Fishing: How the heatwave has affected Lothian anglers

The heatwave has hit local fishing hard, with some stillwaters in the Lothians closing temporarily and the umbrella body for local rivers requesting anglers to exercise care.

By Nigel Duncan
Friday, 22nd July 2022, 1:00 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd July 2022, 1:00 pm

Fishing around the Forth say rivers and lochs have been warming up which can put stress on fish so extra care should be taken if heading out for a cast.

And the Edinburgh-based organisation on social media said: "When fishing during hot weather, always keep the fish in the water at all times to aid recovery,

"Use strong tackle and play the fish quickly to the net, use forceps to release the hook as quickly as possible with as little handling as possible."

The Dam Wall at Harlaw, where a water safety demonstration will be held on Saturday. Picture by Nigel Duncan

Their Facebook site has an easy-to-follow chart which explains when to fish and when not to. If the temperature is 19c and above they ask anglers to stop fishing.

If the thermometer is between 17c and 18c they advise anglers should fish early and late when the water is cooler.Anglers are asked to always carry a net and bring the fish in as quickly as possible and request that fishermen don't pose with fish for pictures. Release fish quickly.

They also urge sportsmen to keep an eye on Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) river levels online and think about stopping fishing if the levels are low.

If the water temperature is between 7c and 16c the advice is: "You are good to go." Temperatures below 16c are, say experts, when fish are most happy and active.

The trophy for the winner of the Kingdom Fly Fishing Championship. Picture by Nigel Duncan

So, what has been happening locally. Allandale Tarn near West Calder closed this week after checking the water temperature.

Iona Allan, the owner, said they hope to re-open on Saturday when the surface temperatures is expected to dip due to falling temperatures. If the gates are unlocked, then fishing will be from 9am to 10pm.Prior to the midweek closure, the water was fishing superbly, according to Iona with blue flash damsel, CDC, yellow owl and daddies the best bets.

Glencorse Reservoir was closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and owner Bill Taylor planned to open on Thursday. He said he closed over concern for the welfare of his fish stocks and the anglers and will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Magiscroft, one of Scotland's top coarse angling venues, remains open but concerned bosses have paddles and aerators running overnight, and water circulated through the main ponds, to ensure oxygen levels stay constant throughout the hot period.

Glencorse Reservoir. Picture Nigel Duncan

The fishery hope that these measures will ensure oxygen levels remain at the optimum ensuring the fish stay healthy and providing good sport for clients.

Meanwhile, 12 boats with 24 anglers are due to contest the final of the Kingdom Fly Fishing Championship is on Saturday at Ballo near Glenrothes and the first prize is £400 cash, £200 in Snowbee vouchers, £50 Megastore voucher, £50 blob and buzzer voucher, £50 Fly Box voucher and a goodie bag. The winner also receives the Jock Callison Trophy. Jock was the former owner of Stenhouse Fishery near Burntisland where the popular event originated.

The runner-up receives £200 in cash, a £100 Snowbee voucher, £30 Megastore voucher, £30 blob and buzzer voucher and a Fly Box goodie bag.

And the angler fishing third receives £100 cash, a £75 Snowbee voucher, £20 Megastore voucher, £20 blub and buzzer voucher and a Fly Box goodie bag.

There are also prizes for fourth to eighth place with the winner of the heaviest fish prize collecting a £50 Snowbee voucher and the Gary Johnson silver salver and there is even a prize for the first fish caught in the final.

Bowden Springs are still welcoming anglers and Jackie Burnett and Paul Dancer have been among those recording catches. Black and green lures and squirmy wormy patterns have been successful.

Bait pond devotees have also gone home happy and Chris Miller had two for 5lb, John Langford three for 9lb and T Wilson four for over 11lb. All fished Powerbait. Bowden is open six days (closed Wednesday) from 8.30am to dusk.Clubbiedean in The Pentland Hills near Colinton said that the fish have gone deep due to the weather but anglers have been catching on nymph patterns. They remain open from 9am to 9pm.

Harlaw Reservoir, above Balerno, continues to deliver according to Steven Oliver, head bailiff, and that is despite the fairly strong south westerly wind and the heatwave. There has, he said, been some great top-of-the-water sport recently.

Damsels on a floating line and a black foam hawthorn pattern have worked, the hawthorn as soon as it hit the water and CDC patterns were also producing.

Malleny Angling, who administer Harlaw above Balerno, indicate an event is planned for Harlaw on Saturday (July 23) which will include a water safety demonstration. That means fishing around the Dam Wall area will be disrupted.

The event starts at 11am and is planned to finish at 3pm and involves Police Scotland, the Fire and Rescue Services and Pentland Hills Regional Park personnel. Agencies have again warned park users not to light fires.Fishing in other parts of Harlaw will not be affected.

In East Lothian, Tweedddale opening hours near Gifford are advertised on Facebook as 7am to 5pm until further notice but that is wrong. John Jackson, the owner, confirmed the opening times are 7am to dusk, seven days a week.Markle remains open from 9am to after 10pm daily but bosses are constantly monitoring the water temperature.

Meanwhile, onto coarse fishing 21 anglers fished the latest event at Magiscroft near Cumbernauld with James Woodrow taking top spot with 52lb 6oz, his bag containing mainly ide and carp. Dave McAuley was a close second on 51lb 14oz with Derek Brady third on 41lb.

Edinburgh's David Corcoran recorded 26lb and members of the Edinburgh and Lothians Coarse Angling Club (ELCAC) were also in the field.

Darrin Ferguson came in with 29lb 9oz with Roz Cassidy on 16lb 8oz and Heather Lauriston on 8lb 5oz.Scott McGhee weighed-in 51lb 5oz to win round eight of the 12-match Summer League organised by ELCAC.Willie McAuley was second at Orchill near Auchterarder with 37lb 4oz and club stalwart, Tommy Lauriston, third on 36lb 11oz.

The field was reduced to 16 due to holidays and illness and it proved a pleasant day, mostly overcast with a gusty wind which made fishing across to the island tricky.

In the Knockout Cup, John Perella landed 7lb 1oz to beat Andy Paterson who weighed-in 3lb 1oz and the next match in the series is on July 30.

Drumtassie near Blackridge still report good catches despite the heat on their popular new coarse fishing pond. A number of newcomers to the water have been noted as word spreads about the quality of the fishery.

At sea, Aquamarine Charters of Eyemouth are offering regular fishing charters and to book contact Derek on 07860 804316. Ling have been landed recently and mackerel are reported to be in the Forth with catches up and down the coastline.