Swanswater Trout Fishery is located a stones throw from where I live- OK a 40 minute walk over back roads, or a 5 minute drive – but thats pretty close compared to the locations most anglers go to.
Finding Swanswater Trout Fishery:
There is only one real way to Swanswater Trout Fishery for the non local Angler. Coming into Stirling from the Stirling Sevices roundabout, taking the turning signposted Bannockburn, take the left hand opening immediately after the King Robert Hotel, signposted Swanswater, and North Third Reservoir.
You will pass some houses to your right and the road then veers right then left. It passes behind the Bannockburn Battle Site, and a Bowling club. Carry on straight through Chartershall, over the motorway and you will come to a sharp lefthand bend. Go straight on here onto a rough road.
Now hang an immediate right and the fishery is along the rubble track on the right and left. Parking on the right through the gate.
Poor- be very careful in low slung cars- though not impossible.
None, but a taxi can take you here from Stirling Train/Bus Station- a journey of about 4 miles I would reckon. Better than many! Lots of anglers use taxi’s to get to Swanswater Trout Fishery, so local cab firms are familiar with it.
Contact: 01786 814805
Species: Rainbow, Blue, Golden, Tiger and Brown trout (both wild and stocked). Wild fish are asked to be returned where possible.
Other Species: Tench ( apparently) and Perch.
Swanswater: 10 Acres
The fishery is actually two ponds and a small lochan (Swanswater), and you may purchase a permit for just the smaller Meadow Pond and Mill Pond, or Swanswater itself which also covers the smaller ponds. Fishing is catch and release or catch and keep on all the ponds and on Swanswater itself. If on Catch and Release you must use debarbed hooks, try get fish in quickly – don’t over play them so use a fairly heavy leader and avoid handling them wherever possible.
Most anglers fish the Swanswater until they reach their bag limit- or interest dries up! and then move to the smaller ponds for the remainder of their time, or to see if their luck changes. The fish stocked in Swanswater are much bigger than in the ponds, though fish to 4-6lbs are not unknown in the ponds, ( I had a 6lb rainbow once in the Meadow Pond) and I have seen a few big fish moving on occasions in the ponds.
Find the fish
Swanswater main lochan has a depth of about 9 or 10 feet, and fish can be found in most areas though there are one or two favourite spots that locals target. The Dam wall section at the entrance, and the Island, facing the road are always popular. The West end of the Loch is quite shallow and tends to be weedy, and while I have seen very few people fish here- the lack of angling pressure leads me to beleive that one day a monster will pop out here! Probably on a targetted dry fly- thats just my opinion! It’s a Loch that you get the feeling may suit “stalking” though its rare to see a decent fish in near the bank. A great place to stalk is under the footbridge over the in-flowing Sauchie Burn. BIG fish can be hooked here but getting them in is a challenge.
The pegs are wooden and many are covered in Chicken wire to provide grip. Watch this with your net as its prone to snagging- bad enough to get a good net snagged on the wire at the best of times- even worse if you are on your own and have a fish on! Watch too when you put your net back down not on the wire. I lost a priest too down the gap in the boards- watch this as it seems I am not alone- I spoke to a guy recently who did the very same thing!
Fishing the ponds
Fishing the ponds is great fun I especially like dry fly here and often you are sight fishing and trying to catch a particular fish you see moving. the ponds are not especially deep- I reckon probably no more than 6 feet. It’s a brilliant place to bring a kid, as casting is relatively easy and you know the fish are there in that small space. That does not always make them easy to catch. Far from it they can be incredibly selective and difficult especially in bright conditions. Golden trout are very hard- I reckon they get hammered as they are so visible so don’t take easily.
Swanswater Trout Fishery is a Troutmasters water.
Tea and coffee in the “shop”, a small selection of flies and light tackle is available- monofiliament etc. I beleive a small selection of rods is available for loan/hire. Float Tubes are allowed and a few boats are available at an extra £5 but must be moored to designated markers.
I like Swanswater and consider it my “local”. I especially like going along there on a day off where I don’t have to travel far and it can be reasonably quiet during weekdays.
On the whole most of the regulars are a friendly bunch. There are a few who like to get their early and bag a few of the known hot spots, this is probably not unusual in other fisheries too, I just tend to notice it here more. Many will gladly share a few minutes with you for a blether, discuss tactics and the time of day so on the whole it’s a pleasant atmosphere.
Flies and Tackle:
Swanswater can vary throughout a day and so tactics need to change if you want to catch consistently. The fishery is not deep- around 9 or 10 feet at the deepest so a floating or intermediate line is more than adequate all year. Some anglers favour a sink tip.
The usual suspects
Angling reports feature, Yellow Dancers, buzzers, Diawl Bachs and Kate McLaren’s regularly. Black Hoppers do well in summer and Blobs are always popular as is fishing the Bung. No Boobies or lures under Bungs. Personally I have found, Humungus- not too large say size 10 or 12, White Bunny Leach, and Zonkers, are effective among the lures.
Occasionally a Damsel will work but while they feature in a lot of reports they are not consistent for me. Dry flies like Klinkhammers and Parachute buzzers can be deadly on their day as can Daddy longlegs and small olive or black dries when fish are selective. In winter I have had a lot of success on bloodworm patterns fished slow and deep as well as with lures.
Value for money:
Pretty good, nice surroundings, not a bad price for a ticket, and you can share your ticket/limit with a child which is excellent. Where I think it is a wee bit tight is the price for a rowing boat. Foar £5 you can have a boat and fish from one of four or five fixed points.
If on a day ticket that makes it £33 on a take ticket. I think that is expensive. On a shorter session the £5 becomes a bigger chunk of your days fees. Perhaps, some time based adjustment needs to be made? Especially when you consider that some fisheries let you use a rowing boat for free.
Catch and Release Policy:
Excellent. All the ponds offer Catch and Release at Swanswater Trout Fishery.
The fishing reports are mostly kept up to date and in bad weather it is worthwhile checking the opening hours. Overall though, a bit dated and could do with a refresh- especially the events page. A webcam of the main loch would be good for assessing how busy it is before you go. Recent photos of good catches do not appear on site though an archive of reports is present. Suggested improvements would be to incorporate the current Troutmasters standings and use a more modern layout.
Taking all things into consideration I would rate Swanswater a 4.5. The fishery has taken on board our previous comments on Catch and Release and its now available on all ponds in the fishery complex. The boat prices in my view are still too high.