted fish right away and managed to catch a further 6 fish by 5pm and ‘touching’ a few more. Alan traditionally shies away from publicity, but here is the photo Ally took of his big fish and those are indeed Alan’s hands! What is lovely to see from both this photo and that of Brad Chalmers is the fabulous condition these trout are in this early in the season.
Both Alan & Ally were using DI7 lines, counting down 12 seconds before retrieving – not too fast. Mini lures were the order of the day but 2 fish were caught on a Claret Snatcher fished above the lures.
On Sunday, with conditions much the same, fish were few and far between and it was felt that the cold conditions had appeared to have affected them.
Some buzzers have been seen hatching in sheltered areas and anglers who diligently fish using buzzer methods should contact a fish or two. The secret with early season buzzer fishing is to try to find the depth where fish are feeding – usually not far from the bottom – and then to try to stay in that zone.
We will probably have to wait until the water temperature for the real action to kick in, as we experienced during the warm spell at the end of March / early April.