Persistent strong winds and unseasonably low temperatures made the fishing at Loch Leven rather hit or miss last week. On some days, two or three seasons were experienced in the space of a matter of a few hours.
Not surprisingly, the place is still buzzing after Tuesday’s astonishing events when Alan Campbell of Kirkcaldy smashed the record for the all-time largest brown trout caught on Loch Leven at 11 lbs 5.375 ozs, breaking the previous record that had stood for over 100 years. I suppose we should have been expecting it following Michael Mackenzie’s big fish 18 months ago which suggested that there were now some big fish in the loch, but nevertheless to come in a full pound and a half heavier than the previous biggest brown trout caught in 1911 was pretty extraordinary. As we covered it extensively in our blog post, as well as our views on the question of catch & release in the comments that followed, we will move on. However, as Alan himself says, there will almost certainly be even bigger specimens in the loch, either now or in the future, due to the considerable improvements over recent years in the water quality at Loch Leven which has led to an abundance in food for the trout.
Aside from this historic trout being caught, there have been some reasonable catches recorded last week despite the poor weather conditions. On Friday, Ian Simpson and Gordon Hayward had 10 trout between them on the buzzer in the Hole ‘o’ the Inch. On the same day in the same area, Rab Elliot and Paul Wilson had 6 fish free drifting and pulling black and silver lures. Saturday was a particularly difficult day with fish hard to come by. On Sunday, despite the cold, wet and breezy conditions, there were some really quite reasonable catches. Kinross AC with nine boats had a total of 39 fish, all but 3 of which were returned (as a matter of club practice, Kinross AC measure and return fish caught during their outings). The largest fish measured 460mm (just over 18 inches) which was guesstimated at around 2 ¾ lbs, but there were numerous smaller fish recorded which is very encouraging for the future.
The water temperature remains doggedly below normal for the time of year at 9.50C whilst the clarity is definitely starting to improve and stood at 2.1m this morning (last week it was 1.7m). Weed growth is showing signs of just beginning – the weeds in the loch are a very important part of the environment, providing cover for juveniles and very good feeding areas for trout in general.
The Hole ‘o’ the Inch looks to be the ‘hot spot’ at the moment but Carden Bay, Factor’s Pier to Scart and the Cavelstone Strip are all starting to produce fish.
Black & Green and Black & Silver lures are doing well but some of the traditionals are also taking a trout or two. High density lines are recommended at the moment unless of course you are trying buzzer methods when it is best to use a full floater or midge tips of various lengths and densities.
We don’t normally mention pike very often but pike fishermen are enjoying their usual spring sport. This past week has seen some excellent catches of pike weighing up to 20 lbs mainly on ‘spoons’ but flies have also been working well. Enquiries to the Fishery about pike fishing can be made through the same channels as for trout fishing.
All in all, the signs for the season ahead look genuinely encouraging and the weather will surely improve – wont it?