Angling: Why West Lothian Angling Association offers "best value for money" fishing north of the Border

Scot note-0 Muir believes West Lothian Angling Association (WLAA) offers the best "value for money" fishing north of the Border with over 50 miles of water available to permit holders for only £15.

Anglers can now apply online at Fishing Around the Forth and they will soon be able to procure a hard copy at Tangles at 5, East Main Street, Broxburn EH52 5EE, West Lothian Angling, Unit 10, Nasmyth Court, Livingston EH54 5EG or The Edinburgh Angling Centre, Unit E, Granton Retail Park, 65 West Harbour Road, Granton, Edinburgh EH5 1PW and from Pottishaw Fishery.

Or, a permit can be purchased at the club's monthly fly tying nights held at Mid Calder Community Centre (across from the chip shop) on the second Monday of every month.

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The season opens for migratory fish (salmon and sea trout) on February 1 and for trout on March 15 and Muir revealed that brown trout of over 4lb were hooked in the Almond last season, a reasonable one considering the changeable weather in Central Scotland during that time

Jason Rennie, chairman of West Lothian Angling Association (left) discusses a point with Scot (cor) Muir at the club's monthly fly tying session. Picture Nigel Duncan

Muir, who is secretary of the WLAA, said: "Our fishing permit works out at around nine pence a mile and we believe it is the best bang for buck (in Scotland). We've had people from Troon, Rothsay and Perthshire fishing the river. That's great.

"Fishing was reasonable last year, personally, I did not do too well and did not get out much, but people did well and there were brown trout caught of over 4lb and there were a good many caught between 2lb and 4lb.

"Plus, we had many caught from 1lb to 2lb. Membership ended up with 150 which was down on the year before, possibly some COVID things were related to that and, post-COVID, people found other things to do."

The easiest way to secure a permit is online at Fishing Around the Forth, he said, and an adult can have two under-16 anglers on their ticket free.

The weir at Mid Calder on The Almond. By Nigel Duncan

Muir said: "It is all catch and release and we are a Category Three river, barbless hooks and approved techniques only."

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He explained that you can spin for salmon and sea trout and he added: "Club rules for salmon and sea trout are one treble hook debarbed and preferably reduced to two points.

"Trout anglers can set off again on March 15 and you may well hook into something even if the water is cold. I would recommend using floating line on the river as it is not particularly deep.

"Sinking lines are not really necessary. Nymphing is great and nymphs will come into their own, but I would suggest letting the water warm-up a little before getting them out of your box.

The Almond upstream from the Mid Calder weir. Picture: Nigel Duncan
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"If you are making up flies for the river for early season then make up some spiders - black and olive are considered best - and Griffith's gnat. You won't go wrong with these patterns and, to be honest, all the traditional files will work well.

"I occasionally tie up a Griffith's gnat with a yellow dubbed body which represents a dung fly as there are plenty of farms around the area."

Muir said permit holders also receive a £15 voucher to fish Pottishaw, a popular still water run by Fraser Thomson, vice-chair of WLAA, at Torbanehill Mains, Bathgate EH48 2HX.

Members can also fish the nine mile stretch of The Almond downstream of Newbridge which is administered by Cramond Angling Club (CAC). WLAA members receive a £10 discount on the CAC permit fee.

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Meanwhile, Cramond Angling Club have confirmed that they have worked hard over the past 12 months and that has allowed officers to keep their prices for 2023 at 2022 levels. A season is £38 for an adult, £28 for a senior, £15 for a student and a junior is free with an adult. The permit covers salmon, sea trout and brown trout and full details are available at www.fishalmond.co.uk.

The official opening day is on Saturday, February 4 when anglers traditionally congregate at 9am at The Waterfall, School Brae, Cramond. Everybody is welcome.

Elsewhere, the Sierra Pairs dates have been confirmed for this year and there are several venues in Scotland. Stenhouse near Burntisland is full on Sunday, March 12 with 14 boats out, Eden Springs on Saturday, April 1 has 13 boats available and Lake of Menteith on Saturday, April 22 has 30 boats for anglers.

Eden Springs near Cupar on Saturday, May 20 has 13 boats available but Glencorse near Penicuik is full the following day. Harlaw near Glasgow has 20 boats available on Sunday, June 11 with the second Glencorse heat on Sunday, July 9 also full. The Grand Final is at Llyn Brenig on Sunday, August 27.

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Sea fishing now and the second round of Mike and Chris's cod league saw Daniel Campbell from Arbroath claim first place with seven fish for 14lb 10oz. Second was Simon Pattinson from Fife with four fish for 11lb 8 oz and third was Alfie Brown (Arbroath) with five fish for 11lb 6oz

Co-organiser Chris Horn from Kirkcaldy hooked into the heaviest fish, a cod of over 6lb 13oz and the match was fished in a strong south-westerly wind with the boundary from Carnoustie to Ferryden Lighthouse.

Anglers reporter a swell and coloured water and fishing was not comfortable but a better stamp of fish was weighed in.

There are 32 anglers in the league and Horn's 6lb 13oz fish leads with Derrick Linton in second with 6lb 11oz.

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The next leg is on Saturday, January 21 with fishing from 3pm to 8pm and registration is from 1.30pm to 2pm at the Victoria Car Park, Arbroath. Everybody departs at 2pm and every match is open to all. Low water is 7.51pm.

Meanwhile, the results are awaited on a survey by Scottish Canals as they bid to shape the next 250 years of Scotland’s canal network.

For the first time, the corporate vision is being guided by the people of Scotland and the plan will set the scene for the next five years of work.

Fishermen are among those who were encouraged to have their say as the canal network is used daily by boaters, cyclists, walkers, local residents, businesses owners, paddlers and anglers.

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The waterways have recently been transformed former industrial transport arteries to corridors of opportunity including tourism and that, says Scottish Canals, greatly benefits the people and economy of Scotland.

Richard Millar, Scottish Canals chief operating officer, said: “People are at the heart of our canals and that’s why we are keen to listen and take on those views.

“We are under no illusion, the next few years will be tough, with increased pressure on public sector finances, but we want to ensure that when we are investing our limited resources, we are doing so with a view to deliver what the people of Scotland want."