Tues. 7th August, 2018
Rumour had it that the barrier gates were to be opened on Tuesday and sure enough I got a message via Facebook that “gates were open now…”. Apparently Loch Lomond levels had reached sufficient height to allow gates to be lifted. So given the choice was either home chores or fishing then within an hour I was parked at Bonhill Bridge and setting up. Noticed from water guage that water was still rising and coloured with lots of debris being washed downstream. Deciding that eventually water would settle and clear If ever fish would be encouraged to run then it was today! High tide was not until around 8:30pm however undeterred I started at The Bonhill Pool with a slow sink tip and a size 9 cascade. Fished slowly down the pool, the water was still murky and lots of weed, branches and rubbish coming downstream being collected it seemed by both my fly and my landing net behind me. Completing the pool and after a break for coffee and catch-up with other anglers I headed for The Piles having changed fly for one of John Richardson’s hi viz cascade doubles.
Another angler at the piles was spinning without any contact so far but was quick to point out that this was the best water conditions for months. Starting at the top bend I slowly worked down the run wading deep. Water was starting to settle and whilst still a lot of weed around things seemed to be clearing. Reaching the middle of the run a couple of bait anglers arrived and set up below me. Not a problem and I decided to take a break and rest my legs, the bait anglers were quick to point out the best runs and to remind me not to discount fish lying close to the near bank. After a great deal of chatting I decided to start once more at the top of the run and work my way down once more before having to quit for the day as I had an appointment at VOLDAC that evening. Re-covering the same run without any contact or seeing any fish moving bar a small fish rising just at the end of the run I covered the whole stretch with the bait anglers having decided to move upstream. I was forced to call it a day at 16:30 with some regret since water was clearing and high tide was due later that evening. Nevertheless a good few hours filled with expectation of a running fresh fish.
Saturday 4th Aug. 2018
Saturday evening I decided to meet up with Lee Taylor who was already planning a few hours on The Leven at the McKinnons stretch. As this was an area of The Leven that I had never fished I was grateful to Lee, once more, for giving me the heads up on this and the other sections of the river. Upon my arrival and parking there were a number of local anglers already fishing and once more they freely and openly gave me the run down of the various pools and runs, particularly for the fly. I am forever grateful for such information and generosity so my thanks to Danny, Craig and the other local anglers.
After setting up I set off to explore and to find Lee, which I did fairly quickly even though we have never met face to face until this time. Lee kindly walked the section highlighting the various runs, pools and historic holding areas and lies. I was impressed at the really good looking runs with relatively easy looking wading including Boathouse Hole and Garden Stream and others whose names escape me.
Lee suggested that we move upstream and give the section at Westclox (Polaroid) Bridge down until dark. This was a great looking stretch with easy wading (currently) and as Lee indicated fish tended to be found holding against far (Renton side) bank along the wall and under the trees or running the “channel”. I fished from above the bridge continuing under and down this run with Lee fishing about 200 yards below me. He is just about visible wading below me in the short video. We continued down this stretch with me failing to connect with anything but as I later learned Lee dropping two fish, one good sized fish too!
We decided to call it a night around 10.15pm as darkness began to fall and for me my eyesight being tested for both casting and wading in the dark. A great couple of hours even if no contact made however now familiar with basics of another area of The Leven thanks to the kindness of fellow angler Lee Taylor.
2nd Aug. 2018
Decided to get out and try my luck on The Leven this afternoon for a few hours. I was surprised just how little the water level had risen despite recent rainfall. Water level at Linnbrane was showing as just xxxm from RiverApp this morning. Started just below Bonhill Bridge and covered “Bonhill Pool” carefully and slowly with out any interest or sighting of a fish. After trying a small section opposite “The Glebe” decided to give “The Piles” a chance since this was the run that I really had in mind for this afternoon. Following a coffee and a chat with another angler Gavin and after a change of fly (plus leader due to windnots!) I headed for the “Piles”.
This run really did look promising, particularly the far bank against the wall and the tail of the run. Fished halfway down and neither myself or another angler in far bank who was fishing the worm had seen of connected with anything. Slowly covering the remainder of the pool I thought about changing fly and and recovering the run once more. However after deciding that fish were perhaps not in residence and the increasing stiffness in my back due to lack of fitness and old age I decided to call it a day.
An enjoyable few hours on the river despite the lack of any action or sighting of a fish given the current levels it is clear that things are not likely to improve much until we get some more substantial prolonged rainfall. Meantime many anglers are reporting the sighting of a good number of fish at the estuary. The main issue here of course is their vulnerability given the resident seals seem to be picking them off whilst they also wait for decent rainfall. More rain please and plenty!
Tues.31st July 2018
A quick walk this morning at Bonhill Bridge found the Leven showing its bones despite the heavy weekend rain. The section at the “Piles” looked as if it may hold fish and very fishable although the fly would have been a challenge today with strong southerly wind blowing upstream. No fish showing but definitely worth a try perhaps before the end of the week.