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Menteith Fishery



10th November 2008

New Menteith Trout Record

The trout season at the Lake has now finished and the pike anglers have had a couple of days on the Lake. The big news from the end of the season (apart from Bailiff Douglas Fraser being in a stookie) was the capture and release of a record sized on grown lake trout of 21lbs by pike angler Stuart McNairn from Edinbirgh (pictured below).

Stuart (34), a financial advisor tells his story.

I am a member of both PAC and PAAS and have fished Menteith about 6 times over the years through both clubs, my personal best pike being 25lb 8 oz from Menteith.

The trout really is a whopper. As a regular trout angler (fly), this fish beats my previous personal best rainbow which was 4lb 6oz.
Gordon Houston and me had been trolling lures along in the area between the lodge and the island and had caught about 8 small jack pike and a 13 pounder when we decided to stop trolling and spend half an hour casting some lures. I changed my lure from a Rapala Magnum to an ACE rainbow trout pattern hell tail (see picture). On my second cast towards the island the trout took the lure violently after about 4 turns of the reel handle. The fish immediately tail walked on the surface and both me and Gordon couldnt believe it was a big trout. The fish broke the surface about 3 more times when coming nearer the boat. Each time Gordon's estimate of its size getting bigger. First it had been 10 lbs, then 20lbs then 25 lbs!!!



When the fish came nearer, it was trying its hardest to stay under the boat. The fish was very, very powerful. If we had had any drogues or anchors that day, then the fish would’ve been round the ropes and probably lost. Gordon did an excellent job of netting the fish, which was quickly unhooked and placed into the unhooking mat. Gordon’s Reuben heaton scales had been zero'd earlier to compensate for the weight of the mat, when we weighed my 13lb 8 oz pike. The fish was well behaved in the zipped mat and the scales pulled round to 21 lbs. We were not fishing for trout, so we were keen to get the fish back in the water asap and continue trying to catch one of the monster pike.

Scott Davidson’s boat had appeared behind our boat, and I shouted to them to come over and witness the fish, which they quickly did. I got positioned in the boat and took the fish out to get a couple of quick snaps. A trout that size is difficult to hold with having much smaller gills than pike. I was in a seated position in the boat and after the first few pics, the fish wriggled from my hands when trying to turn the fish. Luckily the unhooking mat was at my feet and the fish only fell a short distance down onto the unhooking mat, none the worse for the drop. Gordon quickly took a couple of pics of the fish from the other side. The trout was out of the water for a very short time in total.

I then got the fish and lifted it out of the boat and held it by the tail in the recovery position, moving it back and forward to get some water moving through its mouth and gills. The trout was very tired and I spent a few minutes doing this while Scott took a couple of photos of the fish being held in the water. The fish eventually swam off slowly down into the depths. The fish was not very quick on swimming off. We knew that the fish would be one of the biggest to have come out in recent times and assumed that it may have been a large fish stocked in to provide some great sport for the fly fishermen. I was shocked when someone said later at the lodge that no fish that size go into the lake, meaning that that fish must have been a good age to achieve that size. 
I hope the fish recovers and provides a fellow fly fisher with the fight of a lifetime. I was fishing a short Jerk bait rod with 75lb Power pro braid and the fish still provided me with the best ever fight I have had on that rod set up.


One of the hooks on the treble had nicked a gill on the fish during the fight and that is why on the pictures, there is a wee bit of blood showing. There was nothing that could’ve been done to avoid this. I am sure that the trout stood a good chance of full recovery. As to the untrue rumor that the fish didn’t survive (all actual witnesses say it did), if the trout had turned upside down and floated when released, I would’ve called the number on the side of the boat and asked what to do with the fish. I would never do anything to jeopardize the good relationships either of my pike clubs have with Menteith fisheries and yourself.  Stuart McNairn

Well done Stuart and thanks for the photos, catch details and publicity for the Lake. We were wondering where the big trout were! They have been seen but have so far this season declined to take a fly. The catch has generated a lot of interest from the Lake trout regulars – some of whom have pointed out that it is better to support trout underneath the body than through the gills due to the smaller gill covers. Best of all would be to leave the trout in the unhooking/weighing mat for photography. I agree with this advice, which will be incorporated into the pike angler’s rules for fishing the Lake (unless anyone can provide evidence to the contrary).

The big fish – a silvery/blue and likely a triploid stands a good chance of survival given the cool water temperatures at this time of year. However, big trout of this size are very susceptible to low oxygen levels causing stress on the circulatory system. If given properly oxygenated water they generally come back round gradually. Was it near the end of the road anyway? Farmed trout can grow up to 30lbs plus, given the right conditions, in around 5-7 years. This fish was maybe 5 years old from the egg, and trout might go on to live longer – if they are not overstressed – especially in warm water/low oxygen conditions (which pike angling avoids)

The catch led also to a debate on barbless hooks. The argument being that the barbless hooks can re-penetrate and cause more damage than if secured by a micro barb. The Lake rules stipulate that pike fishing hooks shall  be debarbed and no more than two trebles can be present on any lure and this rule is to be maintained strictly.  Pike lures must also be a minimum length of 6 inches (to prevent the trebles going too far down the throat). In terms of pike catches, the bigger pike proved a little shy – a fish of 29lbs was taken on a deadbait (trout supplied by the fishery) on the last day. Many small pike were evident on the lure only day when 299 pike of less than 10lbs were caught and only 2 fish greater than 20lbs. If anyone has any further points to ask the fishery - please use the Menteith Message Board.

Kirk and School Funday
Many thanks to all those anglers who turned out to support this fundraiser and the last trout day of the season. There is no doubting you’re a generous bunch! This year we managed to raise an amazing total of £2400. On behalf of the School – (I am fundraising convenor) – a huge thanks to the fishery for donating the fishing. It was a superb day. Thanks also to all those who donated prizes; Nairns Cook School, Scottish woollen Mill Aberfoyle, Rogersons shoe shop Callander, Fabric shop Aberfoyle, David Marshall Lodge Aberfoyle, Forth Inn, Lake Hotel, Lion and Unicorn Hotel, McLaren Leisure Centre, Chill Out Massage, Trossach’s Centre, Fairy Rade Aberfoyle, Gleneagles Hotel, Rednock Riding/Trek, A.Mair Instruction, Direct Vehicle Options, Coop, Stewart Marshall, John Buchanan – venison and all the others who supplied smaller items. There is someone missing…! The kids sang some brilliant songs and a fitting end to the season was had by all. The money will be used for extra school outings and equipment and the church needs major repairs to the roof.
Thanks once again to all for another great fishing season and have a good winter. QG