Excitement of Lochs opening

Last Saturday saw the re-opening of Sweethope Lochs as a trout fly-fishery and adventure centre, writes Bob Smith.

Fly-fishing will be the top priority for the centre. A number of other activities will take place, but these will only take a maximum of two days per week and they will not impact on the fishing.

All activities and the dates will be posted in advance on the website www.sweethopeadventure.co.uk

The fishery has already stocked 1,500 blue and rainbow trout and another 550 are going into the lochs this week. These fish will boost the already-resident brown trout.

The stocking policy is to stock 75 per cent 2-3lb fish, 20 per cent five to eight pounders and five per cent will be double-figure trout which will be around 12-15lbs.

Another welcome change at Sweethope is that set session times are discontinued and anglers can turn up at any time during opening hours. Fishing is from sunrise to sunset and the reception will be open from 9-5pm.

There is a pairs boat fishing competition on May 6. Please contact the fishery for further details.

I visited Chatton to coach four different groups over a number of days this last week. Early in the week, it was still cold and that horrible easterly wind was still blowing.

However, the guy picked up the casting quickly and was surprised and delighted to land and return a number of trout to the water.

He caught all his fish from Ross Lake using a variety of coloured buzzers.

The following day, the wind was the same but stronger and it felt colder. The trout were deeper, but Ralph kept two and returned another two in the couple of hours before lunch.

These fish took a Montana and a black dancer in Chatton Lake.

Later in the week, the wind changed direction and the temperature began to rise. This guy was returning to fly-fishing after a number of years working and living in Saudi Arabia.

He soon got back into his casting technique and landed a nice 3lb fish and returned a few too. He caught his fish on pheasant tails, buzzers and a damsel nymph.

I saw one guy landing fish regularly, I would not like to have counted them.

He was using a cat’s whisker on a floating line on Chatton Lake and then he continued to catch on the Ross Lake.

He changed his tactics on the second lake by casting into the wind, only about 10 yards, and caught all his fish on a damsel less than five yards from the bank.

Best fish this week at Chatton weighed 11¾lbs and was taken on a black fritz. I saw a 9lb fish weighed in – it was caught on a blue buzzer in Ross Lake. Best bag numbered 17 fish.

The Ladies Fishing Club is meeting at Chatton this Saturday at around 9.30am.

They are having a salmon workshop in the afternoon and their days are always good fun – and that is what fishing is all about. New members are always made very welcome.

Another day saw me coaching at Whinney Loch.

One lady wanted to know how to fish and hook trout using dry fly. There was a lovely slight ripple on the water and it was a dull day.

Occasional trout were rising, especially along the edge of the ripple on the far side of the loch where there was some shelter from the breeze.

She was just roll casting a shortish floating line and watched her fly. A shuttlecock buzzer and a floating small beetle, used at different times, caught fish.

Four fish were returned and one was 7lbs. The lady was delighted and it confirmed to her that dry fly-fishing was what she enjoyed the most.

I did have a day off from coaching and went to fish the North Tyne at Bellingham with my long-standing fishing companion Alan.

South Linden has had a good week with a number of their double-figure fish coming to anglers’ nets.

Remember this fishery has a Game Anglers Instructors Association weekend on Saturday and Sunday.

It is an ideal opportunity for the public to go along and get top-class tuition at no cost, it is free.

Coldingham Loch has had an excellent time recently – some days the rod average was more than six.

The fishery saw its first swallow this week, so perhaps summer is on the way. But, how does the saying go, one swallow does not... ?