Not so Green

I got up this morning, ( Sunday) and was thinking it was likely a nicer day than yesterday for a late season ( Out of season I guess) outing on Lake of Menteith. The sun was shining and the colours of autumn were very prevalent but as I sit here to write this the sky has turned grey again and really yesterday wasn’t so bad though there was a bit of a troublesome, changeable wind at times. Yesterday was the last outing of the season for SCAC and we had I think about half a dozen boats. However, due to a few call offs I fished with angling chum and Scotland five nations internationalists John Watson who I haven’t seen since our outing to the Tweed a month or so back.

Rainbow on the fly

A fighting fit rainbow on the line

The Lake has been afflicted in recent weeks by a green algae bloom and several tests have been done, I understand, by SEPA which indicate it is harmless but as a precaution fish have been caught on a Catch and Release basis for the last wee while. To be honest, the water while having a green tinge was actually pretty clear and the algae were really not that bad. It certainly wasn’t bad enough to clag up flies and I have fished a number of places over the years where that was the case. Only down the road shore was there any real concentration of the green algae visible right in near the bank presumably driven by the wind. So I wouldn’t be put off by it, if you are thinking of going.

John and I headed out and started fishing down the North end of the lake, along the shore called the Rookery.

Our first drift took us in near the bank and we had to adjust the boat a few times to try to keep it out. John I think decided to change his set up and while he was not fishing I cast in near the bank on his side of the boat and as I retrieved my three fly team of a Cats Whiskers on the point, with a pair of skinny cormorants on the droppers I got my first contact with a fish. The Rainbow in its infinite wisdom decided to head off under the boat and I managed to keep my line clear of the boat bottom and with the leader now in the rod rings I had it in front of me but not yet ready for the net. Everything seemed fine and the fish decided to go under the boat again. I exerted pressure on it and it seemed to be coming, stubbornly though had now moved around under the bow of the boat. My line then seemed to go very tight and I realised I was snagged on something on the front of the boat. One of my Cormorant droppers had hooked on a metal rubbing plate under the bow of the boat. So I had to manoeuvre myself to get the fly free and keep tension. I thought the fish was still on, but as I released the leader wrapped around the metal strip, the line fell loose, the fish was gone! My usual “nae luck at the Lake”. I then had probably three or four pulls and even had a fish tug at my flies before swirling at it as I was finally compelled to lift off.

Menteith Rainbow

Johns first Rainbow

As we drifted down towards the weeds further down the bank we started to see fish rising. I decided to change the point fly for a black CDC Shuttlecock. I was sure I would rise something. However the rain came on and I think it put the fish down, John though was on a fast glass line and he managed his first fish right in again near the reeds.

We knew there were fish here, we had seen a fair few rising but despite loitering here a while we struggled to get more offers. We opted to move and have a change so motored up to the top of Gateside Bay. It was flat calm here and there were a few boats tucked in close to the cages. However I think we seen one fish move and probably the only option here would have been to put on a Di3 or 5 and fish deep.

While becalmed though it was an ideal opportunity for lunch. I changed to having buzzers under a bung which I could leave while grabbing a bite at a sandwich, but as we slowly drifted down the bay we never encountered any fish.

Round the back Rainbow

Round the back of the boat. Another one that wanted to be awkward.

Lunch done, we decided on another drift at the Rookery. John had just put his line back in the water when he had a whack and it broke him right off over the back of the boat. Clearly there were still fish about here but again as we fished it went very quiet so we opted to go right across the lake and headed for Lochend. The wind by now had turned a bit and strengthened, it got quite squally and keeping the boat drifting for any length of time was a challenge. Two of our club members were coming away from Lochend as we went in. They hadn’t seen a fish. That was our experience too. After several drifts and John had returned possibly the smallest Jack Pike in the lake, we headed for the shelter of the Butts and drifted into the shore around Tod Hole. I was by now onto an Intermediate line and had put a Damsel on the point with a couple of Blobs I had found in a small pocket fly box. ( I had cleverly forgotten all my blobs and boobies before setting out- having removed them from my box before going to Islay, The Lake is one of the places I would tend to have them to hand).

Me witha Rainbow trout

The prize of a long days efforts safely returned.

Fishing right in near the bank with my Damsel I had a take and another fish that was determined to get behind the boat. After a really strong fight, I was able to net a powerful though not huge, Rainbow that was again released after a quick picture.

The weather remained very changeable and for me at least, I was starting to struggle with fishing in the wind and pulling intermediate lines. By about 3 pm I had frankly had enough, I knew if I fished on I would be in trouble later with the aches and pains. John too had been working into the wee small hours overnight and I think was feeling a bit tired too and there wasn’t a lot happening. We tried a few drifts around International Bay but again failed to contact any fish and decided to call it a day.

It seemed like the club struggled a bit overall as I understand only 17 fish were caught between the dozen anglers Though one boat had at least 9 fish alone using deep fished Boobies- which is fine if you like that style of fishing but it isn’t my favoured technique to be honest. Still, it gets you out ata weekend.