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Fishing Reports

 

A big thanks to Niall Colthart for the following report from a trip to Jura......

"What a difference a day makes, or rather four days. I passed loch Aircil on Jura last Thursday after cycling in through Inver on my way to climb the paps via Scrindale. I sat in glorious sunshine watching fish rising and decided to return before long armed with the rod. I Headed for the first ferry to Jura on Monday morning which was a day of torrential rain and mist. Parking the car at Evans walk it was a wet and miserable two hour walk with the compass for company and no more than ten yards visibility.
 Arriving at the loch I lost no time tackling up and dropping the flies into the water prior to casting and I had fish one on a leaded shrimp. At least it wasn't going to be a blank. Cast two, another, then another and so it went on. Five doubles on the bounce and then a treble. Three hours and a hundred and four fish later my flies torn to shreds I'd had enough. A long wet walk and a damp tent to look forward I turned for home. Loch Aircil sits in one of the finest settings anywhere and has held decent fish in the past but out of the total bag of fish I maybe had a brace of keepers.
 
Tuesday dawned bright and showery and a quick blast out to one of the more northerly lochs was in order. The loch in question although small, repuditly holds some nice fish but has a reputation for dourness that would put the old Sgor to shame. The walk out was not the easiest with some serious concentration required to negotiate the numerous adders lying out in the sun. The loch sits in a stunning location with fine views to the west. The wind was perfect and I started working my way down the north west bank changing flies every twenty yards or so. A couple of hours later and starting to question whether there were any fish in the loch, I was nearing the end of the loch next to the ruins of an old boat shed and had just uttered the words "looks like a blank" when there was a large swirl at the point fly and the softest of takes. After a fantastic fight the fish came to the net, the coachman fly sitting with the smallest grip on the top lip and weighing in at just under the pound and three quarters. Running out of loch I decided to call it a day although the two hours had hardly done such a fantastic wee loch justice."
 
Cheers Niall Colthart

 

Neil Carmichael 

ON SAT THE 5TH JUNE MYSELF AND WILLIE LEASK SET OF TO FISH ONE OF THE EASIER TO GET AT LOCHS ON ISLAY FOR DAYS FISHING AND WE WERE REWARDED WITH SOME NICE TROUT RANGING FROM 8OZ TO 12OZ IN WEIGHT WITH THERE BEING NO WAVE ON THE WATER AND PLENTY FLIES ON THE WATER DRIES WERE THE ORDER OF THE DAY WITH THE DADDY LONG  LEGS THE TROUTS FAVOURITE THE TAKES WERE VERY AGGRESIVE AND ALL GIVING A GREAT FIGHT A GOOD DAYS FISHING ENDING WITH WILLIE LOOSING A FISH HE THOUGHT MUST HAVE BEEN AT LEAST 2 POUND IN WEIGHT.


Dod Dunbar, Kinnabus 9/5/10
 Went up to Loch Kinnabus today with Colin with the view to taking the boat out ,it was quite calm when we arrived and we started getting fish in the bay that the boat lies in right away ,drifted down the right hand side picking up a few fish here and there ,the wind started to get up ,a cold wind and pput the fish down and made it a hard row from the sandy bay back to the pier,i ended up with 13 fish heaviest 12 oz with plenty of other offers and a few lost ,Colin ended up with 6 and a few offers ,a nice wee couple of hours with plenty of steady action until the wind got up ,successful flies were bibio,kate and connamara black.
Club Championship Day 1, Glenastle 10/4/10
 
 
The first competition of the year took place on Saturday the 10th of April at Glenastle Lochs
There was a fine turnout of 17 rods which included lady member Morag MacMillan competing in her first competition ,the conditions were tough with bright sunshine and a southerly breeze and fish were hard to come by for some of the competitors but one angler managed to beat the conditions and land a couple of fine trout ,Bill Barclay took top honours winning his first ever competition after years of trying ,well done Bill keep up the good work ,Bill also took the award for biggest fish ,in second place and the bridesmaid for the fourth time running came Donnie Holyoake with Dod Dunbar coming third
All in all a good day out too start the season off and good to see a good turn out of anglers ,there is one award which was won by Ronnie Brown and that was for the first soaking of the season when he stumbled backwards and landed flat out on his back in the loch ,well done Ronnie but i dont think you will make the Olympic diving team this year
thanks to everyone that turned out to the 2 workdays which were great successes too!
Gordon Dunbar
Myself and Bill decided to go to Glenastle on Sunday for a couple of hours ,the wind was quite cold and fresh at the beginning so we decided to head up to the far off loch as it was a bit more sheltered ,third cast and a good pull, aye aye here we go then i thought but it was the last pull i got for over 2 hours but while i was struggling Bill had the right recipe and had landed 3 trout and had several other pulls ,the wickams being the successful fly
After walking and casting round the loch my first success of the season a small trout of about 5oz came to hand ,the bibio being the fly
The first outing of the season ,glad just to get out and a wee trout was a bonus but a bigger bonus was the flying display put on by the eagles ,great to watch and stayed with us for about an hour great to watch.

