I can’t help myself but still get a bit over-excited ahead of any outings to the Lake. Is it just me? The recent better weather was continuing – warm and overcast with a westerly breeze. Fishery reports in the run-up sounded familiar, with fishing being challenging. I met Quint on my arrival and walked down to the boats to be greeted by bright green algal scum washing against the shore. I have never seen the Lake so coloured. There were quite clear areas of green and turbid water as we looked out into Hotel Bay. It was very unappealing. Quint suggested that this was an improvement on earlier in the week! He said that the clarity did improve as you headed away from the windward shore, adding that fish were still active and even happy to have a go at your dry flies. One or two club members said the problem with algae this time of the year is not that unusual and normally short-lived.
A reasonable turn-out for the club, with 6 boats, and it was great to see Ed Green looking well and making his first club outing of the season.
Fueled by my black pudding roll, I set-about tackling-up and had little hesitation in pulling out the 3-ft midge-tip, ready with a few nymphs: olive cruncher, Diawl Bach and booby. I had fortuitously bumped into Gus Shepherd in the car park and he mentioned that he had found a few fish around Kate’s Brae and Lochend the previous day, so a plan of attack of sorts began to emerge.
I was paired with Kenneth Cockburn, who had set up two rods: one for dapping (this was going to be interesting, and it was) and another with a team of hogs/half-hogs. We decided to head down the road shore and open proceedings in Lochend. Sure enough, in the open water the clarity improved a bit, but it was still not great and there was no indication of feeding fish to be seen anywhere, as we motored south. All our other boats headed in different directions – towards Gateside, Mallin Shore and Sandy Bay. We were encouraged to see Gus set-up his first drift at the South end of the Gravel Pit and quite close in. We carried on into Lochend, in front of the crannog, heading into the chalets, but nothing. I was not tempted to change, deciding it was more about finding the fish rather than chopping and changing patterns.
We pushed back towards Bogle Knowe and, would you believe it, a fish emerged to engulf Kenneth’s dapped daddy, so whatever the water conditions the fish could see that fly clearly bouncing along the surface. Pretty impressive! Another came for his hogs close to Jimmy Nairn’s house, but this fish did not stick. By this time we could see rods bending to our left and also along by the reeds. It was a case for us of right idea but wrong time, or just wrong tactics. Most anglers were either pulling quickly or slow figure-of eighting. I picked up one fish to the booby and one to a red holographic cormorant.
There were fish smutting close in to the weeds and quieter water and there were a few daddies getting blown around, with the odd splashy rise, but too few to trigger much interest to us. By this stage Kenneth had set up a third rod with what looked like a Di-3 and a few pulling patterns. It all went quieter, if that was possible, so we decided a move was necessary, and we headed towards the rookery, where a couple of boats were. We happened to spot Allan Brown and Peter Fionda, happily drifting along towards Sam’s Point, but they said they were also finding it tough. Peter looked quite regal (albeit from a distance) on his new Rutland boat seat, mind you!
Kenneth reverted back to his dries, with almost immediate effect, having tied on a large muddler daddy sedge thing on the point. He was pulling it through the waves when a superb trout bow-waved through the murky water after it, only to turn away at the end. This was followed by another, and this time the fish made no mistake. A good rainbow was netted and returned after a strong fight. I picked up another alongside Sam’s Point, this time to a pearly bodied cormorant.
Time was now getting on. We decided to have our final last couple of hours in Gateside, and headed towards Stable Point, to a little bay – Hairy Hole? This was about the time I had given-up the goalie and was fishing with little expectation – but still enjoying my day, encouraged now by the odd rising fish in the shallower water. We managed to pick up some trout in this area doing nothing other than holding on, and this was probably our most productive part of the day. We could see boats along the rope and around us beginning to catch a few, and the thought did cross my mind that we should have spent a bit more time here. Kenneth managed to induce a few more fish to his dries, and on another day could have finished with many more, but we ended with a total of 9 to the boat.
Elsewhere among our members…
Ed Green and Dougie Goddard had a fish apiece from the plantation, Dougie’s on a Daddy. Gary Heseltine and Bob Whyte also had a fish a piece, Gary on a black hopper at the Mallin Shore and Bob on a black beetle at the Butts. Derek Kilgour had 4 fish on dry, fished static at the rookery, and his partner, guest Stephen Kirkpatrick had one on a daddy. Peter Fionda had 2 fish on Diawl Bachs, fished slow on a midge tip. Finally, Jimmy McBride had a single fish to an olive CDC at the heronry, whilst another guest, Neil Russell had 4 fish to a candy booby and snatchers, using a midge tip at the heronry and Mallin Shore.
Not a great day, although the conditions were quite good, with light to mod breeze from the south west; dry, and ca 17 degrees, with good cloud cover.
Total catch 25 fish for 12 anglers. Today, The Lake did not give up its fish easily.