Last week saw a continuation of the very windy conditions – indeed on Saturday, all fishing was cancelled and boats confined to harbour. It was hardly what we would expect in June. However, everything now appears to have settled down and the past couple of days have seen bright, warm and mercifully calm conditions which, despite bright sunshine, has seen some cracking individual fish being caught as well as some pretty big baskets (for Loch Leven anyway!).
Most interesting basket of the week undoubtedly goes to John Reid who was out fishing with Donald McGregor on a still pretty breezy Sunday. He had a 6 lbs 6 ozs trout which would have been notable enough in itself but he and Donald also had the distinction of netting a red squirrel whilst out fishing in the North Deeps. How it got there, nobody knows but there it was all of a sudden scampering along the gunwale of their boat before leaping back into the water. Although squirrels can swim perfectly well, it was a long way from the shore and so John & Donald netted it, took it ashore where it was safely released.
Otherwise, top weight for the week as far as we are aware is a 6 lbs 9 ozs brownie caught by Steven Bett on a Buzzer yesterday. Alan Smith, fishing with his international team mate Chris McAllister lost a ‘very big fish’ at the North Buoy but it is hard to feel too sorry for them when you consider that they had 33 fish between them for the day drifting teams of Buzzers – all their fish were returned.
In the same vein, John Watt and friend had 32 fish mainly on Diawl Bach flies fished on intermediate lines. Eck Dewar and Frank McFarlane had 23 at the Willows on the South East point of St Serfs – they kept 3 and returned the rest. Rod McLennan, out very early yesterday morning (4am !) had 5 and then returned in the evening to catch a further 10 at the North Buoy, all returned.
Tony Black had a life changing bag of trout (or so he told us!). He had 20 fish on buzzers at the Hole ‘o’ Inch anchored on buzzers. Kept 6 weighing in at just over 20lb and returned the rest which he tells me were all around the same size. His smallest fish was 2lb 8oz.
These sort of ‘baskets’ of fish have rarely been seen on Loch Leven for many a year and it is great to see our regulars getting to experience a degree of payback when they happen to be ‘in the right place at the right time’ after sticking loyally with us during some pretty lean seasons. That said, Loch Leven remains a challenging water to fish and nothing is ever guaranteed about catching fish here – and nor should it be with wild brown trout! It is just that, at the moment, a lot of fish are being caught and we need to take advantage whilst conditions appear favourable.
Last week, when it was still pretty windy, Tam Easton had a lovely 4 lbs 5 ozs brownie as part of a bag of 16 in total. Whilst by no means the largest of the week, it is worth a mention because Tam’s wife Shona kindly sent in photos not just of Tam proudly holding his fish but also of the trout being prepared for the smoker. The colour of the flesh is a fabulous salmon like red which is one of the features of a Loch Leven brown trout – and they taste as good as they look!
As you may have gathered, buzzer methods appear to be the most productive at the moment but it pays to keep ‘both eyes open’ as to where the fish the fish may be in the water column, especially in the last couple of evening sessions in the warm, calm conditions. Evening fishing has really started to work with reports of plenty of fish being seen moving. Connor Campbell was out last night with Lewis Kerr and they had 7 fish.
Fish are being found pretty much on any of the recognised drifts but it does appear that they are more inclined to be more vulnerable near to the many drop offs in the loch. Most productive fly patterns have not changed a great deal with Buzzers in variations of black or green (olive) obviously working well. Emerger patterns are beginning now to catch fish in the evening and Kate McLaren seems to keep getting a mention in catch returns.
Water clarity is still good at just under 3 meters with the temperature now up to 14oC and weed growth now really forging ahead. Zooplankton are still very much in evidence and we are now seeing large shoals of fry in the open water, probably gorging on the plentiful supply of ‘wee beasties’ (zooplankton!).