At last, there are signs that the fishing on Loch Leven is starting to liven up a bit after a cold, slow start to the season. Water clarity has improved considerably to now stand at 3.9 metres with the algal bloom of less than a fortnight ago having ‘crashed’. Weed growth has really taken off as a result, courtesy of improved light penetration down through the water column. Periods of clear water such as we have now, and indeed have been experiencing for the last 4 or 5 years in the first half of the season, are very important for the diversity of marine life in the loch’s sub surface environment.
We are now witnessing huge quantities of zooplankton (mainly Daphnia and Cyclops) in the water column. The zooplankton are predated upon heavily by brown trout of all age groups but they are particularly important for the young 1-2 year old fish which have recently been recruited into the loch from the various burns where they have lived until now. These young trout have been seen in large numbers feeding in a frenzied fashion on this zooplankton ‘soup’ in different parts of the loch, particularly in calmer conditions.
Some very nice fish indeed have been caught this past week on Loch Leven. Martin Greer had a lovely brownie weighing 4 lbs 9 ½ ozs caught at the Hole ‘o’ the Inch on a Gold Sparkler. However, this fish was eclipsed on Friday by Stuart Taylor from Helensburgh who landed one weighing no less than 7 lbs 12 ½ ozs on a Black & Red Buzzer in Brock’s Hole.
There have also been some really nice baskets of fish caught during the week. As mentioned as a postscript at the bottom of last week’s report, on Monday, Jeff Lawson & his pal Frank caught 20 fish of which they returned 16. The 4 trout they kept all weighed in at between 1 lb 5 ozs and 1 lb 9 ozs. They were fishing at the Hole ‘o’ the Inch using buzzers. Rod McLennan, out fishing on his own, had 10 fish of which he kept 2 and returned 8. He was fishing Brock’s Hole again using buzzers.
Towards the latter part of the week, Alan Smith had a lovely basket of fish on Saturday in a strong SW wind, fishing onto the Elbow Buoy from Castle Island. He had 6 fish, all returned, one of which he estimated at 4 ½ – 5 lbs and another about a pound lighter. Interestingly, he had 3 which were in the 10” – 12” size range, meaning that he probably had at least 4 different year groups represented in his catch.
Tom Easton and pal had 14 on Friday evening using pulling methods and Ally Middlemass that same evening had 5 fish, also using pulling methods. Rod McLennan (again, but this time fishing with Graham Wood) caught 14 brownies between them, all of which were returned, using Buzzers at The Sluices on Sunday evening.
Best flies continue to be various members of the Snatcher ‘family’, Kate McLaren, various Sparklers (for those using pulling methods) and of course Buzzers.
Most areas of the loch seem to be holding good numbers of fish. Two anglers out on Saturday evening saw large numbers of small fish on the surface pretty much the entire length of the South Shore from Cavelstone to Vane Bay which, in their words were “a joy to see”!
We are now well into the long evenings and some good rises of fish have been seen. Catching these trout has proved quite tricky but hopefully with the appearance of Yellow Owls (Curly Bums), fish will start taking the fly with a little more conviction.