Angling: Fly-tying Allandale owner Iona Allan helping her customers to hook the fish

Iona Allan has been spending hours at her fly-tying vice keeping pace with the demand for hare’s ear, black and pearl and damselflies.

Saturday, 25th May 2019, 6:30 am
Iona Allan tying at Allandale Tarn. Picture: Nigel Duncan

They have lately been the big catching patterns, along with buzzers and f-flies, at spring-fed, Allandale Tarn, near West Calder.

Iona revealed the season is going from strength to strength and specimen fish have been landed including one by regular angler George Burns from Longstone in Edinburgh.

He had a rare fight with a brown trout weighing 13.3lb lured by a hare’s ear, and the popular, 20-peg plus fly fishery and adjacent bait pond, which are closed every Tuesday, continues to attract anglers from all over Central Scotland.

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George Burns from Edinburgh fishing at Allandale Tarn. Picture: Nigel Duncan

The lakes are known for their water quality and are regularly stocked with rainbow, blue and brown trout.

The Tarn, incidentally, was originally used as a holding pool to refill passing steam trains and is well over 100 years old, so the biology has had a long time to develop.

Allandale is situated next door to the Five Sisters Zoo, however, Iona is most interested in aquatic animals and the sheltered Tarn traditionally produces sport in all seasons.

Early morning and late evening have been the best times recently and Iona, who owns the fishery, said: “We’ve been really busy since early 
in the year and catches are good.

“Hare’s ear and black and pearl have been big sellers. They are catching along with buzzers and damsel patterns.”

George Burns was fishing a white muddler and hooking into his 15th fish of the day. His friend, John Scordecchia, on a neighbouring peg, was two ahead when we visited.

George, a 70-year-old former prison officer at Shotts, has been coming to Allandale for around 20 years and he said: “The big brownie (brown trout) was a great fish, however, I’ve had fish of over 15.5lb out of here. I’m here around five days a week and love the sport and the banter here.”