Water clarity at Loch Leven has improved significantly over the last week or so and now stands at just under 5 metres on the Secci Disk. That level of water clarity is one of the highest readings here since regular records started being taken. The upshot of this exceptional water clarity is that weed growth is now prolific pretty much all over the loch at depths of up to 4 metres. I realise that I tend to bang on rather a lot about weed growth but it is such a key element in the fresh water environment for any wild brown trout fishery. Quite apart from encouraging abundant food supplies for the trout, the weed beds provide welcome shelter from aerial predators such as cormorants but also under water predation from pike.
Also present at the moment in the water column in huge quantities are the two main species of zooplankton, namely Cyclops and, in particular, Daphnia. Trout feed heavily on zooplankton without expending a lot of energy and, because it is a high protein food source, fish do pack on weight, especially the young trout recruited from the streams into the loch. Food sources in general at the moment are abundant, as we have discovered from examining the stomach contents of trout which have been kept by anglers and found blood worm, buzzer larvae, snails, Corixa , Leech etc.
All the above information would suggest that most of the trout feeding activity at the moment is very much sub surface and this has been backed up anecdotally by anglers. There have been some good, if short-lived, rises experienced by anglers late at night and some nice fish caught, although nothing in excess of 4 lbs this past week. Rod McLennan caught two beautiful trout within touching distance of the reeds at Factor’s Pier – both were over 3 lbs and were sipping flies off the surface and were subsequently returned carefully. Grahame Connolly and Sandy Robertson had a good catch of 22 brownies on buzzers just off the North Queich, of which they kept a couple for breakfast!
It is now July and, as mentioned last week, we would expect the Yellow Owl to make an appearance anytime now. These big ‘Curly Bums’ do get the fish on the move, providing some good surface or near to the surface sport which is always great news for evening fishing.