Well, we were finally greeted by some welcome rain on our journey through to the Lake. There was a fair amount of surface water on the road and we were met by a fairly heavy downpour on our arrival. Although there was already a decent south westerly blowing into hotel bay, the forecast for the rest of the day was for the rain to pass but for the wind to pick up during the afternoon. Oh, happy days! The temperature has remained stubbornly high for a prolonged period over the summer and this has seen water temperatures proving unconducive to good fishing and has generally restricted the fishy areas on the Lake on our recent outings. We’ve had some patchy fishing and returns from along the Malling Shore towards Dog Isle, down to the Plantation and into the cooler water in Gateside. There was no obvious fish activity, looking out into Hotel Bay and again not a lot of insect or bug activity.
It had been a busy week on the Lake once again with the 2nd of the Scottish Clubs’ semi-finals taking place the day before. No doubt there will have been a lot of good rods practising in the days in the run up to the competition. With the fish concentrated in just a few areas, a lot of the resident fish were more than likely to be suffering a bit of shell shock. The water clarity, unsurprisingly, was now also being affected on the windward shore.
We had 7 boats for our session and I was paired with Davy Syme, one of our newer members. Davy is an experienced brown trout angler and is quickly finding his feet on rainbow trout tactics. Quint mentioned that he had been off-duty the day before but had heard that dries had been working earlier in the week and that the Gap had also been producing a few good fish. Without too much conviction, and like most of the armada, we decided to hedge our bets and head up towards the Malling/Gateside areas with a few of our dry fly rods heading to the Gap. Davy and I had set-up mini-tip lines with nymphs and small traditional patterns to try and offer the fish something at least a little bit different. There was a bit of a concoction being tackled up though, from the usual boobies/FAB washing line combinations, with a few pearly cormorants in evidence – apparently a bit of fry bashing has been noticed – along with dries, grunters and daddies in particular prominent.
We could see a bit of roly-poly retrieve action with snakes and heavy lines and they were connecting with a few fish around Stable-Point. Another interesting feature on the lake these days is the number of electric engines being used in addition to the usual petrol engines – it makes some sense for a more stealthy approach in congested fishing or to target rising fish in calmer water. We had a bit of early interest with lots of nipping and half-hearted takes drifting along the ropes and burn mouth in Gateside but could not convert these opportunities to fish, but we persevered with repeating drifts since there were a few fish showing: smaller coarse fish interspersed with some good fish. We finally picked up an odd fish drifting onto point of the Rookery with a few fish falling to muskins and GM-12 FAB. Best fish of the day, which was in the 5lb range, fell to Davy’s pearly spider, a nice variation to his Clyde-style flies.
We made a tactical error of judgement at this point and decided to have an explore round the Lake as the sun emerged and the wind speed duly picked up. We headed to Malling and I changed to dries (hares ear shuttlecock and orange daddy – don’t ask) but never interested even one fish, and persevered for way too long. By now, everything had got even more difficult. We popped into the Gap to find Dougie and Stevie Kilpatrick, and they were enjoying some respite from the wind but also reported it had been pretty quiet. Stevie had by this time resorted to an indicator and squirmy worm – desperate times require desperate measures. We then popped round the corner into Chicken Leg and met Stewart Barnes and Mel Mitchell. We were hoping for good news, but they like us were also scratching their heads and struggling to find a method or indeed any fish. We saw a few boats into Kates Brae and Gravel pit and went for broke, which was exactly what we got, the square root of diddly-squat. But we enjoyed watching the paddle-boarders and open water swimmers getting cooked. We then wasted more time in international bay and hotel bay before finally calling it a day.
It had proved a tough day on the Lake for everyone: our 14 rods recorded a grand total of 13 fish. Ouch!! Looking on the bright side, things can surely only get better.