Fine Days For Fishing

Fine Days

This “proper” summer rolls on and while it has been far from ideal for fishing, to be fair July is rarely the best month anyway. Sometimes I think the old stockmarket maxim of “Sell in May and go away” needs a similar one for fly anglers in Summer, “It’s July, give it a bye” maybe? But two recent outings on the face of it seemed fine days for fishing.

An Overcast Morning- ideal?


A Damsel fly. Not what I went to photograph but will need to do.

Last Sunday I had to travel for work in the afternoon so snatching time to fish meant getting up fairly sharp and having a look out the window. “Yes! It was cloudy”…and a bit of a breeze. Surely ideal to have a couple of hours up the wee loch behind BoA. I imagined there would be plenty others with the same idea, but was surprised when I got up there and found myself alone but for the odd dog walker, runner or cyclist. I had also brought along with me my brand new Daiwa New Era 9ft 5# rod. I have been after a 9ft 5# for some time, ostensibly for small stillwater bank fishing and for fishing on bigger rivers. I didn’t set out to get another New Era but when I saw GAC had the very last one in their clearance ( this model is no longer made) I kind of felt it was fate. I love my 9 foot 6” 6# and the new rod feels very very similar but a bit lighter.
So I enjoyed getting to know my new rod, but sadly ever got to know any fish. I think I might have got a knock to a nymph fished under a dry from the dam wall- the dry vanished in a way suggestive of a take but I never felt contact with anything piscatorial.

There be Dragons

The fishing conditions though to me seemed ideal, a reasonable breeze, quite overcast, not overly warm, certainly not hot and the water didn’t feel too warm either but I saw barely a fish except out in the middle and one cruising near the sluice. I did though see some HUGE green and black striped Dragonflies. Now there are lots of Damselfiles up there just now ( and yes I know the pics here are of some Damsels I saw at the time)  and I have in the past seen red/brown coloured Dragonflies here but these were different, green with dark bands. A couple flew round me a good half hour while I fished, and once I decided to call it a day and had packed my gear away I wandered back to the spot to try get a photo with my dSLR but in typical fashion, the insects had vanished. I waited 20 minutes but they never returned. Having done a bit Googling, I think the variety is this one here. Certainly, I have never seen these here before- they are BIG.

Carron Valley Outing

So fast forward to yesterday (this Sunday) and it was the Stirling Club Outing to Carron Valley. I have not had much luck at CV lately….well, ever, if I am honest. On my first ever outing there back in 2011 I think it was, I fished in a charity competition and had I think 4 good rainbows, I would have won the heaviest bag, and biggest fish but that the rules didn’t allow you to claim both! I also won the prize for most money raised. Since then I have never landed a rainbow at CV. I have been broken off, and have also had some nice Browns on occasional outings but no ‘Bow’s. What would Sunday bring? Well, once again the weather was set to be good for fishing, a bit of a breeze coming from the west and cloudy. I understood there was a risk of showers later on though to be frank never quite anticipated the amount of rain we ended up getting.

Wet fishing on Carron Valley

It was grim, and that was just Willie having to suffer my company for the day, never mind the weather!

I fished with club chairman, Willie and we tried a few drifts in towards the dam wall while everyone else appeared to head up the loch. We had both observed fish moving behind the boat moorings before we even set off and thought it was as well to try here as go up the reservoir. My very first cast of a Hopper on point and two buzzers on the droppers got a swirl right away but no takers. I changed my point fly for a beaded micro Humongous- it’s basically a bushy wet fly in the style of the famous lure but without the long tail. I had a strange jabbing take, and at the very instant a fish leapt clear of the water by my fly, though it wasn’t the fish I was connected to, a small Brown Trout. It was most odd. As I returned the fish, we neared the dam wall and Willie noted that fishing right onto the wall can be a good tactic here. No sooner did he say it that he hooked up then lost a fish on the dam wall. I opted to try the same just landing my point fly right where the water lapped on the bricks and was immediately rewarded with my first rainbow here in 7 years! Nothing huge, about a pound and a half or so. It appeared Willie’s fish had snapped his dropper…. I know that feeling.

We tried a drift on the other end of the dam from quite far up and I hooked a second rainbow but as I got it near the boat for netting I think it tangled me in something on the bottom ( it was in very shallow water as the reservoir is easily 2 metres lower than normal)  and it all went a bit strange- I could feel I wasn’t “right” and sure enough off came the fish and I got a birds nest of flies and leader back. Still, I got the sport from the fish so mustn’t grumble. Willie got a brown and then we never really had anything all the way down to the dam wall. It had rained on and off a few times by now, that fine all-enveloping drizzle that soaks everything. Anyone venturing out without decent waterproofs was going to have a miserable day.

Time had fair moved on and as midday approached we decided to have one more cast down in the corner by the moorings. We never saw a fish but as I moved the boat away from the wall ( a tricky maneuver as the outboard didn’t have a reverse so you had to move quickly when you neared an obstruction )and we decided what we were going to do next my line was still in the water and I seen it snatch away, and lifted into a fish. A bit of a fluke but it made up for the lost one earlier I guess.

We motored up past the Island ( Gull Island?) to fish some of the bays on the roadside but they were really shallow and the water was well back from the vegetation and not a fish did we see. We passed some of our club boats heading the other way and they said they had only found the odd Brown and no rainbows up the loch.

Before we headed back down after a very very wet and fruitless hour or so we tried the corner above the first big bay on the far side and found some Browns here, we were getting them slashing at the flies but I never had one, though I think Willie got one here.

It rained and rained now and we motored back down, having a bit of a bump as we seemed to ground the prop for a second passing the island though we seemed to be outside the main marker buoy. Luckily no damage was done.

Closing Tip

We spent the last hour and a half in pretty wet conditions fishing into the dam wall, I went from floater to sinking line for a while and had one good pull that didn’t hook up but never had any other offers. Most of the club had struggled, and the top rod was three rainbows, most had one. I did hear a couple of guys practising for some upcoming competitions say they hit plenty fish at the very top of the first bay on the far side though I think it was mostly Brown Trout and they were getting them on dries.