Saturday 13th July 2013
As i arrived at the school lochs car park, 2 miles short of Kinnabus, the weather conditions looked just about perfect for an afternoon's fishing on these lochs which i rarely visit. I set up my 6wt rod with a floating line, teamed with a three fly cast and set off on the 15 minute walk across the peat moss.
orchid bog asphodel
From the road, the moss looked quite barren but as i walked across i found it was alive with insects gathering pollen on an abundance of wild heathland flowers that included orchids, tormentil, cross leaved heath and bog asphodel. Skylarks and swallows were hawking all around making the most of this precious bounty to feed their young. The whole area was covered in a blanket of cotton grasses and as i got nearer to the water i could see that common blue damselflies were everywhere, the scene in front of me was anything but barren.
I decided that i would walk past the smaller of the two lochs (Ghillie Loch) and head straight over to the School Loch. With a steady breeze coming from the N/West i decided i would start in the reletively sheltered S/East corner casting my flies over the top of the weed beds in the hope that they may be harbouring some trout. Sure enough, after about five casts i hooked a small trout of about 3oz which took a size 14 'cock eyed kate' on the top dropper. The next 15 minutes were great fun with alot of offers and four more fish to the net, all about the same size and to the same fly.
After about half an hour the sun came out and the wind picked up putting the fish down so i decided to move round the loch to the deeper water and make a change to a 15' ghost-tip line. To fish the deeper water i would have to venture out into the wind, this would mean casting over my left shoulder which always makes life a bit harder but worth it if things pay off. The 'cock eyed kate' was no longer doing the business on the top dropper so i changed it for a black muddler with a bit of sparkle tied in behind the head and moved the kate to the middle dropper. Almost immediately i had a take on the muddler, another small fish that fought well above its weight. This was to continue for the rest of the afternoon with alot of fish coming to the fly short but many more engulfing the fast retrieved muddler. At the end of my session i had accounted for 25 cracking little trout, all but the first four to the muddler, nothing huge with the biggest probably only 5oz but a great days sport none the less. When conditions are right this loch can provide some great fun and fishing amongst such great surroundings is always a joy. I am sure i will be back before too long.
Successful Islay Trip
During our fishing week on Islay (14th consecutive year)
we had a day (5 June) on your lochs. All week the weather was bright,
virtually windless and quite warm. We left the car in the quarry and walked
over to the School Loch first where we all caught our first fish. Jim
Campbell actually caught and released one about 1lb 4oz (picture available).
We then tried Gillie Loch and found the fish out in the deeper water rising
to black and olive CDC - a good few fish up to 12oz. Finally we finished off
on Kinnabus and again had about 30 fish up to 12oz. Flies for the day were
Black and Olive CDC, Green Peter, Blue Zulu, Doobry, Clan Chief, Bibio,
Pearly Invicta and JJ Olive. During the week we also fished Skerrolls, Gorm
(3 days), Finlaggan and Ballygrant - similar flies and conditions. Looking
forward already to our 2009 trip!
The School Loch, on the Oa, Islay, was a loch that untill this year i had ignored to an extent because I never really heard much about it so thought that maybe it just was not worth the walk. This year however I have been a few times and thought it was about time that I done a wee report on it.
The weather looked good enough when I left Port Ellen and was still ok as I walked the mile or so from Kinnabus car park to the School Loch but as I arrived the heavens just opened up, the contrast in the 2 pictures will show the difference in a space of 2 minutes........
So there was probably twice as much water to get out off the boat now after that.
The wind was up now too and the boat was maybe not going to be as much fun as first thought, and so it proved. I had no sooner rowed to the top of the loch......then I was at the bottom of it !!
I wasn't going to row all the way back up just to be blown back down again so I dropped the 12ft heavy chain that moors the boat over the bow to hold me back as much as possible (I thought there was a drogue in with the lifejacket box, but no!) and this worked quite well.
I was casting into the edge of some weed now and there was still no fish showing, I had set up with a 2 fly cast with a Picric Peter Bumble on the dropper and a green hot spot PTN on the point (as called by the supplier and tier, Caithness Quallity Flies) but the all green set up was not working so I took off the PTN and swapped it with a black zulu. As soon as I cast it back toward the weed I had a take. a wee brownie about 6oz on the zulu.....
And so it went on, but now, for whatever reason they started taking the picric peter now too...
I had another 4 about the same size, one of them maybe 1/2lb but the time was getting on and I had a tough row 2/3 of the way back up into an ever increasing wind so I had to make a start.
I got there a bit quicker than I thought so I had a wee 15 minutes that I could cast back along the bank toward Kinnabus. I walked far enough away from the boat where I had probably spooked everything in sight then started casting out over the left shoulder. Same flies, same result. 4 fish along the wee stretch with both flies sharing the honours, again the biggest being about 1/2lb but all of them really good fighters.
Now that I have been a few times with varying degrees of fortune, I will definetly be back some more this season because it does provide great sport. The day was bright again and the walk back to the car was easier having hooked a few trout in great scenery.