Things are just starting to show signs of warming up at Loch Leven as the 2014 season gets properly underway. Although it has not been as bitterly cold this spring as last year, it has still been some pretty chilly winds and cold nights, meaning that the water temperature is still down at around 120C. Water clarity is also improving and currently stands at about 2.5 metres pretty much all over the loch. Weed growth is already looking to be fairly well established, albeit in very early stages of growth but that augurs well for water conditions later in the season.
Some good local hatches of buzzers have been seen already, mainly in sheltered bays but also over some of the traditional buzzer areas which hopefully is a promising sign for the months ahead.
Although there have not been too many boats out so far, there have been some very nice fish being caught over the Easter weekend. The largest, estimated at comfortably over 6 lbs and in first class condition, was caught by Peter Cameron from Hamilton. Peter caught the fish just off the east end of St Serfs. Stuart Beveridge, also fishing off St Serfs, had a fish at 5 ¼ lbs (weighed in the net & returned) on a Kate McLaren whilst David Bowie, fishing the shallows at the Black Wood, also had one at exactly the same size (55 cms) which was also estimated at around 5 lbs using a Humongus. Mr Watson had 4 fish, all returned, weighing between ¾ lb and 1 ½ lbs – two were caught on the buzzer and two on a Mallard & Claret.
Fish have been being caught pretty much where we would expect them this early in the season, namely Hole ‘o’ Inch, Sluices, East Buoy, Black Wood, North Buoy and North Shore.
It is nice to see the fish seemingly in such good condition so early in the season but it is perhaps not too surprisingly bearing in mind the relatively mild winter we have experienced. The early buzzer hatches are also encouraging – fingers crossed that we may be in for a good buzzer year (for a change!).
Postscript: Although not something that we often talk about in the weekly reports, it is perhaps worth mentioning that 2 boats / 3 anglers were out on Saturday fishing for pike. They fished mostly off the Kirkgate Park and round the corner to the Factor’s Pier. These are always productive areas when the pike are feeding on fry. One boat (2 anglers) had 7 pike ranging up to 10lbs. The single angler boat had one pike but lost another gig one estimated well into the teens in pounds.
It may seem strange for a brown trout fishery to say as much but actually we see this as another very encouraging sign that Loch Leven is returning to its very best. Pike, along with perch, had almost disappeared 20 years ago but both appear to be making strong comebacks as water quality continues to improve.