Bowden Springs fishery is located on a back road between Linlithgow and Bathgate. It is a pleasant small water fishery, with fly and bait fishing offerings.
Finding Bowden Springs:
Its best to refer to the map blow to get a fix on where it is as its difficult to describe. It is easy enough to find, though be aware the entrance is between two very blind bends, if you have never been here, you will come upon it very quickly, and when leaving take care as there is not a lot of room between the bends in either direction. I could imagine it being a popular road with motorcycles and they could come round the bends very quickly.
View Bowden Springs in a larger map
Access road: OK- it is a single track farm track and there is no where to pass an oncoming car that I could see, so you want to go only if the way is clear oncoming.
Sat Nav: EH49 6QE
Contact: 01506 847269 /07824 332368
Species: Rainbow, Blue and Brown trout
Other Species: Not known
Carribber Loch: 5 Acres
Bowden Loch: 2 Acres
The fishery consists of two lochs. Neither are particularly deep being about 8 feet max at the deepest points. There is an abundance of fly and aquatic life in the margins of the very clear water. The only place with clearer water I have encountered is probably Chirk Fishery in Wales. The Upper Loch ( Bowden) is fly only and allows catch and take or Catch and release from its dozen or so casting pegs. You can cast from the embankment separating the Carriber and Bowden Lochs if you need extra distance. The lower larger Carriber Loch is fringed by trees on one side and very weedy towards the lodge end so probably suits the bait angler more than the fly angler, though I did see some fisher’s throwing a line on the east bank and from the promontory that sticks out in the middle. There is a very well stocked tackle shop /lodge ( one of the nicest I have seen) and there seemed to be facilities for outdoor dining were you to perhaps want a BBQ with a club outing. Might be worth checking this with the fishery though before taking my word! Car Parking is ample and I guess designed to make things easier for the bait angler encumbered with all the trappings of “coarse style” fishing- chairs, bivvies etc, its a wee bit of a walk from the lodge so get your ticket after tackling up unless you intend to fish Carribber in which case get it as you enter and then park your car.
Bowden Springs is a Troutmasters water.
Facilities: Tea and coffee in the “shop”, a very good selection of tackle is available, better than most fisheries I have ever been to.
I enjoyed my ( currently) one outing to Bowden Springs. It seems a well run and very clean and well-presented fishery. They have box seats at most pegs which I think is great if you need to rest your legs or other parts of your anatomy! Parking is a bit far from the lodge, so be organised and minimise trips between car and lodge when getting set up. The water is not deep though it “felt” deeper towards the end with the trees. There is plenty of room for casting and little to get snagged up on. Its a good fishery for sight fishing and especially at the tree end I could see if flies were getting any attention from the fish so you could ring the changes based on observation which is always good. While there are copious forms of aquatic life in the ponds it’s not, in my opinion, the most natural looking location being essentially two rectangular reservoirs with a couple of promontories to add a little interest. But based on its history as a water supply for the local towns that’s not something much can be done about. While I was there the owner was instructing a group of novices which was very refreshing to see and at the same time offered useful help and advice. I think his name was Jim and he was certainly a very friendly and gregarious chap.
Value for money: OK, a little more expensive than the average. There are numerous “bag” options for how long/how many fish you want to take and Catch and Release is available, though this too was a little dearer than other fisheries in the area, perhaps belying the proximity to relatively upmarket Linlithgow and Edinburgh.
Catch and Release Policy: Very Good. Sporting tickets are available for those not wishing to take fish.
Website and Facebook: A bit rubbish. It has all the key information you need but lacks regular ( or any at current time) fishing reports and the layout is a bit 20th Century! A useful feature is the fly of the month page. The fishery has a facebook page which you can reach via the fB icon.
Overall: Taking all things into consideration I would rate Bowden Springs a high 4. Clear water, a friendly and helpful owner and good top of the water action, offset by a rather man-made look ( though this is no reflection on the life in the ponds). In some ways the lower pond would be better for fly fishing but for the fringing trees ( which perversely make it more natural looking but restrict casting) and the heavy concentrations of weeds in some areas. I guess this comes as a resultof compromise for bait anglers. Well worth a visit.