Glenastle 15-3-10

I was lucky enough to have opening day off again this year so I headed down to Glenastle which seems to offer the best early season chance of a trout of all our lochs. The weather was good with the sun just making the odd appearance between broken cloud, light winds and temperatures of 8 or 9 degrees made it the best on opening day that i have seen.

So I set the rod up with a 2 fly cast of kate Maclaren and Bibio, this cast would do for the whole session, a sink tip line was used too so that I could get a few different depths without changing lines. With the wind coming toward me I started on the left hand side of the first loch, nothing happened all the way aong the bank untill I got to the end when I turned a fish but it didnt take. I moved on to the second loch and after a few casts a nice wee trout about 1/2lb took the Bibio.....

I fshed all the way up the left hand side of the loch but it wasnt untill I reached the top that I hooked another fish, but by the time I got back to the bottom of the loch via the opposite side my tally had reached 10 trout, none of them matching the 1st fish but good fun all the same.

I returned to the first loch and cast down the opposite side of it too, casting over my left shoulder, and this resulted in one more fish about 6oz. It meant that I avoided the blank on both lochs and good casting practice for the begining of the season walking round both lochs fully.......something that would be repeated at Kinnabus on my next day out.

Kinnabus 17-3-10

After a good day on Glenastle I was keen to get back out fishing again while the weather was good and I was off work so I decided to give Kinnabus a cast to see what it was like early in the season. Unfortunately it wasnt as good as the previous loch but a good walk all the way round Kinnabus never does any harm and only one fish was hooked to avoid a blank at least. The weather was the same as my earlier trip but with maybe a bit more sunshine

.

I had started with the same cast as before but by the time I had reached the far side of the loch and hoked my only fish of the day I had changed to a PTN which took the fish, about the same size as my best on Glenastle so it was not too bad at all.

All the fish that I caught on both lochs were in surprisingly good condition for o early and put up a very good fight and returned to the water very strongly.

Inver Outing 10/7/10

A healthy 14 anglers attended the Inver outing on Saturday and the weather stayed favourable despite a poor forecast.

The top rod on the day was Kevin Morrison who also had the heaviest fish with a nice fresh sea-trout over 2lb

Gordon Dunbar won a feircely contested battle for the top tube.....................

top dog ?......more pics courtesy of Graham Rainey in the gallery.

Saturday 22nd August 
The tranport was arranged and the weather was good for a trip to the hills in search of some nice trout and a good day out. We headed of at 8.15am and got to the loch a half hour later, set up and onto the loch for 9am.
The lunchtime break revealed that all but one angler had caught a fish so far, the best being a nice trout of around 1 3/4lb to the rod of Peter Kennedy, after his bigger challenge of crossing the peat gully on the west of the loch!
 
After exchanging stories and tactics we headed back out, I (Gavin) went down to the lower loch where I had a lot of good sport but not catching any of the size that were being hooked higher in the hill, so after a change in wind direction that brought the midges out for 20min I headed back up to rejoin the others who had all imroved their bags.
A good tally was reached for the day and a god time was had by all, a few drams enjoyed and after a bit of stand up comedy from Peter ,we headed back down the hill all pleased with our efforts.
the crew
Team Canada report from Commonwealth Championships
 
 
 
 

Stalking the wild brown trout of the Isle of Islay, Scotland

by Todd Oishi

When I reflect on my time spent fly fishing in Scotland last month, images of single-malt whisky, castles, kilts and bag-pipes instantly comes to mind. Fishing in a part of the world where fly fishing is an important part of their culture and heritage left me somewhat envious of the lifestyle and sense of community that our Scottish counterparts enjoy.

My two week-long adventure, which began in central Scotland and concluded on a small island just off the southwestern coast of Scotland, was truly a trip of a life-time that surpassed all of my expectations. Although the opportunity to revisit Loch Leven (the Mecca of brown trout fishermen throughout the world) was high on my list of "things to do while in Scotland", it was my time spent fishing in the picturesque lochs of the Isle of Islay for wild brown trout that proved to be the greatest challenge and provided some of my fondest memories....…

The Isle of Islay is a small island (approximately 600 square kilometers in size) that is situated just off the southwestern coast of Scotland, lying only 25 miles north of the northernmost coast of Ireland, which can be seen on a clear day. Islay is a popular tourist destination that is famous for its immense beauty, wildlife viewing and bird watching, and producing world-class whisky (eight active distilleries). The pristine lochs of Islay are blessed with healthy populations of hard-fighting, wild brown trout that attract fly fishers from all over the United Kingdom and Europe to these waters to test their angling skills - and luck. 

The brown trout of Islay are wild fish that generally average between eight to twelve inches in length, with the island's larger trout inhabiting the lochs where the stickleback are found in their greatest numbers (the primary food source of the larger trout). Retention of fish that are caught is a way of life for the local anglers, and is strongly encouraged by the local angling authorities, as the lochs have an over-abundance of naturally reproducing trout, whose growth rates are stunted as a result of over-population and competition for food.

