This was the club’s first outing to Stenhouse, but we had heard some good feedback and we were looking forward to a decent days fishing. The fishery itself is classed as a small stillwater of around 35 acres, with an average depth of around 3m, sitting just north of Burntisland. The owners have done a lot of good work – there is an excellent clubhouse, and a really handy jetty making access to boats easy.
Mind you, there was a tinge of disappointment that officials had decided not to open the new Queensferry crossing for our trip to the Kingdom!
Conditions were a bit bright, with occasional cloud cover, but water clarity (like a lot of other fisheries at the moment) was not great, with an algal bloom evident. However, there were already signs of some decent fly activity around the car park, with a few species of sedge, daddies and adult buzzers flying around. There were also one or two fish showing first thing, but it could hardly have been described as a rise. We were advised to head upwind to the right of the island and work the area between both banks, fishing our flies slowly.
I was paired with Allan Brown, while John Miller was sharing a boat with Matt Wolstenholm, with Derek Kilgour out on his own. One of the fishery rules was no boobies, and since I was not convinced about dries I tied on a cast of sunburst FAB and a couple of cormorants on a floater. Allan started with a midge-tip and a team of wee traditionals, his trusty Kate being on the top dropper. The far shore was protected from the brightest of the morning sun by a large hill, so we headed across to start in that area. We decided to drift, rather than set anchor, but the fishing for us started slowly. I had one fish slash at the FAB on the surface, but we found the going tough. However, we could see Matt’s rod bending consistently, and he seemed to have found the method. Derek as well by now was finding some success. Both boats had set anchor in front of the island, and they were fishing on the surface, twiddling Diawl Bachs and bloodworm patterns, with a slow f-of-8 retrieve.
Allan and I chopped and changed and still opted to drift, despite our lack of success. We could now also see John Miller picking up the odd fish. I changed to dries, since there was an increasing number of large orange/red-flushed buzzers hatching, and a few more fish were beginning to show during the periods of cloud cover. Still, Allan and I could not buy a fish between us; a couple of fish had a look at my dries, but were not convinced.
Derek, Matt and John in the meantime were still picking up occasional fish, but they had also switched to dries. Eventually, we found a method – a size 12 hare’s ear and red-headed Diawl Bach fished on a floating line. We just allowed the wind to blow the line across the surface, keeping tight to the flies. Allan had slipped on a coral nymph on the point, with a Diawl Bach and blob. He slowed-down his retrieve, having not contacted a fish all day. Suddenly, he had two in two casts – then a third fish, which was a belter of around 4lbs… and another soon after!
Derek finished with 15, to red holographic Diawl Bach and loop-wing dry. John had 4 to Kate McLaren, claret snatcher and cdc shuttlecock, while Matt had 5 fish to buzzers, dries and nymphs.
We can see this water being an excellent buzzer and dry fly water when the water clears and the weed dies away. Our five rods ended with 39 fish.