This hot summer weather makes a change for us, as the last few years, June and all summer, in fact, have been rubbish. We are currently experiencing hot dry settled conditions and temperatures that have rarely if ever been seen. I think Thursday was a mere half a degree short of the All-Time record here in Stirling. So maybe not the best time to be heading out to fish a small Stillwater.

But needs must. Last Xmas I was “lucky” enough ( I try to kid myself it was skill!) to win the runner-up second place in the Swanswater Day after Boxing Day charity fishing competition and with that came an 8hour day C&R ticket for Swanswater. I have of course been to the fishery a number of times since then, though to be fair not for a few months, but have never had the time to have an 8 hour session. The voucher was due to expire today the 30th June. I better use it then….

The Shaded East side

Fishing in the shaded East side seemed the best strategy for starting off but returned nothing

I toyed with going up last night ( Friday) but having taken a walk along the other night it was flat calm and nothing but the wee wild fish were showing on top and it looked like it might be hard going. Plus at best I might have been able to eek 4 hours out of my ticket by the time I got finished work etc. No, Saturday it had to be and so I decided to make an early start and be there for opening at 8am in the hope that with another hot day forecast, it might be the best chance to get some sport before the sun got too high and hot.

So I rocked up at 8 handed over my voucher and decided as the fishing was costing me nothing, I might as well pay for a boat too that opened up that option, if fish were sitting deep.

They were. I started fishing along the shaded east side as did the other anglers who opted for an early start and never seen a fish move- at least none that might be a Rainbow. I was kind of surprised though maybe I shouldn’t be, but Friday night had been a cooler evening after all, and I thought between that and the shade the fish might perk up a bit and be near the top at least initially.

My efforts with a hopper and a couple of buzzers went unseen and untouched and so I removed the point fly to put on a very heavy copper head, Cats Whiskers, let’s see if anything follows from lower down. It didn’t but no one else seemed to be catching either, though I think I saw one angler “remote release” a fish by the dam wall.

Rainbow in the net

A rainbow resting and ready to go back untouched by human hand

I decided to play my Joker and took a boat over to the dam end. A couple of casts towards the big tree on the east bank with the Cat still on- it wasn’t especially big about a size 10 , just heavy, and I had a solid hook up and my first fish of about two and a half pounds. This settled it for me the fish were deep and I took the time to swap to a full intermediate- no point mucking around here, and tried that. The heavy beaded Cat maybe wasn’t ideal with this set up so I opted to try match what might be right on the bottom, and on went a small Apps Bloodworm on point with an Orange blob on top dropper as an attractor and a Diawl Bach on the middle dropper. Casting with the wind towards the tree again, and I had a second solid hook up and netted a three-pound fish that fought well, after about another half hours fishing.

It went back after a rest and I decided to move closer to the tree as both fish came from there. Not too many casts after moving I had a sharp pull again in this same area, and a wee while later after resting it for ten minutes it stuck the second time and number three was in the net. It went really quiet then and I certainly never seen anything get caught from the bank. It was scorching and I had to re-don my fleece to cover myself up a bit as the factor 30 alone wasn’t doing it anymore. By 12 ish it was just too hot and so I returned to shore and tying on a wee stalking bug had 30 mins plopping it in around the margins of the burn entrance but had nothing and decided to retire to the wee ponds for a look. I felt it was getting beyond the best part of the day now for fishing though this thought might have been wrong as a lad had a fish near the dam wall as I made my way down the side.

Alastair told me the Meadow Pond wasn’t fishing so I had half an hour or so on the Mill Pond and managed a final fish, a blue of about 2lbs. Not a bad result for what really was not an ideal day for it and way above my hopes or expectations though I left after about five hours, which was more than enough.

Remember if you are fishing in this weather, keep hydrated, plenty of sun screen, and if returning fish, get them in quick avoid handling and make sure they are rested and self-righting before returning them. Avoid the very warm water in the edge for reviving, as it is not good at holding sufficient oxygen and fish are likely just to go belly up.