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Record Opening Day Catch at Menteith – issued 29/03/05

The 2005 Menteith Season Opened on Saturday 27th March.

Flower of Scotland was played on the pipes in remembrance of Willie Semple (of Fintry and Aberfoyle – pictured left) - a frequent helper and friend at the fishery.

The season was officially opened by Jean Bond from the Lake Hotel. Jean mentioned that the intention was to once again make the hotel angler friendly and that the new owners would be re-opening the Port Public bar.

The weather was kind with a light easterly and only an occasional spot or two of rain. Water temperature was 7.5C - a degree and half higher than for the opening last year, with a similar clarity of around 2m.

Catching was fairly immediate with reports of 20 fish to some boats before Lunch. The main areas were as expected for the time of year - Hotel Bay, the Road Shore, Kates Brae, Lochend, Bogle Knowe and out in the middle of the east basin. All sorts of tactics were proving successful, including buzzers and floating lines, slime lines and traditionals or lures and sinking (slow and fast) lines with boobies, blobs, damsels, cats, cormorant etc. A big hatch of buzzers was evident in the afternoon and anglers who switched to dry fly tactics also had success.

At the end of the day over 366 rainbows for 888lbs and 2 browns for 2 ½ lbs were weighed-in . The average weight of the rainbows worked out at 2lbs 7oz. 13 bag limits of 15 fish were recorded, 4 over 40lbs with 2 bags at 45lbs. 162 fish were recorded as returned (after a bit of chasing up) although many anglers were uncontactable (please could all catches be recorded on the day). Giving a total catch of 530+ fish for the 31 boats – an average of 17 trout per boat. There was at least one blank rod. This represents a record catch on any day at the fishery – both in terms of fish numbers and fish weight. It can be partly attributable to catch and release in that anglers can fish on, and return fish and also due to an increasing number of fish being returned and overwintering. Some anglers are finding that around 15-20% of the fish in their catches have overwintered (2-3lb overwintered fish pictured below) in the Lake. The previous best catch (numbers) was 1995 when 523 fish were caught – a bigger limit was in operation at the time.

Not attributable to the catches was the stocking. We stocked fewer fish than in the last two years prior to the start of the season and 25% of the stocked fish were brown trout.

Sunday 27th March: Dalziel Steel (7 boats) 30 fish for 72lbs. 30 boats landed 152 fish for 352lbs and 28 fish returned.

Monday 28th March: ICI Dumfries (6 boats) 27 fish for 64lbs. Stanley AC (8 boats) 56 fish for 133lbs. 27 boats landed 152 fish for 380lbs.