Bank angling is an enjoyable and popular method for angling on the lochs, as boat access is quite limited due to the size and remoteness of many of these waters. Although many of Islay's lochs are situated right alongside the roadways, some of the more productive lochs lie tucked away behind the rolling hills that are dotted with sheep and cattle, as well as the occasional deer.

Accessing these lochs often requires fairly strenuous hikes over open grasslands and through peat bogs. The majority of these lochs are situated on private lands, with access controlled by the estates that have ownership or title to the surrounding properties. Day permits are issued by the estate offices, but are only provided to a limited number of anglers in order to ensure a quality angling experience.

 

Although accessing some of the more remote lochs

required a fair amount of effort, they often possessed larger populations of scrappy, little brown trout that were comparable in size to those found in the more easily accessed waters. The colouration and markings of these trout were absolutely stunning and always a welcomed sight for this weary traveler.  

 

The solitude and serenity that was experienced when fishing the remote lochs always made the journey well worth the effort - regardless of how much effort that was involved. In these special and sacred places the distant past and present day embrace one another, as remnants of ancient civilizations stand silently, serving as a timeless testimony of the triumphs and hardships that they endured. 

 

 

The gentle sloping hills and dense peat that surrounds the lochs often concealed a series of small streams, which are commonly referred to as "burns" by the Scots. The burns provide an ideal spawning area and nursery for immature brown trout and stickleback. During heavy downpours the flow rates of the burns increase, which attracts both the stickleback and trout to areas where the burns deposit fresh water and nutrients into the lochs.

 

 

 

The importance of fishing the burns had been stressed to us by local fly fishers who were always willing to help ensure that we had a quality experience while fishing their waters. We followed their recommendations on locations and patterns, and targeted the burns, which we found to be especially productive when working the surrounding waters with short casts from the bank, or while wading deeply and casting our flies tight against the banks. To our surprise we often encountered brown trout foraging for food in water that was so shallow that it was barely able to cover their backs.

 

 

The brown trout seemed to be drawn to the structure of weed beds and the rocky shorelines, where they feed upon aquatic and terrestrial insects that became dislodged or washed into the deeper water as a result of the pounding waves and undertow that is created. At times, the dark colouration of the larger lochs masked what lay beneath their surface, which made locating structure and fish quite challenging - while in comparison - the shallow nature of the smaller lochs and their gentle sloping shoals made the task of locating trout a fairly simple process.

Finding the fish was always the greatest challenge, but once they were located, a floating, MidgeTip or intermediate-sinking line was basically all that was required to effectively cover the water, as the trout were typically found in shallower water or in slightly deeper water with their attention focused on the water's surface.

 

 

We were told that if the trout refused a slower presentation that using extremely fast retrieves often entices the browns to strike, as they are extremely aggressive by nature, and tend to be very opportunistic in this environment. This theory was confirmed time after time, as the trout after trout intercepted my flies while they were pulled through the water at speeds that seemed far too fast for a conventional presentation. Armed with this new revelation (and a few cans of Red Bull) our angling success-rate increased dramatically.

 

 

 

We quickly discouvered that Islay's brown trout were very light-sensitive creatures that rose freely during low-light conditions  and while the clouds blocked the sun, but dropped to slightly greater depths as soon as the rays of the sun caressed the water. During sunny and flat-calm conditions we prospected for trout in deeper water with faster sinking lines, while using Snatchers, Sedge Hogs, Kate McKlarens, Clan Chiefs and several other traditional mini-lures.

Exploring the potential of  "local" patterns always fascinates me whenever I travel to fish the waters of a foreign country. The experimentation often provides an assortment of new fly patterns, tactics and techniques to add to my fly fishing arsenal. The true thrill and satisfaction comes when I successfully deceive trout in my favourite stillwaters here in British Columbia - with a pattern that originated from the bin of a fly shop halfway around the world. This is an event that never ceases to amaze me.

As our trip drew nearer to its conclusion, we learned the hard way that not all rental vehicles are intended for travel in the more remote areas. They also seem to lack the necessary clearance to successfully navigate the island's secondary roadways that possess rocks that have developed an obvious liking for oil pans...

I suppose that one of the most memorable trout that fell for the charms of my fly was a feisty, wee brownie in Loch Finlaggan that accepted my offering on my final cast of the trip (fifteen seconds left in my session). It took the fly hard and fought admirably. I savoured every second of the battle and its eventual release, as I knew in my heart that this would be my last encounter with Islay's remarkably beautiful, little brown trout.

Stalking Islay's wild brown trout while standing within the shadows of ancient ruins, and traversing pathways that were once traveled by the island's earliest settlers - and perhaps even Vikings - left me humbled and in a constant state of wonder. Catching a fish or two somewhere along the journey gradually became less important and was purely a bonus....…

 


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