Generally tricky conditions for much of last week appeared to affect catches on Loch Leven for much of last week. On Saturday for example, anglers initially had to contend with bright sunshine and a fairly stiff breeze. However, during the afternoon, the wind freshened further accompanied by torrential rain which turned it pretty much into a test of endurance. On Sunday, conditionswere much improved but the fish didn’t respond, perhaps due to wind and waves having stirred everything up, and Kinross AC who had done very well on their previous outing, this time struggled to catch a few fish mostly on pulled lures.
That said, it is good to be able to report that evening fishing showed signs of coming on and some good rises have been seen in the open water drifts which is very encouraging. The result has been some pretty good catches being recorded. Ally Wells had 7 fish over 10 inches in length and a further 6 slightly under the limit while drifting through the Mid Deeps. Michael Wilson went out for barely an hour at dusk just off Roy’s Folly to pass the time before the evening boats came in and ended up with 6 good trout just under the one pound mark.
Although it is easy to comment that the fish in both Michael’s & Ally’s catches were fairly small trout, it is worth bearing in mind that the average weight of the over 2 million brown trout weighed in on Loch Leven since records began about a century ago is a fraction over 15 ozs. So in effect, these trout being caught were pretty much in line with the historical average and arguably fairly typical of wild brown trout lochs. That said, the average size of fish caught (and recorded) on Loch Leven has definitely been increasingly over the last decade or so, partly because of the increasing trend towards catch & release and partly because of the return to health of the loch itself which has provided trout with abundant food.
On the subject of size, the biggest fish of the week was caught by Eck Dewar from Glenrothes. It weighed just over 5 lbs and was one of 4 fish which he and Jeff Lawson had, the total weight of which was 11 lbs 6 ozs – they returned a further 7 fish. They caught their fish on Buzzers just east of Reed Bower. On Friday, the same deadly duo had 7 fish – same place, same method, all returned!
Despite being churned up by the wind and waves, water clarity in the loch remains good at about 3.3 metres and with the water temperature steady at 16.50C. Weed growth is now prolific everywhere we would normally expect to see it.
Several of the best areas have already been mentioned in the report above but we could perhaps add most of the drop-offs near to North Buoy and East Buoy, together with the Cavelstone Strip.
As mentioned earlier, evening fishing is showing definite signs of getting going. There have been some very good hatches of smallish olive Buzzers but also some of the bigger Yellow Owl (aka Curly Bum) have been seen hatching in reasonable numbers which is rather early as July is traditionally Yellow Owl month on Loch Leven – and they definitely can get the fish on the move!
Trout in the Classroom Update
Finally, it is perhaps worth reporting back on the Trout in the Classroom initiative which is organised in this area by SNH in conjunction with Loch Leven Fisheries (Willie). It has been going several years now and is very popular with the schoolchildren who this year came from Kinross Primary (P5), Fossoway (P5 & 6) and Portmoak (P5).
In March, each class was provided with tanks, pumps etc for their classroom as well as 70 – 100 point of hatch eyed ova. Under the watchful eye of the children, the eggs then hatch out and, in April, as Alevins, were taken to specific locations on 3 burns which eventually feed into Loch Leven. Finally, they have just been back with Willie to electro-net the exact 3 same locations were they released the Alevins to see what had become of them. Expectations were not hugely high as the burns had been in full spate during the April release. But surprisingly, and very encouragingly, Willie and the school children found far more small trout than they ever have recorded since this programme started many years ago. Again, this just seems to back up anecdotal reports that the burns are holding far more young trout than they have for many a year – which is great news for the future.